2013 Military Pharmacist of the Year Finalists


Military Pharmacist of the Year

Military Pharmacist of the Year

Throughout his career, Lt Col Achilles Hamilothoris has saved money and lives with his continued commitment to customer service and improving the efficiency of processes.

After working for CVS Pharmacy for 6 years, Lt Col Hamilothoris began his military career as a US Air Force Captain, working as an outpatient and inpatient pharmacist at Travis Air Force Base in California. He then moved to the Andersen Air Base Wing in Guam, where he was named the US Air Force Pharmacist of the Year and the Andersen Air Base Wing Group Company Grade Officer of the Year in 2004.

In 2008, he earned a master’s degree in science from Auburn University, where he studied process improvement and medication error detection and prevention. After graduating, he was promoted to major and sent to the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Philadelphia. Using his knowledge of process improvement, he created the first Customer Pharmacy Operation Center to help customers save money and help facilities throughout the world procure medications.

As division chief for the center, Lt Col Hamilothoris implemented new generic medication training programs, introduced new software, and initiated a project to increase the amount of mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicles in Afghanistan. The center has also helped train customers on business intelligence tools, such as Best Pharm and National Contract Compliance Report, as well as help manufacturers put items on government contract faster. His efforts in developing the center have saved the Department of Defense millions of dollars as well as saved the lives of service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded 4 medals, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, for these achievements.

Recently, Lt Col Hamilothoris has helped to develop a tracking tool to compare the center’s recommendations to facilities actually accepting these recommendations, saving almost $17 million during the first 2 quarters of the 2013 fiscal year. He has used his experience to train thousands of military and civilian professionals on cost saving and efficiency improvement techniques at conferences and society meetings, including the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Joint Forces Pharmacy Seminar, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Currently, Lt Col Hamilothoris serves as Pharmacy Flight Commander at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and is the lead pharmacist for the Air Force Global Strike Command, covering more than 400,000 beneficiaries.

MAJ Lyle Kolnik, PharmD, BCPSWomack Army Medical CenterFort Bragg, NC

Just 8 years after graduating from pharmacy school, Dr. Lyle Kolnik has already made contributions to the military pharmacy field due to his extensive education and ability to adapt to fill the needs of the pharmacy.

Before Dr. Kolnik joined the Army he began preparing himself for the challenges of being an Army pharmacy officer, receiving 13 years of college education, completing 2 residencies, and becoming a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist.

Shortly after completing both a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency and a PGY-2 Residency in Critical Care in 2007, Dr. Kolnik was commissioned as a captain in the United States Army and was assigned to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, near Kaiserslautern in Germany. He served as a clinical pharmacy critical care specialist to help provide pharmaceutical care to hundreds of wounded service members injured abroad. During this time he was also assigned to the 212th Combat Support Hospital located nearby, where he served as the chief of pharmacy and ancillary service.

After 3 years in Germany, Dr. Kolnik was assigned to Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he was soon promoted to major. Although he was assigned to lead the clinical pharmacy operation and residency program as the chief of outpatient operations, Dr. Kolnik spent much of his time helping to ensure a successful renovation of the main outpatient pharmacy in preparation for the installation of almost $1 million in new automation equipment. His dedication to the project led to a successful installation and stabilization period, serving as the expert on the new pharmacy automation technology.

He was also responsible for outpatient pharmacy operations at WAMC and 9 satellite pharmacies, providing services to more than 170,000 beneficiaries. In addition, he provided oversight and directed patient care services for the center’s anticoagulation clinic. During his year-long stay, he implemented new outpatient work flow designs, employed stock bottle verification, and initiated drug mapping for more than 3100 line items. These efforts helped to decrease prescription wait time and medication filling and dispensing errors. He also wrote the WAMC policy for outpatient systemic anticoagulation and the WAMC pharmacy procedure guide for the management and inventory of controlled items.

Dr. Kolnik is currently stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan, where he is the sole pharmacy officer for the 101st Airborne Division.

LTC Leslie Gibbs Walthall, PharmDUS Army Medical Service Corps

San Antonio, TX

LTC Leslie Walthall’s talent for organizing and managing large projects with small teams has helped improve pharmacy operations within the country and overseas.

LTC Walthall entered military service in December 1992 as a Medical Specialist in the United States Army Reserve. She graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Wyoming and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. While serving in the reserves, she commanded the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment for the 4214th United States Army Hospital, and graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

While deployed on a Medical Readiness mission to the Dominican Republic in 2001, she cared for more than 5000 patients with a team of 5 non-pharmacy personnel, supervising the safe dispensing of more than 15,000 prescriptions.

Her experience in the Dominican Republic would help her after 9/11 when she was assigned to the United States Army Medical Department Activity in Wuerzburg, Germany. Shortly after her arrival, her supporting unit, the 67th Combat Support Hospital, deployed to Iraq. As the only active duty military pharmacist remaining in Wuerzburg during the deployment, she was responsible for providing pharmaceutical care to over 25,000 beneficiaries in a catchment area spanning over a 300 mile radius. She implemented more than $1.5 million in performance improvement initiatives and developed pharmacy support procedures for the soldier readiness processing station.

During her time deployed at war, she was selected to serve as a pharmacist in support of Detainee Healthcare Operations with the 31st Combat Support Hospital and was assigned as the only clinical pharmacist to care for high-value detainees in Baghdad. At the same time, she also cared for American and Coalition troops and organized the handoff of medications to the US Air Force.

Throughout her career, she has embraced technology, using more than $15 million of automation equipment to streamline prescription processing for more than 30 outpatient pharmacies and 6 hospitals throughout the Department of Defense. She currently serves as the Chief of Pharmacy for the West Point Health Service Area, where she is responsible for more than 4800 cadets and 25,000 patients. In this position, she has modernized pharmacy operations with more than $2.5 million of automated equipment.

LTC Walthall was selected to serve as the US Army Service Lead for the Joint Service Pharmacy Technician training program at the Medical Education and Training Campus in San Antonio, TX. She transitions to her new assignment in July 2013.

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