School of Pharmacy

William Gouveia

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William (“Bill”) Gouveia
Northeastern University College of Pharmacy, BS 1964, MS 1966


Where are you from?

Lowell, Massachusetts 


What were your main responsibilities at Tufts Medical Center?

I was the Director of Pharmacy. I was mainly responsible for program development and resources, drug budget, and medication safety and quality.


How have you been able to establish connections with those in your industry and how have you benefitted from those networking opportunities?

The American Society for Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) provides opportunities for folks to network, and if you are involved in the organization itself, it provides a forum for working with colleagues, students, residents, among others. A lot of the organizational activity is around networking. I probably have a dozen close, personal friends who have come out of such networking in the U.S. and Europe.


What was your Northeastern experience like?

In the long time I’ve been associated with the university, I’ve played a lot of different roles. I directed the graduate program in hospital pharmacy for many years. We took co-op students at Tufts and I helped establish the John W. Webb Visiting Professorship at Northeastern in 1985.

In those days, the classes were fairly small and some of the earlier classes were offered in a single building on Beacon Hill in what was formerly a chapel used by the New England College of Pharmacy (NECP) for students, meetings and classes. It was a very close-knit student body, faculty and staff. We worked well together and supported each other. The academic rigor was there, and we received a great education.


Did the opportunity to take advantage of co-op play a role in your decision to attend Northeastern?

No, because at that time I entered the New England College of Pharmacy and it did not have co-op.  But, during my graduate years at NU, there was a co-op as part of the MS program. 


Where did you have your co-ops and how beneficial were they?

I worked at the Children’s Hospital of Boston. It was enormously helpful. The pharmacy director there was a sort of irascible character but had a very deep, abiding concern for patients, which is with me to this day. For example, I overheard him in a phone call when he was talking about his child. I went to my fellow worker and said, “I didn’t know his child was a patient here.” And the response was that Arthur treated his patients as his children. And that was a very, very moving experience because it established a responsibility to the child for making the medication safety paramount.


Do you feel Northeastern prepared you well for what you are doing now?

I’m retired now. [laughs] It certainly did. It was a place where there was a certain amount of learning that you did on your own. A personal responsibility for your education was something faculty and staff encouraged. We also learned from each other, and that helped a lot. I, like most of the students, came from blue-collar backgrounds and we were used to working hard and learning on our own.


How have you been able to maintain a connection to Northeastern?

I’ve really always had one. The deans have always been esteemed in the school and been accessible to the faculty and to the school. It has been a warm and caring place that supports the development of responsibilities for patient care.

I was Director of the Graduate Program in Hospital Pharmacy, and taught in classes in Human Resources Management and Informatics.


How frequently do you get to speak or meet with other Northeastern alumni or students living in the area?

With great frequency. We do a lot of socializing with friends. 


Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I’d continue my work both in retirement and with the university in helping students and faculty.


Who was your favorite School of Pharmacy professor? Why?

Dr. Ken Ballard was a professor of pharmacy practice who constantly challenged us to question what we had learned, and he encouraged us to be involved clinically with patients. He was trained in California and brought a different, refreshing approach to pharmacy practice. And John Webb was the Director of the Graduate Program in Hospital Pharmacy. John naturally enjoyed mentoring people. He helped me find my co-op job at Children’s. He enjoyed challenging the status quo and pushed us hard to think clinically and how drugs were used in patients. Previously, students were taught primarily to prepare drugs. John encouraged us to think how drug therapy impacts patients.


What class during your time at Northeastern made the biggest impact on you?

Pharmacy practice class with Dr. Ken Ballard. 


What would you say to a student who is considering attending Northeastern?

There’s no better university in the world. The pharmacy program is very strong. There is a deep commitment to it and the program continues to grow in its quality of education and the quality of students and faculty we attract. 


What have you done since your time at Northeastern?

Worked 36 and one-half years as the Director of Pharmacy at Tufts Medical Center.


What is your fondest memory of your time at Northeastern and the School of Pharmacy?

As the students today do: eat, drink, and be merry.


What has changed the most at NU?

The facilities and the grounds. Also, Pharmacy was the only college in the school that had the requirement to wear shirts and ties, no matter what. The engineers would say to us “Who died? Do you have a wake to go to?” [laughs] And, there were fewer women at the time. In our class of 52 students, only 3 or 4 were women. 


What has been your favorite hang-out spot around campus?

There was a place called Travers Tavern. It was a bar on Mission Hill. The bartender’s name was Neil, and he sold more pickled eggs and beer than anyone I know.


A Few Words of Advice:

Respect others, care for others, and work hard to advance your profession. Work in a collegial way. You really have to believe your profession is important and think it contributes to the health of people. We are a profession of continuous learning. We have a deep concern for patients and patient care, and that guides what we do and how we do it. So, for example, take responsibility for patients. In many cases, patients don’t select the pharmacist. It’s just a part of the healthcare system. We have to be even more careful about how we take responsibility for how we take care of patients.


Anything else?

This is a special place with wonderful, caring people who understand well the professional integration of students into society


The American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy Editor-in-Chief Richard C. Talley recently presented Bill Gouveia with the first-ever Award for Sustained Contribution at the annual meeting of the Journal’s editorial board on December 6, 2011 for writing 86 papers in 40 years.

Congratulations, Bill!


Contact Info

School of Pharmacy
140 The Fenway
Mailstop R218TF
Tel: 617.373.3380
Fax: 617.373.7655