ANTHC, Tribal health pharmacy staff recognized with Alaska Pharmacists Association accolades

March 11, 2019

Our pharmacists working throughout the Alaska Tribal Health System continually go above and beyond to provide the best care to our people. An ANTHC Pharmacy technician and the Inpatient and Infusion Pharmacy Optimization Team, in addition to two pharmacists from our partner Tribal facilities, were recently recognized by the Alaska Pharmacists Association for their outstanding efforts. At the recent Alaska Pharmacists Association Annual Convention, an award ceremony recognized pharmacists and technicians throughout the Alaska. This year, pharmacists and technicians working in Tribal health facilities received four out of the five awards. The Pharmacy Technician Award recipient was Brian McKnight, pharmacy Technician III at ANTHC’s Internal Medicine Ambulatory Pharmacy. As the sole technician in this pharmacy, McKnight wears many hats. Many patients have mentioned they appreciate his great, friendly voice that greets them as they check in to the pharmacy. He assists the pharmacists in preparing medications, maintains the medication inventory for the pharmacy and five Pyxis units in ANTHC’s Healthy Communities Building, orders new stock of medications and supplies, including ensuring the pharmacy has stock of items that are difficult to acquire due to logistics or manufacturer short supply. McKnight’s organizational skills allow the pharmacy to operate extraordinarily well with a limited amount of staff. He also expresses a great deal of empathy, which allows him to provide excellent customer service in a respectful and compassionate manner. The Excellence in Innovation Award recipient was the ANTHC Inpatient and Infusion Pharmacy Optimization Team: Anne Marie Bott, Ashley Schaber, Kris Swinney, Angela Hallock, Kara King, Christina Eldridge, Kathy Crowther, Alicia McDonald and Kris Auza. The ANTHC Pharmacy sought to optimize technicians’ scope of practice and enhance use of technology. Initially all technicians at ANTHC were under the same job description with no monetary incentive for growth. A collaborative relationship between pharmacists and technicians enables maximum utilization of resources to achieve optimal patient care. Recognizing this gap, ANTHC established a tiered technician growth ladder based on responsibilities and reflected in pay and in turn shared this with other Alaska pharmacies for their implementation. The purpose of this innovative program was to optimize workflow and safety with pharmacy compounding technology while expanding roles of technicians. Expanded technician roles and elevation on the growth ladder prior to, during, and after implementation were creative aspects of this program. ANTHC’s innovative approaches have been shared with other facilities throughout Alaska as they strive to enhance safety, increase efficiency and advance technician roles. At least two other Alaska facilities have implemented similar technician growth ladders based on ANTHC’s model. The Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award recipient was Michelle Vaughn, pharmacist at Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau until December 2018. Vaugnh is a board certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP), board certified in Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM), National Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Anticoagulation (NCPS) and a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Vaughn helped develop the Interdisciplinary Diabetes Care Clinic at SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and established a new clinical position for Ethel Lund Medical Center, representing a significant advancement in clinical pharmacy for Alaska pharmacists.  She assisted with successful implementation of electronic health record and pharmacy point of care testing for SEARHC ELMC. She worked to expand chronic medication renewal and OTC medication collaborative practice agreements and developed multiple policies for SEARHC. The Distinguished Alaskan Pharmacist Award recipient was Mike Beiergrohslein, Senior Integrated Pharmacist at Southcentral Foundation’s Anchorage Native Primary Care Clinic. Beiergrohslein has been actively involved in the Southcentral Foundation resident and student programs since 2004. In 2012, he became the Residency Program Director for the SCF PGY-1 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists accredited residency program. Of the last seven residents, all were retained within the Alaska Native Medical Center and five were subsequently hired on as integrated clinical pharmacists under Beiergrohslein’s guidance and mentorship. He leads the Residency Advisory Committee monthly meetings and encourages personal growth and professional development for residents and new preceptor pharmacists alike. Please join us in congratulating the ANTHC Pharmacy staff and our Tribal health partner staff who were recognized for their dedication and hard work in serving our people throughout the Alaska Tribal Health System.  

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