Thrive by IU Health

November 16, 2017

Methodist’s Power Couple

Methodist’s Power Couple

He’s a toxicologist. She’s in critical care. Both are clinical pharmacists.

He’s an intensely organized, quiet guy. She’s OK with a bit of disarray and is definitely outgoing.

It sounds so cliché – to say that a couple complements each other. But Jim Mowry and Judi Jacobi-Mowry do just that.

Together, they are a force to be reckoned with – the power couple of IU Health Methodist Hospital. The two are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields. They travel the world speaking and lecturing. They publish papers and mentor young pharmacists.

“They are two of the smartest people I know,” says Kathy Hendershot, director of nursing operations at Methodist. “They are like a brain trust. Impressive and world-renowned – both of them.”

***

It was a baby girl that led Jim to a career in toxicology.

One of his first nights on call during his pharmacy doctorate program at the University of Minnesota, an 18-month-old girl came in with an iron overdose.

Jim, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT,
manager of poison control at IU Health

“It was probably still the most severe iron poisoning I’ve ever seen,” says Jim, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT,
manager of poison control at IU Health.

The child, who had been fed her mother’s prenatal vitamins by a sibling, died in less than 24 hours.

“We tried to do all kinds of heroic measures,” Jim says. “It was a very tragic case.”

That case stuck with Jim. So did what happened to his colleague during his pharmacy school days. That colleague got methanol poisoning and ended up mostly blind.

Both cases made Jim realize there was a need for people in toxicology who understood those drugs and how to manage and treat them.

Three decades later, he says he absolutely made the right choice in specialties.

Jim’s days start early, rounding on patients at all three hospitals, Methodist, University and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, checking in on poison cases.

The rest of his day is filled with duties overseeing the Indiana Poison Center, located at Methodist. The center takes about 58,000 calls a year and has a staff of 16 nurses answering the phones.

There are seven physician toxicologists that run the medical toxicology consult service and a health educator that goes out and does poison prevention and education.

Jim, who has been at Methodist since 1988, keeps everything running smoothly.

“He is one of the most organized and efficient people that I know,” says Judi. “He is just incredibly focused. He really will work on something until it’s absolutely done to his satisfaction.”

***

Critical care caught hold of Judi in a very raw way. She was on one of her first rotations and a patient was dying. She had never seen a person take his last breath.

As she observed and asked the nurses questions, she knew. This is where she wanted to be.

Judi, PharmD, MCCM, FCCP, BCCCP, critical care pharmacy specialist at Methodist

“Just the environment, the compassion, the teamwork,” says Judi, PharmD, MCCM, FCCP, BCCCP, critical care pharmacy specialist at Methodist. “This was the early 1980s and a very physician-dominated patient care environment. But, in critical care, it started as a team sport.”

When Judi came to Methodist as the only critical care pharmacist in 1995, there were 80 critical care beds. She worked with a hospital-based team and saw just a small portion of the patients. She knew there was a need beyond that.

Judi worked with others to train, hire and build a team. Today, there is a pharmacist for each critical care unit responsible for the drug therapy for patients in that unit. The pharmacists round with the team and are a resource for the nurses.

“I spend my days in the critical care unit really trying to anticipate and prevent problems,” Judi says. “Really optimizing drug therapy for patients.”

It’s a lot of problem solving. Can one drug be taken with another drug? Could a patient’s unusual symptom be drug related?

“She’s the resource that everybody goes to when they have a problem. She is the person that will spend the time to help,” says Jim. “She’s brilliant. But, she’s also always thinking about how to do things best.”

***

Judi was born in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis. Her dad was an engineer and her mom stayed at home, involved in all sorts of volunteer work.

Her grandfather was a pharmacist at a drug store -- one of those iconic drug stores, with the wooden counter and the soda fountain and all the rows of penny candy.

“He was quite a fixture in the neighborhood,” she says.

