School of Pharmacy Faculty, Mentors, and Student Sweep Top Statewide Professional Awards

Released: 21-Jun-2010 11:35 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Maryland, Baltimore
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Newswise — For outstanding pharmacy performance and selfless community service in various settings, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (SOP) faculty, mentors, and a student have landed all seven of the major awards presented by the Maryland Pharmacists Association (MPhA).

Each year, the MPhA recognizes professional excellence by honoring the most accomplished pharmacists working in the state. This year, the guidance provided by SOP faculty and mentors known as preceptors and the School’s continued focus on expanding the pharmacist’s role in health care were dominant themes in the awards presentations at the association's 2010 annual convention. It was held at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, in Ocean City, Md., on June 14.

"Service to our students, our patients, and our community is vitally important to all of us at the School of Pharmacy and is one of the many ways our School demonstrates leadership within the pharmacy profession,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “These awards are a reflection of how seriously our faculty, preceptors, and students take their commitment to service, and I congratulate each of the recipients on all that they have accomplished.”

Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice and science (PPS), won the MPhA Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award for her leadership in teaching and leading community immunization programs, a popular and successful expansion of the pharmacist’s role in recent years. Layson-Wolf's efforts have been supported most recently by NeighborCare of Maryland. "I am so proud of the pharmacists who have taken on the role of immunizers and have made the program work and of the patients for placing trust in the pharmacists," she said.

“Dr. Layson-Wolf has demonstrated leadership in the development of innovative pharmacy services in Maryland,” said Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, professor and chair of PPS. “The Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, through its faculty, is committed to transforming the practice of pharmacy in the state of Maryland by developing partnerships with community stakeholders.”

MPhA Executive Director Howard Schiff, BSP, a 1956 graduate of the SOP, said that in a year when pharmacy immunization practices grew to be more prevalent than ever, Layson-Wolf's teaching “showed the kind of forward thinking needed for pharmacists who have expanded their practice into new areas.”

The Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award went to Christine Lee-Wilson, PharmD, a former SOP community pharmacy resident and a past assistant director for clinical affairs of the award-winning Maryland P3 Program. The P3 (Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships) Program has effectively provided patient-centered health education and chronic disease self-management for employers in Maryland and Virginia. It works through designated pharmacists who coach employees who have diabetes, or other chronic diseases, to manage their condition at a minimum of expense and maximum production to their employers, "Christine was the one. She got all of us started on the right track." said pharmacist Kristin Fink, PharmD, clinical pharmacy specialist at Kaiser Permanente.

The top award for community leadership and service performed outside of a pharmacy--the Bowl of Hygeia Award--went to SOP preceptor and 1981 graduate David Fulton, BSP. Since starting Whitesell’s Pharmacy in Frederick. Md., in 1984, Fulton has involved himself and his family in many charitable organizations, such as the Religious Coalition of Frederick, national arthritis and diabetes associations, groups against prescription drug abuse, the Salvation Army, and many others. "Owning our own pharmacy has given us the opportunity to be involved in these organizations," he said.

SOP board of visitors member, and one of the school’s leading preceptors, Gina McKnight-Smith, PharmD, MBA, was named the 2010 MPhA Mentor of the Year for “her dedication to encouraging pharmacists, technicians, and students in the pursuit of excellence in education, pharmacy practice, service and advocacy," said Schiff. McKnight-Smith, a 1997 SOP of Pharmacy graduate, said her daily message for others in the profession is, "Find someone. Pair up. Mentor forward."

Del. Donald Elliott, BSP, of Carroll and Frederick counties, a pharmacist and 1957 SOP graduate, was named Honorary President of MPhA for "being the voice of pharmacy in the General Assembly of Maryland for the past 24 years," said Schiff.

Brian Hose, PharmD, owner of Sharpsburg Pharmacy, said, “Delegate Elliott has been instrumental in helping us organize our annual legislative day efforts for thousands of pharmacy students to visit the General Assembly to advocate for their profession. His Annapolis office is always available to us. Through the years, he has helped push for funding for the School’s new Pharmacy Hall Addition and for laws that allow a pharmacist to give immunizations and to collaborate with a physician to manage drug therapy.” Hose, a 2006 SOP graduate, is chair of the Maryland Pharmacy Coalition legislative committee.

The MPhA Seidman Distinguished Achievement Award, a lifetime achievement honor, went to SOP adjunct professor and 1984 graduate Matthew Shimoda, PharmD, who is immunization coordinator and pharmacy manager for Super Fresh stores in Maryland and Delaware. Shimoda likened the community service role of a pharmacist to the life-skills teachings of basketball coach John Wooden of the University of California, Los Angeles, who died recently at age 99. Speaking directly to students, “the next generation of pharmacists present,” Shimoda said: "Practice the best of pharmacy and just like John Wooden, you will become the coach of life skills.”

The MPhA Student Scholars Award was presented to SOP student Julie Mathias, a member of the Class of 2011 who is from Westminster, Md. Mathias has excelled in her courses and in numerous extracurricular activities, as well as interned in a community pharmacy. Cynthia Boyle, PharmD, FAPhA, director of the School’s Experiential Learning Program and an associate professor in PPS, said, “Julie makes events work and projects happen. From instituting the Association of Student Pharmacists chapter newsletter to helping found the University of Maryland, Baltimore Outreach Council, she has been impactful and forward thinking.”


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