Women’s History Month March 1-31, 2022
Join the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in celebrating Women’s History Month in March. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” Throughout the month, the college will celebrate women who embody that theme and are making history every day.
Women’s History Month LECTURE
Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., is the first female dean of the UF College of Pharmacy. Learn more about her trailblazing journey and the advice she shares to women pursuing family and career goals.
women’s history month PROFILES
Since our early years as a pharmacy college, the UF College of Pharmacy has been supporting the academic and career goals of women pharmacists. The first woman graduate of the University of Florida, Jeanette Radin Byers, received a Master of Science in Pharmacy degree in 1932. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we want to introduce you to some influential women in our college who span generations and inspire other women to achieve greatness.
Emily Bennett’s pathway to pharmacy began when she witnessed a pharmacist helping her grandmother regain her sense of autonomy following a sleroderma diagnosis. She shadowed the pharmacist and immediately knew she wanted to serve a similar purpose. As a pharmacy student, she leads by example by striving for positions in leaderships and carving out the space she wants to be in. Her advice to other women is: “Make sure to try lots of different things to gather experience and see what you like best: work, volunteer, research, lead. Your combination of responsibilities will make you a well-rounded and competitive candidate for your future endeavors.”
Third-year pharmacy student Rachel Bohorquez witnessed her grandfather taking many prescription medications later in life, and she wanted to know if the medications were safe, appropriate and effective. This motivated her to be a pharmacist, where she can make a difference in her community by helping patients feel empowered to understand their medications and control their health care. She strives to be a role model through her leadership positions, including chapter president of the UF College of Pharmacy Student National Pharmaceutical Association. She enjoys mentoring younger students, and she wants to help women succeed in leadership roles and continue to grow professionally to further their careers.
Rachel Cufferi was drawn to the pharmacy profession because of the connections pharmacists have with their patients. Her heart has always been in patient care and serving underprivileged populations. Since she has been a student at the Jacksonville campus, she has been able to connect with the LGBTQ+ population through various leadership roles and volunteering opportunities. She encourages other women wanting to follow in her footsteps in pharmacy to stay motivated and encouraged, they will be in a position to change the world in many positive ways.
Jillian Walker takes great pride in being able to positively impact a patients’ progression on their health and wellness journey. As a role model for other women in pharmacy, she strives to support her colleagues and keep an open mind. She believes it is important to listen, welcome and cultivate new ideas among colleagues so they can reach new horizons in pharmacy. She encourages women to live in the moment and walk in their truth.
As a clinical assistant professor and pharmacist, Renad Abu-Sawwa, Pharm.D., is motivated to serve others and make a positive impact in people’s lives and health. The versatility of the profession has allowed her to grow professionally in her career and personally throughout her life. As a clinician, educator and role model, she strives to live by example in order to enlighten and inspire others. She says there is nothing more beautiful than advocacy, empathy and humanity.
Theresa Tolle, ’88, will begin a one-year term as president of the American Pharmacists Association in March. In leading the nation’s largest association of pharmacists, she will lean upon her education from the UF College of Pharmacy and her experience as a community pharmacy owner to guide the organization. Throughout her career, Tolle has prioritized advocacy for patients and the pharmacy profession and enjoyed being involved professionally with colleagues and giving back to the community. She considers it a blessing to have had so many women pharmacist mentors who poured into her and shaped her that she wants to pay it forward and do the same for those who come after her.
Julie Johnson is an accomplished researcher and the first female dean of the UF College of Pharmacy. She is also a wife and mother, which she believes is important for people to know, as she is viewed as a role model. With more women entering the pharmacy profession today, Johnson feels strongly that it is important for people to see role models in leadership that look like them. She is driven by her desire to make an impact on the world and cherishes her role as a mentor, leader and pharmacist.
A pioneer of the pharmacy profession, Edith Ware Purser comes from a long line of pharmacists and is one of the first female graduates of the UF College of Pharmacy. She was one of only five women to graduate in the class of 1948 and is one of the college's oldest living graduates. Ware Purser owned multiple pharmacies over the course of her career and has been a role model for generations of women who have followed in her footsteps.
Women in Medicine
We welcome you to explore the National Library of Medicine’s online exhibition, Changing the Face of Medicine, to learn about the lives and achievements of racial and ethnic minority women in medicine. The Library of Congress’s Women in Medicine Resource Guide also contains books on women’s history in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and dentistry.