We are MUSC Pharmacy: David Shirley '02

Roby Hill
October 07, 2020
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David W. Shirley ’02 is so pleasant and approachable, new students don’t always realize they are dealing with a significant force in South Carolina pharmacy. Then they take his class. Before they know it, they are camped out on the steps of the statehouse, lobbying for the pharmacy profession.

The impact he has on them is immediate and lifelong. Already a multi-year nominee as Preceptor of the Year, he joined the College of Pharmacy full-time faculty in 2015 and has already been named Teacher of the Year for the College of Pharmacy and won the MUSC-wide University Teaching Excellence Award for a Developing Teacher. It’s hard to believe he was extremely nervous before his first class.

“One of my favorite MUSC memories is knowing how nervous I was just before teaching my first class,” he said. “I was still wondering if I made the right career move. Five minutes into my lecture, I knew beyond a doubt I made the right choice.”

Shirley has been a staunch advocate for the profession, both as a leader in pharmacy organizations and as professor teaching students the importance of having a voice and influencing policy. During his tenure as president of the South Carolina Pharmacy Association (SCPhA), he was involved in various policy initiatives like Pharmacy Day at the State House, when pharmacy students and others meet with legislators to educate them about issues in the profession. He continues to help protect the future of pharmacy practice in South Carolina serving as chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee in his role as immediate past president of SCPhA.

Shirley, an active member of SCPhA for more than 20 years, had already carved out an impressive career before turning to academics. After graduating from MUSC in 2002, he practiced independent community pharmacy in Charleston for 14 years specializing in compounding pharmacy. The first seven years he spent practicing at Prescription Center Inc. and then from 2009 until 2015 he was the pharmacist in charge and compounding pharmacist at Plantation Pharmacy at Wappoo Road.

His teaching roles at the College of Pharmacy include Pharmacy Calculations, Compounding and Pharmaceutics Lab, Community Pharmacy Lab, Self Care Therapeutics, and Pharmacy Law and Ethics.

“My passion is teaching and interacting with students and encouraging them,” he said. “My mission is to motivate our students to embrace the heart of a teacher in their pharmacy education and career.  If they do that, I know they will improve the lives of the patients they serve and will advance our profession in the future.”


Learn more about our “We are MUSC Pharmacy” campaign during the College’s celebration of American Pharmacists Month.