Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Join
News & Press: WSPA News

2014 Award Winners

Tuesday, November 18, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kathleen Goodner
Share |

The Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) is proud to announce its 2014 awards winners, who underscore WSPA’s commitment to the quality of care. The winners were recognized at an awards ceremony, November 15, 2014 during the 2014 WSPA Annual Meeting in Cle Elum, WA.

“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. "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.” 


Bowl of Hygeia Award

Patty Heeney Slagle, R.Ph.

The Bowl of Hygeia recognizes an exemplary pharmacist who has made outstanding contributions in the area of community service throughout their career.

Patty graduated from the University of Washington in 1984. After becoming involved with the Spokane Pharmacist Association shortly after, she served on the Washington State Pharmacy Association Board of Directors and the Washington State Title XIX Committee. Upon arriving in Republic in 1988, she became involved with the Republic Business and Professional Women’s Organization and the Chamber of Commerce. Many of her endeavours have been focused on youth, working with the Community Youth Sports Association, the Boy Scouts, Republic Booster Club, and as National Honor Society Advisor, to name a few. She helped reinstate the Miss Republic Program, and was a founding member of the Republic Music Boosters Program. Politically, she has cultivated personal relationships with several congressmen and senators. She and her husband, Rob serve as “go-to” pharmacists for these representatives.

Patty and Rob have three boys, Matthew, Michael, and Daniel. She and Rob own the Republic Drug Store which has been in the Slagle Family for 3 generations, since 1904.

Pharmacist of the Year

Merrie Kay Alzola, R.Ph.

The Pharmacist of the Year award honors a pharmacist who possesses qualities of excellence in routine practice and association activities, is an exemplary role model, and who has contributed in service and skill to the WSPA during the past year.

Merrie Kay has been a pharmacist for over 20 years. Graduating in 1993 from Washington State University, Merrie Kay focused her first career in the direction of community practice and association involvement. She spent the last two decades at Fred Meyer Pharmacy. During her time she held multiple positions and focused on developing teams that put the patient first. In August of 2014, Merrie Kay made a career change and is now a Senior Health System Account Manager with Novo Nordisk.

Merrie Kay served on the WSPA Board of Directors from 2005-2008 and again from 2009-2011 as president. In addition, she received the Pharmacy Leadership Award in 2011, Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year in 2002 and Innovative Pharmacist of the Year in 2001. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Gales Creek Camp for children with diabetes, the Washington State University College of Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Council, the Clark College Pharmacy Technician Program Advisory Board as Program Director, and the Southwest Washington Pharmacy Association Advisory Board.


In her free time, Merrie Kay enjoys spending time on her farm with her husband, Leon. They enjoy golfing, snow skiing, travelling internationally, cooking and a nice bottle of red wine (or two).


Health System Pharmacist of the Year

Ajay A. Sinha, Pharm.D.


The Health-System Pharmacist of the Year award recognizes an outstanding health-system pharmacist and their service to the profession of pharmacy and specifically, hospital pharmacy. A pharmacist with contributions in pharmacy programs, cooperation with the entire health team as well as service to the community as a whole. Ajay graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc in Pharmacy. Then in 2001, he received his Pharm.D. from the University of Washington. He is currently the Director of Pharmacy for Fairfax Hospital in Kirkland, WA. Over his career, Ajay has worked in community pharmacy, managed care, long term care, and in hospital practice. Ajay is a dynamic innovator. He routinely seeks out peers and other professionals in order to advance pharmacy practice and push the norms of practice.In his spare time, Ajay enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.


Pharmacy Student of the Year

Amanda Norman (WSU)

The Student Pharmacist of the Year award recognizes a student member who has made consistent, sustained and outstanding contributions toward the growth and develop of pharmacy student participation on both a local and state level.

Amanda is a 4th year pharmacy student at Washington State University (WSU) and amongst other leadership roles, has spent the last two years representing WSU students as a member of the WSPA Board of Directors. Through her work with WSPA and with the support of faculty and staff at WSU, Amanda was given the opportunity to participate in and lead several unique projects. She supported the advocacy efforts of the WSPA by coordinating the attendance of over 175 student pharmacists for Pharmacy Legislative Day in Olympia. As part of these efforts, she raised money to send any student who wanted to participate free of charge. Amanda wrote the curriculum for the new Practical Politics and Pharmacy elective course and taught the class as the Student Instructor of Record along with Associate Dean Linda Garrelts MacLean, Dr. Julie Akers and student pharmacist, Jace Hovda. Amanda wanted to bring a new student organization to the WSU College of Pharmacy, and along with 25 other students, was able to charter a chapter of the professional pharmacy fraternity, Phi Delta Chi. Furthermore, she is an active member of the Professional Pharmacy Student Organization and supports her fellow student leaders as much as possible. Amanda’s other leadership positions include serving on the Pharmacy Student Advisory Committee, working with the Student Ambassadors, mentoring fellow student pharmacists and serving as the Treasurer of the WSU Chapter of Phi Lambda Sigma, the Pharmacy Leadership Society.


Outstanding Pharmacy Technician of the Year Award

Pam Simison

The Outstanding Technician of the Year award acknowledges a pharmacy technician who displays excellence in the practice setting, is motivated to learn new tasks and roles, provide community service, and has contributed to the WSPA on a local or state level.

As the lead technician at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Pam oversees the operations of the pharmacy. With safety being at the forefront of the pharmacy, she keeps the department informed and up-to-date through daily safety huddles, weekly update meetings, monthly technician meetings and emails.One of Pam’s strongest job skills is leadership. She has demonstrated this by maintaining drug inventory and overseeing drug shortages. Pam manages shortages by delving into extended stability while adhering to policies and procedures. She has also implemented sterility testing for IV drug shortage products to help alleviate some of the drug shortage concern.As part of her leadership strategy, Pam supports her team by supporting family time through efficient scheduling, communicating “thank you’s” to those who put forth extra effort and encouraging others to do the same when a co-worker goes above and beyond.

Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award ~ Sponsored by Pharmacist Mutual

Roy Pfund, Pharm.D.

The Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year award was established to encourage pharmacists with less than ten years of practice to participate in association activities. The community recognizes an exemplary pharmacist who has made outstanding contributions in the area of community service.

Roy graduated from Oregon State University in 2010 with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He was president of the Student Council on Drug Abuse Education (SCODAE) as well as co-chair of the Mr. Yuk Program. He also served as a board member for both the University Student Scholars Association and Pre-Pharmacy Society, which molded the desire and ignited a passion to aid the surrounding community.

In 2012, Dr. Pfund jumped at the opportunity to revamp and re-build the Southwest Washington Pharmacy Association (SWPA). Today, with the help of the officers of this organization, SWPA has been able to successfully give fully accredited continuing education, hold numerous social events connecting the pharmacy community together in southwest Washington (with some Oregon members), provide community service events to aid the region, and to grow membership in an exponential fashion. With leadership and assistance from Dr. Pfund, SWPA has slowly become an integral part of the community which is the ultimate compliment to any organization.

Dr. Pfund is the current pharmacy manager at the Grand Central Fred Meyer location. His work focuses on advancing care through clinical services, managing and maximizing the financial potential of the pharmacy department, as well as representing the pharmacy and community with respect, honesty and integrity.

Dr. Pfund lives in Washougal, WA with his wife and six pets (three dogs and three cats). When not working, he loves to spend time with his animals, family and friends, and the outdoors. He also enjoys travelling, exercise and fitness, is a huge Portland Trailblazer fan, and loves to play pickleball!


Bill Mueller Outstanding Mentor Award

Tony Casanova, Pharm.D.

The Bill Mueller Outstanding Mentor Award recognizes a pharmacist or pharmacy technician actively engaged in practice, with at least 10 years of pharmacy practice experience, who has been and continues to be an outstanding mentor in the field of pharmacy.

