OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Pharmacy Board has named an Ardmore woman as its interim executive director after the former director was fired.
Chelsea Church, who had served as executive director of the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy for nearly a year, was fired after the board voted unanimously to terminate her employment.
The vote came after text messages showed that Church was communicating with Oklahoma State Health Department general counsel Julie Ezell.
In the messages, Church appears to have offered Ezell a job and a guaranteed pay raise in exchange for including the pharmacist requirement in the emergency rules regarding medical marijuana, days before the board of health met to take up the drafted regulations.
Since NonDoc's report on the text messages, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has asked the OSBI to look into the messages sent between Church and Ezell, as it appeared there was an attempt to influence and possibly bribe Ezell. He's also tasked state investigators to figure out if there were attempts to threaten, influence or bribe anyone related to the state board of health.
"We are cooperating fully with the ongoing OSBI investigation," said Pharmacy Board President Kyle Whitehead. "Further, we will work with urgency to find an interim executive director, who will uphold our mission of protecting the health and well-being of Oklahomans. The accusations involving Ms. Church are being taken seriously and because of the nature of the investigation, there will be no further comment regarding her status with the board."
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy announced that Dorothy Gourley was named as the agency's interim executive director.
Gourley previously served as a consulting pharmacist to rural hospitals, along with spending several years on the board in the past.
“Dorothy Gourley’s knowledge of the board from her time as a board member, combined with her understanding of the industry from her years as a pharmacist make her an excellent choice to serve in this capacity,” said Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy President Kyle Whitehead. “She is also an exceptional leader within the community, who will advocate and uphold the mission of the Board moving forward. I appreciate her willingness to fill this crucial role.”
“I appreciate the members of the board for their confidence in me to serve as the interim executive director,” Gourley said. “The responsibilities of this board are vital to the health and wellbeing of Oklahomans. I am committed to upholding the highest standard of care in our pharmacies to create a safer environment for the citizens in our state.”