Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award

2024 Award Recipient

CDR Song Lavalais, PharmD, MHA, BCACP

Photo of CDR Song Lavalais, PharmD, MHA, BCACP

CDR Song Lavalais is a Strategic Communications Specialist for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps (IHSC) Communications Unit. She researches, develops, and implements communications projects and tasks across multiple platforms for internal and external audiences. Prior to her current role, CDR Lavalais worked as a drug investigator for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where she conducted scientific and technical inspections of sterile and non-sterile manufacturing facilities and compounding pharmacies. She began her pharmacy career with the United States Public Health Service in 2008 working as a Staff Pharmacist with the Indian Health Service. After five years, she transferred to the Bureau of Prisons, where she served as Chief Pharmacist then to IHSC as Supervisory Lead Pharmacist.

CDR Lavalais served on the Rapid Deployment Force 4 team from 2012 to 2020 and deployed in a leadership role for the Louisiana Flood mission, Hurricanes Harvey and Maria disaster responses, and on four Remote Area Medical missions. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she served in several leadership roles on high profile deployments: the U.S. Public Health Service Operation Artemis Unaccompanied Children response mission and at a COVID-19 Community Based Testing Site. In addition, CDR Lavalais completed a 49-day assignment to the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to help roll out the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.

CDR Lavalais is a Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Science in Health Care Administration from Oklahoma State University. She is married to Dimetrius and has two children, Davin and Maya, and a brindle boxer named Lexi.


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

2023 Virginia S. Torrise

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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