Judi didn’t know, as a little girl, that she wanted to be a pharmacist. But the neighbor lady across the street was a pharmacist and her family had a friend who was a pharmacist. The career was introduced to her early and often.

Judi in front of mountain

In high school, she excelled at math and science, was part of the student government and worked stage crew for the musicals. She was a Girl Scout until she was 18, which kept her busy camping and racing canoes.

As Judi was choosing a career, a guidance counselor mentioned pharmacy. The University of Wisconsin had a top program and so did Purdue University. Judi had a really good friend who was going to Purdue.

So, it was off to West Lafayette to become a pharmacist.

Jim was born in Carbondale, Ill., home of Southern Illinois University. His dad was a professor at the college, running the experimental horticultural center -- a peach and apple breeder.

His mom stayed home but also did volunteer work at the church and local hospital, where she spent years as a “pink lady.”

Jim started at Southern Illinois with big plans to become a chemist. His first chemistry course quickly changed that notion. But an elective in pharmaceuticals caught his attention and he signed up.

“I thought this really sounds cool,” Jim says. “And that’s when I decided I wanted to be a pharmacist.”

But both Jim and Judi wanted to do more than work in a retail setting or at a hospital pharmacy – which was what most pharmacists did at the time.

They liked the idea of clinical pharmacy, rounding with teams, assuming responsibility for drug therapy and drug dosing and managing the patient face to face.

They ended up getting their doctorates in pharmacy at the University of Minnesota – but didn’t meet there. Jim was two years ahead of Judi.

Yet, it was the Minnesota connection that ultimately led to their chance meeting.

***

They were in San Francisco in December of 1980 at a national pharmacy meeting. All the people with a University of Minnesota connection were hanging out.

Judi was 24, and finishing up her doctorate. She saw Jim. It was “pretty much” love at first sight, she says. She asked another pharmacist who he was.

At the time, Jim was working in Oklahoma as a clinical pharmacist, with plans to take over the poison center there. He had just finished a yearlong toxicology residency in Tennessee.

Everyone at the conference knew Judi was looking for a job. They told her she should go talk to Jim, that he might have something.

Judi and Jim

In that big reception hall, Judi went up to introduce herself to Jim. They spent the rest of the week in San Francisco together. Both knew then this was the real thing.

But they didn’t know that Judi would be the one to land Jim his job in Indianapolis.

It was the next month, in January, Judi was back at the University of Minnesota working at its drug information center when a call came in.

It was a man Judi had trained with at Purdue. He was calling to talk to Judi’s preceptor, who happened to be unavailable. He wanted to let her know about a drug and poison center in Indianapolis.

“And I said, ‘Well, I just met this guy and he really wants a poison center,’” Judi says. “That’s what brought Jim to Indiana.”

Jim came to the Indiana Poison Center in 1981, which was located at the former Wishard Hospital. In 1988, it moved to Methodist and so did Jim.

Judi, meanwhile, went to Ohio State University for a residency in critical care pharmacy. They saw each other every other weekend.

***

The marriage proposal happened at the top of a water tower in Giant City State Park in Illinois. They were married in 1982.

As they sit in Methodist, there is still that glimmer, that twinkle in their eyes as they look at one another.

Judi loves Jim’s dry sense of humor. She loves that, as she’s gotten involved in more and more things throughout the years, he has been there to reel her in.

“He’s kept me centered and focused,” she says.

Jim loves that Judi is the outgoing half of the relationship.

Judi and Jim on bicycles

“I hardly said anything when I was in pharmacy school. You couldn’t get me to talk at all,” he says. “She pushes me to be more outgoing.”

As for the secret to 35 years of marriage?

“We are so blessed to have similar interests,” Judi says. “Our best nights are when we’re playing tennis on courts next to each other or cycling together.”

They have found that perfect complementary balance.

“It’s just a team approach to everything,” Judi says. “And it works.”

Career Advice From The Power Couple

Jim: “When I first started my career, I thought everything was black and white, and I’ve learned that it’s all gray. There are multiple ways to get to the same end point and there’s no one way that’s the best way to do it. So, you always learn. I want to learn something new every day. That’s the only way you can stay fresh and stay motivated.”

