Board of Trustees Slated Candidates

Candidates for President-elect and Trustee were asked to respond to the following question. The candidates’ responses are italicized.

Question: What unique attributes and skills would you bring to the APhA Board to support the advancement of the association’s priorities?

  Honorary President

Anne L. Burns, BSPharm, RPh, Great Falls, VA
Anne L. Burns, BSPharm, RPh

Anne L. Burns, BSPharm, RPh, is currently President of Pharmacy Horizons, LLC. For 25 years prior, she worked at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), most recently serving as Vice President, Professional Affairs. In this capacity, she was responsible for the Association’s strategic practice initiatives focused on advancing pharmacists’ patient care service delivery, payment for pharmacists’ services, interprofessional collaboration, health information technology, health care quality, and addressing the opioid epidemic. In 1999, she guided the launch of the APhA/ASHP partnership to accredit community pharmacy residency programs and implemented a multi-faceted approach to facilitate the growth of these programs. She led the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners’ development of the Pharmacist Patient Care Process and Medication Management Services Definition, co-led the creation of the APhA/NACDS Medication Therapy Management Core Elements Service Model, and contributed to the formation of the Pharmacy Health Information Technology Collaborative.  She has served on many boards, coalitions, and workgroups, including the Board of Directors for the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and the Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy, the National Advisory Board for the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, the National Academies of Medicine Action Collaborative on Combatting the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, the CDC Opioid Guidelines Workgroup, the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative Workgroup on Professional Service Claims and Codes and the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Pharmacy Dean’s Corporate Council. She has received several awards, including the APhA Community Pharmacy Residency Lifetime Achievement Award, the OSU College of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Award, and the OSU College of Pharmacy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ms. Burns joined APhA in 1997. Prior to APhA, she served on the faculty at the OSU College of Pharmacy for 13 years.  She received her BS in Pharmacy from OSU and completed the Wharton Executive Management Program for Pharmacy Leaders.

  Slated for President

Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, Brooklyn, NY
Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH

Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA is a Professor at St. John's University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Clinical Advisor to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In her role, she works to integrate pharmacists into public health initiatives, particularly among high-risk, medically underserved areas in NYC, and advises on legislation pertinent to pharmacy practice and access to care. To date, Dr. Arya has been engaged with several efforts including public health detailing, correctional health services, expanding naloxone access through community pharmacies, syndromic surveillance, and emergency preparedness. She is also a member of the Health Department’s Institutional Review Board, serves as a Global Lead for the Equity and Equality Workforce Development Goal for the International Pharmacy Federation (FIP), and serves on the Board of Trustees for the American Pharmacists Association. Dr. Arya has served in various leadership roles across professional bodies throughout her career, including within APhA, the American Public Health Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and the Pharmacy Quality Alliance. She received the Sustained Contributor Award from the APHA Pharmacy Section, led a team to win the MIT Hacking Racism Challenge in Social Justice and Policy, and gave a TEDx talk on structural racism. Dr. Arya engages her students and colleagues to examine programs and policies through the lens of equity, applying social justice principles and frameworks.  She completed the Pharmaceutical Care Leadership Residency at the University of Minnesota, and her MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Working in various areas of public health practice and academia has allowed me to develop a deeper appreciation of how pharmacists fit into the broader scope of public health and healthcare, particularly across medically underserved communities. My strengths lie in connecting advocacy efforts, research, and strategic priorities to identify what is relevant and necessary to improve patient and population outcomes while supporting and strengthening our workforce. While burnout and moral injury aren’t new or unique to pharmacy, these topics related to working conditions have swelled into something larger and into the national conversation that can no longer be deprioritized. As such, it is important for our organization to be focused on advocating for systemic changes towards the betterment of our profession. Pharmacists are great at speaking to each other, yet we need to speak outside of our profession in order to advance. While we have made progress towards this, it is vital to continue to deepen those relationships in a more public facing way so that our advocacy efforts can have a wider reach. This has been the crux of my work in public health. By bridging pharmacy and public health, I’ve led the development of a pharmacy portfolio that is currently being prioritized across the NYC Health Department. We know that pharmacist-provided services can be vital to the health of any community. Our advocacy efforts can be further enhanced by bringing the collective voice and expertise of pharmacy into digital health spaces, AI, public health, and community organizations. I will use my skills in creative collaboration to bridge critical gaps to support and strengthen our efforts in creating sustainable systemic changes for the betterment of future generations.

Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, Pasadena, MD
Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD

Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, FNAP, FAPhA is the Gyi Endowed Professor in Pharmapreneurship, Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Practice Transformation and Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions at University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Fellow in Population Health at the University of Maryland Health System working with interprofessional value based integrated networks and physician practices. She has served as APhA trustee since 2018, is past President of the Maryland Pharmacists Association and the American Pharmacists Association Foundation. She served on the ACPE International Commission from 2013-2019 (Chair 2017), Chair of the Pharmacy Academy of the National Academy of Practice and Community Pharmacy Residency Director and Preceptor. She has implemented a variety of innovative advanced pharmacy programs including the Maryland P3 Program, the e-Heath Center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Interprofessional Care Transition Clinic, and pharmacy services within Primary Care and Integrated Primary Care Network (QCN) in value-based models and Maryland Primary Care Program a CMMI Innovation model. She practiced at the Baltimore VA Medical Center as an ambulatory care provider and now in physician practices. Her honors and awards include APhA Women In Pharmacy Honoree in 2022, the 2019 NAP Creativity in Practice and Education Award, 2015 APhA Foundation Individual Pinnacle Award, 2014 Maryland Innovator of the Year, 2013 UMB Entrepreneur of the Year, 2013 APhA Daniel B. Smith award, 2007 APhA Community Pharmacy Residency Excellence in Precepting Award and 2005 Bowl of Hygeia. She has many national and international publications and presentations.

I bring to APhA a unique perspective as a current Board member for almost 6 years and past APhA Foundation (APhAF) board member and President. I have served in many committees of the Board particularly in the Finance Committee, which has given me the opportunity to understand the budget, allocation of resources and the complex finances of the Association. I was on the APhAF when we built the new building and now when we renewed the lease. I understand the Association’s challenges with budget and finances. I also bring a wide perspective on diversity and our need to continue our work with Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, an important work for the Association.

I had the honor to be selected as APhA Foundation Next Ten Women leader (2022), for my innovative work, entrepreneurial spirit and impact in the profession of pharmacy. I believe this is an example of my influence and impact especially to women pharmacists. As an educator, I understand the challenges with workforce development that we are facing in the profession. I have developed interprofessional sustainable and transforming practices demonstrating the role of pharmacists.

I have served on the ACPE International Commission, working in developing and implementing international accreditation criteria for pharmacy schools around the world. This gives me a global perspective for pharmacy education and practice. I am a surveyor for the Community Pharmacy Residencies and for ACPE.

As the Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Solutions and the eHealth Center, we implemented a digital health and telehealth center providing virtual pharmacy services and comprehensive medication management services to health plans, value-based contracts, and outpatient settings.

I have been involved in advocacy at the state and national level, advocating for expansion of pharmacist’s scope of practice, collaborative practice, payment parity and health provider recognition.

  Slated for Board of Trustees at Large

Ashley Lorenzen, PharmD, Florence, WI
Ashley Lorenzen, PharmD

Dr. Ashley Lorenzen is the Associate Chief of Pharmacy, Clinical Supervisor and PGY-1 Residency Program Director at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Dr. Lorenzen obtained her PharmD from the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Pharmacy and completed her residency at the Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dr. Lorenzen has experience in inpatient, ambulatory, community, and volunteer pharmacy. She was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy prior to her current role. Dr. Lorenzen is a clinical instructor with several schools of pharmacy and is an active member of APhA and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. Dr. Lorenzen maintains a clinical practice as a geriatric and palliative care pharmacist in an interdisciplinary clinic in addition to filling in for all her staff as needed. Dr. Lorenzen is passionate about advancing the role of the pharmacist within her practice setting as well as a strong focus on personal and professional growth for her staff. Dr. Lorenzen has been a member of APhA for many years and has served as an executive committee member at large for APPM. When she is not at work, she enjoys being outdoors with her husband, Eric, and two young kids, Hadley (4) and Owen (1.5). They love to fish, hunt, camp, and explore.

