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State legislator to deliver public Weaver Medal of Honor Lecture at Drake

April 21, 2014
John Forbes

John Forbes

John Forbes, PH’80, owner and manager of Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale, was selected to receive the 2014 Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal of Honor, the highest honor given by Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS). As part of this honor, he will deliver the 2014 Weaver Medal of Honor Lecture on Wednesday, April 23 at 2 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium. The lecture is free and open o the public.

During the lecture, John will discuss the process and procedure of his role in legislative health care reform efforts.

In addition to serving as owner and manager of the Medicap in Urbandale, Forbes is a state legislator in Iowa, juggling a complicated schedule where 12- to 14-hour workdays are routine. Though his days are long and strenuous, he remains driven by his commitment to others.

“My whole life I’ve always wanted to help people,” says Forbes. “Help people solve their problems and bring about positive outcomes. It’s a passion of mine.”

Following his graduation from Drake in 1980, Forbes landed a job at Medicap. He later purchased the pharmacy from its previous owner. In a community pharmacy setting like Medicap, Forbes has had the opportunity to build relationships with his patients, which he says has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his career.

“At a community pharmacy you meet one-on-one with patients. You get to listen and learn about issues affecting them, which is one reason I became interested in being a state legislator. Drake is the other reason,” says Forbes. “My Drake education emphasized getting involved outside the walls of pharmacy practice. My mentors encouraged me to branch out and be active in the community, and I’ve used that as a model for my career.”

Throughout his career, Forbes has held leadership roles within the pharmacy profession and in the community. From 1999 to 2000, Forbes served as president of Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) and continues to be involved with the association today. He has also focused energy on giving back to the city of Urbandale, serving as the president of the Chamber of Commerce, a city council representative, and president of the Urbandale Library Foundation.

Among Forbes’ many accomplishments is the receipt of the Heroes of the Heartland Award from the American Red Cross. He was recognized for his involvement in coordinating the Central Iowa Honor Flights, which raised over $1.5 million to send nearly 2,000 World War II veterans from Central Iowa on a trip to Washington, D.C., to view the WWII Memorial and other historical sites in the nation’s capital. In addition, John was the recipient of the 2010 Iowa Pharmacy Association Bowl of Hygiea Award and honored on a national level with the 2011 Parata-Drug Times Next Generation Pharmacist Civic Leader of the Year Award.

Forbes has remained committed to Drake throughout his profession, serving as a volunteer preceptor, a member of the National Advisory Council, a mentor for the DELTA Rx Summer Internship Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, and a preceptor for the CPHS Legislative Internship program.

“I love mentoring young professionals. I’ve worked with hundreds of students over the years, and it’s been a joy watching them become successful,” says Forbes.
In Forbes’ role as a state legislator, he is currently supervising two legislative interns from CPHS and one student from the Drake Law School.

“It takes a lot of focus and good time management to be an effective legislator,” says Forbes, “which is why I heavily rely on my legislative interns. They are incredibly valuable.”

Kelsey Lawfer, a third year pharmacy student, is one of Forbes’ legislative interns this semester.

“John is genuinely concerned with the issues patients at his pharmacy and his constituents face. He has taught me how important grassroots advocacy is,” says Lawfer. “I admire the relationships he has made and how he continually goes above and beyond to provide a voice for pharmacy and his community.”

For more information on the lecture, contact the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at 515-271-1814.

Visit the CPHS website for information on the past recipients of the Weaver Medal of Honor.