APhA Foundation Announces 2019 Pinnacle Award Honorees

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation today announced the three recipients of the 2019 Pinnacle Awards. Established in 1998, the annual Pinnacle Awards 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 the members of the healthcare team.

“We are pleased to recognize the outstanding recipients of this year’s Pinnacle Awards,” said APhA Foundation Executive Director, Elizabeth K. Keyes, RPh.  “Their contributions to the profession of pharmacy are helping to transform and elevate patient care." 

The recipients will be honored during a ceremony on September 16, 2019, during a ceremony at APhA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Awards are presented in three (3) categories:

  • Individual Award for Career Achievement: This category recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing healthcare quality and medication use.
  • Group Practices, Health Systems, and Healthcare 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: This category recognizes organizations that have demonstrated approaches to assist patients and their caregivers in achieving better outcomes from their medications.


Category I: 2019 Individual Award for Career Achievement

Rosemary Gibson, MS, Senior Advisor, The Hastings Center

Rosemary Gibson is author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine. The book chronicles the shift to China as a major source of America’s generic and other medicines and the impact on our health and national security. Ms. Gibson is Senior Advisor at the Hastings Center and Perspectives Editor at JAMA Internal Medicine. She is the recipient of the highest honor from the American Medical Writers Association for her outstanding contributions to the public’s interest in reporting on critical health care issues.

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rosemary architected its $250 million decade-long national strategy to integrate palliative care into the nation’s hospitals. Also at the Foundation, Ms. Gibson led national patient safety and quality initiatives in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and the London School of Economics.


Category II: 2019 Group Practice–Health System–Corporation Award                                                       

Premise Health

Direct healthcare company Premise Health operates health and wellness centers for large organizations, including many of the Fortune 1000. Its unique position – located onsite or near where people work and live – allows Premise to take a personalized approach to care that enhances quality, experience and value for patients. This approach has earned it one of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the healthcare industry and resulted in better outcomes and lower costs.

Premise’s pharmacy model is unique. Premise pharmacies are funded by organizations to provide direct care to their populations, allowing Premise pharmacists to spend more time with patients. Additionally, Premise pharmacists and technicians are trained on and universally deploy wellness coaching techniques that support patients in their health goals. Premise pharmacists and providers utilize one electronic health record, which creates opportunities to collaborate with each other and outside providers. It also allows them to monitor clinical performance and adverse medication effects.


Category III: 2019 Government Agency–Nonprofit Organization–Association Award

Norton Sound Region Children’s Coalition

The Norton Sound Region comprises a very remote area of Alaska. With traditional health care difficult to accomplish, the Norton Sound Health Corporation provides services to Nome and 15 surrounding village communities that make up the Norton Sound Region. 

In 2012, with the first pharmacist-driven collaborative agreement, pharmacists started vaccinating adult patients with influenza, pneumococcal, and zoster vaccines.  In 2017, the healthcare team agreed that pharmacists should not be limited to vaccinating only adult patients with three vaccines.  Pharmacists were approved to vaccinate all patients regardless of age with any vaccine that was indicated.

With physician buy-in, innovation in reducing healthcare barriers, and advocacy for necessary childhood vaccines, the team increased completed vaccination series from 24% to 47%, saw more than70 children and administered 212 vaccinations in the village community of Shishmaref. 

The success of this trip created The Norton Sound Region Children's Coalition lead by two physicians, Dr. Kyle Pohl and Dr. Jay Flynn, and two clinical pharmacists, Dr. R. Kylea Goff and Dr. Heather Lefebvre. 

The pharmacists continue to find additional opportunities to decrease barriers and provide immunizations throughout the region decreasing the risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases.  Without the support of the physicians and the value of pharmacists, this coalition would not have been so successful.


About the American Pharmacists Association Foundation

The APhA Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., is a trusted source of research demonstrating how pharmacists can improve health care. The APhA Foundation’s mission is to improve health by inspiring philanthropy, research, and innovation that advances pharmacists’ patient care services. The APhA Foundation is affiliated with the American Pharmacists Association, the national professional society of pharmacists in the U.S. For more information, please visit the APhA Foundation website www.aphafoundation.org. Follow the APhA Foundation on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.