Residency Graduate Profile: Justin Wilson, PharmD

A Community Pharmacy Residency – Trained Pharmacist Excelling in Independent Community Pharmacy

Justin Wilson, PharmD

Co-Owner, Bestyet Pharmacy - Harrah, Oklahoma
Manager, Valu-Med Pharmacy - Midwest City, Oklahoma
Assistant Clinical Professor - University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy

Justin Wilson is a man on a mission to bring clinical pharmacy services to community pharmacies in Oklahoma. Like many innovative community pharmacists, he was initially unaware of the opportunities presented by such a career path. As a student at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, he knew that he did not want to be a traditional dispensing pharmacist and planned to pursue a clinical practice in an ambulatory care setting. However, while attending national pharmacy meetings, he learned about opportunities to provide patient care in community pharmacy. Wilson met Matthew Osterhaus, RPh, FASCP, at a student retreat and was intrigued. Wilson recalls, “He was doing exactly what I thought pharmacists should do with their education. A light bulb went off,” and Wilson decided he wanted to be involved in community pharmacy. After earning his doctor of pharmacy degree, Wilson sought a residency in Iowa—an area of the country where innovative community pharmacy services were more widespread. In 2002, he began his community pharmacy residency training through the University of Iowa’s program at Osterhaus Pharmacy. Wilson credits the team of pharmacists at Osterhaus Pharmacy for stoking his passion for community pharmacy. “It was inspiring to be around a group of pharmacists who were incredibly dedicated to patient care and supportive of my efforts,” he explains. During his residency training, Wilson was involved in several clinical areas of community pharmacy, including diabetes management, smoking cessation, healthy lifestyle coaching, lipid management, osteoporosis screening, and a cardiovascular wellness program, called Heart Smart, for a self-insured employer. In addition to cultivating his clinical skills, Wilson was immersed in learning how to develop viable business plans for community pharmacy services. His residency project focused on performing a financial analysis of the Heart Smart program, which demonstrated that providing the service to a self-insured company was profitable for the pharmacy.

The results of this analysis were published in the September/October 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. After completing his residency in 2003, Wilson returned to Oklahoma inspired and prepared to revamp the pharmacy that had been in his family for over 20 years. It didn’t take long— he started seeing patients within 6 months. Wilson has worked closely with other pharmacists at the pharmacy to mentor them and give them opportunities to use their skills. Patient care services offered by the pharmacy include MTM, diabetes management and education, immunizations, and a travel health service. These services have been financially viable, and Wilson recently purchased his third pharmacy. Wilson views the changes in pharmacy practice as beneficial for the entire health care system. “Pharmacy is in a prime position to support patients with chronic conditions and provide preventive health care,” he remarks. The transformation has not only benefited the patients but has also improved the job satisfaction for the pharmacists. “Every day we come to work excited about our jobs because we are able to impact the care of our patients,” reflects Wilson. In addition to training other pharmacists at his practice sites, Wilson is investing time in the next generation of pharmacists. He precepts an APPE for fourth-year student pharmacists, delivers lectures, and is a pharmacy practice lab instructor for the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. Additionally, University of Oklahoma initiated its own community pharmacy residency program in 2009, and residents spend elective time on site with Wilson.

Wilson has been very active with pharmacy associations ever since he was a student pharmacist. He has held several positions in state and national pharmacy associations and was vice president of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association in 2009. The value of his contributions has been recognized by many local, state, and national pharmacy organizations. Wilson has received awards from the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and in 2008, he received the Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award from Pharmacists Mutual. “Participating in the residency was the best decision I could have made as a pharmacist,” remarks Wilson. “It truly shaped the way I view community pharmacy practice and inspired me to take an active role in patient care. It also taught me how to overcome roadblocks to implementing a service and making it profitable.” Wilson strongly recommends that others explore opportunities to participate in community pharmacy residency programs. “I can’t stress enough how valuable it was to the way I practice today. If someone wants to make a difference in patients’ lives and enjoy it every day, it is the best thing to do.”