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Leon Claywell, BSPharm, R.Ph., FACA, the 2013 Bowl of Hygeia Award recipient for the state of Kentucky, has announced that he will match all contributions from Kentucky to the Bowl of Hygeia endowment fund. The owner of Medica Pharmacies in Bardstown and Shepherdsville, KY, Claywell has a strong passion for community pharmacy and has dedicated his life to building a healthier community.
Claywell decided early in his pharmacy career that he wanted to be a pharmacy owner, and started out working as a pharmacist and store manager for a small regional chain drug store. In addition to his duties as pharmacist, he was also responsible for tasks unrelated to pharmacy, like selling motor oil, water hoses, lawn chairs, and other miscellaneous items. It was then that Claywell decided to change paths to work in community pharmacy.
As a community pharmacy owner, Claywell has devoted much of his time to community service. He is an active member of St. Joseph Parish in Bardstown, KY, and for the past four years has provided free medication and medical supplies from his pharmacy to its sister parish in Haiti. Claywell has also instituted a free vitamin program at the local elementary school and supported local youth sports teams by providing free first aid kits and offering up the use of his pharmacy parking lot for team fundraisers. Additionally, Claywell has provided countless screenings for thousands of patients as well as free and reduced flu vaccine clinics. Both of his pharmacies are members of the local Chamber of Commerce and actively participate in seasonal events such as the Christmas parade.
Claywell is also passionate about promoting awareness of issues related to current and proposed rules and regulations governing pharmacy. Claywell advocates for community pharmacy through his membership in many pharmacy organizations, boards, and committees, including his service as chairman of the Kentucky Pharmacists Political Advocacy Council. He has provided financial support to many of these organizations and frequently communicates with elected representatives at the local, state and federal levels about a variety of issues.
When asked about his advice for young pharmacists, Claywell says that they should look for opportunities to promote themselves and their pharmacy through service to the community. He encourages young pharmacists to become knowledgeable about each patient – his or her medical condition as well as his or her personal and family situation. He feels it is important to understand patients’ needs in order to identify the appropriate course of action that will contribute to an improved quality of life.
Claywell describes receiving the Bowl of Hygeia Award as “a plum after a long career in pharmacy.” He is humbled and truly honored to receive recognition for his service to the community. The inspiration for his generous offer to match all donations from Kentucky to the Bowl of Hygeia endowment fund stems from his love for pharmacy and community service.
Claywell describes the Bowl of Hygeia Award as the premier state pharmacy association award for pharmacists, and a means of honoring community service and achievements of an individual pharmacist over time. He discusses how historically the Bowl has been financially supported by drug manufacturers. Sponsorship of the award has been a challenge, but he believes the award should have a permanent home and sponsor. “The APhA and the APhA Foundation are ideally situated to become that home,” says Claywell. “I think that individual pharmacists and pharmacist-supported organizations should consider taking on the responsibility of perpetuating the award for recognizing our deserving pharmacists of the future.”
Claywell is a powerful example of how pharmacists can make a significant impact on the lives and health of patients in their community. We applaud him for his generous contribution to the Bowl of Hygeia so that pharmacists of his caliber can continue to be recognized for their service.