Meet the Finalists in the 2021 Next-Generation Pharmacist Awards

Pharmacy TimesOctober 2021
Volume 87
Issue 10

The Next-Generation Pharmacist Awards national program salutes pharmacy professionals who are defining the industry’s future.

The Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards national program salutes pharmacy professionals who are defining the industry’s future. This prestigious program, cofounded by Pharmacy Times® and Parata Systems and now in its twelfth year, recognizes pharmacy leaders across a wide range of practice settings who embody the innovation and inspiration in pharmacy and the future vision of the profession.

Here are the 2021 Next-Generation Pharmacist® Award winners in each of the 10 categories. We congratulate these outstanding pharmacy professionals.


Angela D. Adams, PharmD, MPH

Executive Director, Central Florida Pharmacy Council

Source of Inspiration: As a young child growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, I was inspired by the caring nature of a community pharmacist, fondly referred to in the neighborhood as “Doc.” He owned the Oak Drug Store and was well respected and trusted by my parents and often was our family’s first stop for minor health ailments.

Greatest Achievements: My greatest achievement in pharmacy has been creating culturally appropriate health education programs that serve as a tool in eliminating health care inequities and disparities. These programs empower underserved populations to become proactive and advocates in the management of their health.

Personal Philosophy: I believe in order to teach people and expect them to learn, I must gain their trust and respect, eliminate barriers, and be willing to meet them where they are. It is important that I approach people with an open mind. Each day brings us unique opportunities to teach and also to learn.

Vision for Pharmacy: I am passionate and positive about the future of independent pharmacy. We are only scratching the surface of what services pharmacists in an independent community pharmacy setting can provide. My father’s words still echo in my ear as we positively impact the different communities we serve: “Help others and do the right thing.”


Dr. Casey Villhauer, PharmD, BCGP

Founder, Vaxi Taxi

Source of Inspiration: When I was growing up in rural Iowa, our pharmacist was a helpful and trusted pillar of the community. I was drawn to the profession due to the accessibility and reliability of this role in the health care system.

Greatest Achievements: My greatest achievements involve giving back to the profession. Mentoring future pharmacists and creating practice opportunities for my colleagues are my largest contributions to pharmacy.

Personal Philosophy: If you don’t know the answer, learn it. Serve the greater good with integrity. If you are passionate for a cause, go all in.

Vision for Pharmacy: My vision for pharmacy is to be the go-to trusted resource for patient health education and problem-solving.


Raneem Pallotta, BHS

Student Pharmacist, Northeast Ohio Medical University

Source of Inspiration: Both of my parents are immigrants who came to American with nothing but the clothes on their back. They inspired me to not only enter the pharmacy profession but to continuously care for those in need.

Greatest Achievements: My greatest achievements in pharmacy have occurred when I am advocating for my patients. Although these encounters may be small, they impact the patient directly and help achieve true patient-centered care.

Personal Philosophy: If you work with me, you’ll often hear me say that I treat every patient as if they’re my father. My dad has numerous health issues, low health literacy, and trouble advocating for himself. Treating every patient as if they are my father means I take the extra time to explain things, encourage questions, and to simply care about their well-being.

Vision for Pharmacy: My vision for the pharmacy profession is to provide the highest-quality of patient care, advocate for our profession, and help continue to expand the role of a pharmacist.


Kara Piechowski, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, CTTS

Internal Medicine Clinical Pharmacist Founder and Program Director, Tobacco-Free Me

Source of Inspiration: I was inspired to enter the pharmacy field to work directly with patients while addressing public health issues such as access to care and preventative medicine.

Greatest Achievements: I am an inpatient internal medicine clinical pharmacist and adjunct professor. I started the Breathe Well, Live Well group class to help people stop using tobacco. I designed the structure and curriculum for this class, which incorporates pharmacotherapy and behavior techniques and promotes sharing and positive reinforcement. I also started Tobacco-Free Me, a volunteer organization that includes this course, and also free online modules, individual counseling, and health care provider education. I enjoy volunteering for Angels for the Heart, Relay for Life, the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, and the Carolina Honduras Health Foundation. During the pandemic, I helped draft my institution’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines, the WV state treatment guidance for health care professionals, and an open letter to the public to encourage vaccination.

Personal Philosophy: My personal philosophy is to practice positivity, possess a growth mindset, and speak up for others.

Vision for Pharmacy: I am excited to see the pharmacy profession continue to expand in public health initiatives, especially in rural areas with limited access to health care.


