Robert C. Crisafi (aka Dr. Bob)
New England College of Pharmacy, BS 1953
Where did you grow up?
Revere, Massachusetts (I am very pleased to be the sponsor of a NU Scholarship for students residing in Revere, Massachusetts).
How did you decide to come into the Pharmacy program at NECP?
My Dad was a Pharmacist. I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps. Although I applied to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, my application was rejected and I was placed on a waiting list for consideration in the following year. I then made application to NECP, and was accepted.
What is your full educational background?
BS in Pharmacy from NECP (1953) and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Florida (1956)
What have you done since your time at NECP? Where did you work and what did you do? Please describe your professional career.
After receiving my Ph.D. from the University of Florida, I was hired as a Professor of Pharmacy at NECP, and taught there from 1956 through 1961. George Behrakis was one of my students. I left teaching in 1961 to start my own Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company, Lyne Laboratories, which today is a cutting edge Pharma Company, located in Brockton Massachusetts, and employing over 120 people.
I consider myself to be a “serial entrepreneur “in that I have started twelve successful businesses and at age 81, I continue to be active in my businesses.
For a two-year period, I served as a member of NU’s Healthcare Entrepreneurs and made presentations to groups of NU students as well as NU graduates in the Health Sciences who were interested in starting their own businesses.
My passion, throughout my working career, was, and is, to reduce the medication error rate in hospitals, and, toward this end, I hold the honor of introducing an entirely new modality for administering liquid medication in a hospital setting. Lyne Laboratories was the first company in the world to manufacture, package, and distribute liquid medication in a disposable unit-dose cup. Today, liquid medication in a unit-dose cup format is a standard dosage form used in hospitals throughout the world.
Also, with the sole objective of reducing medication error rates in hospitals, I started the Regional Service Center (RSC), which was an innovative service concept and company that received bulk medications from hospitals and repackaged the medications into a unit-dose format for distribution and administration to patients in the hospital. At the RSC, bar coding technology was utilized to print a unique bar code on a single drug dose. In the hospital, using bar code scanners, nurses are able to assure the right drug is being administered to the right patient by matching the bar code on the patient’s wrist band to the bar code on the drug’s package. This process is known as BPOC or bedside-point-of-care, and is credited with dramatically reducing medication error rates in our nation’s hospitals.
All of the companies that I founded were associated with health care.
Have you received any awards for your work?
I was selected in 2002 as the Outstanding Alumni of Bouvé College of Health Sciences. I also received the Outstanding Pharmacy Alumnus Award from the University of Florida in 2011. On May 2, 2011, I was the Commencement Speaker at the UF.
What was your NECP experience like?
My NECP experience was awesome. NECP, in my mind and my experience, delivered the best pharmacy education possible. The professors and the students alike, realizing they had to work harder in order to compete, were responsible for some substantial accomplishments. In my class of only 75 students, we produced four PhDs and one MD. Most all other graduates went on to establish successful community pharmacies.
The professors taught with conviction and were always well prepared on subject matter. They took an extreme personal interest in their students, which is witnessed by the fact that so many of us furthered our education to the doctorate level
I can attest to the close relationships we developed as students while attending NECP. I’m one of five that meet for lunch or dinner every three or four months. We enjoy reminiscing about our college days at NECP.
What was the campus like?
The college was located on Beacon Hill, on Mount Vernon Street so we did not have a campus atmosphere. Instead, most of our free time, after school or between classes, was spent in the environment of the college itself, which had a single lounge and a small cafeteria. In looking back, I would contribute this as one of the factors that was responsible for the development of lasting relationships.
How have you been able to maintain a connection to the current pharmacy program at Northeastern?
I myself, not being a graduate of NU, found it a bit strange to affiliate myself with NU for many years. I attended a marginal number of alumni affairs and gradually became more involved with the University. Dean Zoloth was interested in my background and kept in touch with me periodically to discuss business and pharmacy topics.
What would you say to a student who is considering attending the pharmacy program at the School of Pharmacy?
I always encourage students that are preparing for college to think about studying pharmacy. My pharmacy career has rewarded me abundantly and I strongly feel that pharmacy is an outstanding profession. Community pharmacists are always attaining the highest poll numbers for trustworthiness, and that’s something to be proud of.
I have submitted written and oral recommendations on behalf of students who have submitted applications for admittance to NU, in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
What is your fondest memory of your time at NECP?
I received the highest grade in the Massachusetts State Board of Pharmacy examination. The Boards were taken by 300+ graduates from both NECP and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (MCP). It was a very good feeling to know I had outscored all of the participants from NECP and MCP.
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
My absolute favorite professor was Dr. Sig Johnson, the professor who encouraged me to go to graduate school. Graduate school was not in my plans, but Dr. Johnson persuaded me to continue college because he felt that I exhibited potential to succeed in furthering my education. He wrote strong letters of recommendation to colleges on my behalf. Dr. Johnson was my Pharmaceutical Chemistry professor, teaching courses that I favored throughout my college years at NECP.
What class made the biggest impact on you?
All of the courses given in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department. Mostly because I did very well in all of the chemistries. Also, Dr. Johnson, the Chairman of the Department, was my role model, which, I’m sure had an influence on my affinity for chemistry.
What was your favorite hang-out spot on campus?
A Few Words of Advice:
Any student who pursues the field of Pharmacy, not only has selected a great profession, but has prepared himself/herself for a variety of future job positions; such as, community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, industrial pharmacy, pharmacy in government on both a state and federal level, pharmaceutical sales representative, military positions in pharmacy, entrepreneurship in the health sciences, and the list goes on….in addition, it is a recession proof profession, with job positions being open in all of the above areas regardless of the state-of-the-economy. That being said…What could be a better choice of study than Pharmacy?