Christopher Allen Woo ’88, PharmD, FCPhA can add another recognition to his list of commendations—induction into the California Pharmacy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who set the gold standard for the practice of pharmacy.
“I am honored, humbled and still in a state of shock,” said Dr. Woo. “To be included within the ranks of leaders who I personally met and knew of when I was a UOP student—people such as Don Floriddia [’71], Colleen Carter [’76], Charles Green [’68], Jeff Jellin [’74], Clark Gustafson [’66], Royce Friesen [’65], Ralph Saroyan [’64], Wilma Wong, Lee Meyer [’73], Michael Pastrick [’73] and Phil Oppenheimer—is incredible.”
His many accolades include Pharmacy Foundation of California president in 2006, California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) Pharmacist of the Year in 2005, CPhA president in 1999 and CPhA Distinguished New Practitioner of the Year in 1992.
Dr. Woo views engaging with professional organizations as an integral part of being a pharmacist.
“Being active and involved in the profession made me a better pharmacist, created a larger network of pharmacist colleagues and peers, and was just plain fun,” he said.
An enthusiastic San Diego Comic-Con attendee, he believes the message of the power of teamwork should not be limited to the pages of comic books. It is essential in the world of health care as well. Dr. Woo encourages his fellow pharmacists to become “informed, participatory and well-rounded,” for their professional growth and for the benefit of the patients they serve.
Since 2013, Dr. Woo has been an inspector for the California State Board of Pharmacy. Through this role, he carries out the Board’s mission of promoting the health and safety of Californians by pursuing the highest quality of pharmacist care and appropriate medication use.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he took a leave to serves as a clinical volunteer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency at immunization sites in Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia.
“It definitely expanded my worldview, and was rewarding at such an uncertain time,” he said.
Prior to his role as an inspector, Dr. Woo spent 25 years in various hospital and community practice sites. Of all the roles he has had within the pharmacy profession, the one he has found most fulfilling was serving as a preceptor. Empowering others to reach their potential is his superpower.
“There was nothing quite like precepting pharmacy rotation students, which I did for 23 years,” he said. “My single, personal, greatest preceptor victory came after I had a community pharmacy rotation student who had not completed the American Pharmacists Association immunization administration certificate program because she could not bring herself to stick someone with a needle. We discussed this issue over the course of the rotation and how it would affect her career as a pharmacist.”
When Dr. Woo interacted with the student several months later, he was delighted to learn she had overcome her fears and was now able to immunize patients.
Dr. Woo remembers fondly his experiences as a student. Highlights of his time at Pacific include “get-togethers at the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity house on 236 West Stadium, studying in the Rotunda and making lifelong friends.”
His ideal vacation would be spent taking photos at Comic-Con or taking his wife, Denise, son, Johnathan, daughter, Ashley, and granddaughter, Rose, to Disneyland to experience the magic together.
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold