APhA Names Dr. Rafael Saenz Chief of Staff

CONTACT: Frank Fortin

202.223.7189; ffortin@aphanet.org

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) announced today that it has named Rafael Saenz, PharmD, MS, FASHP, as Chief of Staff of the association. Dr. Saenz will have oversight for membership and member relations, health systems and international strategy, meetings and expositions, publications and periodicals, communications and marketing, and creative services.

Dr. Saenz received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, and his Master of Science in Pharmacy Administration from the University of Wisconsin, while concurrently completing the Pharmacy Administration Residency Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital.

Between 2011 and 2019, Dr. Saenz served as the Chief Pharmacy Officer at the University of Virginia (UVA) where he oversaw the pharmacy enterprise for the health system. Within this role, he led an expert team that successfully deployed clinical pharmacist services throughout the system, implemented LEAN medication distribution workflows, oversaw a $250M drug expense budget and created several new business lines for UVA including a full service specialty pharmacy. Further, he led the expansion of pharmacy residency programs for UVA having tripled availability of positions during his tenure.

Prior to UVA, Dr. Saenz served as Pharmacy Operations Manager for UPMC in Pittsburgh. In this role, he had oversight for clinical unit based pharmacy services and retail operations before switching his focus to the pharmacy practice sites within UPMC’s international ventures in Palermo, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. He has deployed clinical services, information technology systems, created supply chains, met regulatory and accreditation requirements, implemented best practices in medication use safety, and launched new pharmacy business initiatives domestically and internationally.

Dr. Saenz has served the profession through active membership in several state and national pharmacy organizations. He has served on workforce and education committees with various organizations aimed at increasing the pharmacist and technician scope of practice. In 2015, he was appointed to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and served as its chair from 2018 to 2019.

“We are privileged to have such a respected and accomplished leader as Rafael join us at APhA,” said Scott J. Knoer, MD, PharmD, FASHP, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of APhA. “With him on our growing team, APhA will help our members transform the pharmacy profession with innovative strategies that will grow our organization’s impact and empower our pharmacists across practice sites to care for the patients they serve.”

“Working at APhA at this moment in time is unbelievably thrilling,” said Dr. Saenz. “The profession is at a crossroads, and I am eager to join the fight to advance the practice of pharmacy, raise the level of awareness of a pharmacist’s ability to positively impact patients across practice sites, and form meaningful relationships with stakeholder groups so that our profession can come together in an unprecedented manner. I believe very strongly in APhA’s vision and approach to creating the necessary change we need, and I am eager to play my part in the creation of a strong, stable, and highly effective organization that serves all of Pharmacy.”