Judi: “Honestly, the No. 1 thing that holds most people back is themselves. They’re often thinking, ‘Oh, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough to do that.’ In reality, there is so much to be done and the leaders are just waiting for someone to raise their hand to do it.”

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

Reach Benbow via email dbenbow@iuhealth.org or on Twitter @danabenbow.

Latest Stories

Filter from

January 11, 2021 IU Health COVID-19 Data IU Health is committed to being a trusted source of information for the public during t... January 08, 2021 Chief Nursing Officer receives DNP Marilyn Riley, vice president and chief nursing officer at IU Health Frankfort, recentl... January 08, 2021 IU Health Arnett Hospital announces retirement of President Daniel Neufelder, FACHE, president of Indiana University Health Arnett and the West Cen... December 20, 2020 She’s a respiratory therapist with asthma, and she’s on the front lines Jody White didn’t have to treat COVID-positive patients at Methodist Hospital, but opti... December 18, 2020 Physicians implore their communities to take COVID vaccine when it's time IU Health infectious disease physicians from around the state feel confident in taking ... December 17, 2020 IU Health begins COVID-19 vaccines: 'Light at the end of a very long tunnel' IU Health took possession of the first COVID-19 vaccines in central Indiana on Wednesda... December 17, 2020 Coping with Grief and Loss This Holiday Season The holiday season is often a time of year in which a wide range of emotions can arise.... December 17, 2020 Behavioral health numbers up; Fighting holiday stress during a pandemic The past year has been filled with anxiety, disappointment, and heartache. Never has it... December 16, 2020 Veteran nurse: ‘I can’t tell you how hard it is to see that lonely patient in bed’ For more than two decades she’s sat at the bedside of her patients. Now, IU Health Nurs... December 15, 2020 ‘Baskets of Cheer’ boost front-line teams During a stressful day, a quick cup of coffee or snack can make a big difference, espec... December 15, 2020 New program allows patients to heal at home In April, when the impact of the pandemic began to hit home, IU Health had an idea to h... December 15, 2020 COVID-19 vaccine: Freezers ready to store; Staff ready to administer first doses It’s been a long time coming but now, a new vaccine is making its debut in the fight ag... December 14, 2020 Steps to Eating Healthy at Home It may be an understatement to say that the year 2020 has been quite the whirlwind. The... December 13, 2020 First patient who received COVID-fighting infusion: ‘Hardest part was the needle’ When she signed up to receive a new monoclonal antibody to help ward off her symptoms o... December 12, 2020 Wigs can help cancer patients feel sense of control When you combed or brushed your hair this morning, you likely didn’t think much about h... December 11, 2020 Watch: IU Health experts answer COVID-19 vaccine questions With COVID-19 vaccine approval just around the corner, IU Health experts address a numb... December 10, 2020 Generational Trauma: Breaking the Cycle of Adverse Childhood Experiences How Our Understanding of ACEs Provides Better Healing Care for Adults “The child is th... December 10, 2020 First a Riley patient; Now at 25, athlete is a patient at IU Health Simon Cancer Center At the age of three he became a patient at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. No... December 09, 2020 COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Indiana and across the country, a ray of hope exists... December 09, 2020 IU Health vascular team’s phone app focuses on blood clots and COVID patients As health care providers piece together the impact of the deadly coronavirus, a team of... December 08, 2020 Indiana University Health Arnett welcomes new Chief Nursing Officer, Allison Shuttz, MSN, RN, NE-BC Allison Shuttz, MSN, RN, NE-BC, has been appointed Chief Nursing Officer for Indiana Un... December 08, 2020 For two years, this young mom could not speak Her 2-year-old was just a baby when Maranda Slusser stopped talking. Two more children ... December 04, 2020 Tranquility Spaces Provide a Respite For Frontline Team Members Sometimes even heroes need a break … a chance to slow down, take a breath, gather their... December 03, 2020 Hospital chaplain: From bedside