2014 Lifetime Leadership Finalists


Lifetime Leadership

Michel Disco has done more than simply practice pharmacy during her career.

“Michel has been a pioneer in fostering a public health system that delivers free or affordable health care to those who are not in a position to seek it,” her nomination read.

Disco participated in New Mexico Pharmacists’ Association teams that composed pharmacists’ prescriptive authority legislation for overdose treatment, contraception, immunizations, tobacco cessation, and tuberculosis testing. Each piece of legislation was enacted, permitting pharmacists to prescribe the therapies to patients in need of them.

She also served as the pharmacy team representative for another key piece of New Mexico legislation. Partnering with the Council on Asthma, School Nurses Association, Health Department, and Board of Pharmacy, Disco’s expertise assisted in legislation that helped to make emergency drugs such as albuterol inhalers and epinephrine more readily available through school nurses.

She also organized an envoy of pharmacists and students who promoted the bill and educated legislators during 1 of its sessions.

Her involvement with the School Kids Influenza Immunization Program helped 67% of New Mexico children aged 17 years and younger receive flu vaccinations during the most recent flu season. Her participation in the 6-year-old program came as a result of her involvement in the New Mexico Immunization Coalition. She’s recruited and trained pharmacy students to administer the free shots, served as a faculty advisor to other immunization groups, and, through the program, visited 450 schools to immunize 51,000 students. That, in turn, minimized the spread of influenza within the state.

Prior to the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy “wooing” Disco to academia, she spent 31 years in community pharmacy.

“The dean was looking for someone with strong community connections, a proven track record, and drive,” her nomination read. “Wise choice!”

Albert Garcia is a third generation pharmacist and the 13th pharmacist in his family, and his career is filled with accolades and success stories.

Now the executive vice president for Navarro Discount Pharmacies and president of Navarro Health Services in Florida, Garcia oversees all pharmacy retail operations, company-wide adherence programs, pharmacy distribution, specialty business, fulfillment, and the call center.

His achievements at Navarro include developing a central fill from scratch that handles more than 6500 prescriptions per month, creating a 21-agent call center, and developing the company’s specialty pharmacy. In addition, he developed a medication adherence program that contributed to an agreement to manage all Blue Cross Medicare members in the state.

A 23-year career with Walgreens, where he oversaw pharmacy operations prior to joining Navarro, added to his experience as an executive.

“He is a seasoned executive with a successful track record in the pharmaceutical industry that spans more than 3 decades,” his nomination read. “He has a broad background in both the hospital and retail sectors of the profession.”

During his 10-year appointment to the Florida Board of Pharmacy, Garcia provided leadership, guidance, and vision, shaping the practice of pharmacy in the state. He served as board chairman and chairman of the board’s rules committee. His attention to technology concerns helped the committee craft rules to integrate technology that improves productivity, efficiency, and workload.

In addition to his board post, Garcia was appointed to the state’s Drug Wholesale Advisory Committee in 2003, a post he continues to hold.

Garcia has also branched into academic pharmacy as an adjunct professor of pharmacy at 3 colleges of pharmacy. At those posts, he serves as a mentor to students studying in retail, specialty, and management areas. He also helped develop the state’s first accredited retail residency pharmacy program.

When handed a challenging task, COL Keith A. Wagner, PharmD, took the opportunity to improve pharmacy operations across the entire US Army.

In addition to leading the Moncrief Army Community Pharmacy, COL Wagner was assigned the task of optimizing pharmacy operations, reducing costs, and ensuring that specific standards were followed for all US Army pharmacies.

“His tenacity and vision ensured that any item that impacted pharmacy operations or patient care was carefully scrutinized and driven to excellence. His influence on excellence not only supported personnel and patients, but vendors that support pharmacy automation.”

Due to these successes, the Army Surgeon General appointed COL Wagner as the first Army pharmacy informatics consultant and clinical capabilities manager in 2012.

COL Wagner has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Services Medal, the global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. In addition, he has been honored with the Order of the Military Medical Merit and the “A” professional designator.

COL Wagner began his military career in 1984 when he enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard. He received his initial commission through the Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1989, completed his Bachelor of Science at North Dakota State University in 1992, and received his doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Florida in 1996. In addition, he completed an oncology pharmacy practice residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

From the start of his career, COL Wagner has worked in a number of pharmacy positions within the military. He has served as the chief of outpatient and pharmacy at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, chief of pharmacy service at Fort McPherson, chief of hematology and oncology at Tripler Army Medical Center, assistant chief of the department of pharmacy at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, and chief of the department of pharmacy at Moncrief Army Community Hospital.

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