2014 Civic Leader of the Year Finalists
Civic Leader of the Year
At the Beverly Hills Pharmacy and Gateway Apothecary in St. Louis, owner Chris Geronsin, RPh, serves a diverse group of patients, ranging from professional athletes, to senior citizens, to the homeless.
The Beverly Hills Pharmacy serves the trainers, players, and owners of several local sports teams, including the St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Blues, and the St. Louis Cardinals, in addition to their minor league clubs. To better serve these unique patients, Geronsin provides a tracking service to the Cardinals. Through the program, coaches and trainers can transmit prescriptions electronically in real-time from the field and have them delivered to the stadium, using a smartphone for signature transmission. The system then creates a master record, tracking each player’s medication history.
In addition to his work with professional athletes, Geronsin is also passionate about reaching out to the many other members of his community. Using his connections in the world of professional sports, he holds events where he brings in athletes to discuss diabetes, hypertension, or other disease states.
Recognizing the importance of medication adherence, he takes strip packaging to section 8 housing for seniors and housing projects to identify patients. In addition, he works with Cape Girardeau’s health care department to provide strip packaging to their job core program, which provides housing for the homeless.
He also works with the city’s health department to educate patients about the spread of infectious diseases and to provide free blood tests and patient care. In addition, Geronsin offers weekly clinics for psychiatric clinics, allowing social workers to easily check their patients’ medications.
Geronsin also works to improve care for the children within his community. Collaborating with the school’s medical director, he donates albuterol to school nurses so asthma attacks can be treated onsite. He also partners with the police chief, encouraging children to get involved in basketball leagues.
“Even though he says that his contributions are nothing spectacular, I think we can continue to expect great things from Chris,” his nomination read.
Amy Gutierrez, PharmD, has over 25 years of inpatient and ambulatory care experience, with an extensive focus on state and federal regulatory standard compliance.
As the director of pharmacy affairs for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, she oversees pharmacy policy and drug formulary management and provides medication use oversight for 4 system hospitals, a national rehabilitation center, and multiple ambulatory care centers. She co-chairs both the system’s pharmacy and therapeutics committee and medication safety committees, and oversees the $145-million annual pharmaceutical budget.
Dr. Gutierrez also works to serve under- and uninsured patients. She developed a system-wide formulary to provide her patients with cost-effective medication choices. To implement the program, she created a comprehensive list of the system’s medical and health care centers, which serve more than 2 million county residents without insurance. She also helped establish guidelines for treating chronic conditions, including high cholesterol and diabetes, to provide preventative medicine and disease state management to uninsured patients.
Dr. Gutierrez helped to create Healthy Way LA, a health program that provides free primary and specialty care, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, and medication to eligible low-income, uninsured patients. The program currently serves nearly 24,000 patients and is working to enroll more than 55,000 patients.
Dr. Gutierrez has also helped to provide the human papillomavirus vaccine to her under- and uninsured patients. She petitioned Merck to broaden their patient assistance program to provide Gardasil to public facilities. Her efforts not only resulted in free vaccinations for Los Angeles County, but also for every county in the United States.
Dr. Gutierrez is a member of the California Hospital Medication Safety Committee, and has served as a pod advisor for the California Healthcare Foundation’s Leadership Fellowship program. She is an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at both the University of Southern California and Western University of Health Sciences. In June 2014, she was reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown as a professional member to the State Board of Pharmacy, where she serves as the board’s vice president.
For Danny R. Johnson, RPh, pharmacy extends beyond filling prescriptions and into community affairs.
As the owner and pharmacist of Marble City Pharmacy in Sylacauga, Alabama, Johnson’s main priority is the health of his patients. Understanding that money often impedes care and adherence, his pharmacy staff works closely with local prescribers to ensure patients can afford medications, changing 30 to 40 prescriptions each day when patients’ health insurance does not cover the prescriptions or when patients cannot otherwise pay for them.
Johnson is passionate about providing affordable medications to his community, even when his business does not profit from the prescription. In 2010, Alabama initiated a program to make Tamiflu available for free to residents. Johnson joined the program as a provider, dispensing the medication to patients in need, free of charge.
“Even though it cost him money to dispense [the Tamiflu], he was more interested in providing the service to his community than in making money on the deal,” his nomination read.
In addition to providing medications and services to his patients, Johnson is also passionate about providing medical and financial information to his staff and community. Twice a year, he hosts diabetes health fairs and regularly speaks to citizen groups and churches in the community about Medicare Part D and its regulations.
After learning about financial consultant Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University,” he purchased the educational series and held classes to teach his staff on how to manage their finances. After seeing the success of the program with his own staff, Johnson purchased a version of the course geared toward high school students and donated it to 2 local high schools. The course is now offered as part of the curriculum at these schools.
“He is an excellent example and steward of the leadership role that pharmacists can play in their communities—and for how independent pharmacy will continue to be a marketplace contender well into the future,” his nomination read.”