Sharks RX Spring 2015 Magazine

26 r NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY Alumni After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Geneen Graber Maxwell reassessed her life. Living in New Jersey at the time, Graber Maxwell was riding high in her career. She had earned a Pharm.D. degree at Nova Southeastern University in 1996, and she had embarked on a two-year research fellowship that led to a challenging job she loved at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. But in the wake of the disaster, “I decided maybe I should go back home and be closer to my family,” she said. And then she stunned her South Florida family and friends by setting off on a new career path as owner of an independent pharmacy. Her work during the fellowship and at Novartis had exposed her to the business world, and it intrigued her. She sold her New Jersey home to finance the ven- ture and found a location in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Just three months later, in March 2002, she opened the doors to Dr. G’s Phar- macy by the Sea along East Commercial Boulevard, just blocks from the beach. “I enjoyed being able to help people from a clinical stand- point,” she said. “But I enjoy the challenge of all the different aspects of making a business successful.” Graber Maxwell had never worked as a retail pharmacist, and knew she was taking a big risk. “I always had the attitude that failure is not an option,” she said. “I did my research. I learned certain things the hard way. I figured it out.” Lisa Deziel, Pharm.D., Ph.D., NSU College of Pharmacy dean, who was among Graber Maxwell’s professors, said she is an example of graduates who find their way by taking unexpected routes. “While I don’t think she ever thought, as a student, she would be an independent pharmacy owner, her independence, her entrepreneurial talent, and her ambition to make a difference in the profession drove her to take on a career that would meet her goals and her personality,” Deziel said. In 2012, Graber Maxwell opened a second pharmacy, Dr. G’s Pharmacy of Delray, which is located in an urgent care center at the corner of Linton Boulevard and South Congress Avenue. The center is owned by her sister, Mylissa Graber, M.D., a board-certified emergency room physician, while her father, Ben Graber, M.D., a gynecologic surgeon and a former Broward County commissioner and state legislator, is a super- vising physician. Patients are free to take their prescriptions else- where, but most like the convenience of filling them at her pharmacy on one side of the patient waiting room, she said. More pharmacies may be on the way. “We have been talking about expanding,” Graber Max- well said. Originally from New York, Graber Maxwell grew up in Coral Springs and graduated from Taravella High School. She attended Northeastern University in Boston for two years before trans- ferring to NSU’s Doctor of Pharmacy program and earning her degree as the youngest student in the program. The research fellowship took her to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she was tapped to manage a study that explored whether adding a pharmacist to a medical team would help to improve patient outcomes at lower cost. When the study confirmed the notion, she spoke about the results at national medical conferences. She also published her first chapter in a disease management and outcomes research book. GENEEN GRABER MAXWELL: ALUMNA DRAWS ON BUSINESS SKILLS BY MARY HLADKY