John A. Piper, PharmD, FCCP, FAPhA, FFIP

President and Professor Emeritus, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis

Source of Inspiration: As a pharmacy student, I was inspired by the passion and impact of pharmacy faculty members, and I wanted to inspire student pharmacists in same way.

Greatest Achievements: International Pharmaceutical Federation and Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Wyoming.

Personal Philosophy: My personal philosophy is to not set limits on on what I can achieve and to always remember that students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Vision for Pharmacy: My vision is that pharmacists, as the most accessible health professionals in communities, will be the first practitioners that individuals approach with health care questions and issues.


Alicia B. Forinash, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, BCACP

Professor of Pharmacy Practice, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis

Source of Inspiration: My mother’s passion for patient care as a pediatric nurse and my love of chemistry inspired me. I feel I was born to be a pharmacist, as I was always interested in how medications worked. As a junior golfer, I carried a mini-medicine cabinet in my golf bag and loved to help my competitors with their headaches, allergies, bug bites, and cuts.

Greatest Achievements:

  • Establishing an effective clinical pharmacist specialist position within an interprofessional obstetrics service
  • Assisting with the creation of and participating in the care of patients at the Women and Infant Substance Help, which provides obstetric and substance abuse care for pregnant and postpartum women
  • Developing and serving as residency program director for PGY2 ambulatory care residency for 10 years

Personal Philosophy: My patient care philosophy is to treat each of my patients as if she were my mother/sister and serve as their advocate to provide the best care possible. I also try to instill in my students, residents, and children to dream big and work hard.

Vision for Pharmacy: I envision that pharmacists will have national provider status allowing the profession to practice at the highest level of our education while being highly integrated into patient care and having enough time for all pharmacists to serve as patient advocates.


Chelsea Hustad, PharmD, CSP

Clinical Operations Manager/Pharmacist in Charge, Lumicera Health Services

Source of Inspiration: I’ve always enjoyed the medical sciences and wanted a career where I could go home each day knowing I made a positive impact on someone’s health care journey.

Greatest Achievements: Building patient-centered clinical programs designed to assess each patient’s individual treatment goals, monitoring their progress toward those goals, and seeing the resulting positive clinical outcomes has been some of the most rewarding aspects of my career so far.

Personal Philosophy: I strive to always put in my best effort every day, lead by example, and learn from both positive and negative experiences to continuously try to improve myself.

Vision for Pharmacy: Pharmacists will continue to be an integral part of a patient’s health care team. The profession has the ability to empower patients with the knowledge they need to navigate their health journeys and achieve positive outcomes.


Amber Suthers, CPhT, MSAH

Clinical Services Manager, Surgoinsville Pharmacy

Source of Inspiration: I have always loved interacting with all facets of health care, and pharmacy was the easiest way to learn the most about them all.

Greatest Achievements: Obtaining my master’s degree in allied health and adding COVID-19 testing to our list of services.

Personal Philosophy: There is always a solution to a problem, so keep working.

Vision for Pharmacy: I hope pharmacy practice will continue to evolve and be the driving force behind changing the face of health care and collaboration between professionals.


Hugh Heldenbrand, PharmD, MS

Clinical Solutions Architect, CPESN

Source of Inspiration: I started my career on an academic track, but left for the pharmacy industry, because I felt I could have a more direct impact on improving the quality of human life.

Greatest Achievements: The Pharmacist Care Plan hasn’t been my achievement alone, but I am most proud of the contributions I have made to make it a key component in the transformation of community pharmacy practice.

Personal Philosophy: Television icon Fred Rogers is credited with saying, “Real strength has to do with helping others,” and I’ve found that to be a central theme to my personal philosophy.

Vision for Pharmacy: I believe technology will dramatically improve the efficiency of pharmacy, and the health care industry in general. My hope would be that these advancements would expand access and strengthen the patient-provider relationship.


Captain Stephen Sullivan, PharmD

Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson Element Chief, Inpatient Pharmacy, United States Air Force

Source of Inspiration: The health care field has always interested me since I was a young kid. I wanted a career that allowed me to collaborate with a variety of professions while improving patient well-being and building a foundation of health.

Greatest Achievements: My greatest achievement in pharmacy has been the opportunity to lead a variety of teams and pharmacy students. Watching the students and teams grow professionally and personally has always been the most rewarding experience.

Personal Philosophy: My philosophy is to always remain respectful toward others and to have a positive outlook. I believe those 2 attributes can set up any workplace/team for success.

Vision for Pharmacy: My vision for pharmacy is to play a pivotal role in our patients’ well-being. Pharmacists are some of the most readily accessible and trustworthy health professionals, and I believe we can continue to make a difference in our patients lives.

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