2017 Pinnacle Awards Press Release


August 8, 2017

APhA Foundation Announces 2017 Pinnacle Award Recipients


WASHINGTON, DC – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation today announced the three recipients of the 2017 Pinnacle Awards. The Pinnacle Awards, established in 1998 by the APhA Foundation, celebrate significant contributions to the medication use process through increasing patient adherence, reducing adverse drug events, promoting the use of national treatment guidelines, improving patient outcomes, and enhancing communication among all members of the health care team.

“The APhA Foundation is proud to honor the extraordinary contributions that these recipients have made to the profession of pharmacy,” said APhA Foundation Executive Director, Elizabeth K. Keyes, BSPharm. “As the role of pharmacists in health care evolves, the Pinnacle Awards will continue to serve as a platform to support their recognition.”

The recipients will be honored on September 18, 2017 during a ceremony at APhA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Awards are presented in three (3) categories:

  • Individual Award for Career Achievement: Individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing health care quality and medication use.
  • Group Practices, Health Systems, and Health Care Corporations: This category recognizes a significant scientific contribution and/or quality improvement project.
  • Voluntary Health Agencies, Nonprofit Organizations, Associations, Government Agencies, and Public/Private Partnerships: Organizations that have demonstrated approaches to assist patients and their caregivers in achieving better outcomes from their medications.


Category I: 2017 Individual Award for Career Achievement

John Sykora

As the “Father of the Appointment-Based Model” pharmacist Sykora is an innovative leader with widespread influence on pharmacy practice. Throughout his career, Pharmacist Sykora demonstrated a deep, career-long commitment to direct patient care through his pharmacy practice at Abrams and Clark Pharmacy in Long Beach, California. He displayed leadership by serving in various roles with the California Pharmacists Association, APhA, the Long Beach Pharmacists Association, the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee of SCAN Health Plan, and the Pharmaceutical Care Network. He remains actively involved with academic institutions in California and his alma mater, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, by serving as a preceptor. Perhaps the accomplishment that serves as the pinnacle of his distinguished career occurred in 1997 when he pioneered the creation of the “personal service program” (PSP). This simple yet revolutionary idea centered on synchronizing the delivery of patient medications with the delivery of pharmaceutical care to improve patient health outcomes.

Now, more than 20 years later, the appointment-based model is a well-established practice standard. Often termed “Med Synch,” this model is used in over 22,000 community pharmacies and has received national recognition by APhA and other leading pharmacist associations including the Pharmsave pharmacies in Canada. This program inspired the APhA Foundation’s “Align My Refills” initiative. It also spurred the California legislation to require health plans to approve most refill synchronization requests. John Sykora’s revolutionary ideas have had, and will continue to have, extraordinary positive impacts on patient outcomes for many years to come.


Category II: 2017 Group Practice–Health System–Health Care Corporation Award

HealthPartners: Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Program

Optimizing medication use in pursuit of the Triple Aim and advancing the profession of pharmacy are key tenants of the HealthPartners Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Program. This Minnesota-based, integrated health organization provides both care delivery and plan functions through a network of community and clinic-based pharmacists. The Triple Aim goals of this program promote improvement across patient/member experience, health outcomes, and affordability. HealthPartners was the first health plan in the state of Minnesota to provide an MTM benefit for members of its commercial plans in addition to Medicare and Medicaid members. Today, nearly 900,000 HealthPartners members across all 50 states can access 1:1 MTM services with a pharmacist, either in office, telephonically or at the member’s home. HealthPartners has developed a pay-for-performance program to incentivize high engagement in its MTM program, and created standards for MTM services through collaboration with the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and other health system entities. Additionally, HealthPartners has been able to eliminate “double documentation” by implementing a standard data solution which allows multiple electronic health record systems to transmit critical MTM information to the health plan. The organization recognizes the importance and value of integrated care, and the impact pharmacists can have on medication-related outcomes. HealthPartners has consistently demonstrated that comprehensive medication management improves clinical outcomes, reduces the total cost of care, and provides an outstanding patient/member experience.

To learn more about HealthPartners MTM Program, visit


Category III: 2017 Nonprofit Organization–Association–Public/Private Partnerships Award

Community Pharmacy Foundation

The Community Pharmacy Foundation (CPF) advances community pharmacy practice and patient care delivery through grant funding and resource sharing. Funding priorities focus on grants that highlight new and emerging patient care services that are sustainable, transferable, and replicable in community pharmacy practice.  Grantees are often from innovative community pharmacies or are academicians in partnership with community pharmacists operating in single and multiple locations.  Many studies evaluate payment models for pharmacist services delivered independently or in collaboration and partnership with other health care providers. As of July 2017, CPF has funded 172 grants, of which 144 are complete and 28 are in study. The topic categories are broad and encompass areas such as medication management, patient safety, disease states, pharmacy business models and general topics of interest to community pharmacy practice. CPF grantees deliver tangible results which are shared in the peer-reviewed publications and practice implementation toolkit sections of the website. Collaboration and partnership with several national pharmacy organizations also advance community pharmacy priorities through individual projects as well as long-standing ongoing initiatives. Findings from a recent CPF grantee survey revealed that researchers, community-based pharmacy practitioners, caregivers, consumers, and patients expressed immense gratitude for the support and interventions CPF grants have provided. CPF’s impact continues to resonate at the local, state, national, and even international levels.

To learn more about CPF, visit

The Pinnacle Awards are administered by the APhA Foundation. Premier support for the Pinnacle Awards is provided by a grant from Merck. This activity is additionally supported by an educational donation provided by Amgen.

About the American Pharmacists Association Foundation

The APhA Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, is a trusted source for research demonstrating how pharmacists can improve health care. The APhA Foundation’s mission is to improve people’s health through pharmacists’ patient care services. The APhA Foundation is affiliated with the American Pharmacists Association, the largest national professional society of pharmacists in the U.S. For more information, please visit the APhA Foundation website Follow the APhA Foundation on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501(c)(6) organization, representing 64,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA is dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care and is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit