Mackenzie Howe
Alumni Focus | 3/11/2024

The Three Faces of Mackenzie Howe: Pharmacist, Miss Nutfield, and Children’s Author

By Jennifer Persons

Mackenzie Howe, PharmD '22

Mackenzie Howe
Mackenzie Howe, PharmD '22

Dr. Mackenzie Howe wrote “The Adventures of Phoebe the Pharmacist” to teach kids about the importance of pharmacists and medicine safety.

There are three Mackenzie Howes.

One Mackenzie is a pharmacist, earning her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) in 2022.

Another Mackenzie is Miss Nutfield, a local title of the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program.

Enter a third Mackenzie, a recently published author, drawing on her pharmacy education and experience to teach children about medication safety in the picture book, “The Adventures of Phoebe the Pharmacist.”

Reflecting on her three personas, Dr. Howe shared, “It’s honestly surreal, but it goes to show that when you really care about a message you can do great things.”

Dr. Howe released the book through Barnes & Noble Press, the bookstore chain’s self-publishing service. In a kid-friendly format with colorful pictures and simple language, the book follows Phoebe as she aspires to be like the town of Pharmville’s pharmacist. It’s a story of determination, resiliency, and grit with medication safety tips designed for kids woven throughout.

“Phoebe has two big rules,” Dr. Howe explained. “The first is do not share medications with anyone else, and the second is don’t take medications without a trusted adult.”

A Story Inspired by Real Life

The story stems from Dr. Howe’s experience and inspiration to become a pharmacist. At 18 years old, she worked as a pharmacy technician at her local Rite Aid to see if the field was right for her.

“One day, there was a patient who was in complete distress over her medications,” she remembered. “She was in tears because she was so overwhelmed, but the way the pharmacist talked her through her concerns, soothed her worries, and calmed her down was inspiring. At that moment, I knew I wanted to do that.”

Dr. Howe began her studies at the University of South Alabama, where she completed her prerequisite courses. In the fall of 2019, she moved home to New Hampshire to pursue her PharmD at MCPHS in Manchester.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” she said. “I consider MCPHS home, and it’s been such an integral part of both my personal life and my professional career.”

Now, Dr. Howe works as a clinical ambulatory care pharmacist at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. She specializes in cardiology and anticoagulation—reducing the risk of blood clots—and sees patients in an outpatient setting to help them manage their medications.

“It’s important to have that face-to-face connection with patients. It’s rewarding to have that direct contact and see the difference I’m making on their life.” Dr. Howe hopes to one day become a Board-Certified Cardiology Pharmacist.

Creating a Role Model for Kids

Her work with the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program pushed Dr. Howe toward writing a book. Over the last three years, she has held three local titles. She is the reigning Miss Nutfield, serving the communities of Derry, Londonderry, and Windham.

“Everyone in the program has a community service initiative. Mine is medication safety, so I’ve participated in drug takeback days and provided medication education in nursing homes. But I found the group most lacking in education about medication safety, and the one that needed it most is kids.”

Dr. Howe spent six months creating “Phoebe,” writing and illustrating her story with help from graphic design software.

“I’ve been visiting local schools and read the book to classrooms as Miss Nutfield, sharing the story and my experience as a pharmacist. Kids have been very interested, and it’s proven that the book is an effective way for me to communicate with the younger generations.”

“The Adventures of Phoebe the Pharmacist” is being sold online and has been distributed in 27 states. Should the book surpass a certain number of sales, Barnes & Noble will make it available in select stores.

“I have two goals with this book: to get it in stores and to get it to all 50 states. We’re on our way.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Howe is preparing to compete in her third Miss New Hampshire competition in April. She was among the top 10 competitors in the past two years and received a supplemental STEM scholarship.

“Whether I win or not, I’m so blessed to have had this experience and to have been changed by this program,” she said.

During her 12 years competing, Dr. Howe earned enough scholarships to pay for most of her college education. But she’s ready for the next phase of her involvement with the program.

“My career is advancing, so I’ve decided to make this my last year,” she said. “I’ve had a great run, and I’m excited to be on the other side as a volunteer or a director of a local problem. I’ll always be involved in some way, but it has been a wild and tremendous ride.”

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