Ramona McCarthy Hawkins, R.Ph.

(1928 - 2018)

As one of the few registered African American female pharmacists when she started, Mrs. Ramona McCarthy Hawkins now has over fifty-seven years of diverse pharmaceutical experience. She continues to support many current pharmacists as well as students of pharmacy with various board memberships, scholarship endowments, and professional programs. She also advocates for equal opportunity and racial equality in professional employment. Mrs. McCarthy Hawkins is highly regarded by her peers as a pioneer in her field, who sets the stage for others to follow. 

Ramona McCarthy Hawkins was born and raised in a large family from Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio State University College of Pharmacy with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Following her graduation, she won a two-year fellowship research opportunity in Bio-Chemistry at Ohio State University. She moved to Maryland upon completion of her fellowship. 

The United States Government offered Mrs. McCarthy Hawkins her first professional position as a research chemist for the Gerontology Section of the National Heart and Lung Institute (National Institutes of Health). She worked there for ten years before moving to her employment with the Food and Drug Administration as a review chemist for thirty-one years. Mrs. McCarthy Hawkins retired from the U.S. government in 1996. Shortly thereafter, Governor Parris Glendening appointed her as a board commissioner to the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy, a position she held for two terms. While on the board, she helped set standards and policies in the practice of pharmacy, which included serving on the Disciplinary and Licensing Committees and the Medication Error Taskforce to ensure the safety of Maryland citizens and enforcement of disciplinary policies for pharmacists. 

During her pharmaceutical career, Mrs. McCarthy Hawkins held various board positions and memberships in her efforts to mentor and promote excellence in the profession. She is a lifetime member and was president for two years with the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA). Her memberships include the following: National Pharmaceutical Association Foundation, Maryland Pharmacist Association, the Maryland Pharmaceutical Society, the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Alumni Association, the National Council of Negro Women, Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, Citizens Minority Relations Committee, Montgomery County School Board, founding member of Federally Employed Women (FEW), founding member and first president of Blacks In Government (BIG), and a number of church and community affiliated organizations. 

Various colleges have greatly benefited from Mrs. McCarthy Hawkins' generosity. She has donated endowment funds to a number of pharmacy schools and colleges of pharmacy, including Howard University, Florida A&M University, Xavier University, Texas Southern University, Ohio State University, University of Toledo, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, as well as a $15,000 scholarship endowment with the NPhA Foundation. She also contributes funds to A Bridge to Academic Excellence Middle/High School Mentoring and Tutoring Program. 

In 2007, Mrs. McCarthy Hawkins won the most prestigious award given by the National Pharmaceutical Association, the NPhA Chauncey I. Cooper Award, which honors individuals with sustained and distinguished service to the profession of pharmacy. She won numerous Superior Performance Awards throughout her federal government career including, the National Pharmaceutical Association's Pharmacist of the Year, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy's Honorary Alumni Award, the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy's Distinguished Alumni Award, and the John M. Cassaday-Diversity Enhancement Award. 

Her achievements in the pharmacy profession are remarkable in that she has helped pave the way for minority professionals, particularly women. During her lifetime, the profession has grown considerably from a previously white, male-dominated career to one that has nearly a seventy percent female population today. She remains an inspiration to a diversity of pharmacists venturing in the modern profession. 

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2008.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2008