Maria Young, BSPharm
As an APhA member the owner of University Pharmacy in Detroit since 2008, Maria Young, BSPharm, is active in promoting APhA's effort to gain provider status for pharmacists. "My goal is to redefine how people see pharmacies and to realize that we should be part of their health care team. We show our community how much pharmacists are needed by providing thousands of immunizations, point of care testing and counseling for chronic disease management."
Maria has also participated in the APhA Foundation’s Project ImPACT: Hypertension, an initiative that highlighted the important role that pharmacists play in helping patients manage hypertension. She has been highly involved in providing medication therapy management services for patients with diabetes. Maria earned the 2013 Pharmacist of the Year Award from the Michigan Society of Community Pharmacists as well as the 2012 Fred W. Arnold Public Relations Award from the Michigan Pharmacy Foundation for outstanding achievement and dedication to the profession through community education and awareness.
As an APhA member and an executive board member of the Michigan Pharmacists Association, Maria also seeks to ensure the next generation of pharmacists are ready for the challenges of keeping Michiganders healthy by participating in health clinics at Wayne State University and by mentoring student pharmacists.
Aisha Shokoya, PharmD Candidate
Aisha Shokoya,PharmD Candidate, is an APhA member and student pharmacist at the Palm Beach Atlantic University Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy. In September, along with several professors and student pharmacists, she met with Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) to discuss H.R. 592 and how it would benefit her constituents. Congresswoman Frankel’s staff had contacted APhA to learn more about the bill and hear from pharmacists and pharmacy students in her district.
"I am passionate about advocating for the profession," Shokoya said. I want to use what I have learned to help serve the community and be recognized as a specialist in my field. As a student, I have realized the importance of advocating so every person is aware of our unique skill set that goes beyond medication dispensing."
To prepare for her meeting, Shokoya and colleagues had talking points that identified how the legislation would benefit Rep. Frankel's districts as well as pharmacists. "We explained how supporting the bill would allow pharmacists to practice to the best of their ability. We are drug specialists and have a unique skill set in medication use that could assist the health care team in achieving optimal health outcomes for patients.” Shokoya noted Rep. Frankel acknowledged pharmacists are accessible and complement other health care providers, and the Congresswoman planned to examine the bill in more detail with her staff.
Shokoya encouraged other students to participate in the effort to pass provider status legislation. “My biggest piece of advice to student pharmacists advocating to policymakers for the first time is to not be intimidated, but to speak out calmly and confidently about what you know and are capable of doing. Also, make time in your study schedule to advocate because at the end of the day it is for your profession.”
Kelsea Caruso, PharmD Candidate
Kelsea Caruso, PharmD Candidate, is an APhA member and a fourth-year student pharmacist at Midwestern University – Chicago College of Pharmacy in Downers Grove, Illinois. She is very committed to educating fellow students and the community about the significance of supporting provider status. For last year’s American Pharmacists Month Kelsea organized a Media and Advocacy Day in downtown Chicago and invited all APhA-ASP Chapters around the region to increase awareness of and support for provider status. Throughout the day students appeared on ABC News, traveled through Millennium Park passing out "Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine" flyers, and most importantly engaged the community in conversations about the importance of establishing a relationship with their pharmacist. This event was a powerful way to get the support of the community for provider status.
Kelsea is passionate about promoting the value of pharmacists’ patient care services as she believes, “pharmacists will not achieve provider status if our patients do not believe in us, and the community does not fully support the role we play in helping them achieve better health.”
Travis Hale, PharmD
Travis Hale, PharmD, is an APhA member and is currently operating a 100+ year old pharmacy, where he provides and promotes the same care the pharmacy has always offered – even serving some patients who have been coming there for over 50 years! Travis has been involved in the Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign for quite some time, and has taken his support to the next level by becoming involved in the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition’s (PAPCC) media campaign to support federal provider status efforts. Travis, along with other practicing pharmacists, participated in a photoshoot that will be used to highlight the value of pharmacists and the patient care services they provide. In his own words: “The Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign is very important to me both personally and professionally for what it is trying to achieve, a recognition of pharmacists not only as providers, but as the most accessible providers. Our specialized training in medications makes us an integral component to the health care team. As a pharmacist, I provide care every day through the health-related questions I'm asked, the physical conditions that I'm asked to look at, the medication reviews I perform each time a medication is filled, the in-depth counseling I provide knowing all our customers’ histories and the unrecognized extra steps I take behind the scenes to help my patients. These services deserve to be recognized and ultimately compensated for.” Thank you, Travis, for serving as a wonderful example of all the ways pharmacists help their patients and for helping to spread the word about provider status on a national level!
Courtney Meade, PharmD Candidate
Courtney Meade, PharmD Candidate, is an APhA member and final-year student pharmacist at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy in Clinton, South Carolina, as well as past chapter APhA-ASP Vice President of Policy (2014-2015). Courtney has been instrumental in getting students involved in the Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign at Presbyterian, and helped the school be recognized as one of the top 5 schools involved in the campaign from the beginning. She has orchestrated several policy nights for students to learn more about the campaign, helped students write letters to Congress and the state legislature and represented the school at various regional and national meetings, including the Asheville Summit for Provider Status and the 2015 APhA Annual Meeting. In addition, she is spearheading a school-wide policy initiative that will establish a joint policy committee with all pharmacy student organizations. According to Courtney: “My school is located in a rural community in South Carolina, where there is an anticipated lack of primary care providers on the horizon. I feel pharmacists have the ability to bridge this gap in a unique way if we are given provider status. As a future pharmacist, I want more than anything to play an active role in shaping the collective voice and future of our profession. The Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign provided an easy, fun, direct and interactive means to engage the entire student body at Presbyterian in the ongoing efforts to achieve provider status.” Thank you so much for all your hard work, Courtney – you are an inspiration to student pharmacists everywhere!
Brandi Hamilton, PharmD, RPh
Brandi Hamilton, PharmD, RPh, is a new practitioner and APhA member, completing year two of a Health System Pharmacy Administration Residency at CHI St. Luke’s Health – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. She is also working toward her Master of Sciences in Pharmacy Leadership and Administration at the University of Houston. Brandi earned her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy, and served as the 2013-2014 APhA-ASP National President and as an APhA Trustee. She currently serves on the APhA President’s Council and on the ASHP Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers’ Advisory Group on Patient Care Quality.
Beyond her official commitments, Brandi has been an active supporter of the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign since the very beginning. She has shared her story to help spread awareness about provider status, and has written to her members of Congress multiple times, urging them to support the current provider status legislation. According to Brandi, “As a former APhA Trustee, I was intimately acquainted with the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign from its inception. Now, as a new practitioner, it remains my obligation and opportunity to do all I can to see that our profession is always moving forward. To me it is obvious that pharmacists should be recognized as health care providers in order to ensure that patients have access to the best possible care, as well as to allow pharmacists the opportunity to do the work we are trained to do. I have made it a personal mission to share that vision with others within and outside of our profession.” Thank you, Brandi, for working tirelessly to spread the word about provider status for pharmacists to everyone!
Kori Daniels, PharmD Candidate
Kori Daniels, PharmD Candidate, is an APhA-ASP member and a third-year student pharmacist at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. As the most recent Vice President of Policy for the APhA-ASP chapter, Kori went above and beyond in not only contributing to the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign herself, but also spreading the word about provider status to her fellow student pharmacists. She’s distributed provider status commitment cards at events around campus and has sent numerous policy postcards to legislators to educate them on the importance of pharmacist-provided services. In addition, she organized a letter writing campaign for the University of Mississippi Chapter, where she walked members through the steps to write letters to their Members of Congress. In her own words: “I want pharmacists’ services to receive greater recognition because it increases the trust and respect patients have for the profession. The profession of pharmacy has evolved, and Schools of Pharmacy are graduating students that are highly qualified for the new roles we can fill. Public awareness of these new opportunities is a great way to advance the profession.” Thanks so much for all your hard work for the campaign, Kori!
Saranprett "Sunny" Nagra, PharmD Candidate
Saranprett “Sunny” Nagra, PharmD Candidate, is a second-year student pharmacist and APhA-ASP member at the University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Recently, while sitting in an information session about provider status and learning about Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs), Sunny realized that there was no easy way to check whether or not you lived in one of these MUAs. To solve this problem, Sunny created a mobile application that easily checks if you are in an underserved area using your phone’s GPS. The app also allows you to learn more about the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, find your Congressional representatives, dive deeper into pharmacist patient care services and the impact they have on patients, and connects you to the Pharmacists Provide Care website. As Sunny himself says: “All in all, I wanted the Provider Status app to not just help raise awareness about provider status, but also to be utilized as a tool by student pharmacists and pharmacists to help advocate for the profession of pharmacy. Aside from providing information about provider status, I hope that this idea will inspire others to come up with even more innovative ways to help push forward the pharmacist provider status campaign.” Thank you to Sunny for creating this app and putting information about provider status in the palms of people’s hands so that they too can serve as advocates for the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign!