Tony is the Emergency Department Specialist within Franciscan Health System (FHS). Dr. Casanova has been with FHS since 2004 when he completed his pharmacy practice residency. At that time, he and his colleague, Eric Wymore developed the Emergency Department (ED) pharmacy practice within FHS. Since then, FHS has grown in size and added several ED pharmacist positions. Tony and his ED counterparts take great pride in the residents and students they mentor. As a goal, the ED pharmacists make every attempt to give students and residents a unique experience. With the understanding that the future of the profession is in the hands of new graduates, it is their goal to be exceptional role models. The FHS ED pharmacy practice promotes the participation of pharmacists in bedside care in order to provide direct patient contact in conjunction with other members of the health care team. Dr. Casanova currently has faculty appointments at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Pacific University as well as leads the FHS Pharmacy Practice Residency ED rotations. He has lectured nationally on the topics of stroke care, anticoagulation and anticoagulation reversal and has been published on the role of ED pharmacists as well as the pharmacist’s role in procedural sedation.


David Almquist Award

Sean Dobbin, B.Pharm., Pharm.D., R.Ph.

The David Almquist Award recognizes a member for outstanding work in the endeavors of WSPA promotion and pharmacy enrichment.

Sean Dobbin graduated from Washington State University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Pharmacy and in 1995 with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He has spent his professional career in pursuit of improving the health of his community and advancement of the practice of pharmacy through his involvement in health systems and pharmacy organizational efforts in eastern Washington and throughout the state.

After graduating, Dr. Dobbin started his career as a hospital staff pharmacist and then transitioned to various health system pharmacy leadership positions. Currently, Dr. Dobbin is the Regional Director of Pharmacy for Providence Health Care, including Providence Holy Family Hospital, Mount Carmel Hospital, Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Providence Medical Group in Spokane and Steven Counties. He is a current member of the WSPA Health Systems Leadership Meeting Planning Committee and a former board member. He also served on the Spokane Pharmacist Association’s Board.

Recognizing the importance of comprehensive and collaborative pharmacy services in advancing health, coordinating care and creating healthier communities, Sean strives to maximize the roles and impact of pharmacists, technicians and other pharmacy support staff in today and tomorrow’s healthcare delivery systems.

Distinguished Leadership Service Award

John Oftebro, R.Ph., F.A.C.A.

The Distinguished Leadership Service Award pays tribute to a member who has, over his or her career been instrumental in the development and growth of the profession, and who demonstrates a high level of influence and direction with respect to their workplace, the entire health profession, the community, and/or the profession of pharmacy as a whole.

John graduated from Washington State University in 1965. In 1973, after gaining experience in chain and hospital pharmacy and managing small apothecaries, John became a partner in Kelley-Ross Pharmacy in downtown Seattle.

John’s progressive practices grew to specialize in compounding, hospice, long term care, AIDS/HIV, home infusion, contract mail service, all aspects of “pharmaceutical care”, and shortly before he retired in January 2008, he introduced medication therapy management, travel immunizations and was using robotic dispensing units.

John is a past president of the Washington State Pharmacy Association and the American College of Apothecaries, and he is currently president of the Washington State Pharmacy Foundation. He was an affiliate faculty/preceptor for both WSU and UW pharmacy schools from 1972 until he retired.

Over his career John has been awarded the Don B. Katterman Pharmacy Service Award, WSU Outstanding Alumni Award for Volunteer Service and the Bowl of Hygeia.

Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award

Elyse Tung, Pharm.D., BCACP

The Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award recognizes a practicing pharmacist or pharmacy technician using innovative pharmacy practice to improve patient care and outcomes.

Elyse graduated from the University of Washington in 2002 with a B.S. in Neurobiology and in 2008, with a Pharm.D. She currently works at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy with their Clinical Pharmacy Institute, which provides services such as medication therapy management, patient home visits, and operates a pharmacist managed travel clinic. She oversees its relationships with major local corporations to manage their travel medicine needs. Over the years, she has initiated and developed new ways of practicing pharmacy including her most recent project, Pharmacist Managed Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV clinics, which is the first for Washington State. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and teaches in the application-based therapeutics skills lab in the third-year pharmacy curriculum.

