NDPAC Holds Annual Conference in Panama

Photo special to the Outlook

Photo special to the Outlook




Special to the Outlook

The Florida A&M University Pharmacy Alumni organization, officially known as the National Diamondback Pharmacy Alumni Council (NDPAC), held its 45th Annual Convention June 17-21 in Panama City, Panama.

NDPAC has been rotating its meetings between cities in the United States and countries abroad since 1999 when the meeting was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The theme for the 2015 convention was “Panama 2015: An Exotic Fiesta Where Two Oceans and Alumni Meet.”

This year’s attendance of 130 participants marks a record high, including 70 pharmacists, 13 registered nurses and pharmacy technicians, and other family and guests. Michael Thompson, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) presented the state of FAMU’s College of Pharmacy.

Thompson brought a delightful and welcomed surprise, as he greeted the alumni in Spanish. Both Thompson and his wife, Brenda, speak fluent Spanish. The organization also received a warm and encouraging letter from FAMU’s President Elmira Mangum. The meeting provided eight hours of continuing professional education for the previously mentioned professions.

The “Diamondbacks” were delighted to have the renowned author Melva Lowe De Goodin as a keynote luncheon speaker. Goodin authored the book: “People of African Ancestry in Panama 1501-2012.” She shared the history and role of Black ethnic groups in the socio-economic development of Panama. She also discussed the triumphs and tribulations of Blacks who played a vital role in building the Panama Canal.

Tours included the Panama Canal, downtown Panama’s historic sites, and shopping. Gwen Washington, R.Ph, a FAMU graduate, convention chair and owner of Gwen’s Elite Travels, always includes Black history, culture and educational exposure of the places where NDPAC convenes, whether in the USA or abroad.
This year, the participants visited and worshiped at Rio Abajo Methodist Church, an historic Anglican Church, where attendees were warmly greeted and the fathers were presented with a Father’s Day Gift.

NDPAC’s President, Michelle K. Rutledge, gaveled the meeting’s closure after a final discussion of the organization’s pledge toward another $100,000 in support for the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.