APhA Celebrates Pharmacists' Contributions to Increasing U.S. Immunization Rates and Improving Public Health


The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) today announced the selection of recipients of its 2016 Immunization Champions Awards recognizing individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions toward improved vaccination rates within their communities.

Press Release

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) today announced the selection of recipients of its 2016 Immunization Champions Awards recognizing individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions toward improved vaccination rates within their communities.

“Pharmacists continue to make significant contributions to the health and wellness of our communities and are valued members of the immunization neighborhood,” said APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA. “We are excited to announce our 2016 champions who represent a cross-section of pharmacists, pharmacies and activists who have made a profound difference in their communities. These, and the thousands of other immunizing pharmacists and stakeholders are extraordinary people and organizations.”

This year’s national champions include: Holly Van Lew, PharmD, Director of the Pharmacy Immunization Clinic at the Indian Health Service Medical Center in Arizona, winner of the Individual category, who led her center to administer 44,000 vaccinations across the lifespan in 2015; Pratik Patel, PharmD, winner of the Community Outreach category, who worked with faith-based organizations to deliver free influenza vaccinations to residents in medically underserved communities in Detroit, MI; Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the National Vaccine Program Office, winner of the Friend of Pharmacy category, who coordinates the federal government’s effort to increase national immunization rates and is an advocate for pharmacists’ role in the immunization neighborhood; Giant Eagle Pharmacy, national winner of the Corporate/Institute category, for their collaboration with the communities they serve and providing vaccine information and administration across the lifespan; The Maryland Partnership for Prevention, winner of the Partnership with Others category, for coordinating flu clinics and other immunization activities with schools in Baltimore and Howard counties in collaboration with pharmacists; and Kathie Smith, a lead technician for a CVS pharmacy in Godfrey, IL, winner of the Pharmacy Team Member category, who has been a tireless advocate for improving vaccination rates in her store and community.

“The awards demonstrate APhA’s ongoing commitment to improving public health through vaccinations,” Menighan said. “2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of APhA’s gold standard, National Pharmacy-based Certificate Training Program that has trained more than 280,000 pharmacists across the country. This program, resources and the leadership of APhA has supported the profession’s efforts towards making a difference in public health.”

The APhA Immunization Champion Awards consist of six categories of recognition, including individual practitioners, friend of pharmacy’s immunization efforts, corporation/institution, partnership with other health care providers and public health, community outreach, and pharmacy team member. Nominees were evaluated based on the areas of impact, collaboration, originality, and overcoming challenges and creating opportunities for pharmacists. APhA also recognizes Merck, Seqiris, and VaxServe for their support of this awards and recognition program. APhA established the awards in 2008.

“Because of APhA’s leadership, along with others in the pharmacy community,” Menighan said “access and public awareness of immunizations has changed over the past two decades. APhA is committed to collaboration, coordination and communication with other immunization stakeholders focused on meeting the needs of patients and protecting our communities from vaccine-preventable disease.”

The 2016 Immunization Champions Awards are as follows:


National Winner

Holly Van Lew, PharmD (Phoenix, AZ)

Honorable Mention

Deanne Hall, PharmD (Pittsburgh, PA)

Anne Skoe, RPh (Sartell, MN)


National Winner

Pratik Patel, PharmD (Detroit, MI)

Honorable Mention

West Penn Hospital Immunization Clinic (Pittsburgh, PA)


National Winner

Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH (Washington, DC)


National Winner

Giant Eagle Pharmacy (Pittsburgh, PA)

Honorable Mention

Realo Discount Drugs (New Bern, NC)

SUPERVALU Pharmacies (Eden Prairie, MN)


National Winner

Maryland Partnership for Prevention (Owings Mills, MD)

Honorable Mention

Cape Fear Clinic, Inc. (Wilmington, NC)


National Winner

Kathie Smith (Alton, IL)

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