Rodney D. Shafer Award

Dale Christensen, Ph.D., R.Ph.

The Rodney D. Shafer Achievement Award recognizes a pharmacy professional who has made pioneering and sustaining contributions to the profession of pharmacy.

Dale has demonstrated a passion for advancing pharmacy practice through teaching, research, and legislative activities. Many of the innovations Washington pharmacists are so proud of, came to being because of Dale’s work. Dr. Christensen was an early researcher of pharmacist cognitive services, he helped craft collaborative drug therapy laws in the 1980’s, and researched the impact of incentivising pharmacists to offer value added services to Medicaid clients through the Washington CARE Project. He then supervised the evaluation of the Asheville Project in North Carolina that documented the positive impact of pharmacist consultations on Type 1 diabetes patient health-related and cost outcomes. His work also included showing the value of polypharmacy reviews, and the impact of telephone interventions for patients with diabetes.

Dale has served on the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy faculty for over 20 years and on the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy faculty for 6 years. Now semi-retired, he remains an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, and is striving to better balance his life-long passion to advance pharmacy practice with his passion for outdoor sports activities.

Generations Rx Champions Award ~ Sponsored by Cardinal Health

WSU College of Pharmacy “Save-A-Life” Naloxone Safety Net Project

The Cardinal Health Generations Rx Champions Award recognizes a pharmacist who has demonstrated excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention.

The WSU College of Pharmacy initiated the first university based effort to prevent opiate overdose through their “Save-A-Life” Naloxone Safety Net Project.

Led by faculty member, Dr. Shannon Panther, this program is modeled after similar overdose programs nationwide ( The program targets people who are in non-healthcare positions within the community, educates them about opiate drug overdose and teaches interested participants how to save the life of an individual who is experiencing an overdose.

The Save-A-Life training was offered on a strictly voluntary basis for the first time at WSU in September, and included teaching participants how to identify a person at risk, what a bystander should do and how to intervene properly and safely, how to be the rescuer - if it comes to that- including calling 911, rescue breathing and assessing the patient, and how to administer a naloxone nasal spray.

The next piece of the project will be surveying participants and measuring participant change in knowledge and perceptions to determine the long term effectiveness of the program. Once success for this large group education and delivery model is demonstrated, the program will be used as a template for future intervention programs that will target community groups at high risk for exposure to a drug overdose event.

Friend of Pharmacy Award

Maxine Hayes, MD, MPH, FAAP

The Friend of Pharmacy Award recognizes an individual or organization outside the profession of pharmacy whose activities promote the advancement of the pharmacists’ role of improving patient medication outcomes and public health.

Dr. Hayes served the Washington State Department of Health from December 1, 1988 to December 31, 2013. For 16 of those years she was the State Health Officer. As the state’s top public health doctor, her role included advising the governor and the secretary of health on issues ranging from health promotion and chronic disease prevention, to emergency response, including pandemic influenza preparedness. During those years, Dr. Hayes was a vigorous advocate for vaccination efforts and pharmacy’s roll in public health. She partnered with the WSPA to include pharmacists in emergency preparedness and response. Dr. Hayes could be heard during numerous presentations across the country describing the excellent partnership she had with the pharmacy community, and how essential they are in providing immunizations and responding to emergencies. She would encourage her colleagues both in Washington and across the country to partner with pharmacy associations and pharmacy professionals.

Dr. Hayes is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. She holds two honorary Doctorate Degrees: one from Spelman College and one from the State University of New York. Dr. Hayes is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), October 2006.

more Calendar

Webinar: Let’s Get Serious About Nutrition!

Webinar: URAC’s Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation

Webinar: 2018 OSHA Training – Bloodborne Pathogens

Online Surveys
1402 - ICU Medical Inc Campaign
Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal