ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

March 17, 2021

Upcoming ASHP Events Focus on Innovation in Pharmacy Practice

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Dear Colleagues,

This past year was like no other. The challenges that our country has and continues to face are unprecedented. Yet, the relentless dedication and commitment I have seen from pharmacy professionals during the pandemic are valiant and inspirational.

As we step forward into 2021, ASHP remains committed to supporting the incredible work that our members are doing on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also working hard to provide the latest innovative approaches, tools, and resources to support patients across the full spectrum of medication use. I want to share some important new initiatives that ASHP created to help move pharmacy practice forward.

ASHP is pleased to announce the upcoming ASHP Specialty Pharmacy State of Practice in Hospitals and Health Systems – Future Directions Summit. The summit, scheduled for Feb. 1-4, will bring together more than 100 hospital and health-system pharmacy professionals, nurses, payers, and others to develop recommendations that advance patient outcomes through specialty pharmacy designated medications. The invitation-only event will include Q&As with speakers, virtual breakout groups, and much discussion and debate. It will address measures involved in diagnosis, medication management, payment, and reimbursement, as well as the impact on affordability, accessibility, and outcomes related to specialty pharmacy. Outcomes and recommendations from the summit will be published in a future issue of AJHP and support the development of upcoming ASHP educational content and tools.

Another critical undertaking, under the umbrella of our ASHP Innovation Center, is our new partnership with the American Medical Association to create a series of six Pharmacogenomics Virtual Summits focused on exploring the potential of pharmacogenomics-based selection, dosing, and monitoring of medications to improve health outcomes. The first summit, which takes place on Feb. 9, explores the pharmacogenomics landscape. Leading experts from pharmacy and medicine will introduce pharmacogenomics and the value it can bring to patient care, examine its benefits, and discuss the economic and health equity aspects of pharmacogenomics. Registration for the Pharmacogenomics Virtual Summit Series is currently open. The summits will run through March 18 with topics that include the current state of pharmacogenomics, the integration and implementation of pharmacogenomics into practice, clinical guidelines, and adoption drivers. I encourage you to register for this innovative and informative series to learn how pharmacogenomics can bring value to your practice.

I also wanted to remind our members that the application deadline is quickly approaching for a competitive grant program from the ASHP Foundation in collaboration with the ASHP Innovation Center to support projects that demonstrate the impact that health information technology and digital transformation can have on safe and effective medication use. Applications, due on Feb. 4, are open to interprofessional healthcare teams with a pharmacist as the principal investigator. Be sure to also check out our new ASHP Innovation Center infographic to learn more about the center’s mission, goals, and resources.

Additionally, the first episode of “Season 2” of our ASHP Leadership podcast will be published on Feb. 1. February is Black History Month, and in this episode, I discuss the preliminary recommendations from the ASHP Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with ASHP President Tom Johnson and Paul Walker, chair of the task force. We talk about the inclusive process used to develop the draft recommendations by incorporating feedback from members and how the recommendations will continue to advance ASHP’s strong commitment to addressing the range of current and historical issues facing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in ASHP’s membership and the profession of pharmacy. The preliminary recommendations will be presented to the ASHP Board soon, and we will post the final recommendations on ashp.org once they are approved. I hope you join us for this important discussion on our ASHP Official Podcast.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention ASHP’s latest innovative COVID-19 resources and tools. Earlier this month, ASHP released a new resource guide on the security, cold-chain storage, and handling of COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The guide offers current information and guidance from the FDA emergency use authorization letters and Healthcare Provider Fact Sheets from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and general best practices from other reputable sources. I encourage you to review this important tool, which will be updated regularly.

Other valuable resources from our dedicated COVID-19 vaccine webpage and COVID-19 Resource Center include ASHP’s Assessment of Evidence for COVID-19 Related TreatmentsASHP COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Tracking Table, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Assessment Tool.

Finally, I invite you to join our COVID-19: Immunizing Efforts From Three States webinar on Feb. 10, when Brian Bothwell, director of pharmacy at San Juan Health in Monticello, Utah, Mohammad (Mo) Kharbat, vice president of pharmacy services and health research at SSM Health – Wisconsin Region, and Sarah Stephens, system medication safety officer at the HonorHealth Corporate Office in Scottsdale, Arizona, share their experiences with vaccine delivery, patient education, administration, and follow up.

