American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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ACCP Report - August 2019

Johnson Named 2019 Parker Medalist

Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D., FCCP, has been chosen by the Parker Medal Selection Committee as the 2019 recipient of the College’s Paul F. Parker Medal for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Pharmacy. Johnson is dean of the college of pharmacy at the University of Florida and director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Paul Parker was one of clinical pharmacy’s most influential proponents. Before his death in 1998, Parker spent 24 years as director of pharmacy at the Chandler Medical Center/University of Kentucky in Lexington. His innovations include developing decentralized pharmacy services, placing pharmacists in the hospital’s clinical areas, and developing the nation’s first pharmacist-staffed drug information center. Parker’s vision for pharmacy practice was passed along to the more than 150 residents and fellows who trained in the Kentucky program during his tenure. These disciples include many of today’s leaders in clinical pharmacy who continue to pass on his wisdom and vision to their trainees and colleagues. The Paul F. Parker Medal recognizes an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the profession that improve patient or service outcomes, create innovative practices, affect populations of patients, further the professional role of pharmacists, or expand the recognition of pharmacists as health professionals.

The Parker Medal Selection Committee selected Johnson as the 2019 medalist because of her record of contributions that have furthered the professional role of pharmacists and her visionary leadership. In its report to the ACCP Board of Regents, the committee wrote:

Dr. Robert Talbert, the 2015 Parker Medal awardee, states in his letter that Dr. Johnson is widely recognized in pharmacy and medicine as a leader in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. He writes, “She has served on numerous advisory panels, task forces, and committees at the national and international level to develop guidelines for the implementation of pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine.” Dr. Talbert adds that her outstanding role in the development of tools of pharmacogenomics is based on nearly 300 publications in leading, high-impact journals. He notes that her election to the National Academy of Medicine in 2014 is further evidence of her distinction as one of only a handful of pharmacy-based scientists worthy of the honor.
At Dr. Johnson’s home institution, the University of Florida, Dr. Carl Pepine enthusiastically provides his strongest level of support from the perspective of a professor of medicine and Past President of the American College of Cardiology. He states, “I can think of no other person whose leadership, administration, research, and teaching activities have made outstanding and sustained contributions to advance the profession of pharmacy while improving the health of individuals with CVD.” He notes her many impactful publications and highlights a 5,000-patient genetic sub-study, from a 22,000-patient randomized trial that examined clinical outcomes associated with a beta blocker vs a calcium antagonist treatment strategy for hypertension in CAD patients. Dr. Pepine concludes by asserting that she was among the first to identify an association of VKORC1 genotype and to show that clopidogrel pharmacogenetics influences adverse outcomes. This work documented that a routine pharmacogenetics approach among PCI patients can improve outcomes. Her NIH-funded research over the past 3 decade speaks volumes about her contributions to science.

The committee also listed additional significant facts supporting Johnson’s selection:

  • Long-term board certification as a pharmacotherapist, with added qualifications in cardiology, and clinical practice in the specialty.
  • Distinguished professor in pharmacy and medicine and current dean of pharmacy at the University of Florida.
  • Numerous prestigious awards.
  • Director for many trainees, many whom have gone on to be leaders in their field.
  • Sustained service to key professional organizations.
  • High level of personal and professional integrity and professionalism.

Other Johnson supporters similarly commented on her accomplishments. In her letter of support, Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., M.S., FACC, FAHA, associate professor of pharmacy and medicine, Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research and Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and associate director for the Center for Pharmacogenomics Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine of the University of Florida, described Johnson as someone with a “continuous drive to move the field of pharmacogenomics forward.” Moreover,

Julie really embodies all of the virtues exemplified by the Paul F. Parker award. Not only has Julie made important, foundational discoveries in the field of pharmacogenetics over the last 2 decades, she has recognized the absence of education in this area in most curricula, and has sought to train pharmacists, physicians, and scientists in the field of pharmacogenomics.

In his letter supporting the nomination, William Evans, Pharm.D., Endowed Chair in Pharmacogenomics, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and professor in the colleges of pharmacy and medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, stated that Johnson “is an outstanding investigator, having led a laboratory-based clinical/translational research program for over 20 years.” Furthermore,

She quickly established an independent research program in cardiovascular pharmacodynamics and therapeutics and established strong collaborations with her medical school colleagues…. Her research has continued to flourish, even after assuming increasing administrative responsibility.

In his letter of nomination, Robert Parker, Pharm.D., FCCP, professor, University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, stated that Johnson’s “collective work in cardiovascular drug pharmacogenomics has clearly established her as one of pharmacy’s (and medicine’s) leaders in this area” and that she “established the scientific foundation for genetic variation and its impact on cardiovascular diseases impacting millions of people including hypertension, heart failure, and acute coronary syndromes.”

Finally, in her letter of nomination, Dr. Maureen Keller-Wood, professor of pharmacodynamics and associate dean for research and graduate education of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, wrote:

Julie’s research and leadership has placed pharmacy and pharmacogenomics as a key player in the advances in precision medicine, recognizing the role of genetic variations in receptors and drug-metabolizing enzymes in the understanding of patient variations in drug response and in drug liabilities. Her vision has advanced the practice of pharmacy in terms of the education of our students, the role of pharmacists in our college and health center, and in the long term I am confident that this vision will lead to further advances in the role of pharmacists in clinical decision-making.

Johnson has written more than 280 scientific publications and has received numerous awards, including the ACCP Therapeutic Frontiers and Russell Miller awards, the Grant R. Wilkinson Distinguished Lectureship Award, the AACP Volwiler Research Achievement Award, and the William B. Abrams Lecture Award. She was also elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2014 and is a Fellow of ACCP and the American Heart Association.

The 2019 Paul F. Parker Medal will be presented to Johnson during the Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the 2019 ACCP Annual Meeting in New York City on Sunday, October 27. The Parker Medal Selection Committee is composed of representatives from member organizations of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners, together with past presidents of ACCP. Members of the 2019 selection committee were Terry Seaton, (chair), John Armitstead, Nicole Brandt, Jean-Venable “Kelly” Goode, Thomas Hardin, Judith Jacobi, Peggy Piascik, J. Robert Powell, Steven Scott, and James Tisdale.