California Pharmacist Sam Shimomura Dies at 73 Years
Pharmacy educator Sam Katsuji Shimomura, known throughout California pharmacy circles as “Dr. Sam,” passed away January 12 at the age of 73 years.
At the time of his death, Shimomura was professor emeritus of pharmacy practice and administration at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) College of Pharmacy in Pomona and professor emeritus of clinical pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Pharmacy.
“Dr. Shimomura was an incredible individual and leader in our profession,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz. “Sam was an early innovator in clinical pharmacy practice and contributed to ASHP in many ways, including through serving on the ASHP Board of Directors. Sam’s legacy will be vast and crosses many areas in both his personal and professional life, including through the many pharmacists and pharmacy students he mentored and patients he cared for.”
Max D. Ray, dean emeritus at the WesternU College of Pharmacy and past chief executive officer of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP), called Shimomura “a pillar of CSHP for several decades.”
“He was an enthusiastic supporter of the student chapter of CSHP and of the technician division,” Ray added. “He was also a champion of residency training, and he provided encouragement to thousands of students ... to pursue residency training.”
Ray said Shimomura was a strong advocate for membership in professional pharmacy associations. Shimomura encouraged students to become involved in these groups and to support their efforts to advance the profession.
Shimomura was also known for sending chocolates, flowers, or other small gifts to those around him to commemorate special events and occasions.
“He was a very generous, positive, upbeat individual, and he was widely admired and loved,” Ray said.
Shimomura was born March 8, 1946, in Stanislaus, California. He earned his Pharm.D. degree in 1970 from UCSF and joined the pharmacy school’s staff after graduation.
His accomplishments at UCSF included identifying clinical sites and preceptors at multiple hospitals in the university system to greatly expand experiential learning opportunities for student pharmacists.
Shimomura established a UCSF program to help Vietnam-educated pharmacists become trained and licensed in the United States. More than 300 pharmacists participated in the program, and Shimomura maintained ties to the Vietnamese Pharmacists Association USA throughout his life.
In 1996, Shimomura left UCSF to join the pharmacy team at WesternU College of Pharmacy as the school inaugurated its first class of students. He served several roles at WesternU, including continuing education administrator, assistant dean for professional practice, and associate dean for college advancement.
His areas of focus at WesternU included drug information, internal medicine, family practice, geriatrics, continuing education, pharmacy residencies, and the development of new pharmacy practice models.
In 2016, he established the Sam Shimomura Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student who plans to pursue a career in hospital or geriatric pharmacy practice.
Shimomura served as CSHP president in 1989 and was honored as a CSHP Fellow in 1993. He was named an ASHP Fellow in 1998 and was elected that year to serve a term on ASHP’s Board of Directors.
After retiring in 2018, Shimomura continued mentoring students and supporting the WesternU pharmacy department. An enthusiastic photographer, he chronicled pharmacy events in the state and also commemorated his passion for family, travel, and the San Francisco 49ers and Giants.
Shimomura is survived by his wife Patricia Yoshida Shimomura and many other relatives. The family has requested that those who wish to celebrate his legacy consider a donation to the Sam Shimomura Endowed Scholarship, c/o Western University of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy, 309 E. Second Street Pomona, California, 91766.
A celebration of Shimomura’s life will take place March 7 at Mariners Church in Irvine. The event will be webcast.
[This news story appears in the May 15, 2020, issue of AJHP.]