‘Great success stories’: APhA Foundation honors three Pinnacle Award recipients

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Awardees are Rodriguez de Bittner, The Ohio State University, Duquesne University

The APhA Foundation recognized Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA; The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and Division of General Internal Medicine; and Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy—Pharmacy Service Centers and Academic Partners Program in the 18th annual celebration of the Pinnacle Awards program at APhA headquarters on September 16.

Rodriguez de Bittner was presented with the 2015 Individual Award for Career Achievement. The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy and Division of General Internal Medicine received the 2015 Group Practice–Health System–Corporation Award. The 2015 Government Agency – Nonprofit Organization–Association Award went to Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy—Pharmacy Service Centers and Academic Partners Program.

“Tonight, we celebrate these great success stories,” said APhA President Lawrence “L.B.” Brown, PharmD, PhD, FAPhA. “It is a challenging time to be a pharmacist, but it is an exciting time” because of work like that being done by the Pinnacle Award winners, he said.

Ed Hamilton, PharmD, FAPhA, President of the APhA Foundation’s Board of Directors, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. The APhA Foundation Board of Directors and the 2015 Pinnacle Awards Selection Committee were among those introduced by APhA COO Elizabeth Keyes, BSPharm, Interim Executive Director for the APhA Foundation.

Following a short video featuring each award winner, Hamilton presented each honoree with a crystal eagle. Premier support for the Pinnacle Awards was provided by an educational grant from Merck, and support was also provided by an educational donation by Amgen.

In the video, Rodriguez de Bittner said, “I have always had this passion for making sure the pharmacist was front and center in helping patients manage their conditions and really helping them with medications.” Now Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, she has dedicated her career to the advancement of pharmacy practice and the development of innovative and sustainable patient care programs. 

Gracias and buenas noches,” said Rodriguez de Bittner to open her remarks. “I am so lucky to have a profession that I love.” She continued, “That’s the easy part—getting somebody to take their medication. It’s really to help them to achieve their life goals.” Barriers, she noted, include not being able to afford a medication or not living in a safe environment.

Accepting the Pinnacle Award for The Ohio State University were Stuart J. Beatty, PharmD, BCACP, CDE, Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy for The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, and Neeraj H. Tayal, MD, FACP, Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

In this partnership, pharmacists have been involved in team-based primary care since 2006. “I’m really happy I made that decision,” Tayal said in his remarks. Pharmacists are “really integrally embedded in this program” and are influencing a tremendous number of physicians as “young docs” learn they need to get trained pharmacists on their team. Beatty noted in his remarks that pharmacists try to give solutions to physicians. “We all try to work together to take care of the patient,” he said.

Janet K. Astle, BSPharm, EdD, Assistant Dean for Student Services at Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy, accepted the final Pinnacle Award in this year’s program. The school educates and mentors student pharmacists while providing patient care services and educational outreach to members of the underserved community in the greater Pittsburgh area. Established by the school in 2002, the Center for Pharmacy Care is a pharmacist-coordinated provider of disease prevention. The Duquesne University Pharmacy, second of the Pharmacy Service Centers, opened in 2010 as the first university-operated, full-service community pharmacy in the nation located in the heart of an economically depressed neighborhood.

“Our Duquesne University Pharmacy was first established in a marginalized and economically depressed area of the city that had not had access to a community pharmacy or pharmacy services for over 10 years,” Astle said in a video. “Our spirit of helping is associated with local food banks and provides services to populations that have no other access to health care.”

The 2015 Pinnacle Awards Innovations in Pharmacy Practice Lecture was presented by The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy and Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore on September 15. The event was hosted by the APhA Foundation and supported by an educational donation from Amgen.

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