Kevin Clauson, Tennessee Pharmacist and Technology Expert, Dies at 51
Kevin Alan Clauson, professor of pharmacy practice at the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Nashville, Tennessee, died Sept. 15 at age 51 years.
Clauson was a leader in the field of digital health. He served as a technology advisor for many organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. He was a featured speaker and writer on the use of blockchain in healthcare, consumer health informatics, social media in healthcare, and mobile health.
“Kevin had a tremendous gift for describing cutting-edge technology in ways that made complex topics understandable to a wide audience,” said ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz. “He was passionate about pharmacy, and his work with students and residents gave many up-and-coming pharmacists the skills they needed to successfully launch their own careers. Kevin’s untimely death is a sad loss to the profession, his family, and the many friends and colleagues whose lives he influenced.”
Clauson’s academic work was published in AJHP and other peer-reviewed journals, covering topics that included technology, pharmacy residencies, and complementary and alternative medicine. He was a manuscript reviewer for AJHP and served a three-year term on the journal’s editorial advisory board. At the start of the term, he related that some of his most fulfilling work involved overseeing pharmacy residency programs and teaching an elective course helping student pharmacists explore careers in scientific research.
Joshua Caballero, associate professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, said Clauson was a dedicated scholar, educator, and family man who was relentless in a positive way.
“He always gave his best for everybody, and he was one of those genuine people that wanted to leave the world a better place,” Caballero said. “And he was selfless. He always put others before himself.”
Caballero and Clauson met early in their careers while working at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Florida. They teamed up to conduct weekly evening classes to help their students prepare for the pharmacy residency interview process. Students who took the class matched with residency programs at a significantly higher rate than nonparticipating student pharmacists at the university.
The project led to a published report and became the framework for Get the Residency: ASHP’s Guide to Residency Interviews and Preparation. The book was first released in 2012. Clauson and his coauthors, Caballero and Sandra Benavides, were working on a planned third edition of the book at the time of Clauson’s death.
Clauson had a flair for combining his academic work and his personal interests. While at NSU, he brought together Caballero and other colleagues to launch an online study investigating the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs among poker players.
“Kevin had a passion for poker,” Caballero said. The group’s preliminary findings were reported by major newspapers, and a peer-reviewed report describing the study was published in 2016.
Clauson was born Aug. 14, 1971, to James and Victoria Clauson of Hammond, Indiana. He received a bachelor’s degree from Murray State University in Kentucky and then earned a PharmD in 2000 from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy.
He completed a research fellowship at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and, in 2002, joined the faculty of NSU. In 2011, Clauson became the founding director of the NSU Center for Consumer Health Informatics Research, which became a World Health Organization Collaborating Center. Clauson also served as director of NSU’s groundbreaking fellowship in consumer health informatics.
In 2009, Clauson was named adjunct associate professor in biomedical informatics at NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He continued in the adjunct position even after relocating to Tennessee in 2014 to serve as associate professor at the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He became a full professor at Lipscomb in 2021.
In 2018, Clauson accepted the Blockchain for Education Collaboration Award on behalf of Lipscomb University and the Hashed Health Consortium. The consortium created an Ethereum-based blockchain system to support the verification of academic credentials for Lipscomb’s healthcare informatics and pharmacy graduates.
According to Lipscomb University, Clauson’s latest research focused on the use of bidirectional text message reminders to improve medication adherence in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Tom Campbell, dean of the college of pharmacy, said in a statement that Clauson was “one of the most gentle, highly intellectual and compassionate people I know.”
“He always put the interests of his students first. He was highly respected and loved by his colleagues and students,” Campbell said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Clauson is survived by his wife, Angela Renee (Shelton) Clauson; daughter Ella; parents, James and Victoria; and sister, Heather Clauson Haughian.
Donations in Clauson’s memory may be sent to the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center.