Don Downing is an APhA member and pharmacy professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. He was instrumental nationally in developing pharmacist-provided immunizations and contraception, and the results of those efforts have motivated him over the past 15 years to seek recognition for clinical pharmacy services. This year, Don was key in helping Washington State achieve legal and regulatory provider status victories, culminating in the passage of legislation that requires health insurance carriers in Washington State to enroll pharmacists in their provider networks. Don says: “I support the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign because patient access to quality care depends on policy makers’ recognition of and payment for clinical pharmacy services.” Thank you Don for all that you’ve done for pharmacists in Washington and your continued advocacy for the provider status movement on a national level!
Emily Eddy, PharmD Candidate
Emily Eddy, PharmD Candidate, is an APhA member at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy on the Asheville campus and serves as the Asheville President of the Carolina Association of Pharmacy Students. Recently, Emily helped organize the Asheville Summit for Provider Status at her school, bringing together more than 120 students, state officials and representatives from nine different pharmacy schools to discuss provider status and hear about successful models of integrating pharmacists into health care. "As student pharmacists we are tomorrow's pharmacists and it is important that we advocate for our profession. I want my voice to be heard so that when I go in to practice I am able to affect change for my patients and be recognized for the care that I can provide as part of the health care team."
Janet K. Astle, BSPharm, EdD, RPh
Janet K. Astle, BSPharm, EdD, RPh, is an APhA member and the Assistant Dean for Student Services at Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy. She has long been a strong promoter of provider status, and helps actively promote student involvement in advocacy at Duquesne. Beginning in 2011, the School of Pharmacy has had students travel to Capitol Hill each year. Last year, 195 students and faculty participated in more than 50 legislator visits to advocate on behalf of provider status! Dr. Astle and her student pharmacists will be traveling to Capitol Hill again in October. “Woefully underutilized as health care providers, pharmacists possess the knowledge, skills, and training necessary to contribute to patient care through healthcare screenings, immunizations, medication reconciliation in transitions of care, medication therapy management, disease state monitoring and management programs, and collaborative care agreements. Provider status would allow pharmacists to practice at the top of their license, within the scope of state pharmacy practice laws, to provide optimal care to medically underserved patient populations.”
Kiera Miller, PharmD Candidate
Kiera Miller, PharmD Candidate, is an APhA member and a first-year student pharmacist at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy - MUSC Campus. An active advocate for the pharmacy profession, Kiera has referred over 60 fellow pharmacy friends to join the PPC campaign. She took a minute to tell us why supporting provider status is so important to her: "I chose to support the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign because pharmacists are an essential part of the health care team. We are the medication specialists and know more about medication therapy than any other healthcare provider. Gaining provider status would further help patients on their journey to better health."
Scott Kjelson, PharmD, CPh
Scott Kjelson, PharmD, CPh, is a pharmacist from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and a strong advocate for pro-pharmacy legislation. In fact, Scott has referred more than 80 of his pharmacy friends and colleagues to join the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign! In his own words… “I chose to support the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign because I see a greater value in what we as pharmacists could be doing to help save lives. I work hand and hand with patients to see how I can improve lives and make lifestyle changes.”
Bhumika Parekh, PharmD Candidate
Bhumika Parekh, PharmD Candidate, is a student pharmacist and APhA-ASP member at Western University of Health Sciences who is actively involved in advocating for the profession pharmacy – not only as a Pharmacists Provide Care supporter, but also as a grassroots committee representative for the California Pharmacists Association. After referring over 70 fellow pharmacy friends to join the PPC campaign, Bhumika took a minute to tell us why supporting provider status is so important to her: “H.R. 592 and S. 314 will enable the expansion of pharmacy on the national level by seeking changes in Medicare laws to utilize pharmacists in underserved areas. Many years of hard work and perseverance have led us to this point and it is our task, as the next generation of pharmacists, to keep our profession expanding in scope of practice and improving our service to the community. It is up to us to ensure that pharmacists remain an integral part of patient care.”