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Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Indian American pharmacists at the helm of AACP, APhA, and ASHP

For the first time, Indian Americans are serving concurrent terms as presidential officers at three of the leading U.S. pharmacy organizations. Anandi Law, BPharm, MS, PhD, FAPhA, is president-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP); Nishaminy (Nish) Kasbekar, PharmD, BSPharm, FASHP, is president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP); and Alex C. Varkey, PharmD, MS, FAPhA, is president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Alex C. Varkey, PharmD, MS, FAPhA, has dedicated his career to advancing the pharmacist's role in patient care. His passion for professional service began as a student pharmacist when he served as national president of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP). Varkey's service and dedication to pharmacy organizations have continued for two decades, including his current service as the 169th President of APhA. Alex is the first Indian American to serve as President in APhA’s 172-year history.

Varkey is passionate about promoting practitioner well-being as an essential component of a well-functioning health care system, and is a recognized pharmacy thought leader in this space. Varkey is currently Director of Pharmacy Services at Houston Methodist Hospital–Texas Medical Center, where he and his team have implemented innovative technologies to enhance efficiency and safety in medication-use processes and developed thriving learner programs including their award-winning two-year health-system pharmacy administration and leadership residency. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Varkey and his team coordinated efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to over 150,000 Houstonians.

Varkey received his PharmD from the University of Houston and Master of Science in Health-System Pharmacy Administration from The Ohio State University. He completed a two-year health-system pharmacy administration residency at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH.

“It’s an honor to serve as APhA President and I am acutely aware that I not only represent my colleagues in the profession, but I also represent my family and heritage,” said Varkey. “My parents came to this country to provide opportunities for their children they wouldn't otherwise have; because of that, their expectations were very high. They’re no longer here physically, but I know how proud they would be of my commitment to APhA and to our entire profession. I’m honored to share this responsibility with Nish and Anandi; I look up to them as incredible examples of leadership and service. Knowing that we share cultural ties makes this experience of service more special and meaningful to me. I look forward to working alongside them and for many opportunities to collaborate.”

Law is a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration and associate dean for assessment in the College of Pharmacy at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. Law, who joined WesternU in July 1999, earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Mumbai, India, and her Master of Science in Pharmaceutics and PhD in Pharmaceutical Administration from The Ohio State University. She served a three-year term on AACP’s Board of Directors as the chair of the Council of Faculties. Her term as president begins in July 2024.

Kasbekar is vice president and chief pharmacy officer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and PharmD degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and completed residencies in pharmacy practice and infectious diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The first Indian American to serve as ASHP president, Kasbekar was elected in 2022 after decades of service to national and state pharmacy organizations. She is Fellow of ASHP and a past president of the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the Delaware Valley Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 

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