Richard Herrier believes practice makes perfect

Richard Herrier teaches pharmacy students for almost 700 hours each year.

That translates into eight classes, among them “Communications and Pharmacists” and “Case Discussions in Medicinal Chemistry.”

Students learn a wealth of information from Herrier in the communications class, such as techniques for speaking with physicians and patients (angry ones included). In the medicinal chemistry class he gives students their “first introduction to clinical stuff,” like analyzing prescriptions based on diagnoses, over-the-counter drugs, old drugs and discrepancies.

“I’m not big into lectures,” he says. “With everything I do, I try to make it active, make the students active. Demonstrations, trials—if you practice, you become competent.”

For tests in his classes, Herrier has students come in individually and pretend he’s a patient. They have to take his medical history and counsel him. He says he makes sure to throw in little catches, so they have to use their all their communication skills.

Herrier, whose research passion is in pharmacist patient care skills pedagogy, always wanted to teach. Before he came to COP he worked for the Indian Health Service in Arizona and New Mexico for 25 years.

He did a summer program at the IHS between his fifth and sixth year in school and decided to continue working there after graduation.

“I fell in love with the opportunities,” he says. “Thirty years ago IHS pharmacists started everything that is the current trend in ambulatory pharmacy practice today. We were among the first to use nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. IHS is a very innovative organization.”

The Lompoc, Calif., native completed his prepharmacy work at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received his PharmD from the University of Southern California in 1970.

The voracious reader says he and his wife love Arizona. Herrier says his hobby is pharmacy and moving to Arizona more than 25 years ago is the best thing he’s ever done.

Richard Herrier received the inaugural Danny and Rae Jacob Pharmacy Practice Award at the 2007 COP Homecoming Alumni & Friends dinner. He received the Elias Schlossberg Award for exemplary service to pharmacy in Arizona from the Arizona Pharmacy Association in July 2006. He has been voted COP Clinical Science Educator of the Year three times (1996, 2005, 2006) and is a 2006 recipient of the Arizona Alumni Association's Extraordinary Faculty Award.