Having a passion for both chemistry and biology, Heather Lyons-Burney, Pharm.D, knew early on that she wanted a career in health care. She would eventually take her two passions and become an educator, co-owner of multiple pharmacies and cofounder of Faith Community Health serving those in need in the Branson area. Her leadership has garnered Lyons-Burney, a 1994 graduate, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy Alumni Achievement Award April 20 in Kansas City.
Lyons-Burney is the practicing pharmacist for Faith Community Health, as well as its cofounder. Eight years ago, she joined a catalyst group of community citizens who identified the need for affordable healthcare for the tourism-driven Branson economy.
“Although drug prices weren’t as high as they are now, I recognized that patients also needed access to medications and became a part of the holistic team-based approach to providing care,” says Lyons-Burney. FCH opened in 2010 with limited hours and has since grown to reach those in need of affordable medical, dental, vision, mental health and medication therapies. Lyons-Burney currently serves as chair of the FCH board of directors.
As a practitioner on the Faith Community Health medical team, Lyons-Burney and her colleagues saw 4,065 patients and provided medications for chronic conditions and urgent medical needs at no additional charge in 2016.
“By improving the health of one patient at a time, we seek to improve the overall health of our community,” says Lyons-Burney, who also has taught as a clinical assistant at the UMKC School of Pharmacy’s Springfield campus at Missouri State University since 2014. She uses FCH as a teaching facility, rotating about six student interns and residents through the clinic dispensary each semester.
Lyons-Burney has served on the School of Pharmacy’s curriculum, assessment and admissions committees, and also as a faculty adviser at the Missouri State University pharmacy campus. MSU Associate Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Paul O. Gubbins, says that “without a doubt, hiring Heather as the first faculty member for the Springfield site laid a solid foundation for the school’s success.”
In addition to teaching and practicing at Faith Community Health, Lyons-Burney volunteers with a number of professional organizations, including the Missouri Pharmacy Association, where she serves as president. She also has been a long-time board member of and donor to the UMKC Pharmacy Foundation.
In 2000, she became co-owner of Branson Drug with her husband, Brian, who also is a UMKC School of Pharmacy alumnus. They expanded Branson Drug and opened two additional locations – one in Branson and another in Hollister. As a community pharmacy owner, Lyons-Burney developed innovative services to better serve patients and engage in public health efforts.
Lyons-Burney considers her most important work to be instructing future generations of healthcare professionals as a UMKC School of Pharmacy faculty member, teaching patients about their diseases and medications and talking to community groups and youth about the dangers of drug abuse. She says that by living her life according to the Bible scripture Luke 12:48, “…to whom much is given, much is expected,” she has made community involvement and promoting the pharmacy profession her personal mission.