Janesville62.5°

Pharmacist is dedicated to patients

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 20, 2008
— As soon as Mike Dow could reach the cash register and soda fountain, he worked in his parents’ Rice Lake drug store.

“My mother was a pharmacist,” Dow said. “My dad ran the store.”


So it’s not surprising that Dow has spent half of his life being a pharmacist—paid and volunteer.


The gratification it gives him is difficult for him to put into words.


“I spent my entire career helping people with medications,” he said. “Not just giving them, but making sure they are using them properly. HealthNet (a free clinic in Janesville) is another way of doing the same thing, but the difference is taking it to a higher degree, and the patients are extremely grateful.”


Dow’s lifelong devotion of helping others hasn’t gone unnoticed.


“Mike’s dedication to this organization is simply amazing,” said Traci Rogers, executive director of HealthNet, where Dow volunteers 500 hours a year, has been a board member since 2004 and is serving his second term as board president.


“His contribution to the medication-dispensing area has truly improved the quality of care to our patients,” Rogers said.


“Mike is a very compassionate, caring, supportive and encouraging person. We have seen many new faces at HealthNet because of his ability to encourage others to join our team,” Rogers said.


Jerry Sveum, a former partner of Dow’s at Grand Avenue Pharmacy in Beloit, said Dow has worked hard to promote and elevate the pharmacy profession by serving 10 years on the boards of the Wisconsin Pharmacists Association and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.


“He could often be found lobbying legislators on issues of pharmacy,” Sveum said.


Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, knows that firsthand after Dow brought it to her attention that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians were not included in Wisconsin’s Volunteer Health Care Provider Program, where certain volunteer providers of health care services to low-income uninsured people are agents of the Department of Health and Family Services and fall under the liability protection of the state.


Sveum said, “Mike qualifies as someone who matters,” adding that Dow received the UW School of Pharmacy Citation of Merit in November.


“It’s the highest honor it bestows other than an honorary doctor’s degree,” Sveum said.


“This is to recognize a record of public service that goes beyond quality patient care or professional practice. It’s for an outstanding record of contribution to pharmacy and society, and it’s a pretty big deal,” said Jeanette Roberts, dean of the school, where Dow also guest lectures, participates in school applicant interviews and has been a clinical instructor.


Dow’s most life-changing experience came after a trip to the Philippines with his brother Tom, who is an ophthalmologist. Together they helped 275 poor people regain their eyesight.


“It was such a rewarding experience,” Dow said, which made him realize he didn’t need to travel halfway around the world to help others.


It’s also why he started volunteering at HealthNet in 2004


What motivates Dow is the desire to make a difference and a philosophy that if everyone does a little, no one person has to do so much.


“To give my time and knowledge as a pharmacist is something a lot of people can’t do.”


MIKE DOW
Age: 60
Community: Janesville
Occupation: Pharmacist
Family: Wife, Janet; two sons, Ryan, 31, David, 25; one daughter, Robin, 28
Honors: 2006 recipient of the coveted Bowl of Hygeia Award for the State of Wisconsin that recognizes one’s contributions to the pharmacy profession and community. He also received the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin Distinguished Service Award in 2005.
Favorite hobby: Golf
Favorite music: All kinds
Favorite movie: “The American President”
Three words that best describe you: Caring, fun-loving, family-oriented

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