ASHP remains committed to supporting you in every way we can during this pandemic, and through all you do in support of advancing healthcare. Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything that you do for your patients and our profession.

Sincerely,

Paul

Kurt Kleinmann: From WW2 Refugee to Pharmacy Innovator

The Kleinmann family in April 1938. Left to right: Herta, Gustav, Kurt, Fritz, Tini, Edith

PIONEERING PHARMACIST KURT KLEINMANN, R.PH., HAS SEEN the worst and best sides of humanity. In 1938, as Hitler rose to power in Europe, his family was among the millions of others to bear the brunt of a growing tsunami of anti-Semitism.

“I remember as a child in Vienna having a Hitler youth push my head into the snow,” recalled Kleinmann, now 91 years of age. The Kleinmann family’s situation worsened in 1939 when his father, Gustav, and his older brother, Fritz, were arrested and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany and eventually to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Then in 1942, Kleinmann’s mother, Tina, and his sister, Herta, were rounded up and shipped to Minsk. Kleinmann’s father and brother survived seven years of forced labor at the concentration camps, but his mother and sister were killed three days after arriving in Minsk.

Fortunately for Kleinmann and his elder sister, their mother had the foresight to send them both off to the United States and England, respectively. This heart-wrenching decision was likely made knowing she may never see her children again.

Arrival in the States

Kleinmann’s time in Europe, which is written about in a recent book titled “The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz,” was the dark side of humanity, but when he arrived in the United States at age 11, Kleinmann was shown a level of generosity that he has reciprocated in equal measure, both inside and outside of his profession.

“I was taken in by a wonderful family in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and they really saved my life,” Kleinmann said. “Judge Samuel Barnet and his three sisters became like a new father and three new mothers. I always kidded that I had to behave so as not to spoil their reputation.”

Kleinmann was given all the opportunities that a child his age could hope for: summer camp and afternoons playing baseball, “which I enjoyed even though I wasn’t good enough to make the high school team,” he said.

As a high school student, Kleinmann set his sights on a career in aeronautical engineering but soon realized that pursuing this path required an element of tedium that wasn’t for him.

“My high school counselor said I needed to take mechanical drawing if I wanted to become an aeronautical engineer. The first nine weeks of the class were very boring and involved perfecting your handwriting, writing the letters of the alphabet over and over and over again in lower case and upper case,” Kleinmann recalled.

When he spoke to his counselor about dropping the course, she reiterated that mechanical drawing was a requisite for college studies in aeronautical engineering.

“I looked at her and said, ‘ok, so I’ll become a pharmacist!’ and that’s how I ended up with a wonderful career which I’ve loved ever since,” Kleinmann said.

Pharmacy Studies Interrupted by Military Service

Kleinmann spent 16 months as a hospital pharmacist in the military.

Kleinmann completed his undergraduate pharmacy studies in 1952 at what was then the Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, continuing on to graduate studies at Ohio State University with the intention of getting a job in pharmaceutical manufacturing. However, a year into the program, Kleinmann was drafted into military service and sent to Germany and Austria, where he spent 16 months as a hospital pharmacist.

The experience left him wanting to work in hospitals rather than industrial manufacturing. Kleinmann, who had applied for a residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital prior to serving in the military, was offered a staff position in the pharmacy department on his return to the United States. He took up the offer and was eventually promoted to serve as the supervisor of their compounding operations. After two years there, Kleinmann decided he needed to get back on track with graduate-level hospital pharmacy studies.

He was accepted to the St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s residency program. He completed a placement at the St. Louis VA Medical Center–John Cochran Division, where he got a flavor of the possibilities within hospital pharmacy.

“My preceptor wrote a letter to every hospital in St. Louis saying, ‘I have a resident here, and I’d be happy to share him with you for a month, and you can work him as hard as you want, but you have to teach him something,’” Kleinmann recounted.

Big Break

It was at the tail end of his residency that Kleinmann had a career-boosting meeting with Paul Parker, a pioneer in hospital pharmacy who at the time was the executive secretary for ASHP, then known as the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists.

