Innovators in Medicine: Summerwood Pharmacy and Compounding’s Ekpema ‘Humbled’ by Patients' Trust

Marie Ekpema, PharmD

Owner, Summerwood Pharmacy and Compounding

Trusted Community Resource and Innovative Pharmacist in Northeast Houston

Tell us about what makes Summerwood Pharmacy & Compounding unique? We focus on empowering patients through education, working with providers to solve complex cases through the art and science of personalized medicine, and guiding patients on the proper combination of nutritional supplements with prescription medications and a variety of disease states. As the only member of the professional compounding centers of America in the area, Summerwood Pharmacy and Compounding offers patients and physicians unique solutions using state of the art equipment. The pharmacy also offers concierge pharmacy services to high-profile Houstonians backed with absolute privacy.

Why did you choose to become a pharmacist? Because of an overwhelming desire to help people live happier and healthier lives. My grandfather’s healthy lifestyle further inspired me to help people in a more meaningful and holistic way. When I changed my focus to a more holistic and integrative approach to patient care, I realized that I could help patients better address their needs and this has been very rewarding!

In what way are you an innovator? I empower patients with education. I am the only pharmacist in Lake Houston who regularly hosts educational events at the pharmacy, community centers, online, and at Lone Star College. This year, I also successfully launched “The Children’s Apothecary.” This is an innovative and interactive Summer Camp designed to spark children’s interest in STEM fields. During the camp, children not only make non-medicinal versions of compounded medications, but they learn about drug safety and the opioid epidemic, as well as the benefits of maintaining a healthy diet. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” My passion is to change the world by offering patients accurate and valuable health and wellness advice from a pharmacist they can trust.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work? The problem-solving process. We have a saying that goes: “There is never a dull moment at Summerwood Pharmacy and Compounding.” On any given day, we may have a patient walk through the door with questions on how to safely do a detox while properly controlling their diabetes, a physician calling for compounding suggestions for a patient who experiences gastrointestinal distress on Metformin, or a veterinarian calling for suggestions on the perfect medication for a parrot who has an infection, and more. It is very humbling that so many patients and providers rely on our expertise, and we value the privilege of serving our community on a daily basis.

What do you hope your patients tell others about about you? That they were empowered to sit at the decision-making table of their healthcare, and felt more educated about their health after visiting me. I also hope they tell others of my commitment to help patients feel supported, safe, and cared for in a very compassionate way.

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