Pharmacists in action, January 2013

What pharmacists are doing across the country

Comforter in chief in our towns

When President Barack Obama spoke last month in Connecticut to those affected directly by the tragic and shocking events in Newtown, reporters spoke of his role as “comforter in chief.” Obama said this was the fourth time as President that “we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.”

Pharmacists, the face of the health care system for many Americans, know what it’s like to be in the comforter role. As the country processed the news of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, I thought of the pharmacists in that close-knit community who were counseling families and friends of the victims and about pharmacists across Connecticut and indeed the nation who were listening empathically to their patients and offering them words of hope and some measure of solace.

There is no higher calling than the grief counseling that so many pharmacists find a part of their daily jobs. Illness in patients and deaths of their loved ones provide too-frequent opportunities for us to make a difference in the emotional health of our patients. Storms, terrorists, mass murders, earthquakes—the list is long and growing of the events that have wrenched our country since the calendar flipped over to the 2000s. As prominent members of American communities, we have responded in unheralded ways to each challenge with equal measures of care and professionalism.

As pharmacists, we are indeed comforters in chief in our communities, our health systems, our churches and synagogues, our own homes—and yes, especially right now, in the schools our children attend. And like our President, we feel the weight of this duty to our patients. It seems comfort is needed more and more these days. Keep up the good work. Your nation needs you.

Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon)
Executive Vice President and CEO

Work sites and pharmacies are major sources of vaccination for adults, with more than a third of vaccines being given [there].

CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, regarding influenza vaccination activity for the current season

Read more.

Did you know …

One of the benefits of APhA membership is that all APhA members receive 20% off APhA published titles and 10% off titles from other publishers. This benefit provides members with discounts on key professional publications like The Pharmacy Professional’s Guide to Résumés, CVs, & Interviewing, APhA’s Immunization Handbook, and The Practitioner’s Quick Reference to Nonprescription Drugs. Student pharmacists can advantage of the discount for textbooks and references.

On the go

APhA leaders and staff travel throughout the country to promote the profession and be the voice of pharmacy. The following is a sample of recent activity.

Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD(Hon), FAPhA, Executive Vice President and CEO, delivered the 2012 Kenneth L. Waters Lecture to faculty, staff, alumni, and students at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy. He also met with staff from the Georgia Pharmacists Association and Horton’s Pharmacy. Athens, GA

Brian Lawson, PharmD, Director of Professional Affairs at the Board of Pharmacy Specialties, participated in Walgreen’s second annual Diversity in Health Care lecture series at the Husson University School of Pharmacy. Lawson’s presentation, Embracing Diversity: Becoming a Culturally Competent Health Care Provider, highlighted the importance of differentiating knowledge and skills in pharmacy. He also facilitated a discussion with student pharmacist leaders about their responsibility in assuming the role of change agents for the profession. Bangor, ME

Elizabeth Keyes, BSPharm, APhA COO, Kristen Binaso, BSPharm, CCP, FASCP, APhA Senior Director, Corporate Alliances, and Steve Kalinowski, Corporate Alliances Consultant, presented the 2012HAB Dunning Award to Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. The team met with Brent MacGregor, President of Vaccines USA, and other key staff to talk about the important role of the pharmacist as an immunizer and the partnership that Novartis Vaccines has with APhA. East Hanover, NJ

Members only

Matthew Kenney, BSPharm, is the new owner of the South Berwick Pharmacy Seacoast Compounding, formerly South Berwick Pharmacy, located his hometown of South Berwick, ME. Kenney added pharmaceutical compounding to the community pharmacy’s offerings.

Elizabeth Tien, a student pharmacist at the University of Maryland (UM) School of Pharmacy and faculty advisor Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, CGP, FAPhA, Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning and Associate Professor in UM’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, along with students and faculty members, participated in the Vote & Vax community outreach project, where free flu shots were provided at two sites on Election Day. The project was organized by UM’s APhA–ASP chapter, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Student Section of the Maryland Public Health Association.

Janet Wolcott, PharmD, Clinical Professor at  the Marshall University School of Pharmacy in Huntington, WV, led an effort to gather supplies for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. A New Jersey native, Wolcott and her students collected items including diapers, baby wipes, bedding, children’s underwear, formula, bottles, and cleaning supplies. The students contacted area pharmacies and asked them to join the effort. Wolcott and a handful of students will drive to New Jersey in the coming weeks to drop off more collected supplies.

In collaboration with FMS Pharmacy in Birmingham, AL, Lindsey Elmore, PharmD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy and the Director of the school’s Community Pharmacy Residency Program, organized free blood sugar screenings to raise awareness about National Diabetes Month. The event was part of the National Consumers League’s Script Your Future campaign, and included participation from student pharmacists and pharmacists.

