RDML Pam Schweitzer, PharmD returns to the podcast today to talk about Veterans Day and the PBS Documentary Invisible Corps. Dr. Schweitzer was also featured in episodes 185 and 229 of The Pharmacist’s Voice ® Podcast.
November 11 is Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a US holiday celebrated annually to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. On Veterans Day, we thank veterans for their service. Thank you veterans! Why talk about the documentary in this episode? Because it features veterans of the United States Public Health Commissioned Corps. It fits into my Veterans Day theme.
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Bio (November 2023)
Rear Admiral (RDML) Pamela Schweitzer retired in September 2018 from a four-year term as the Assistant Surgeon General and 10th Chief Pharmacist Officer of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps. As Chief Pharmacist Officer (first female in this role), Schweitzer was responsible for providing leadership and coordination of more than 1,300 PHS pharmacy officers in thirteen agencies with the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health & Human Services.
Schweitzer continues to support the pharmacy profession and national efforts to increase access to public health initiatives, especially in rural and underserved communities.
Rear Admiral Schweitzer earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy, completed an Ambulatory Care/Administrative Residency at University of California Irvine Medical Center.
Schweitzer has been recognized for her leadership contributions, including the Surgeon General Exemplary Service Medal (2018), ASHP 2019 Distinguished Leadership Award (2019), APhA “Next 10 Women in Pharmacy,” honoree (2022), Cal State University Fullerton Vision & Visionaries Award, Distinguished Alumni (2023).
Invisible Corps documentary description from https://www.pbs.org: “This one-hour PBS documentary covers the history and role of the Public Health Service, the PHS Commissioned Corps, and how public health has evolved throughout our history. It explores how public health has become politicized and how important it is to change that in order to positively affect the nations’ health for years to come.”
Highlights from our conversation
- How pharmacists can be Veterans
- Our family members who are Veterans
- Comparing numbers: Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Public Health Service
- How Invisible Corps went from idea to published
- Screenings of the documentary around the US and connecting communities to local public health professionals
- “Visibility” was a theme during our conversation. For example, the USPHS does their job so well, average citizens don’t know they exist.
- Pharmacists are versatile members of the PHS.
- Funding challenges and the fluctuating size of the number of Officers in the USPHS.
- Demonstrating value is important, but United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHSCC) Officers are humble. Outcomes from their work are significant, but you won’t hear them brag. The documentary Invisible Corps is a humble brag.
- History of the USPHS.
- Surgeons General RDML Schweitzer has met over the years.
If you’re interested in showing the film and you need help connecting with PHS Officers in your community, Dr. Schweitzer can help. Contact her through LinkedIn.
In episode 229 of The Pharmacist’s Voice Podcast, Dr. Schweitzer talked about a book she wrote with her daughter, Amy Graves. It’s called Alice and Jack Hike the Grand Canyon. It is sold at the Grand Canyon now. Her next book project is about baseball.
During retirement, Dr. Schweitzer is traveling, advocating in the DEI space, helping rural communities, and advocating for interoperability, among other things. She enjoys looking at data and doing research on topics she is passionate about. She also enjoys promoting pharmacists as indispensable members of the healthcare team.
Links from this episode
RDML Pamela Schweitzer on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamela-schweitzer-50638b16/
USPHS Commissioned Corps: https://www.usphs.gov/
Invisible Corps Documentary: https://www.pbs.org/video/invisible-corps-5czrsw/
The Pharmacist’s Voice Podcast Episode 185 featuring RDML Pam Schweitzer, PharmD (Veterans Day 2022)
The Pharmacist’s Voice Podcast Episode 229 (Pharmacist Authors Series) featuring Pam Schweitzer, PharmD and her daughter Amy Graves
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Thank you for listening to episode 251 of The Pharmacist’s Voice ® Podcast!