Leaders in Pharmacy 2011

Know your pharmacist

The mission of Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy is to nurture and prepare persons within a Christian environment to be exemplary  pharmacists and to improve health worldwide through innovative pharmacy practice, scholarship and service.

“Our faculty is committed to this mission and they have garnered both national and international recognition for excellence in teaching, research, and service. In addition to our very strong program for providing excellent experiential learning opportunities in Alabama and around the United States, we also offer international experiences in South Korea, Japan, China, Macau, Indonesia, Zambia, and England,” says Dean Charles Sands.

“At the McWhorter School of Pharmacy we are committed to the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners Vision in which pharmacists will be the health care professionals responsible for providing patient care that ensures optimal medication therapy outcomes.”

Dean Sands

Dean Sands sees the school he heads at the leading edge of pharmacy education and industry development.  “It is an evolving profession,” Dean Sands says, “with new and added responsibilities. Our goal is to produce pharmacists that have the knowledge and skills to get the desired outcomes from medication.”

“Pharmacists contribute greatly to the community, communicating with both healthcare providers and patients to achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes,” Sands says.

The month-long observance of American Pharmacists Month is a time to recognize the significant contributions to health care and the commitment to patient care by pharmacists in all practice settings. On the pages that follow, we share the stories and accomplishments of men and women who have made pharmacy their career and calling.

Jason Flebotte

Jason Flebotte, Pharm.D., CDE

Clinical Pharmacist at Rite Aid Pharmacy

A certified diabetes educator, Dr. Flebotte established Rite Aid’s very first diabetes care clinic in its Birmingham-area stores. In addition, he has assisted the chain in setting up comprehensive medication therapy management services in a number of stores throughout the metro area. Flebotte has a heart for people and wants to help people make the best use of their medicines.

“The pharmacy profession is ever-changing, particularly in the community setting. In many areas, the community pharmacist is the most accessible healthcare professional. As a result, pharmacies are expanding the types of services they offer. These services include immunization delivery and medication therapy management.

“The remarkable thing about the pharmacy profession is its vitality. Pharmacists will always play an important role in the lives of people. Although the profession is constantly evolving, the goal of pharmacists remains the same—to provide responsible drug therapy for the purpose of achieving specific outcomes that directly improve a patient’s quality of life.”

Patrick Devereux

Patrick Devereux, Pharm.D.

Vice President and Pharmacy Manager, FMS Pharmacy, Bessemer

Patrick Devereux is both a certified diabetes educator and pharmacist, focusing on patient-centered care, with advanced services in diabetes and other areas.  He has been especially innovative by starting one of the first post-doctoral residencies in community pharmacy practice in Alabama. In his work in establishing FMSPharmacy as a clinical destination, he has been able to establish one of the few accredited pharmacy based Diabetes Self Management Education Programs in Alabama. He serves as a preceptor for Samford Community Pharmacy residency program.

“The highlight for me is being able to actively participate in a patient’s ability to get well and achieve outcomes. I’ve been able to get to know patients on a personal level and help them work with their physicians to find solutions. In independent pharmacy, your patients become your family and finding ways to help them is what keeps the job exciting and why I love opening the store everyday.”

Alex Sproule

Alex Sproule, Pharm.D.

Pharmacist at Homewood Pharmacy

Alex Sproule brought small town pharmacy back to Edgewood, providing access to Homewood citizens in a neighborhood devoid of a pharmacy for years.

“Independent pharmacy gives me an opportunity to build relationships with people. This in turn leads to trust that helps establish me as a medical resource. Its a great feeling to be seen as a medical professional and not just as someone who pushes pills.

“Specifically in the community setting I see the pharmacist evolving into a more practitioner role. Our in depth knowledge of pharmacology is vital in patient care where multiple disease states are present, which in turn leads to complicated drug regimen. I always see myself as a community pharmacist, and as a respected practitioner that can help manage complicated drug regimens in patients.”

Emily I. Warren

Emily I. Warren, Pharm.D., BCPS

Clinical Pharmacy Manager

St. Vincent’s Birmingham

Dr. Warren works tirelessly in collaboration with physicians to ensure that patients at St. Vincent’s hospital are receiving the right medicines at the right doses while they are hospitalized. Dr. Warren is a pharmacist who visits patients rooms to make sure the patient and the family members understand the medicines being administered in the hospital, and to answer their questions.

“Even though I have practiced hospital pharmacy all of my career, I chose pharmacy as my career because of a pharmacist who had an independent pharmacy in my hometown where I grew up. I was very taken by the knowledge that this pharmacist had; and how he would listen to what patients shared and would “make them feel better” even if his answer sometimes was simply you need to go to the doctor. This pharmacist enjoyed what he did (and it showed). He made a difference in his community while practicing pharmacy. I too find joy in seeing the faces of patients that “feel better” or “understand things better” after I have spoken with them.

“Pharmacy, like other healthcare professions, is a career where you will be in the ‘learn mode’ for the rest of your life. Everyday I practice, I continue to learn something new. My pharmacy education laid the strong foundation from which I continue to grow as a healthcare professional.”

Heather Hogue

Heather Hogue , Pharm.D.

Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Jefferson County Department of Health

Dr. Hogue heads up the county health department’s efforts in emergency preparedness and response. Dr. Hogue is responsible for making sure our county’s healthcare system is well prepared for events such as the April 27th tornado, and then ensures an appropriate response to the healthcare issues that may arise following a disaster.

“I like my job because I have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of individuals from a variety of backgrounds.  Being able to help people during emergencies is rewarding.  You know that you’re helping people and that your work is appreciated.

“I think one of the exciting things about pharmacy education is that pharmacists are focusing more on disease prevention in addition to their important role of making medicines work.  Pharmacists are key partners with patients and other providers to ensure appropriate medication therapy outcomes.”

Ami Teague Shell, Pharm.D., BCPS, AAHIVE

Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice

Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and Samford University

The first pharmacist to receive national certification in HIV care and management, Dr. Teague provides comprehensive medication support services to HIV/AIDS patients at Cooper Green, perhaps one of the most complex medication regimens with the highest potential for adverse drug reactions and drug interactions, Dr. Teague is a real healthcare hero.  Not to mention that she also coordinates the scheduling of pharmacists for MPOWER clinics on a volunteer basis.

“Pharmacy has always been patient-focused, but the emphasis has seemed to be on pharmacists as product (medication) providers. I believe pharmacists are transforming that idea by providing services, both cognitive and technical, that reflect our training and education and ultimately our ability to improve the health of patients.”

Anna Meador

Anna Meador, Pharm.D.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice

Christ Health Center and Samford University

Dr. Meador is responsible for establishing comprehensive pharmacists services in this Woodlawn-based ministry of Church of the Highlands. Dr. Meador offers traditional pharmacy services, and also a pharmacist-run diabetes education clinic and pharmacist-run anticoagulation service.  This practice is truly unique in that physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists all work side-by-side in collaborative practice to ensure the best health outcomes for the underserved patients in the area.

“The highlight of my career has been my position with McWhorter School of Pharmacy practicing at Christ Health Center. Daily I get to work with patients, students, practitioners and office staff. Each day is different, yet each blesses me with seeing patients improve their health, students gain practical knowledge, practitioners enhance their patient’s care, and office staff assist the patient throughout the process. Days can be stressful but each time I see a patient respond to our help it removes all anxiety and warms my heart. We work with patients that are not given many chances so to be able to offer them assistance allows us to invest in their future.

“With the roles of pharmacists expanding, the need for more pharmacy students will increase to fill the positions. We are not just standing behind counters counting pills or sitting in basements filling for hospital patients, but we are in the community and in the hospitals interacting with both patients and practitioners with a common goal of patient care.”

Danielle F. Kunz

Danielle F. Kunz, RPh., BCPS, (AQ)

Infectious Disease Program Director- PGY1  Pharmacy Residency Infectious Disease/

Antimicrobial Stewardship,

University of Alabama Hospital, Birmingham

Call her the “infection buster,” Dr. Kunz is an infectious disease specialist. She works closely with infectious disease physicians and other hospital staff to make sure antibiotics are being used appropriately to minimize the risk of resistant strains. She monitors those hospitalized at UAB for infection to make sure these often critically ill patients are getting the best use of their antibiotics, and she helps set infection control policy to prevent infections in the first place.

“Pharmacists will always be the experts in drugs and drug therapy. However, pharmacists must also accept the challenge of managing the overall medication use system to make it safer for patients.

“Antibiotics are among the most frequently prescribed medications for hospitalized patients. Overuse of these medications leads to the development of resistant bacteria which will alter their effectiveness. In the future, I hope to be more involved with the development and implementation of policies that educate others on the appropriate use of antibiotics in the hospital setting.”

Greg Bradford

Greg Bradford, Pharm.D.

Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Baptist Medical Center Shelby

As a clinical pharmacy specialist at Baptist, Dr. Bradford ensures the appropriate use of medicines in hospitalized patients. He focuses on those who are critically ill, where this is a high probability of adverse drug effects due to changes in the way the critically ill person’s body breaks down and gets rid of drugs. Most of Dr. Bradford’s patients don’t know that he is there because of their critical illness. He is truly a quiet, behind the scenes, unsung hero for his patients.

“I believe pharmacy continues to evolve from a product focused industry to more of a cognitive service based profession. Pharmacists are key members of the healthcare team in making decisions to help patients achieve the most from their medications and overall treatment plan.

“I like my job because of the interaction I have with physicians, nurses, and patients on a day to day basis. I enjoy being an advocate for the patients I serve by trying to ensure they are receiving appropriate therapy for their conditions.”

Steven Lawley

Steven Lawley, Pharm.D.,

Senior Pharmacist for Pulmonary and Cardiology, clinical pharmacist with the UAB  Gasteroenterology Service

When a patient undergoes an organ transplant at UAB, there will be a pharmacist on the medical team helping to monitor the drug therapies to make sure they are working correctly to help keep the body from rejecting the new organ. Dr. Lawley is just one of the pharmacists at UAB involved in this effort, representing a commitment to team healthcare at UAB.  In addition to his life-changing work at UAB, Dr. Lawley has a passion for helping pharmacists from other countries learn how team-based healthcare works.  He has hosted visiting scholars from China, Japan, and currently is hosting a scholar from Vietnam….Lawley happens to speak Vietnamese fluently!

“UAB has an excellent clinical practice and this provides me with the opportunity to allow a pharmacist from Vietnam to come and observe our practice for two months so that they can return to Vietnam with examples of practice to implement there. I like that my institution and my position give me this opportunity to impact pharmacy practice all over the world.

“Pharmacy practice is dynamic. New medical therapies emerge on a daily basis. The challenge is continue to update knowledge related to our area of practice. Pharmacy will continue to provide drug information but in light of economic constraints, we must help the medical team to provide the most cost effective care for the patient as well as the institution. Pharmacy education is vital in that it must train pharmacy students to meet these two challenges.”

Mary Worthington

Mary Worthington, Pharm.D., BCPS

Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Children’s of Alabama and Samford University

Kids tug at our heartstrings; caring for sick and critically ill children is a calling. Dr. Worthington has devoted her career to making sure parents are comfortable with the medications their kids are receiving, and making sure those medicines work. Compassionate, caring, and called. These are words that sum up the dedication Dr. Worthington has to making sure that kids under her watch at Children’s are getting the very best medicine.

“I think pharmacy continues to evolve into being even more patient centered.  A good example of this is the role community pharmacists are now playing with immunizations, particularly for adults and potentially, in the future, for adolescents.  Pharmacy also evolves to keep up with the advancing health sciences.  As we continue to learn more about individual drug metabolism and receptor response to drugs, there will be new opportunities for pharmacists to help optimize medication use.  Pharmacy also needs to continue to adapt to the overall changes in the health care system and can be an important member of medical home models and ensuring medication continuity of care.

“It is important for pharmacy education to keep the patient at the center of learning. In my career, I have seen pharmacy education continue to increase the time that is spent in real pharmacy settings. At Samford, students now begin working in community pharmacies in their first semester, and this opportunity helps them at the earliest point to see how what they are learning applies to patient health.”

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