Members can share news about promotions, new positions, and awards with the rest of APhA by e-mailing the details—who, what, when, and where—to Photographs, in the form of high-resolution TIFF or JPEG files, are welcome.

A minute with …

Walter G. Chambliss, BSPharm, MS, PhD
Director of Technology Management
Professor of Pharmaceutics
University of Mississippi
Member since 1998

I joined APhA because … APhA is the umbrella association for the profession of pharmacy. One of the best aspects of our profession is the diversity of practice opportunities. APhA is the only association in the nation that brings together members working in all practice settings.

My most memorable APhA experience … Being President of APhA–APRS [Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science] and a member of the Board of Trustees was a fantastic experience. The dedication and expertise of colleagues at APhA and the thousands of members who volunteer their time and energy to the profession were amazing to watch.

I first became interested in pharmacy … when my father was the plant manager of a chemical company. I worked summers and holidays at the plant. The products they made contained arsenic and were used as herbicides and wood preservatives. I wanted to channel my interest in chemical manufacturing into making things that improved health.

The advice I give to pharmacists who want to follow my career path … is to experience as many professional opportunities as you can. I have practiced in hospitals, community pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry, and now in academia. Each practice setting has contributed to my ability to serve the public and the profession.

If I weren’t a pharmacist, I’d be a … pharmaceutical scientist. The thrill of working with a team of researchers to develop a new pharmaceutical product that is used by millions of patients around the world is something everyone should experience.

Pharmacist’s role in opioid use

APhA leadership hosted stakeholders from major pharmacy organizations to discuss strategies pharmacists can use to address opioid abuse, diversion, and addiction. The meeting was funded by grants from Purdue Pharma L.P., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt, the pharmaceuticals business of Covidien, and Teva Pharmaceuticals. A white paper of the conference proceedings is being drafted and will be submitted to the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association for publication.

Media vibe

During the months of October and November, APhA External Communications and Media Advisors responded to more than 30 media inquiries including the following:

  • Woman’s Day: Ten things that affect dreams
  • The Huffington Post: Managing medications during financially tight times
  • Tennessean: Pharmacist notification of voluntary recalls
  • Medicine cabinet safety
  • New York Times: Large-scale compounding; compounding pharmacy
  • Reuters: Services provided by compounding pharmacies
  • Healthy Living Made Simple: Talking to your pharmacist to avoid adverse effects
  • Inside Health Policy: Pharmacist scope of practice issues
  • Cosmopolitan: Obtaining emergency contraception from your local pharmacy
  • USA Today: Proper storage practices for compounded steroids; medication adherence and doughnut hole discounts
  • All You: Saving money on prescription drugs
  • Pharmaceutical Commerce: Adverse drug event reporting in electronic health records
  • Columbus Dispatch: The shift of flu vaccine into pharmacies
  • Drug Topics: VALID Compounding Act
  • Managed Healthcare Executive: Explanation of pharmacy compounding
  • Associated Press: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statement regarding contraceptives as OTCs

Members are talking …

Join the conversation at

Click on the link to the APhA members–only e-Communities. The former MTM e-Community is now the APhA–APPM Medication Management Special Interest Group (SIG). This group utilizes the e-Community as tool for communicating and sharing of information. Following are excerpts from a recent MTM e-Community discussion.

“I find that stating that I am YOUR pharmacist helps break the [communication] barrier. … I find that most people are very interested and appreciative of the personalized attention and time spent with them.”

“As a community pharmacist when I call my patients and tell them I am their pharmacist it is because I have earned that right my building a relationship.”

“Yes, I do get seniors suspicious of the phone call. … Sometimes they simply say no thank you and hang up. But that is not the majority. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised how often that does not happen.”

In American military health care, the role of the pharmacist was solidified through General George Washington’s appointment of Andrew Craigie as Apothecary General in 1777, said MG (Ret) James M. Collins, U.S. Army, in his keynote for the annual Veterans Day tribute on the front steps of APhA headquarters on November 12. During the ceremony, Elizabeth K. Keyes, BSPharm, APhA Chief Operating Officer, read a poem by Edgar Guest, “The Things That Make a Soldier Great.” At the end of the ceremony, the wreath on the stand was placed at the base of APhA’s Memorial Flagpole as “Taps” was played.

Crescent Community Health Center: A model of excellence

Along the Mississippi River in the small city of Dubuque, IA, a community health center has a few not-so-small goals. Crescent Community Health Center (CCHC) launched an initiative to provide high-quality and cost-effective care for all of its patients, including individuals and their dependents on Medicaid and Medicare, as well as those who are uninsured and underinsured.

This is no small task considering that CCHC serves both urban and rural patients over an eight-county area in northeast Iowa. Anyone in the tri-state area, including Illinois, Wisconsin, and other Iowa counties, is welcome to use this high-quality health care facility.

