Lipscomb community mourns the loss of pharmacy faculty Kim Barker

By |

Story updated at 6:30 p.m. on May 12, 2014, to include funeral arrangements.

The Lipscomb community is mourning the loss today of Dr. Kim Barker, associate professor of pharmacy practice and director of drug information services for the College of Pharmacy. Barker passed away last night, May 11, at her home in Nashville from complications related to a medical condition.  

Kim BarkerBarker was one of only 80 board-certified Pharm. D. toxicologists in the world.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the unexpected death of Dr. Kim Barker,” said L. Randolph Lowry, Lipscomb University president. “Her commitment to excellence in pharmacy practice and her passion for helping others was an inspiration to all who knew her.”

Barker played an integral role in the pharmacy education program at Lipscomb. Her teaching responsibilities include clinical study design/evidence based practice, healthcare informatics and toxicology. Barker was an incredible resource for not only Lipscomb student pharmacists and faculty, but she also provided support for preceptors and medical professionals all throughout the nation. Barker maintained a practice site at the Tennessee Poison Control Center. Her wealth of knowledge was a true asset for the medical profession. She will be remembered for implementing a Practice Seminar course for all third year student pharmacists. Students were led by Barker to prepare and present a CE presentation, where they searched and retrieved primary literature, evaluated studies and writing objectives that brought together their skills from core coursework in pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences. This course, according to current students and alumni, was one of the most difficult aspects of their pharmacy education, but also one of the most applicable and beneficial. Barker’s rigor and desire for perfection pushed student pharmacists to learn and be prepared for all situations. 

“The news is heartbreaking to us all,” said Roger L. Davis, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “Dr. Barker was a much beloved and highly respected member of the Lipscomb family and the pharmacy profession. Her commitment to excellence and respect for patients was an inspiration to all who knew her.  Her presence, leadership and influence on this college, her colleagues, our student pharmacists and the profession will be greatly missed.”

Prior to joining the Lipscomb faculty in 2008, for 14 years Barker was associated with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Center for Toxicology and was clinical operations coordinator for the Tennessee Poison Center from 2000-2008. In addition, she was also director of the Drug Information Program for pharmacy practice residents at Vanderbilt and precepted numerous Pharm. D. residents and emergency medicine residents participating in toxicology and drug information rotations. She completed her pre-pharmacy curriculum at Lipscomb University in 1989 and graduated from Mercer University’s Southern School of Pharmacy in 1993.

Barker was passionate about teaching in a Christian environment.

“The decision to leave my practice site and become a faculty member at the College of Pharmacy was deeply rooted in my faith and the desire to be a part of a something that was clearly and proudly Christian education,” Barker wrote in a College of Pharmacy faculty spotlight in 2010. “I wanted to be a part of something that at its heart is a group of Christians dedicated to the mission of educating future generations of pharmacists to not only have excellent clinical skills, but to also nurture a heart of caring and compassion for others.

“Interacting with the students opens up such exciting opportunities, whether it is in the classroom discussing evidence -based medicine and how that applies to principles of faith, using informatics tools to create a service project for underserved populations, or on an actual mission trip. My desire is for the students to see this excitement for serving and learning in all that I do and to be able to develop relationships that allow students to feel they can discuss anything with me—whether it is a new drug, an interesting patient case, or their own relationship with Christ.”

Barker is survived by her daughter, Jane VanDerBurgh, a 2012 Lipscomb Academy graduate who just completed her sophomore year at Harding University. She is also survived by her parents, Rick and Lynda Barker; and brother, Bo; of Columbia, Tenn.

Visitation for Barker will be Wednesday, May 14, from 5-8 p.m, and Thursday, May 15 at 10 a.m. with the service at 11a.m. The visitation and service will take place at Hickory Chapel Funeral Home, 5852 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211. The burial service will follow in Savannah, Tenn., at 4 pm on Thursday, May 15.

As a reminder, counseling resources are available on campus for faculty, staff, current students, or alumni who may want to avail themselves of this service.  Follow this link for more information: