Planting a seed: Foundation program funds pharmacy-based projects

The 2013 incentive grant cycle funds 22 winning proposals; past recipients share success stories


Offering pharmacists across the country seed money to start or support an existing patient care service within their pharmacy practice, the APhA Foundation has announced 22 recipients of the 2013 Incentive Grants for Practitioner Innovation in Pharmaceutical Care. The winning proposals from this year’s recipients address issues ranging from pharmacogenomics to patient awareness and impressions of pharmacists’ clinical services in the community setting.

As the profession collectively pushes forward in pursuit of recognition and valuation of pharmacists’ clinical services through the provider status initiative, it is important that we continue to add to the pool of knowledge and evidence of the value of the pharmacist. The incentive grant program is one way that the APhA Foundation is working towards this goal.

“It’s a win–win for patients, pharmacists, and the profession,” said Mindy Smith, BSPharm, APhA Foundation Executive Director. “The APhA Foundation is very proud of its incentive grant program and sincerely appreciates partners, such as the Community Pharmacy Foundation, who help support this invaluable program.” The program is funded by the APhA Foundation with significant support from the Community Pharmacy Foundation. Funding for 2013 totaled $23,500.

Program turns 20

Inaugurated in 1993, the Incentive Grants for Innovation in Pharmaceutical Care is the APhA Foundation’s longest-running program. Grants totaling more than $500,000 have facilitated the development of nearly 500 pharmacy-based projects, improving the health outcomes of thousands of patients across the country and adding to the profession’s demonstration of the value of the pharmacist.

The incentive grants have been a starting point for many pharmacists’ engagement and leadership within APhA, the Foundation, and in practice. Just as important, awarding an incentive grant encourages residents, students, and practitioners to foster new ideas and allows them to lead by example.

Success stories

Awarded an incentive grant in 2003, Cynthia J. Boyle, PharmD, used the seed money to inspire students to be leaders and advocates within the pharmacy profession. Boyle’s proposal was “atypical” compared with other Foundation projects, Boyle recalled in an interview. At the time, Boyle was a faculty member at the University of Maryland and was teaching a leadership and advocacy course that had started in 2002. Recognizing the importance of the topic, she applied for an incentive grant to expand the impact of the course and bring together two colleges of pharmacy—the University of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)—to collaborate and create a joint course.

Boyle diligently shared information about the course in a variety of venues, including the annual meetings of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and APhA. Many campuses across the country have since developed similar courses focused on inspiring a new generation of pharmacy leaders. As an outgrowth of the original course, Maryland and VCU identified a need for the creation of a book focused on leadership and advocacy for students, practitioners, and faculty. Leadership and Advocacy for Pharmacy was published in 2007 with Boyle; Robert Beardsley, BSPharm, PhD; and David Holdford, BSPharm, MS, PhD, FAPhA, as co-editors. Plans were recently developed to update the book with new content by Gary Matzke, PharmD, FCCP, FCP, and others and to make the content available through APhA’s to increase access.

In 2010, Anthony Pattin, PharmD, received an incentive grant for a project focused on pharmacy technician involvement in the provision of medication therapy management (MTM) services in the community setting. At the time, Pattin was serving as a community practice resident with the University of Toledo. Previous research conducted by the university identified that one barrier to the implementation of MTM services was related to the time it took pharmacists to complete the ancillary work of the services such as paperwork and patient phone calls.

Pattin took this information and formulated a proposal to develop a training program and manual to teach pharmacy technicians about MTM and the role they can play to enable pharmacists to have increased time for direct patient care. Due to the success of Pattin’s project, the Columbus Kroger Division has since incorporated the training that he developed into the level three technician training (highest designation for a technician with Kroger). The use of technicians in the MTM program has contributed to an expanded number of pharmacists being able to participate in the Kroger MTM program, according to an interview with Pattin.

As an individual practitioner, Pattin credits the incentive grant program with preparing him well for his current role as a faculty member at a research-intensive university. Currently, Pattin is working on proposals to conduct research on the integration of community pharmacists as partners within the patient centered medical home.

Funded projects for 2013

For the 2013 incentive grant cycle, the Foundation was pleased to receive many high-quality applications. Funded projects vary greatly in topic area. One forward-thinking project proposed by Courtney Ammons, PharmD, a community practice resident with Jewel Osco in Lombard, IL, will examine the educational needs for implementation of pharmacogenomics services in a community pharmacy setting. Several recipients’ projects will focus on patient awareness and perceptions of MTM and pharmacists’ clinical services. Another will look at the integration of MTM services into the pharmacy workflow.

Past, current, and future incentive grant projects will continue to be an asset to the pharmacy profession as resources that can be used to demonstrate the value of pharmacists’ clinical services. Moving forward, the APhA Foundation will continue to seek funding opportunities to expand the availability of incentive grants and encourage practitioners to develop innovative ways to advance the profession of pharmacy.