“Paul was asked to man the ASHP booth on his own at a convention for the Catholic Hospital Association, which had their headquarters in St. Louis, and my preceptor knew Paul and sent me to keep him company at the booth,” Kleinmann said.

The new graduate left a strong impression on Parker. After the meeting, the elder pharmacist introduced his colleagues at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, to Kleinmann because they were searching for a new pharmacy director.

“Paul had received a call from the hospital administrator at Grant that they were seeking a new pharmacy director. He indicated to them, ‘I just met a young fellow in St. Louis, and you should give him a call,’” Kleinmann recounted.

Innovator

Kleinmann was hired for the job and went on to develop their pharmacy program. He and was also given the freedom to flex his muscles as an innovator. “In those early days, doctors on the floor wrote medication orders in the patient’s chart, and nurses would copy those by hand and send the copies to the pharmacy,” Kleinmann explained. “Needless to say, there were numerous transcribing errors and dispensing errors.”

Kleinmann has become a beacon of light to those around him.

To improve the safety of the prescribing process, in 1965, Kleinmann developed a standardized approach for physicians to send their original orders directly to the pharmacy. The published protocol touched on everything from the essential components of an order form to considerations around the color of the paper being used.

Marvin Lew, M.S., who worked at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, with Kleinmann during his 30 years as pharmacy director there, said Kleinmann was relentless in his efforts to advance the profession of hospital pharmacy.

“Kurt pushed innovative programs year after year, and when a project was successfully completed, we would all breathe a sigh of relief and say how thankful we were that it was over, only to find out there was an even greater project for the upcoming year,” he said.

Recognition

Kleinmann’s order entry innovation won him national recognition, and he was invited by ASHP to do a speaking tour across the country. Nearly 30 years later, Kleinmann’s ongoing contributions – including early advocacy for pharmacy specialization and greater pharmacist involvement in the continuum of care – were again recognized by ASHP, this time through the prestigious Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award.

“ASHP and I have been very good partners,” Kleinmann told ASHP InterSections. “In fact, if you make a list of every committee that ASHP ever had, at one time or another, I chaired it.”

Giving Back to the Refugee Community

During his time at Montefiore Medical Center, Kleinmann also had the opportunity to pay forward the generosity he received from Judge Barnet when he arrived in the United States. While working at Montefiore, Kleinmann helped refugees from the former Soviet Union who had been nurses and doctors to re-integrate into the healthcare field in the United States.

“They did not meet the licensure requirements to practice their profession in the States, but I developed a program where they received English lessons at the local college and then completed a 10-week technician training program,” said Kleinmann. “I was able to place most, if not all, of these individuals at hospitals in the metropolitan New York area, where they re-entered the health care workforce and gave hospitals and pharmacy directors the chance to augment their pharmacy program.”

As Kleinmann’s list of deeds shows, despite his direct experience with the sinister side of humanity during his childhood, he has not only transcended the effects of the Holocaust, he has become a beacon of light for those around him.

“I can honestly say that if one were in Kurt’s presence and were willing to meet him halfway, he would make them a better individual and person,” said Lew, Kleinmann’s former colleague. “Indeed, being close to him on a daily basis for many years made me a happier and more positive person.”

An ASHP news article provides additional details about Kleinmann’s family and their experiences in Nazi Germany.

By David Wild

ASHP Marks 1-Year Anniversary of Pandemic with Efforts to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy

Dear Colleagues,

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

One year ago, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Throughout the ensuing 12 months, our members have consistently stepped forward with relentless perseverance and dedication to provide exceptional patient care on the front lines, often facing immense challenges posed by evolving conditions and uncertain outcomes. ASHP staff, working remotely from home and without missing a beat, supported our members and all healthcare providers by developing evidence-based resources and tools to identify solutions and share knowledge to improve patient care.

Today, we stand confident knowing that we have three vaccine options authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, offering a real sense of hope that the U.S. population could reach herd immunity if efforts to vaccinate the population continue and the demand for the vaccines remains high.

On Friday, ASHP issued a strong statement urging the widespread use and equitable allocation of all three vaccines, based on a review of the scientific evidence available. ASHP also published two new resources to help individuals counter myths about Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and provide information on optimal settings for using each of the authorized vaccines.