I believe that each individual has a unique set of talents and when partnered together, great things happen. In the DISC personality assessment, I am a high D, with attributes of being direct, firm, strong-willed, and most important, results oriented. This has been displayed throughout my pharmacy career, and especially in my current position where I have grown a pharmacy team by 400% at the most rural VA in the nation, and continue to reach more metrics, thanks to my phenomenal team, than other sites nationwide. I believe the reason I have become an effective leader is because of the relationships I have built. I do not have all the knowledge, however, I have created a network around me, to compliment my weaknesses and move towards excellence together. As seen in my CV, I have worked in a wide variety of health care settings and with a wide variety of teams.

In my current role as a leader, I also continue to practice, for I feel that I cannot relate to my staff if I cannot walk in their shoes. In our conversion to a new EHR, I am a superuser for both pharmacy and the providers. As the Residency Program director, I am responsible for the budget, accreditation, and ongoing improvement of an intensive training program. Learner training also includes affiliations with several schools of pharmacy and maintaining relationships with multiple schools of pharmacy. Working at the VA involves a complex web of local and national policy and legislature. My ability to navigate, respect and also challenge this has proven effective in my team's growth and my respect across the organization for thinking outside the box.

I believe my passion for the advancement of pharmacy would be an asset to the APhA Board.

Neelam Gazarian, PharmD, MS, Fairfax, VA
Neelam Gazarian, PharmD, MS

LCDR Nelly Gazarian serves as a Senior Policy Analyst and Advisor at the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) in the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy. She is an active-duty officer with the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps and educator who spearheaded development of programs aimed at establishing public health strategies to mitigate the crisis of viral hepatitis, STIs, and HIV epidemics within the rural and tribal communities across the United States. She is a pharmacist by training and is certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine as a HIV Pharmacist. She provides steadfast leadership and support on a range of programs, policies and activities in response to the syndemic of HIV, mpox, and sexually transmitted infections, including the management of the Minority HIV/AIDS fund.

Response: In my role I have consistently demonstrated a commitment to innovative activities, team-based care, leadership, influential networking, financial expertise, health informatics, advocacy, and health policy knowledge.

I spearheaded the development of the National STI Implementation Plan within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which encompassed over 200 innovative interventions and involved collaboration across five federal departments and 15 HHS agencies.

As an advisor to the White House during the Monkeypox outbreak, I significantly influenced the WH's real-time Monkeypox strategy. I organized the first active outbreak research event, uniting nearly 800 global leaders and setting a new standard for outbreak research and response strategies.

National Syphilis Task Force: Established in August 2023, my role includes strategically planning tactics to combat syphilis, a priority of the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH). I lead 225 task force members from 15 agencies, working collaboratively to identify 14 critical hotspots representing around 70% of national cases.

My advisory role with APhA on infectious disease certification highlights my ability to influence and lead in the pharmacy profession.

Within OASH, I led the Ready Set PrEP program that leveraged $36 million in resources and partnered with 36,000+ pharmacies. Managed operations for the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, with an annual budget of $60 million spanning four agencies and 12 programs.

I have shared my expertise on a global stage through 24 presentations, five of which were international. Notable among these were the STI/HIV World Congress in 2023, gathering professionals from 108 countries, APhA Annual conference from 2018 to 2023 and the Joint Federal Pharmacy Seminar, underscoring my commitment to sharing innovative ideas on a large scale.

My dedication to pharmacy has been recognized through awards, including the USPHS Outstanding Service Medal (OSM), Air Force Humanitarian Medal (ArFcHSM), IHS Directors Award, the North Dakota Health Excellence Award.

  Slated for Board of Trustees at Large

Kelsea Aragon, PharmD, Albuquerque, NM
Kelsea Aragon, PharmD

Kelsea Gallegos Aragon is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administrative Sciences at the University of New Mexico. She practices as a pharmacist clinician at UNM Truman Health Services where she provides cardiovascular risk reduction for people with HIV and gender affirming services for transgender and gender diverse people. She is the Co-Director of UNM’s PGY2 in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency program. She has a passion for student and resident wellbeing and personal and professional development. She is a Gallup StrengthsFinder Certified Coach, Diabetes Educator, and Board Certified in Ambulatory Care. She loves serving her patients, learners, and the profession and has stayed involved in the American Pharmacists Association through the APhA New Practitioner Network and the Special Interest Groups.

