UW News

November 12, 2009

Pharmacy Student of the Year, Innovative Practice awards go to UW

The Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) recently announced its 2009 pharmacy award winners. These annual honors go to individuals who highlight the association’s commitment to quality health care.

Andy Stergachis, UW professor of epidemiology and global health and adjunct professor of pharmacy, received the innovative pharmacy practice award, and fourth-year UW pharmacy student Tahnee Marginean was named Pharmacy Student of the Year.

Stergachis’s WSPA award recognizes a practicing pharmacist or technician using innovative pharmacy practice to improve patient care and outcomes in the state.

In response to the terrorist attacks of 2001, Stergachis identified a growing educational need and widening range of responsibility within the pharmacy profession. He began to speak on the role of pharmacists in bioterrorism and public health and safety. In 2002, he developed a program on bioterrorism for the World Economic Forum in New York City. In 2003, Stergachis joined the UW’s Center for Public Health Preparedness to focus on improving the capacity of the public health workforce to prepare for and respond to terrorism and public health threats.

Stergachis has worked tirelessly with statewide and local health officers to identify how pharmacists can help prepare for man-made and/or natural disasters. As chair of the WSPA Emergency Preparedness Committee, he provides training and technical assistance to help state and local health departments plan for mass prophylaxis, antibiotic distribution, and administration of vaccines to entire communities.

In addition, he has made a name for himself as being on the cutting edge of internet pharmacy. From 1998 to 2003, he was vice president, chief pharmacist at drugstore.com. While there, he developed Web-based features to promote drug safety and improve consumer decision-making.

Stergachis has served as the chair of the UW Department of Pharmacy and associate dean of the UW School of Public Health. Previously, American Druggist named him one of the most influential pharmacists in the United States.

Marginean’s WSPA award recognizes a student member who makes consistent, sustained and outstanding contributions toward the growth and development of pharmacy student participation on both a local and state level.

In her time as a student at the UW School of Pharmacy, her dedication to the profession has been tremendous. She has been involved in numerous volunteer committees, including the School of Pharmacy senior leadership committee, International Pharmaceutical Students Federation planning committee, and multiple Unified Professional Pharmacy Organizations of Washington (UPPOW) committees. She has volunteered as a student assistant at the Northwest Pharmacy Convention and attended WSPA board of directors meetings.

Last year, she was elected president of UPPOW, where she led the strong group of student pharmacy leaders to receive national achievement for their American Pharmacists Association (APhA) chapter. On a regional level, she was elected as the APhA-Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP) Region 7 regional delegate. She has also appointed to serve on multiple APhA-ASP committees.

She has been awarded the Benson “golden pharmacist” scholarship and the Washington State Pharmacy Foundation leadership scholarship. She was also named the member of the year of Phi Lambda Sigma, a national pharmacy leadership society.

All the 2009 WSPA award winners were recognized at an awards dinner Nov. 7 during the WSPA Annual Meeting in Tulalip, Wash. UW School of Pharmacy alumni Thomas Rowe, ’99, and Gordon Tweit, ’52, were also honored with a mentor award and a community service award respectively.

“This year’s award winners span a remarkable breadth of achievement in innovation, research, education, leadership and accomplishment,” said Jeff Rochon, WSPA chief executive officer and UW School of Pharmacy alumnus, ’99. “We’re very proud to recognize excellence in all of these areas of endeavor, and hope that the example of these remarkable individuals will inspire others.”

The goal of the Washington State Pharmacy Association is to support and advance the practice of pharmacy. It has almost 2,000 members throughout the state.