Steps toward excellence

CHCC began this endeavor by enrolling in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, a voluntary program that allows qualifying entities to purchase medications at a discounted price, enabling them to stretch scarce financial resources. In an effort to fully utilize this program, CCHC implemented an integrated in-house contract pharmacy, Mercy Family Pharmacy.

In addition to 340B medications, Mercy Family Pharmacy provides and manages the patient assistance program for CCHC. Mercy Family Pharmacy, in collaboration with CCHC medical providers, offer medication therapy management (MTM) services for patients to ensure they are receiving the most cost-effective medication regimens.

Mercy Family Pharmacy works with CCHC to provide online access to laboratory data to help evaluate the efficacy of medication regimens and provide access to electronic health records at the health center. Patients who participate in the MTM program receive medication counseling and education about adverse drug events.

Minimizing adverse events

CCHC is also a member of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative (PSPC), where two of CCHC’s staff members are PSPC faculty members. PSPC consists of interprofessional teams that improve the health outcomes and safety for high medication risk populations through patient-centered, cost-effective medication management services aligned with quality national standards.

Together, PSPC and CCHC are working to minimize adverse drug events and increase the quality of care for their patients. CCHC and Mercy Family Pharmacy are tracking patients’ progress towards health care goals, reducing the risk of adverse drug events, and truly putting their patients first.

In addition to the programs mentioned above, CCHC also implemented the following initiatives:

  • Integrated care model with primary care, clinical, and dispensing pharmacy services
  • Postgraduate year 1 Community Pharmacy Resident program with a focus on clinical pharmacy practice–based research
  • Physician–pharmacy collaborative practice agreements for specialty clinics in anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma
  • Strong organizational support and a developed business model that provides resources for clinical and dispensing pharmacy services
  • Integrating revenue maximization, perpetual inventory, auditing, and reporting systems into their operating procedures
  • Participation in the HRSA 340B Peer-to-Peer Network as a recognized Leading Practice Site

To learn more about the 340B Peer-to-Peer Community, visit http//

Stephanie Rilei
Contributing writer

123 million doses

The number of available doses of the influenza vaccine that have been sent out to providers at press time. Manufacturers projected they will make around 135 million doses this year.

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APhA2013: Tools for lifelong learning

APhA has long been recognized as a leading provider of continuing education for pharmacists. When you participate in an APhA training activity, you know you are getting a rigorous, thorough, and effective learning experience. The 2013 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition is no different.

At APhA2013, you’ll find more than 80 programs that enable you to earn 20 continuing pharmacy education (CPE) credits in a broad array of topics. APhA2013 is the live component to our holistic suite of professional education offerings that allow you to learn, stay current, and apply the latest and greatest skills to your patient population.

We rely heavily on attendee feedback from past meetings, and many of the academy leaders who serve on APhA’s standing education committees are preceptors who work in academic settings. Our published practice guidelines also inform the Annual Meeting education lineup. Best of all, APhA2013 content is specifically designed to complement and build upon what you’ll find in our home study materials.

A winning team

This year, we’ve assembled an all-star cast of experts to keep you informed about the latest trends in science, practice, and the business side of pharmacy. APhA2013 clinical updates will cover hot topics such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and hypertension. We’re also prepared to answer your questions about medication therapy management (MTM), electronic health records, and the ongoing impact of the Affordable Care Act on the U.S. health care system.

Don’t miss the exciting lineup of supplementary shortcourses and certificate training programs. Shortcourses will be offered on ambulatory care, cardiopulmonary respiration, and establishing a community practice residency. Certificate training programs will cover immunizations, diabetes care, and MTM services.

Pathways to success

APhA2013 sessions are organized into the following eight tracks so you can build a curriculum that is relevant to your practice area:

  • Access to care: Information about federal programs and regulations that impact practices serving the nation’s underserved, uninsured, and underinsured patients
  • Clinical patient care and services: Updates on the management of a variety of disorders, conditions, and therapies
  • Educating the educators: Tools, best practices, and practical skills for our pharmacy educators
  • Health-system pharmacy: Topics relevant to those who practice in hospital, long-term care, and other clinical settings
  • Integrating science into practice: Learn the science behind the treatments and procedures you use
  • Nuclear pharmacy: Updates on products, methods, and policies impacting oncology drugs and radiation therapies
  • Pharmacy law and regulations: Stay current on the legal issues affecting your pharmacy practice
  • Pharmacy management and professional leadership: Management and leadership tools to develop the business side of your practice

The bottom line

The changing face of health care in the United States is posing challenges across the spectrum, but it also offers a range of new opportunities for pharmacists. Pharmacists are uniquely poised to monitor chronic conditions and provide education and outreach. This new health care landscape is also generating new job opportunities in the public and private sectors. APhA2013 has the tools to get you ready for the next generation of jobs in your field.

Leslie Toussaint
Contributing writer