Vivian Lee, PharmD ’98

PastedGraphic-4Vivian Lee relocated to Hong Kong to become a professor after graduating from USC Mann, but that didn’t mean she was leaving her Trojan ties behind.

Lee has been named the recipient of the 2014 Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) University Education Award, one of the highest accolades for teaching excellence at the school. Wearing her USC academic regalia, she accepted the award from CUHK Vice Chancellor Joseph Sung.

She also received the International Partnerships Development Programme Award from CUHK to establish research collaborations, particularly in health economics, with USC Mann.

“Since I joined CUHK in 2000, I have learned about teaching every day from my students, not only in the classroom but also in the community,” says Lee, who has previously received the Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Award, the Master Teacher Award and several Teacher of the Year Awards. “The award is a wonderful recognition of my teaching and a great source of encouragement.”

Using a method that incorporates research, clinical service and teaching, Lee is preparing her students for a future in all aspects of pharmacy. She also encourages them to participate in international exchange programs, like the one with USC, as a way to expand their professional perspective and enhance their professionalism.

“I’m passionate about my work and I hope my students will be well-trained pharmacists and professional goalkeepers for drug safety,” she says.

Lee credits her time at USC for providing her with examples of teaching excellence.

“I was very lucky to have excellent teachers,” she says. “Two in particular, both from USC, made an impression: Dr. Gladys Mitani and Dr. Mary Gutierrez. Both of them were extremely passionate and seemed to have infinite energy despite having been teaching for many years. They also demonstrated that their professionalism could really bring improvement to the patients’ health.”

Dr. Mitani is currently an associate professor at USC Mann, and Dr. Gutierrez, formerly on the faculty at USC Mann, is currently a professor at the Chapman University School of Pharmacy.

Lee hopes to take what she learned from her professors – and her time studying pharmacy in the U.S. in general – and bring that knowledge to her current students.

“Hong Kong is a few paces behind countries with developed clinical pharmacy research and teaching,” she says. “My experience in the U.S. showed me the frontline roles a pharmacist can play. Therefore, it is my job to prepare my students to be proactive team members in patient care, and be ready for new challenges in the future.”