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Decades Apart, Grandmother and Granddaughter Share a Career Path and Legacy

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on August 8, 2019

Dominique Fields and her grandmother Marie R. KernFor Dominique Fields P’95, PharmD’99 her grandmother, Marie R. Kern (Ranere) BAC’36, P’61, was always a role model.

Kern was a strong and dedicated woman who did what she had to in an effort to support her family. Having lost her husband, Donald Henry Kern P’36, at age 39, Marie was looking for a way to provide for their three children. She could think of no better way than to take over her late husband’s community pharmacy in Hammonton, NJ. The only thing she was missing was the proper training and license.

Donald Henry Kern P'36
Donald Henry Kern P'36

But that didn’t stop Marie; She turned to Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, where she and Donald had met to finalize her training as a pharmacist so that she could earn her license. 

“The fact that she could go back and make sure that she could provide for her children, who were 7,9, and 11 at the time is remarkable,” said Fields. “I always respected and idolized her.”

So when it was time for Fields to choose her career path and education, she looked again to her grandmother’s experience, choosing pharmacy and attending her alma mater. At USciences, Fields found a supportive and challenging environment where she thrived. 

Marie R. Kern (Ranere) BAC’36, P’61,
 Marie R. Kern (Ranere) BAC’36, P’61,

“I got to see the lives that you were going to impact and being on rotation helped to shape the pharmacist and preceptor that I have become,” said Fields. “There are many aspects of medication administration that you don’t see or hear about, but to be at the patients’ bedside, that experience helps me and my students.”

Marie eventually closed the community pharmacy, but stayed in the profession, opening the pharmacy in William B. Kessler Memorial Hospital until she retired. Kern even kept her pharmacy license until after Fields graduated and passed her boards so that they could have some overlap of practicing together.

Dominique Fields
 Dominique Fields P’95, PharmD’99

“When I was in my final year of school, I worked there and she was working per diem,” said Fields. “You could tell that she was proud that I was following in her footsteps.” Kern passed away in 2013 at age 98.

After a few years practicing as a pharmacist, Fields again found herself following the path her grandmother made, starting as director of pharmacy at Kessler Hospital in September 2000 until the day the hospital closed in 2009, meaning the two women bookended the Kessler Hospital pharmacy program. 

Through the foundation formed at USciences, Fields has built a successful career. 

“I’ve been able to work hard and to have had the opportunities that I’ve had,” said Fields. “Every job I’ve had and every opportunity afforded to me has given me the skillset to add to my baseline knowledge. I’ve always been trying to learn more.” 

And like her grandmother, Fields is setting an example for the next generation.

“Striving to be a working woman and a role model so that my children see I am a strong, independent woman,” she said.

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