Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award

2023 Award Recipient

Virginia S. Torrise, Pharm.D.

Photo of Virginia S. Torrise, Pharm.D.

Deputy Chief Consultant for Professional Practice
Pharmacy Benefits Management Services, Office of Patient Care Services
Veterans Health Administration

Virginia S. Torrise has served as VA’s Deputy Chief Consultant for Professional Practice and National Pharmacy Executive within VA Central Office Pharmacy Benefits Management service since August 2002. Today, she has a team of pharmacist professionals that support oversight, practice development and consultation for clinical pharmacy services, pharmacy practice residencies and fellowships, academic detailing services, pharmacist workforce initiatives, and VHA policy related to pharmacy practice and advanced practice services.

Dr. Torrise received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy and Management and Administration of Healthcare Organizations certificate from University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health.

Dr. Torrise has served in several leadership capacities within VA while professionally serving as an advocate for our profession. Her role has been instrumental in developing multiple programs supporting VA pharmacy practice including the establishment of a PBM Clinical Pharmacy Residency Program (2002), Clinical Pharmacy Practice Office (2010), and Academic Detailing Service (2014). She has excelled as a leader by expanding these programs systemwide while supporting the advancement of clinical pharmacy practitioners coupled with expanding pharmacy residencies and pharmacy leadership training through education and mentorship programs. Her dedication to develop and foster these programs nationally has provided VA with a robust workforce of clinical pharmacy specialists practicing at the top of their license supporting the nation’s largest healthcare system.

Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) is a national leader in the integration of Clinical Pharmacy Specialists (CPS) as advanced practice providers in both Primary and Specialty Care Settings. With over 52% of its 11,000 Clinical Pharmacist having Advanced Practice Provider status, PBM assists VA in meeting its goals in key areas including access, quality, safety and cost effectiveness. VA’s Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners have taken on an increasingly important role in numerous practice areas providing Veterans with medication management services. PBM provides oversight of more than 600 pharmacy practice residents in both first and second year accredited pharmacy training programs. VA clinical training programs demonstrate Veteran centric care is provided by interdisciplinary teams of professionals. VA funding for VA Academic Detailing Service has positively impacted psychotropic and opioid safe prescribing practices. Since its inception, ADS has grown to have over 140 clinical pharmacist practitioners in roles as Academic Detailers providing knowledge translation services to VA clinicians for medication safety and complex medication management to improve quality of healthcare delivery. ADS has expanded to over 26 national quality improvement initiatives for healthcare prevention and primary care chronic disease management.


The APhA Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award is the Association’s premier award to recognize a pharmacist who has distinguished himself/herself and the profession by outstanding contribution in federal pharmacy practice that has resulted in a significant improvement in the health of the nation and/or the population he/she serves.

Evaluation Criteria

The nominee for the APhA Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award must be a pharmacist who is a member of APhA, served in a federal pharmacy practice for the past 10 years, and is on active federal service at the time of nomination and has distinguished himself/herself and the profession of pharmacy by sustained outstanding performance and achievement. Applications will be evaluated based upon the following criteria (listed alphabetically; not in rank order):

  • Active participation in Inter-Agency Collaboration (cross-service activities)
  • Community service (contributions to the local community in which you live, federal agency community, facility, etc.)
  • Demonstrated leadership and mentorship
  • Impact on the pharmacy profession
  • Innovation in practice, research, and/or scholarly activity
  • Sustained impact and contributions to positive patient or health outcomes

Nomination process

The nominator is responsible for submitting a complete award nomination.

The nomination is to include the following items:

A narrative letter of justification (no more than two pages or 1,000 words) from the nominator describing the most significant contributions of the nominee and an explanation of how the nominee meets the award criteria

Two supporting letters

Current complete curriculum vitae or a detailed résumé of the nominee that includes professional activities, publications, and awards/honors

Selection process

The selection of the award recipient will be based upon careful review of the completed nominations by the APhA Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award Selection Committee. All nominations will be evaluated using the award criteria. No one from the selection committee will be eligible for the award.

The selection committee will be comprised of the following representatives:

One representative from each federal pharmacy group selected by the chief pharmacist; the chief pharmacist is not eligible to serve on the selection committee (i.e., U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, U.S. Public Health Service).

The award recipient from the immediate preceding year

One nonfederal representative from the APhA Board of Trustees selected by the APhA President will serve as the chairman.

Nature of award

The APhA Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award will be presented at the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition and will consist of a crystal figurine. The recipient will receive: a $1,500 honorarium,and complimentary APhA Annual Meeting registration and reimbursement for meeting-related travel expenses, according to current travel policies and up to the maximum amount budgeted by APhA. The recipient will be asked to participate in a session highlighting his/her specific achievement. The award is endowed by The Roche Foundation.

Past recipients

2022 Gregory Sarchet

2021 Cynthia Gunderson

2020 Edward Norton

2019 CDR Aimee Young, USPHS

2018 Anthony P. Morreale

2017 COL (Ret) John Spain

2016 Ron A. Nosek, VA

2015 COL J. Michael Spilker, USAF, BSC (Ret)

2014 CAPT Pamela M. Schweitzer

2013 RADM Scott F. Giberson, USPHS

2012 Jannet M. Carmichael

2011 COL Everett B. McAllister, USAF, BSC (Ret)

2010 LTC Stacia L. Spridgen, MS, USA

2009 Timothy Stroup

2008 Joseph F. Gallelli

2007 Capt David E. Price, MSC, USN

2006 William N. Jones

2005 COL William Michael Heath, MS, USA

2004 COL Daniel D. Remund, MS, USA

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