Henry Lewis III, Pharm.D., and Marisa A. Lewis, Pharm.D., M.P.H.: Profile
Chemistry is extremely important in the pharmaceutical field -- especially when it's between two prestigious and ambitious pharmacists who are married to one another.
"Working in the same field gives us the opportunity to have dialogue on issues impacting what we do each day," Dr. Henry Lewis III, professor and director in the College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University (FAMU), said of his wife, Dr. Marisa Lewis. "We see things from a different vantage point. It's been very helpful."
Today, the two accomplished pharmacists spend their days in a university setting leading, training and educating students, and then go home to consult with one another. "I am always looking for fresh ideas, and it's very helpful to get Henry's perspective on things," said Marisa Lewis, who is currently the executive director of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) and an associate professor at FAMU.
After more than 30 years in the pharmaceutical field, Henry Lewis' experiences have been extensive. Since he began teaching and administration at FAMU in 1974, enrollment in the pharmacy program has increased by over 600 percent, the college has added three new Ph.D. programs, graduated 60 percent of the African American Ph.D. recipients in the pharmaceutical sciences, and produced 25 percent of the nation's black pharmacists.
One of Henry Lewis' proudest achievements recently came to fruition -- the completion of a new 126,000-square-foot, $33 million state-of-the-art College of Pharmacy building at FAMU. "It's a dream that has been five years in the making," Henry Lewis said. "To see the energy of the 1,200 students from more than 33 states in the U.S. as well as foreign countries utilizing this outstanding training facility is exhilarating."
He believes his career path has been led by divine intervention. "Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that all this was within my reach. I believe that success is the intersection of where opportunity meets preparation," he said. Marisa Lewis shares her husband's belief in divine guidance. "Initially, I was unsure if I wanted to practice medicine or pharmacy. I was led to pharmacy, and pharmacy has been wonderful to me."
Like her husband, Marisa Lewis also has spent most of her career in academia. But she believes her previous experiences in retail and hospital pharmacy as well as in corporate America as a medical information specialist have paved the way. "My true love is working with students," she said. "They motivate me."
She takes pride in promoting the profession. In 1999 and 2000 she served as auxiliary spokesperson and spokesperson, respectively, for the American Pharmaceutical Association -- McNeil Consumer Health Care's Partnership for Self-Care and Medicine Cabinet Safety campaigns. In 2004 she was recognized by the National Pharmaceutical Association with its highest honor for her service to the organization.
If Henry Lewis one day becomes a university president, Marisa Lewis plans to be at his side. They got a taste of that leadership responsibility when he served as interim president of FAMU in 2002. "I want to be supportive of him in every way so that we complement one another," she said. "Whatever happens with our careers, we will continue to support each other and mentor students."
"We are in the business of dream making," Henry Lewis said. "I believe that you measure success not by your own personal achievement, but by the achievement of people with whom you have the opportunity to come in contact."
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