The 2020 Next-Generation Pharmacist® awards named EMO Health founder Allison Burns, PharmD, RPh, its winner. Burns, who also serves as president and CEO of the nonprofit, was 1 of 30 peer-nominated finalists announced in August.

The 2020 Next-Generation Pharmacist® awards are presented by Pharmacy Times®, the industry-leading multimedia resource for pharmacists, and Parata Systems, a leading provider of pharmacy automation. The awards program, now in its eleventh year, annually honors remarkable pharmacists, student pharmacists, technicians, and industry advocates in 10 categories.

Chosen by a panel of distinguished judges, the 30 finalists exemplify the pharmaceutical industry’s various roles. Three finalists were selected in each category, signifying a range of pharmacy practice settings, including large chain retailers, independent pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, military bases, health clinics, and educational institutions.

The selection of Burns was announced during the 11th annual national awards program that was held as a virtual format on October 21, 2020. According to her nominator, Burns is a disabled Navy veteran who lost her ability to walk due to avascular necrosis. “Unable to stand to even do a shift at a retail pharmacy, and far overprescribed opioid medications from the VA, Allison reinvented her role as a pharmacist. She began to question the role of pharmacists and how poorly prescribed opioids were contributing to a raging opioid epidemic. She was particularly impacted when a fellow veteran overdosed on prescription opioids,” the nominator wrote.

Burns established EMO Health, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides solutions to health challenges regardless of socioeconomic status. According to Burn’s nominator, EMO Health became the first organization to offer medication therapy management services to underserved homeless and housing insecure patients with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses in residential treatment facilities in Massachusetts.

“She is truly pioneering how pharmacists can make a difference in the community,” the nominator wrote.

Burns, who graduated pharmacy school in 2016, was a finalist in the Rising Star category.