News Releases

The APhA Foundation Announces 2014 Pinnacle Award Honorees

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation announces the honorees of the 2014 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 drug misadventures, promoting the use of national treatment guidelines, improving patient outcomes or enhancing communication among the members of the health care team. The recipients will be honored on September 15, 2014, during a ceremony at APhA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the 2014 Pinnacle Awards program will feature the inaugural “Pinnacle Awards Innovations in Pharmacy Practice” lecture to be held at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore. Representatives of the award recipient group in Category III, El Rio Community Health Center, will share best practices in pharmacy practice innovation. This enhancement to the Pinnacle Awards will provide a new outlet for increasing awareness among the pharmacy and healthcare community of ways to implement innovative clinical pharmacy services.

Premier support for the Pinnacle Awards is provided by an educational grant from Merck. This activity is additionally supported by an educational donation provided by Amgen.

The Awards are presented in three categories:

  • Individual Award for Career Achievement: Individuals that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing health care quality and medication use.
  • Group Practices, Health-Systems, Health Care Corporations: This category recognizes a significant scientific contribution and/or quality improvement project.
  • Voluntary Health Agencies, Non-profit 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.

2014 Individual Award for Career Achievement
Hae Mi Choe, PharmD

Dr. Hae Mi Choe is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and serves as the Director of Ambulatory Care Transformation within the University of Michigan Health System’s (UMHS) Department of Pharmacy Services. She has also recently been appointed as the Director of Pharmacy Innovations & Clinical Practices within the UMHS Faculty Group Practice (FGP), the health system’s physician group practice. For the past 15 years, Choe has been a pioneer in advancing the role of pharmacists in the ambulatory care setting and within organized systems of care, such as the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). At the University of Michigan she has served as the primary leader of these pharmacy services, which have become a model nationally.

Choe joined the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) in 1999 to develop ambulatory clinical services. She was the first pharmacist evaluated and endorsed by the Credentialing Committee at UMHS and was granted special privileges in patient care. In her leadership role as Director of Innovative Ambulatory Pharmacy Practices, Choe created a group practice model at UMHS as part of the Patient Centered Medical Home across 14 health centers. She also developed a new reimbursement process for clinical pharmacy services.

2014 Group Practice–Health System–Corporation Award
The Kroger Company

The Kroger Company ranks as one of the world’s largest retailers, crossing 19 divisions in 34 states with annual sales of more than $96 billion. Additionally, the company manages over 2,100 pharmacies nationwide which include City Market, Dillon’s, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Sooper’s, QFC, Ralphs, Smith’s Food and Drug, Kroger Supermarkets, and most recently Harris Teeter. Kroger’s mission is to improve the lives of patients and health of communities by delivering quality care, optimal medication use, and better outcomes.

While performing traditional community pharmacy dispensing functions, Kroger is committed to providing a holistic, personalized, quality health experience. Its everyday clinical services include immunizations, Medication Therapy Management (MTM), and point of care testing/screening. In addition, many Kroger pharmacies offer more intensive education and management programs such as diabetes and heart healthy coaching, diabetes self-management education (DSME), fitness, nutrition and weight management, and smoking cessation. Kroger has implemented a number of pilot projects utilizing innovative methods to improve patient outcomes and decrease total healthcare costs, including a transitions of care pilot project, disease state coaching programs, and medication use enhancements.

2014 Government Agency–Nonprofit Organization–Association Award
El Rio Community Health Center

El Rio Community Health Center is a community-based Federally Qualified Health Center and the largest provider of medical and dental services to the uninsured and Medicaid populations in Pima County, Arizona. El Rio has 16 clinics, eight of which provide primary care, and serves over 75,000 patients annually—of which about two-thirds are Hispanic, just over ten percent are Native American, three-quarters live at or below the poverty line and nearly one-third are uninsured.

El Rio has implemented a highly successful clinical pharmacist-led diabetes disease management program since August 2001. This program is both an organizational intervention (pharmacy-led team care and quality improvement) and patient intervention (diabetes education and self-management training). In spite of the fact that the population it serves is at high risk for diabetes and diabetes-related complications, the El Rio system is ranked in the top quartile of HRSA grantees nationally for their proportion of diabetic patients who have an HbA1c level less than or equal to 9. Because of the success of this program and the established clinical pharmacy service at El Rio, the scope of work of the service was expanded to cover the Annual Wellness Visits for Medicare patients for preventive care services. The expanded services have been pivotal in showing a pharmacist’s value in primary prevention, in addition to showing a reimbursable model for pharmacy services.