If selected to serve on the APhA Board, I will: -

  • Bring the perspectives of a new practitioner - with that comes a passion for the profession and an understanding that practice conditions are often less than our profession and our patients deserve. I understand why students, new practitioners, and practicing pharmacists alike want to be excited about the profession while also being wary of the future because of where we are today. I plan to bring a strategic vision for what our profession could and should be. One where we get to focus on patient care again instead of increasing profits or improving metrics for employers.
  • Bring the perspectives of the students I serve as an academician and the Director of Student Pharmacist Career Planning at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy. Our profession is only as strong as the students we are developing into the leaders of today and tomorrow. Understanding what students envision for their future careers will form the profession we will see.
  • Bring the perspectives of an advanced practice pharmacist through my experience as a pharmacist clinician. New models of patient care are creating exciting opportunities for pharmacists on care teams. I love serving my patients as a prescribing provider - I can connect, support, and guide them to a healthier tomorrow. The support I provide my colleagues from other healthcare professions is essential to our clinic. When pharmacists are integrated into the healthcare team, it becomes clear to everyone that our services are crucial to quality patient care.
  • Bring a passion for the profession that, unfortunately, is becoming rare in our current times. Our profession is one of the most impactful careers someone can have, and I want our members to reconnect and be re-inspired by the possibilities of today and tomorrow!
Scott Tomerlin, PharmD, Melbourne, FL
Scott Tomerlin, PharmD

Scott Tomerlin, PharmD, is a member of the APhA House of Delegates Policy Reference Committee and APhA PAC Board of Governors and has also served on the APhA Policy Review Committee as well as a delegate in the House of Delegates representing the APhA-APPM and Florida delegations. Currently, Scott serves as a Manager for Pharmacy Affairs for Walgreens, where he partners with state and national pharmacy associations, academia, legislatures, and boards of pharmacy to advance the profession of pharmacy and empower Pharmacist, Student Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technicians. Scott is a 2006 graduate of Mercer University College of Pharmacy. Scott is married to a fellow Pharmacist and they are proud parents of 3 children. Scott has experience serving in numerous leadership roles, including President of the Florida Pharmacy Association and Brevard County Pharmacy Association. Scott is the recipient of the James Beal Florida Pharmacist of the Year award in 2022, Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award by the Florida Pharmacy Association in 2007 and Mercer University College of Pharmacy Young Alumni of the Year award in 2016. Scott is an Eagle Scout. As a practicing community pharmacist for the first 17 years of his career, including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott understands the challenges that community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are facing and can impact change internally within the support center in his current role. If elected to serve, Scott looks forward to providing this unique perspective to the APhA Board of Trustees in its decision making for the Association.

As a practicing community pharmacist for the first 16 years of his career, including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I understand the challenges that community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are facing and can impact change internally within the support center in my current role.

If elected to serve, I look forward to providing this unique perspective to the APhA Board of Trustees in its decision making for the Association. I’m a strong advocate for collaborating across all practices of pharmacy, as exemplified through my leadership as the President of the Florida Pharmacy Association. I was able to successfully advocate and help advance legislation that dealt with reversing restricted network closures, which had a positive impact on many of our independent community pharmacy owners in Florida, helping them survive a very challenging business climate they face. My leadership in the Florida Pharmacy Association also involved substantial key decision making with regard to financial and operational directives.

I have had the experience in working with a diverse team of empowered practitioners to produce successful results, growing and empowering our membership base during my Presidency. I believe we must continue to advocate for our Profession, and I have done this both in word and action. I have had experience in pharmacy advocacy with numerous visits to the U.S. Capitol alongside a diverse group of different pharmacy practice settings, as well as currently serve on the American Pharmacists Association PAC Board of Governors and the Florida Pharmacists Political Action Committee.

I am excited to serve, and it would be an honor for the opportunity to continue to give back to our beloved profession in serving on the APhA Board of Trustees.