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Today's Pharmacist
James Keagy 45

Today's Pharmacist

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A minute with … Jason Martinez, PharmD, BCACP

Chief Population Health Officer, Community Health & Wellness, Columbus, OH
Member since 2003

“Being a part of APhA has been an extremely important part of my professional life. At each step of my career, from when I was a student pharmacist until now, APhA has provided important learning, networking, and leadership opportunities. Having the privilege of both being involved in and supported by a professional organization is a blessing that each pharmacist should enjoy.”

Jason Martinez, PharmD, BCACP

How has APhA helped you establish meaningful connections?

APhA has given me the opportunity to work with pharmacists from across the country on important topics such as caring for underserved patients, provider status, and advancing the role of digital health. No matter what interest a pharmacist may have, APhA can help foster mentoring relationships that I’ve found invaluable throughout my career.

How does APhA help you thrive in your everyday practice?

APhA helps me thrive in everyday practice by providing connec-tions and resources to improve clinically whether that is through increased knowledge or new practice models.

What excites you about the profession of pharmacy?

Pharmacy is one of those professions that has a respected history but is full of thought-leaders who are making people rethink what a pharmacist can do. One of the most fulfilling roles I have is precepting the next generation of pharmacists to continue to explore new and innovative ways that pharmacists can improve their patient’s lives and the communities in which they live and work.

Can you share a meaningful story about a time you interacted with a patient? Perhaps a time you felt like you really made a difference for them?

The types of barriers that patients face in a rural area require innovative problem solving. Being able to practice alongside a patient’s primary care provider affords me the unique ability to influence prescribing patterns and habits to improve the care of individual patients as well as entire patient populations.

I recall we had a new patient at our clinic who had struggled with diabetes since their teenage years with no recollection of an A1C ever below 10. This patient was hesitant to make changes to their regimen because they had already worked with countless diabetes specialists in the past without success while still experiencing hypoglycemia that frequently resulted in emergency medical services being dispatched to their home.

After spending time with the patient reviewing various aspects of diabetes education and attempts at optimizing their insulin regimen, I suggested a continuous glucose monitor to help them understand their blood glucose patterns.

Although the patient initially declined, after a few more months of discussion they finally started on a continuous glucose monitor and continued to gain trust in me. I finally was able to transition them to an insulin pump which has reduced their hypoglycemia while improving their A1C control to below 7. The patient and their family now talk frequently about how they wished that they had made the transition to an automated insulin delivery system earlier! ■

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APhA advocacy

In September 2022, APhA wrote a letter to FDA alongside other organizations critiquing a newly proposed rule that would allow prescription-only products to be switched to OTC status under an “additional condition for nonprescription use” category. This rule would enable patients to purchase these products after taking a self-assessment without any sort of pharmacist assistance. APhA’s letter stated appreciation for FDA’s intent behind this proposal, but also expressed several concerns related to logistical and operational issues. Additionally, APhA argued this proposal has not appropriately considered the essential role of pharmacists in helping patients with medication management and safe medication use.

FDA reacted to this letter and joined an APhA-led listening session in November 2022. In this session, APhA members shared concerns about the newly proposed rule and provided helpful insights from a pharmacist’s perspective to help FDA better understand from where these concerns stem. APhA urged FDA to consider the importance of the pharmacist in patient assessments and determining if a therapy is appropriate on an individual basis. FDA appreciated APhA’s input and official written comments in response to the proposed rule were submitted by APhA at the end of November 2022. ■

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Get involved

The opioid epidemic and subsequent increase in substance use disorder (SUD) has been a prevalent concern within health care for the past decade. At the same time, ensuring patients get proper pain management has also become somewhat of an obstacle due to concerns surrounding the overprescribing of opioids. The APhA Pain, Palliative Care, and Addiction (PPCA) Special Interest Group (SIG) strives to educate pharmacists and student pharmacists on how to care for patients with all types of pain and patients who may experience SUD. Pharmacists are able to play a key role in pain management and SUD due to having unique knowledge about medication use and adverse events. This knowledge allows pharmacists to assist not only with patient access to opioids, but also misuse prevention and SUD assistance.

“The PPCA SIG is passionate about advancing the care for those with substance use disorders, specifically opioid use disorder (OUD),” said Emily Leppien, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at Binghamton University and PPCA SIG coordinator. “Top initiatives of the SIG involve decreasing stigma associated with OUD and dispensing naloxone, advocating for the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act to increase access to buprenorphine by removing the X-waiver requirement, and educating health care professionals on alternative pain management therapies.” Visit apha.us/PPCA_SIG to learn more. ■

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