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Myrtle Beach man carries on family pharmacy tradition

by Mary Helen Yarborough
Public Relations
When the Hitchcock family gathers for holidays, deciding which college sports team to support may vary because the alma mater they share doesn’t have a competitive sports program. Its pharmacy program, however, is among the most competitive in the country.
New PharmD graduate Robert D. Hitchcock, left, father Robert J. Hitchcock and sister Angela at the family phamacy in Myrtle Beach.

Like his father and sister before him, Robert D. Hitchcock becomes the third MUSC-trained pharmacist in the family. Because of his family connections, Hitchcock also doesn’t have to worry about where he’s going to work, because he will return to his roots in Myrtle Beach, albeit briefly, to join his father’s pharmacy, Northside Pharmacy. His eye, meanwhile, is focused west to Colorado. But it was at his father’s pharmacy where he honed his skills and got to know the customers.
With his father, Robert J. Hitchcock, he will  help run the family-owned pharmacy in northern Myrtle Beach. One could surmise that links to MUSC is a family affair for the Hitchcock family.
Hitchcock’s sister, Angela Hitchcock, also is a recent MUSC graduate who practices nuclear pharmacy. His aunt, Carolyn Hitchcock Cuttino, R.N., an MUSC graduate, lectured on wound care at MUSC.
“When we get together, we mostly talk about the professors, and what we have to discuss is almost always good,” said Hitchcock.
They all share memories of one MUSC professor—Arnold Karig, Ph.D., MUSC campus dean for the S.C. College of Pharmacy, who has taught at MUSC for nearly 40 years. Within that time, he taught all of the Hitchcock pharmacy graduates.
“It is rewarding to see members of the same family come through the program,” Karig said. “It shows their continued interest in the profession and their confidence in MUSC. And we also enjoyed having Carolyn Cuttino as lecturer here for many years.”
Growing up and then working for the family pharmacy imprinted on Hitchcock’s life and career choices.
“I was inspired to pursue pharmacy, because of the professional yet personal nature of working in an independent community pharmacy like my father’s pharmacy,” Hitchcock said. “And what I like about working there is that it never gets boring, and the staff is awesome to work with, and I always see old friends when they stop by. Plus, I found it very beneficial to learn and get experience in such a comfortable atmosphere.”
A graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science, Hitchcock said he hopes to contribute as an active member of his profession.
“The greatest challenges will be keeping our pharmacists organized well enough as a group so we can promptly and precisely spread news about data, latest recommendations, laws, and other essential information across the span of the profession,” he said.
Hitchcock’s favorite pastime requires a cold, mountainous environment. “I really love snowboarding,” he explained. One day he hopes to live in Denver.

Friday, May 15, 2009

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