Marva Williams-Lowe, Pharm.D, MHA, RPh
Regional Pharmacy Director, Pharmacy Division
What is your fondest memory from your 25 years working at Dartmouth-Hitchcock?
Several years ago, the New Hampshire Poison Center was located in the Inpatient Pharmacy Department. Services were provided 24/7 by Poison Center specialists and some of our pharmacists were trained to provide this service on the night shift. During those times, the pharmacist staffed the pharmacy alone. As a staff pharmacist I covered the Pharmacy on the night shift and responded to Poison Center calls. It was quite a challenging role to prepare medications, process orders and make deliveries to the patient care areas as needed; however, despite the hectic pace responding to a potential poisoning call from an en route ambulance, the ED [Emergency Department], a concerned parent, or a member of the community, it was very rewarding and always a memorable experience. The opportunity to assist with these situations and provide timely information and guidance while talking to the parent of a child who may have ingested a plant, medication, or unknown substance was gratifying and a great opportunity to serve the community.
What about your job/work inspires you?
I am passionate about improving the lives of the people and communities we serve for generations to come. This inspires me and keeps me engaged. I have been blessed to be mentored and guided by various Dartmouth-Hitchcock leaders over the years and to serve in many different roles that have furthered my development as a pharmacist and leader. There is always an opportunity to learn something new, think outside the box, or try a different approach to solve a problem and improve patient care. I decided early on that I would learn all that I could about various roles, assist whenever possible, and be active in bringing about changes and not sit on the side lines and watch. I have always been determined to be an active participant. This led me to develop and support the expansion of various pharmacy training programs and to expand the scope of services we provide for our patients. I have also had the opportunity to work as a clinical staff pharmacist in various roles including sterile product preparation, research, Hematology/Oncology, Internal Medicine, and to serve on several committees. I actively sought opportunities to further develop my clinical knowledge by returning to school to complete my Doctorate of Pharmacy. When I transitioned from a staff pharmacist position to leadership positions I sought out leadership training programs. One of the reasons I decided to pursue a Masters in Health Administration was to broaden my knowledge outside of the Pharmacy and be better positioned to serve my department and patients as a health care leader. Most recently, being selected to participate in the Carol Emmott Fellowship has allowed me to extend my service into the community through an impact project to improve health inequities in our community of the Upper Valley.
What do you like best about working in your department?
I am honored to work with a passionate, dedicated and caring team (Team Rx) of pharmacists, technicians, and administrative support. We have worked through many technology implementations, facility redesigns, system downtimes, drug shortages, drug recalls, staffing shortages, workflow redesign, and process improvements. Team Rx never gives up and never grows weary of doing what is best for our patients and for each other. We persevere through challenges to provide patients with the best care, in the right place, at the right time, every time. Our Pharmacy team is eager to learn and improve processes. We recently developed PILL BOX (Pharmacy Improvement Learning Lab, Brainstorm Originate, eXplore) to engage all Team Rx members in process improvement. I am supported in my Regional Pharmacy work by an awesome leadership team of managers and associate directors who work tirelessly to lead, support, and facilitate daily pharmacy operations for our hospital and clinic patients. The last 25 years have truly been a time of growth, change, learning, and experiencing what can be done when you have the support of a great team who work together for a true culture of caring for patients and staff.