UW News

November 9, 2010

Pharmacy faculty members honored for contributions to their profession

The Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) recently announced its 2010 award winners. Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Don Downing and Professor of Pharmacy Joy Plein both won awards for their contributions to the pharmacy field.

Don Downing, ’75, received the David Almquist Award for outstanding work in the endeavors of WSPA promotion and pharmacy enrichment. Downing directs the School of Pharmacy’s Institute for Innovative Pharmacy Practice. He has been on faculty at the School since 1979 and teaches students and practicing pharmacists on topics including contraception, leadership, ethics, community health screening and pharmacy management.

His practice and training interests have included the development of the nation’s first pharmacist-provided emergency contraception program and the first pharmacist-initiated ongoing hormonal contraception services. Further, Downing and former Professor of Pharmacy Jackie Gardner led the first-in-the-nation charge in the 1990s to educate and certify Washington state pharmacists to provide flu shots and other vaccines to large populations of vulnerable people. Today, pharmacists in all 50 states routinely administer vaccines — taking their lead from Washington state’s training and implementation programs.

Downing has conducted extensive global and reproductive-health research with funding from agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Packard Foundation.

A practicing pharmacist himself, he is devoted to helping underserved populations. To that end, he has created pharmaceutical care and business strategy partnerships between the School of Pharmacy and the Nisqually, Skokomish and Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribes. His close relationship with area tribes stems from his previous role as pharmacy director of the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority for more than a decade.

In 2002, he was named the UW School of Pharmacy’s Alumnus of the Year and the WSPA Pharmacist of the Year. He has also received Special Congressional Recognition for his community service.

Joy Plein, ’51, ’56, received the Rod D. Shafer Award for making pioneering and sustaining contributions to the pharmacy profession.

Plein has taught at the UW since 1966. She is widely credited for creating the momentum for senior-care pharmacy in this state at a time when there were few pharmacists who were geriatricians and few resources to advocate for older patients.

In 1973, Plein and her late husband, Professor of Pharmacy Elmer Plein, saw the growing need for more widespread knowledge about the physiologic and pharmacologic effects of aging. Together, they developed a nursing home pharmacy course at the School of Pharmacy and Foss Home nursing home with the help of a graduate student. This led to more courses in geriatric pharmacy and the establishment of the Certificate Program in Geriatric Pharmacy in 1986, a program now named for the Pleins.

In 1989, she and Elmer established a pharmacy teaching program at The Hearthstone, a Seattle continuing care retirement community. The UW/Hearthstone Education and Service Program is still active.

Plein has not simply provided academic and intellectual leadership in the field of geriatric pharmacy, but she has also provided care to senior citizens at service sites she has created and continues to develop. Without Plein’s leadership, dedication and encouragement, many former and current students, patients, and pharmacists would not be where they are today.

In 2005, she was named the UW School of Pharmacy’s Distinguished Alumna. This year, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Idaho State University, her undergraduate alma mater. She has also received an American Society of Consultant Pharmacists George Archambault Award for extraordinary efforts to expand recognition of the medication needs of the elderly and for advancement of geriatric education.

Several alumni and affiliate professors of the UW School of Pharmacy also won 2010 WSPA awards. Alumnus Tim Lynch, ’98, was named Pharmacist of the Year, and Steven Pickett, ’90, received a Pfizer Health System Pharmacist of the Year Award.

Preceptor Holly Whitcomb Henry won a Bowl of Hygeia Award for outstanding contributions in community service. Preceptor Eric Wymore received an Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award. And preceptor Paul Anderson won a Bill Mueller Outstanding Mentor Award.

All the winners will be recognized at an awards dinner on November 6 during the 2010 WSPA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Wash. The WSPA supports and advances the practice of pharmacy and has almost 2,000 members throughout the state.