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My friend Tommy Smith lived through what seemed impossible, but with perseverance and resilience, he made survival possible.

Tommy Smith suffered from bacterial meningitis and lost his hands and feet. That didn't stop him. On the podcast graphic is a photo of Tommy and a still-life of antique photography bottles and a prescription box . Tommy believes the impossible is possible.

The impossible is possible and Tommy Smith is a living example. In this episode Tommy shares his journey, which is sure to inspire you.


Man Plans and God Laughs is just one line of humor in Tommy’s book of survival.

About Tommy

W. Thomas Smith, aka Tommy, is a graduate of St. Louis College of Pharmacy, my alma mater.He began his career as the operations director of Corum Health Services, a long-term care facility in St. Louis.

After a life-altering battle with meningococcemia and bacterial meningitis, he enrolled in Law school at St. Louis University in 2002 and graduated in 2005 with a Juris Doctorate degree and a certificate in health law.

He then went to work at St. Louis College of Pharmacy from 2005 to 2008 before he became the director of the online master’s program in pharmaceutical outcomes at the University of Florida from 2008 to 2015.

In 2015 Tommy joined Manchester University’s pharmacy program as the assistant dean for assessment and accreditation and in 2017 was appointed dean.

Tommy is active in several professional organizations and has served as chair of AACP’s Health Disparities and Cultural Competence Special Interest Group and completed their Academic Leadership Fellows Program.

He has also been very involved with the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association and has been appointed to the Food and Drug Administration’s nonprescription drugs advisory committee.

He is an author, speaker, and leader in areas such as pharmacy law, cultural competency, health disparities, bioethics, and disability law.

First Phase

Life was good.  Tommy was fit and active and living a “normal” life.  He was using his degree as a pharmacist and working for a long-term care pharmacy.   There was nothing he didn’t have or couldn’t do.

Then the unthinkable happened.   He contracted bacterial meningitis and meningococcemia which resulted in a 5-month hospitalization and the loss of his hands and feet.

Tommy didn’t give up, although that would have been the easiest route to take.  Instead, he persevered and survived and is now thriving.

Second Phase

During his recovery period, Tommy realized how challenging it was to find a support group for people with disabilities and how many fights had to go into getting the care necessary for him to recover from his illness.

He decided he wanted to make a difference and went to law school.   He graduated from law school and then went on to teach at several universities.  His journey is remarkable and he has touched many lives.

During our conversation Tommy goes deep into his experience, helping others with disabilities and inspiring the masses every day!  You will listen to this episode and be in awe for days as you think about his will to live and his ability to persevere.

Tommy uses humor and grace to move through his life.  He truly believes the impossible is possible and is living proof of it.

Tommy’s Book Recommendations

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

To learn more about Tommy

Visit The Manchester University website.

Follow him on Twitter: @WTSPharmDJD

Connect with Tommy on LinkedIn.

To learn more about your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE.



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