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

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.

"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, (pictured above) 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.

"Layson-Wolf has demonstrated leadership in the development of innovative pharmacy services in Maryland," said Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, , professor and chair of the school's department of Pharmacy Practice and Science."

MPhA Executive Director Howard Schiff, BSP, a 1956 graduate of the School, 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.

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.

SOP Board of Visitor 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 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. 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.

Posting Date: 06/17/2010
Contact Name: Steve Berberich
Contact Phone: 410-706-0023
Contact Email: sberberich@umaryland.edu