American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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ACCP Report - November 2018

ACCP Member Spotlight: John Awad


  John R. Awad

John Awad, Pharm.D. candidate, is a fourth-year pharmacy student at the University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Pharmacy. Awad was first exposed to hospital pharmacy practice as a volunteer at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut. In this role, he assisted pharmacy technicians in managing drug inventory using a McKesson automated medication dispensing robot and delivered high-cost medications, including chemotherapy, to patient units in a timely manner. Awad also gained a strong understanding of clinical pharmacists’ roles in patient monitoring, drug information, medication safety, and antimicrobial stewardship. This volunteer experience uncovered his passion to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy that would allow him to fulfill his goal of positively influencing patients’ lives.

At UConn, Awad became a founder and president of the ACCP student chapter (SCCP). He started the student organization to promote excellence in patient care, research, education, professional development, and interprofessional teamwork and to inspire the next generation of clinical pharmacy leaders. What originally seemed to be a daunting task, given the fierce competition from 16 other pharmacy student organizations, became achievable through hard work and determination. During its first 2 years, the UConn SCCP thrived and grew exponentially, from 5 founding members to 35 members.

The student chapter successfully developed innovative student activities that align with ACCP’s mission. For example, under Awad’s leadership, the chapter developed the first UConn Campus Blood Pressure Clinic in partnership with the UConn Student Nurses Association. Awad understood the importance of exposing future nurses to the role of clinical pharmacists in advancing ACCP’s mission. This inspired him to develop an information session to educate pharmacy and nursing students about the role of each profession in providing patient care.

Building a student organization from scratch developed his confidence, decisiveness, and awareness. It also motivated him to pursue a career in hospital pharmacy administration, where he plans to drive innovations in pharmacy practice that ultimately enhance patient care in ways that are currently unimaginable.

In addition to his student leadership experience, Awad is a pharmacy intern at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), a 1541-bed academic medical center in New Haven, Connecticut, serving many underserved patients from surrounding communities. He assisted the Oncology Pharmacy Leadership Team in driving many initiatives, including incorporating one of the first KIRO Oncology automated chemotherapy compounding robots in the United States. He was involved in enhancing pharmacy technician workflow and safety through projects such as updating the USP 797/800 Gowning SOP, which was implemented across the entire YNHH system. He assisted the leadership team in developing workflow and contingency plans for the USP 800 upgrade, obtaining additional FTEs to support drug volume growth and training new pharmacy technicians on USP 800 best practices. Currently, Awad is heavily involved in the initiative to perform medication reconciliation for 100% of YNHH patients. His experience at YNHH has given him an appreciation for the role of pharmacy in enhancing patient outcomes, reducing hospital readmissions, and improving medication safety. His experience as an intern has given him a comprehensive understanding of the drug distribution process, the role of pharmacists and technicians in patient care, and, most importantly to Awad, the integral role of strong hospital pharmacy leadership.

Awad understands that pharmacy leadership is critical in managing increasing drug costs, drug shortages, and a growing specialty pharmacy market. He also believes that strong pharmacy leaders will play an increasingly important role in the financial stability and growth of health systems. Awad’s goal is to someday be in a leadership position that enables him to advance the practice of pharmacy within a large health system.

ACCP’s Member Spotlight serves to highlight and provide visibility to ACCP members with respect to their career path, professional contributions, and ACCP member experience. To nominate an ACCP member to be featured in the spotlight, please visit www.accp.com/membership/spotlight.aspx.