Saturday, August 6, 2016

When the 2016 Summer Olympics opened, some of the athletes had a UI College of Pharmacy alumnus to thank for helping them on the road to Rio. Dean Collier, ’87 BSPh, ’91 PharmD, recently used his expertise as the team pharmacist for the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha, Neb.

Collier, an associate professor in pharmacy practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy, worked with faculty and staff to create an internal medicine/orthopedic medicine clinic on the arena’s premises for the duration of the swim trials, which took place earlier this summer. This was Collier’s third experience coordinating the pharmacy aspects of caring for the athletes and coaches. 

Physicians, nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, pharmacists, and students worked together to allow the athletes to compete at their best. Pharmacists worked closely with the physicians in selecting medications that would best treat a given ailment while maintaining compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. The pharmacists took responsibility to reassure staff and the athletes of the status of each prescription or non-prescription medicine provided according to the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list. According to Collier, “It simply would have been an unthinkable tragedy if it were our actions that kept an athlete from competing in the Olympics.”

Not only does the event allow the healthcare team the excitement of caring for future Olympians, they come away with a deeper understanding of patient care, as well. Adds Collier, “I’m very proud of our faculty, staff, and students during the event, when in the act of providing care, they did so as if the athlete were any other patient they might have encountered in practice.”

Omaha has hosted the Olympic Swimming Trials since 2008, and provision and coordination of medical care on-site, for athletes and coaches is a priority. 

In addition to his work with the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, Collier takes a medical mission trip to Jamacia each spring with pharmacy, medical, and physical therapy students.