compassion to hospitalized care She’s sat at the bedside of new moms and patients undergoing radiation therapy. She’s a... December 02, 2020 “I thank God I’ve come through it” As a COVID-19 “long hauler,” Sarah Hagan found help through IU Health’s Convalescing CO... December 02, 2020 She cares for patients with COVID and carries on her mother’s legacy Her mother worked for IU Health, and for two decades this nurse has followed in her foo... November 30, 2020 Calling a Code Lavender If you’ve watched a hospital-based television show, you’ve probably seen the following ... November 30, 2020 Hospital workers – Giving hearts on holidays and every day They work tirelessly every shift, every day. Most never anticipated living through a pa... November 29, 2020 He was looking for a liver giver and she delivered Wayne Brown posted on Facebook that he needed a new liver. A long-time friend saw his p... November 24, 2020 IU Health Frankfort Hospital now open The new IU Health Frankfort Hospital is open and ready to serve you. A fence around the... November 24, 2020 Nurse down 75 pounds: ‘Self-care is vital, especially during a pandemic’ As a progressive critical care nurse, Kristy Fields sees many patients treated for symp... November 23, 2020 Q4 2020 Quarterly Report: COVID-19 brings community together, while social distancing Crystal Hinson Miller, chief philanthropy officer for Indiana University Health and pre... November 23, 2020 Father of five girls gets wish with hospital bedside wedding Seven weeks ago, Matthew Rynearson was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. When he e... November 20, 2020 Transplant Gratitude Triggers $1 Million in Funding Technically, Jerome Josephs received a kidney when he underwent a transplant at IU Heal... November 19, 2020 In the Midst of a Pandemic, Three Foundation Team Members Achieve International Certification Diane Buzzell, Julie Paolillo and Kate Konzen have several new letters after their name... November 19, 2020 Rock band member chooses IU Health for testicular cancer treatment Minnesota native Ryan Keyes came to Indianapolis to play drums in a rock band. Now, he’... November 18, 2020 Offering help to go tobacco-free during COVID-19 People who are tobacco users and who vape have a higher chance of getting COVID-19. IU ... November 17, 2020 How to Stay Safe & Healthy This Holiday Season With COVID-19 cases surging across the state, it may be time to rethink your traditiona... November 17, 2020 Long-time nurse known for educating the next generation of nurses She has been at the bedside of countless patients – the sickest of the sick, and Marcia... November 15, 2020 Father Donates Kidney to Young Son: “It’s a Huge Sigh of Relief” By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org It was in her 20th we... November 13, 2020 Double transplant patient on quest to educate young adults with diabetes Even before his first transplant, Mike Davis knew the importance of self-care for diabe... November 12, 2020 How to Cope with Holiday & COVID-19 Stress With COVID-19 cases on the rise and the holidays around the corner, you may be feeling ... November 12, 2020 Lung cancer patient, non-smoker: ‘Anyone with lungs can get cancer’ It started with a mild cough that wouldn’t go away. Now Shauna Dalton is taking meds tw... November 11, 2020 Veteran’s Day – A family legacy for IU Health doctor IU Health Dr. Kevin Rice talks about his journey to the medical field and his service i... November 10, 2020 Nurse who had COVID-19: “The positive is I can donate plasma to help others” The numbers are the highest they have been in months. COVID-19 continues to be a deadly... November 09, 2020 TCC Gives’ donated iPads help IU Health patients and families connect The isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on everyone, but it ... November 08, 2020 ‘Hospital at home’ patient: ‘They spoiled me. I couldn’t have asked for better care’ In April, IU Health launched a program for ill COVID-19 patients that allowed them to r... November 05, 2020 New glucose management option helps COVID-19 patients Since the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals have learned th... November 02, 2020 Risky tumor removal threatened patient's ability to talk & swallow Daniela Gomez started experiencing severe headaches when she was 14 years old. For six ... November 01, 2020 First Altruistic Living Liver Transplant at IU Health After 10 years with an autoimmune liver disease, Matthew Prather was told it was time f... October 29, 2020 A look back at LifeLine rescue of crash victim: “A life-defining moment” It was in the early morning hours when LifeLine flight nurse Mike Collins was summoned ... October 28, 2020 First living liver recipient: Three months later and patient enjoys new life When Kelly Kinkade’s health began to decline, she turned to IU Health’s top-ranked tran... October 26, 2020 3 Healthcare Topics Every Hoosier Should Know About Before They Vote As we approach Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, healthcare continues to rank high on ju... October 25, 2020 He thought he had COVID-19; Nurse practitioner suspected something else Ryan Gillen is beyond grateful. He says one special nurse who discovered his illness, i... October 22, 2020 Cancer patient, 28: ‘People say 2020 has been bad, but for me it’s a blessing’ He’s young, launching his professional career and he’s facing the challenges of a cance... October 22, 2020 For this student nurse, COVID unit has helped her grow PCA Kate Davenport: “It’s so important to meet people where they are and offer support,... October 21, 2020 Grant Expands Dementia-Support Services in Southern Indiana “It really does take a village when it comes to dementia care,” said Dayna Thompson, an... October 21, 2020 What Characteristics are the Most Important Part of a Safe & Effective Weight Loss Program? In today’s digital age, you can find weight loss plans everywhere. From diet pills that... October 20, 2020 This doctor has a reason to be a real man wearing pink Each year, the American Cancer Society raises money and awareness for breast cancer wit... October 15, 2020 Elementary teacher, 28, diagnosed with breast cancer Both her grandmothers had breast cancer, but Sarah Clark had no reason to believe her d... October 14, 2020 When Minutes Count: Know Risk Factors for Stroke Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and is a leading cause of long-term disabili... October 14, 2020 Putting on the White Coat: Celebrating an IU School of Medicine Bicentennial Scholar Image courtesy of IU School of Medicine Where once walked a scribe, following doctors ... October 13, 2020 Infant Loss: Two Mothers Open their Arms to Those who suffer Two Nurses at IU Health Arnett both suffered the loss of their precious newborns. Their... October 12, 2020 Philanthropy Funds Rooftop Garden to Offer Patients, Loved Ones and Team Members a Breath of Fresh Air In the midst of uncertainty and stress, it’s important that all of us take a moment to ... October 12, 2020 Understand the importance of safe sleep While the prevalence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the United States has de... October 12, 2020 Olcott’s Gift Paves Way for Nurse Navigation at the New Regional Academic Health Center Joan Olcott will be long remembered as an important figure in the Bloomington community... October 11, 2020 Breast cancer patient found lump two weeks before mammogram At the recommendation of her family physician, Kelly Kelso scheduled a mammogram. Two w... October 09, 2020 Merriman Award Honors Compassionate Team Members Statewide Five IU Health team members around the state have won the “Lynda,” the Lynda A. Merrima... October 09, 2020 From Riley to University Hospital – Patient relies on music therapy He first came to IU Health as an infant and recently when he came back as an adult, Nat... October 07, 2020 Former school bus driver fights pancreatic cancer For 25 years, Alan “Dale” Albright drove a school bus. He looked at the kids on his rou... October 06, 2020 How Could My Alcohol Use Affect My Family? “It’s just one more drink.” “I haven’t had any legal problems.” “I worked really hard t... October 06, 2020 IU Health midwifery practice invites women to “call the midwife” In a nod to the popular PBS television series “Call the Midwife,” four IU Health nurse ... October 01, 2020 Mother’s devotion: Driven to improving mental health care After years of experiencing firsthand her son’s diagnosis of mental illness, Joan Ester... September 30, 2020 LifeLine crew reunites with seriously injured teen airlifted to Methodist It was his second time to board a LifeLine helicopter and this time, Brandon Stuckwish ... September 29, 2020 How to Recognize & Prevent Heart Disease During COVID-19 Have you given