LAWRENCE — Gene Hotchkiss, senior associate dean at the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, was honored May 4 with a mentoring award from the Kansas Independent Pharmacy Service Corporation (KPSC).
The award, established in honor of Hotchkiss, is called the Gene Hotchkiss Independent Pharmacy Mentoring Award and will be given annually to an independent Kansas pharmacist who has done an outstanding job of mentoring young pharmacists and pharmacy students. Hotchkiss received the award May 4 at the KPSC Mid-year Meeting at the Oread Hotel.
KPSC was formed 28 years ago to support independent pharmacy owners in Kansas and to enhance their efficiency in competing with the corporate chain pharmacy operations through cooperative buying and statewide advocacy. About 15 years ago, KPSC formed an initiative known as the Entrepreneurial Opportunities Group (EOG). The initiative was created to support students interested in a career in independent pharmacy. KPSC quickly formed a relationship with the school and helped develop a mentoring and support network between independent pharmacy owners and pharmacy students. KPSC CEO Peter Stern said Hotchkiss was an important component in the success of this relationship.
“For years, Gene has been the stalwart, persistent person at the school when it comes to educating and mentoring students interested in some day owning and operating an independent pharmacy,” Stern said. “He has a genuine interest in ensuring that students have the opportunity to meet independent pharmacy owners throughout the state.”
Hotchkiss is faculty co-adviser for the school’s student chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association. A longstanding tradition of the group is the twice-a-year trips during which students travel across the state and visit independent pharmacies and their owners. A primary aim of the trips is to build and nurture relationships between pharmacy students and pharmacy owners in Kansas. The hope is that those connections will lead to transitions of ownership and a continuation of vital pharmacy care services to the people of Kansas.
Hotchkiss has been at the KU School of Pharmacy for 26 years and, according to Dean Ken Audus, has an unrivaled knowledge of the state’s community pharmacies and its pharmacists.
“Gene has a genuine passion for the profession of pharmacy and specifically for community pharmacy,” Audus said. “He has mentored countless students over the years, and the professional and personal relationships he has formed helps the school stay connected to the community of Kansas pharmacists and helps them stay connected to us.”
Hotchkiss provided the leadership for the establishment of the KU School of Pharmacy NCPA Student Chapter in January of 1998. The group has worked closely with KPSC over the years.
“It’s been my pleasure to assist and encourage our students who have an interest in independent pharmacy practice as an entrepreneur or as a staff pharmacist in learning more about the opportunities and high level of satisfaction in this career pathway,” Hotchkiss said. “Independent pharmacy practice is more than a career pathway. It’s a rich and rewarding lifestyle in service to the community.”