Entrepreneur and patient advocate is changing pharmacy care in Georgia

Jennifer Shannon standing in front of a cabinet of pharmaceutical products.
Jennifer Shannon, recognized this year with a VCU Alumni 10 Under 10 award, opened Lily’s Pharmacy in 2013 to work with patients individually, offering services such as compounding medications, wellness and health management oversight. (Courtesy photo)

Kristen Caldwell
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
(804) 828-3977 or kcaldwell2@vcu.edu

When Jennifer Shannon, Pharm.D., and her husband, Mike, opened Lily’s Pharmacy in 2013, they knew they wanted to work with patients individually, offering services such as compounding medications, wellness and health management oversight.

“I wanted to open a practice that would change the perception of pharmacy in my community by offering direct patient care services,” Shannon said.

In the pharmacy’s first year, Shannon, a 2009 graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, developed a nationally recognized transition-of-care program with her local hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital in Johns Creek, Georgia. The program, which manages patient change from one health care provider or setting to another, has reduced hospital readmissions and improved patient outcomes. 

On Nov. 2, Shannon, an outspoken advocate for patient choice, was one of 10 people honored by the VCU Office of Alumni Relations as part of its 10 Under 10 awards. The program celebrates the noteworthy and distinctive achievements made by alumni who earned their first VCU degree within the past 10 years. 

Shannon’s mother is a double alumna of the VCU School of Nursing and former nurse director at VCU Health. Shannon considers herself fortunate to have grown up in the VCU community and credits her experiences at the VCU School of Pharmacy with instilling in her the importance of community pharmacy practice and direct patient care. 

Today, Lily’s Pharmacy (named after Shannon’s daughter) is one of the fastest-growing independent pharmacies in the country. And Shannon is still working to improve options for patients. Earlier this year, she helped develop a bill in the Georgia General Assembly that protects a patient’s right to choose their pharmacist. The bill, enacted into law in May, prohibits insurers and benefits managers from referring a patient to a pharmacy in which they have ownership or affiliation. 

“I provided testimony before the House and Senate Health and Human Services committees on several occasions,” Shannon said. “I am proud to say that this will change the course of pharmacy care across the state of Georgia and is beginning to have a ripple effect across the country.”

A glance at the 2019 10 Under 10 honorees:

Lynzee Chelland
2009 Bachelor of Science    
College of Humanities and Sciences

E. Taylor Doctor
2011 Bachelor of Arts
College of Humanities and Sciences

Whitney Mari Headen
2009 Bachelor of Science
School of Business

Alan Keesee
2009 Master of Health Administration
College of Health Professions

Othman Khunji
2015 Master of Fine Arts
VCU School of the Arts Qatar

Adele McClure
2011 Bachelor of Science
School of Business

Elliot Roth
2015 Bachelor of Science
College of Engineering

2015 Certificate in Product Innovation
VCU da Vinci Center

Jennifer Shannon, Pharm.D.
2009 Doctor of Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy

Joshua Son
2014 Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Elaine Genise Williams
2017 Bachelor of Social Work
School of Social Work

Read more about the 10 Under 10 honorees at www.vcualumni.org/Events/10-Under-10/.

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