MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A veteran Moss Point pharmacist continues to push the boundaries of health services. It's a normal day for Clarence Dubose. He's filling prescriptions in the back of his Moss Point pharmacy.
"I was trained at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. I was their first black graduate," Dubose said.
That was back in 1975. Three years later, Dubose made another first.
"I returned home in '78 and opened Medi Mart Pharmacy," Dubose said.
It's the city's first and only black owned pharmacy. Dubose recounts the hurdles he faced opening it.
"There were some challenges we had. Some of my white counterparts sent some not so nice words of welcome when we opened," Dubose said.
He said it was those challenges that motivated him to push beyond the barriers of race.
"Hopefully, the quality of service we provide overrides the fact that I'm a black man," Dubose said.
Services exceed the conventional function of a pharmacy, setting Medi Mart apart from the rest of the pharmacy world.
"Many people have this vision of a pharmacist as being somebody who puts medicine in the bottle and sends you about your merry way," Dubose said.
He said his approach has always been different.
"Early on, we did pregnancy testing, we did blood glucose monitoring long before there were home glucose kits," Dubose said.
Now, they've turned more to keeping the community informed.
"We're a resource center for information when it comes to health care. We invest a lot of time counseling, maybe more than dispensing function of the pharmacy," Dubose said.
After 20 years of operation, that unconventional style led to yet another first; starting a hospice care.
"No other hospice in Mississippi at the time engaged a pharmacist on the day-to-day management of their patients," Dubose said.
Dubose uses his expertise in medicine to make his patients as comfortable as possible. After 10 years of successfully doing so, he opened a hospice inpatient facility right next door to the pharmacy.
Dubose's role in healthcare in East Jackson County has led to an array of awards and recognition. His community involvement spans even further than that, from serving on the Moss Point School District's board of trustees, to serving as a mentor.
When asked about his legacy, Dubose's response may surprise you.
"I will never be wealthy providing the services that I do, but I would hope that I have impacted the lives of the people we do provide services for," Dubose said.
In the meantime, Dubose said he'll be right on Main St. in his white coat, working to provide the best health care services he has to offer.
Next year, Dubose will celebrate 40 years of operation at Medi Mart Pharmacy.