Abby Caplan Reynolds, PharmD (left), and Kyle Burcher (right)
accept thier Next-Generation PharmacistTM Awards at a gala event in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 29, 2011.
Future Pharmacist Focuses on Patient Care and Advocacy
Awarded to the pharmacy student who demonstrates spirit and passion for the profession primarily through academic achievement, in conjunction with one or more of the following criteria: industry advocacy, patient advocacy, technology innovation, civic leadership, and environmentalism.
Kyle Burcher, the 2011 Next-Generation PharmacistTM Awards winner for Future Pharmacist of the Year, was pursuing a degree in business finance until a job as a pharmacy technician changed his life.
Burcher was impressed with how the pharmacists he worked with made a difference in the lives of the elderly patients in their care. “Seeing [them] counsel patients made me realize the impact that a pharmacist can have on tens of thousands of patients throughout his career. Working there opened my eyes to the potential for pharmacists to change lives and led me to change my career,” Burcher says.
Burcher is close to completing his studies at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, from which he will graduate with a PharmD in 2012. Throughout his program, Burcher has stayed true to the principle that brought him to pharmacy in the first place—patient care.
Burcher often volunteers his time, always with the goal of using his pharmacy expertise to help others. He has served as a counselor at a camp that provides diabetes education for children with type 1 diabetes, volunteered at the Arkansas Free Health Center, developed pamphlets on proper diet for patients with diabetes for the American Diabetes Association, and raised money for Easter Seals of North Georgia.
Burcher recently played a pivotal role in a massive Multicultural Health Fair at the state’s largest flea market. Anticipating the needs of the local Hispanic population, Burcher arranged to have 4 translators from the Spanish Club accompany the 51 pharmacy students. The volunteers provided screening and education to more than 350 patients.
This future pharmacist is an active member of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). At this year’s APhA-ASP–sponsored Dawgtoberfest, a health fair for the college community, Burcher coordinated pharmacy students to provide vaccinations and education to faculty members and students.
Burcher is also a strong pharmacy advocate. He organized a letter-writing campaign in advance of the Georgia Pharmacy Association’s Pharmacy Legislative Day that resulted in 62 letters advocating pro-pharmacy legislation. Burcher also participated in the National Association of Chain Drug Stores RxImpact Day, where he met with members of Congress to discuss the benefits of the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2011.
Burcher urges his fellow students to get involved—and make a difference. “Advocacy is a critical element to the advancement of our profession,” he said. “We, as students, must teach the members of the Senate and House of Representatives about the integral role that pharmacists play in the health care team. One of the biggest ideas we can communicate to our legislators is the benefit that pharmacists can provide by directly improving patient care.”
Rising Star Shows the Power of New Practitioners
Awarded to a pharmacist who has been licensed and practicing fewer than five years, yet has made a tremendous contribution to the specific pharmacy in which he or she works and/or the pharmacy industry overall.
With just 4 years’ experience under her belt, Abby Caplan Reynolds, PharmD, is shepherding pharmacy practice into a new era. In winning the 2011 Next-Generation Pharmacist TM Award for Rising Star of the Year, Dr. Reynolds demonstrates that even someone relatively new to pharmacy practice can have a huge impact on patients and the profession.
Dr. Reynolds received her PharmD from West Virginia University in 2007. She honed her patient care and clinical skills during the post-graduate residency that she completed with the University of North Carolina and Kerr Health.
In her current position as a clinical coordinator at Kerr Health in Zebulon, North Carolina, Dr. Reynolds is an enthusiastic provider of disease state management and clinical services, including medication therapy management (MTM), immunizations, point-of-care testing, and patient education.
Dr. Reynolds’ professional accomplishments embody the sea change taking place in pharmaceutical care, and she has garnered national recognition for these efforts. She was part of the Kerr team that was named MTM Provider of the Year by Outcomes Pharmaceutical Health Care. She was also a diabetes educator for Kerr when the health center was honored as one of the American Diabetes Association Providers of the Year.
Dr. Reynolds says that winning the Rising Star of the Year category will be a motivating factor to work to her fullest potential. “Pharmacists are facing the challenge of defining their roles in health care delivery through the provision of pharmacy services,” she says. “I am glad to be part of what I view as a critical transition in health care delivery and will continue to advocate for our profession.”
In addition to providing outstanding patient care, Dr. Reynolds has worked closely with legislators and state health plans to expand the pharmacist’s role at the state and national levels. She contributed to the landmark MTM bill introduced by Senator Kay Hagan (D, NC) in 2010 and collaborated with the North Carolina State Health Plan to launch a 12-month MTM wellness pilot that has yielded promising preliminary results.
Committed to advancing the profession, Dr. Reynolds is also a clinical instructor for the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, where she serves as preceptor for students on community experiential rotations. Dr. Reynolds advises students to get involved and to participate actively in pharmacy associations. She says, “I would also encourage pharmacy students to find a mentor. I have wonderful mentors who have contributed to the pharmacist I am today. In choosing a career path, do what makes you happy!”
The Next-Generation Pharmacist TM Awards program, presented by Pharmacy Times and Parata Systems, honored pharmacists in a total of 11 categories this year. To read more about this year’s winners, visit http://phrmcyt. ms/pHzJOh. Preparations are already beginning for the 2012 Next-Generation Pharmacist TM Awards, so be sure to visit www.PharmacyTimes.com or www. nextgenerationpharmacist.com for more information. You can also get updates by liking the Pharmacy Times and Next-Generation Pharmacist pages on Facebook. Beginning February 1, 2012, entry forms will be available so you can nominate a deserving mentor, colleague, friend—or even yourself—for this prestigious award.