These new resources are just the latest offerings from ASHP, which has been a leader since the outset of this global health crisis, providing needed information, networking, and resources to support our members and all healthcare professionals address the impact of the pandemic and plan for short- and long-term recovery efforts.

ASHP’s efforts demonstrate our ongoing commitment to supporting our members and their patients and also signal just how far we have come in our fight against this virus. In the early days of the pandemic, the need for pharmacist engagement on the front lines of care quickly became clear as healthcare professionals struggled to manage shortages of drugs and medical supplies. There was a need for clarity about potential treatments for COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, remdesivir, monoclonal antibodies, corticosteroids, and other medications. One of the first resources we created in March 2020 was ASHP’s Assessment of Evidence for COVID-19 Related Treatments to help practitioners better understand proposed treatments for COVID-19. This free resource, which continues to be updated at least twice monthly, has been downloaded more than 56,800 times since its initial publication.

The evidence table was just one of ASHP’s many resources that were made open access and free to any healthcare professional who needed it during the spring and summer months of 2020. Others included ASHP’s Critical Care Board Certification Resources, access to our AHFS drug database, and more. Through these actions, ASHP made an enormous amount of educational materials and resources available free of charge to support our collective national response to the pandemic.

Real-time knowledge-sharing was and still is a top priority today. We knew that it was critical for pharmacists in early surge cities to share what they learned to help prepare their colleagues across the country for the inevitable patient surges in their communities and states. To share information as quickly as possible, we developed a free ongoing webinar series dedicated to COVID-19, which continues to provide valuable perspective and intelligence on how pharmacists are responding to the pandemic.

We have held 53 webinars so far, with more than 24,000 total attendees. We have also used our popular @ASHPOfficial podcast to share critical information about COVID-19. Since last March, ASHP has produced 81 episodes dedicated to the pandemic with more than 81,400 downloads. In addition to being featured in webinars, ASHP news articles, and ASHP podcasts, our members and ASHP staff have served as expert sources in the media with coverage in more than 3,900 COVID-19 stories generating in excess of 7 billion media impressions.

Communication among pharmacy professionals and other healthcare providers continues to be a crucial element in fighting this pandemic. Our COVID-19 Connect Community, open to ASHP members and free to all healthcare providers, now has more than 77,500 users with more than 2,300 unique discussion threads. This remains a very active resource where users can ask questions, receive answers, share experiences, post guidance, receive updates, and learn best practices to support patients and each other.

These examples are only a handful of ways ASHP continues to support our members during this ongoing health crisis. The full scope of ASHP’s COVID-19 response is highlighted in an infographic.

Today, countless ASHP members are leading and participating in a historic national vaccination effort that centers on vaccines that did not exist a year ago. As trusted members of the healthcare community, pharmacists are working with patients to overcome vaccine hesitancy and misinformation issues. We believe pharmacists, who are among the most trusted professionals in the U.S., have and will continue to play an instrumental role in supporting our communities through these challenging times. To this end, ASHP recently introduced a Change.org petition calling on the White House to ensure pharmacy professionals are represented in the administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. We believe representation on this task force by a qualified pharmacist will be critical to addressing the persistent health inequities in communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The accessibility and expertise of pharmacists make them an asset and essential source of information for the public, particularly in medically underserved areas.

If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to add your voice to the cause. If you’ve already signed, please consider sharing it with friends and family and across social media using #PharmacyFrontline.

Reflecting on this tumultuous year, we will never forget the lives lost and the toll this pandemic has taken on our families and colleagues. We will also never forget the bravery, kindness, and unyielding dedication of pharmacy professionals serving on the front lines. I invite you to view this video where some of our members reflect on their most poignant moments from the last year.

As the vaccine rollout continues and pharmacists continue to play vital roles in the effort, ASHP, as always, remains dedicated to supporting our members. One year in, these remain stressful and unpredictable times, and we are all susceptible to burnout. It is critically important that healthcare professionals on the front lines take a moment to check in with themselves, colleagues, and loved ones. ASHP is proud to offer many resources on our website to help individuals recognize burnout symptoms and practice self-care techniques.

We are so very proud of the resilience and fortitude of the pharmacy community. While 2021 promises progress and hopefully a return to some level of normalcy, we know that there remains much important work ahead. I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support of ASHP and all that you do for your patients and our profession.

Sincerely,

Paul

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