much thought to your heart this year? During the COVID-19 pandemic, ma... September 29, 2020 IU Health, IPS launch career development program at Crispus Attucks Upon graduation and completion of the fellowship program, students will be guaranteed a... September 28, 2020 Grant Connects People in Rural Communities to Emergency Behavioral Care Thanks to a new grant secured by IU Health Foundation, people in rural communities in n... September 24, 2020 White Memorial helping patient move from a motorized cart to walking the fields Gene Dallinger suffers from COPD and started working with pulmonary rehab at IU Health ... September 24, 2020 From North Africa to the U.S.: Expatriate encourages community engagement A native of Algeria, Mohamed Merzoug joined IU Health’s Community Outreach and Engageme... September 24, 2020 As he retires: Transplant leader dedicated to patients and hospital community After more than a decade of serving as IU Health’s Medical Director of Kidney & Pancrea... September 23, 2020 Lab worker driven by niece’s death from sepsis Thousands of children die each year as a result of severe sepsis. Matthew “Trevor” O’He... September 22, 2020 Methodist childbirth educator looks forward to Riley move The new maternity tower at Riley will centralize all inpatient and newborn care so even... September 21, 2020 In Pursuit of Health Equity: An Evolution in Healthcare At the crossroads of storylines between the COVID-19 pandemic and summer-long protests ... September 21, 2020 Practicing Mindfulness During Times of Uncertainty The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that things in life can be out of our co... September 18, 2020 IU Health Arnett donates masks to local food banks Indiana University Health Arnett is donating masks to local food banks to help improve ... September 17, 2020 Two surgeries, one day - Father donates kidney to son When his son’s kidneys began to fail, Shannon Dobrucki did what most fathers would do –... September 16, 2020 IU Health Foundation’s Jessica Journey Receives International Industry Honor “Serving people with excellence, compassion, ethics, and positivity” has earned Jessica... September 15, 2020 Her nursing career is an extension of her life of empathy for others Melyssa Sams started her career later in life but she’s always been headed toward nursi... September 15, 2020 Hospital dietitian first came to IU Health as a pediatric patient Long before she even knew about careers in healthcare, Jennifer Golding was a patient a... September 14, 2020 Wear a Mask Because You Care … and Because It Works One of the best ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and the people in your commun... September 14, 2020 Why it’s Crucial to Get Your Flu Shot in 2020 2020 has taught us a lot of lessons. One major lesson being the importance of maintaini... September 10, 2020 Nurse: “I chose IU Health because I trust the oncology care” There are hospitals closer to her home, but when DaJuana Moore was diagnosed with breas... September 09, 2020 College student recovering from bone marrow transplant When she discovered the mass two years ago, Mayra Rodriguez completed treatment at IU H... September 09, 2020 IU Health Foundation Funds Officer Down Kits for Tipton Police & Tipton County Sheriff's Departments Pictured from Left: Thomas Sliwa, MD – Emergency Medicine; Brad Robins – Sergeant Tipto... September 09, 2020 IU Health Foundation Grant Helps People Quit Smoking Indiana ranks fifth-highest in the nation for tobacco use, but the IU Health West Centr... September 08, 2020 IU Health Team Member Gives to Transform Healthcare Inequities For Craig Brooks, transformation manager for IU Health Physicians, “transformation” is ... September 07, 2020 Healthcare at home with virtual visits As the COVID-19 case number increases throughout Indiana, more and more Hoosiers are fa... September 04, 2020 Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital opens COVID-19 testing site TIPTON, Ind. – Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital understands the need for a loc... September 03, 2020 Brain surgery on a former president? We can do that From president to patient: Amos Sawyer led the country of Liberia for four years, but i... September 03, 2020 Pharmacy Technician: "I'm exactly where I need to be." For 23 years, Jennifer Harshman has worked as a pharmacy technician. Throughout Harshma...