COM employee spotlight

Name:  Josh Havens      

Title:  Clinical pharmacist, HIV program, internal medicine

Hometown:  McPherson, Kan.

Talk about your job and what you like best about it:   

I started my current position with the HIV team at the Specialty Care Clinic (SCC) about three years ago. Prior to this, I was a product of the UNMC College of Pharmacy with 12 years of employment at Nebraska Medicine as an intern and then pharmacist in the outpatient pharmacy and the Internal Medicine Clinic in the Durham Outpatient Center. 

Accepting the offer for my current position is certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of the HIV team at SCC.  Working with medical providers and support staff that truly value the clinical opinions of a pharmacist and fully trust us with their patient’s care has been a unique and rewarding experience. It has allowed me to work at the top of my license and develop pharmacist-led programs through collaborative practice agreements. 

Currently, my clinical role involves managing a variety of issues for our patients including antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and switching, management of ART-related drug-drug interactions, medication adherence, medication access, hepatitis B/C co-infections, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP/nPEP), and a host of other primary care pharmacotherapeutic managements. 

My role has opened my eyes to research, an area that I had not previously considered. I have enjoyed contributing to others’ projects as well as getting my own research protocol up and running. Last but not least, I help manage the Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) for the state of Nebraska. The experience I’ve gained in my role with ADAP, although time-consuming, is priceless. It has taught me numerous lessons on networking, negotiation, budgeting, analysis/strategy, and general business principles.

I was told early on that at times I’d feel more like a social worker than a pharmacist, but I did not really believe that’d be true. I soon realized I was wrong and, more importantly, understood the necessity of the "all hands on deck" mentality to help curb the HIV epidemic. We serve some of the most poor and marginalized people in our area, and at times, catch these folks at the lowest points in their lives. 

Being able to look a newly diagnosed patient in the eyes and tell them they are likely going to be fine if they take their medications is pretty awesome, but then seeing the same patients months later, often in much better health and spirits, is even more amazing. I thoroughly enjoy developing relationships with our patients and helping them navigate the challenges presented in their medical care.

The HIV team at SCC is one of the best that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of. Effectively managing patients with HIV infection takes a group effort. I think our team exhibits true teamwork and I am honored to be a part of that.      

List three things people may not know about you:

1.      I am a diehard K-State sports fan and despise that other university in Kansas.

2.      I like to tackle challenging home projects. I just completed a full basement remodel and even built a large tree house several years back.

3.      I’m a big nickname guy and like to give them out as much as possible. I’m pretty sure my kids each have three or four nicknames and even better, they actually respond to them.


  1. Genie Shumaker says:

    I am so proud of you Josh! I agree, it is a privilege to be part of the SCC team. Genie

  2. Verla Thomason says:

    It is always good to hear what home town people are doing. You are an inspiration to a lot of people and also a savior to many who need your expertise. Keep up the good work it is a gift to many. Verla Thomason.

  3. Dianna Heidebrecht says:

    How exciting for you, Josh! I am glad you decided to accept the challenge. You are such a caring and accepting person–you are perfect for the job! I have to disagree on "that other Kansas school"!

  4. Jason Casper says:

    So glad to see this, you’ve come a long way since we camped out in your parents back yard.

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