Washington, DC – The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) is pleased to announce that the Alaska Native Medical Center Pharmacy Department has been named the 2020 recipient of the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Award in the organization category. For the individual category in 2020, the BPS Board of Directors chose to issue the award to Brian L. Erstad, PharmD, MCCM, FCCP, FASHP, BCPS.


Nominations for the Weaver/Penna Award were solicited separately for organizations and individual persons, and an Award is provided to one recipient in each category at the discretion of the BPS Board of Directors.


Organization Category Award
As an acute, specialty, primary and behavioral health care provider, the 173-bed Alaska Native Medical Center provides comprehensive medical services to Alaska Native and American Indian people living in the state — a vast 663,000 square miles. ANMC is a Level II Trauma Center and offers a full range of medical specialties, primary care services and labs.


The Pharmacy Department provides comprehensive care and consultative services for patients and healthcare providers throughout Alaska including after-hours pharmaceutical care to three remote hospitals and one detox facility. ANMC supports the largest infusion center within the Indian Health Service. The inpatient pediatric unit comprises a 12 bed-neonatal unit, and a 19-bed pediatric unit with capacity for at least 4 pediatric intensive care unit patients.


Providing numerous specialized pharmacy services throughout Alaska, the organization sought to ensure a board-certified pharmacist is part of each specialty team. Of the 88 ANMC pharmacists, 37 (42%) are board certified in at least one specialty. ANMC pharmacists comprise a significant 36% of Alaska’s board-certified pharmacists, in seven specialties. ANMC is dedicated to the development of pharmacists, evidenced by creating a tiered pharmacist growth ladder which includes board certification as a benchmark and annual financial support for pharmacists’ certifications.


“ANMC pharmacists are known throughout the organization as always being reliable, knowledgeable, competent, and the go-to resource for patient safety, process improvement, and drug knowledge. We value knowing our specialized pharmacists are board-certified, continually expanding their knowledge, and setting the bar for the state and nation,” said Dr. Deborah Lerner, Medical Director for ANMC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.


The presentation of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties Weaver/Penna Award to Alaska Native Medical Center Pharmacy Department will be made February 10, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska.


Individual Category Award
The recipient of the Weaver/Penna Award in the individual category is Brian L. Erstad, Professor and Head of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science. Dr. Erstad has served on the BPS Nuclear Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy Specialty Councils. He was also appointed as the founding chair and later became the first elected chair of the BPS Specialty Council on Critical Care Pharmacy. Presently Dr. Erstad serves as the President of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.


Dr. Erstad has truly been a pioneer in critical care pharmacy practice:

  • He established adult critical care pharmacy services for his academic medical center in the late 1980s.
  • He developed standards for his specialty residency program in critical care pharmacy practice prior to the formation of official ASHP accreditation standards.
  • He served on an ASHP working group to develop accreditation standards for critical care pharmacy residencies.


Dr. Erstad has been a strong advocate for Board certification:

  • As department head, he has promoted and demonstrated the value of certification in the hiring of clinical faculty members (all of his current clinical faculty with direct patient care responsibilities have at least one board certification).
  • He has published articles on inter-professional critical care pharmacy practice that include a discussion of the value of certification.
  • Has promoted the value of certification as the previous Residency Program Director for 24 specialty residents (PGY2 in critical care), as well as precepting hundreds of PGY1 residents on critical care rotations.


The presentation of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties Weaver/Penna Award to Dr. Brian Erstad will be made at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy in Dallas, Texas.


The Board of Pharmacy Specialties offers congratulations to these deserving recipients of the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Awards for 2020.


About the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Award
BPS announced the establishment of the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Award as part of the BPS 40th Anniversary celebration. The award recipient must be an individual or organization who has advanced health quality and/or patient care by promoting the recognition and value of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and the BPS board certification of pharmacists.


The award will be conferred at a meeting or venue deemed appropriate by the BPS Board of Directors based upon the affiliation of the award recipient. The award will bear the images of Warren Weaver and Richard Penna and the BPS logo inscribed with the recipient’s name and date of presentation. In addition, the BPS offices will display a perpetual plaque recognizing previous award recipients.


The award honors Warren E. Weaver who was the first Chair of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Weaver was a founding trustee of the Virginia Pharmacists Association Foundation and, on the national level, he served as 1968-69 president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).


In 1973, Weaver was appointed by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to the Taskforce on Specialties in Pharmacy, which led to the establishment of the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties—now the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). Weaver went on to serve BPS from 1975 to 1981 and was elected the first chairman, serving in that role from 1976 to 1979. Weaver passed away in July 2014 at the age of 93.


The award also honors Richard (Dick) P. Penna who joined the staff at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in 1966. Among his many professional accomplishments, he was a co-developer of APhA’s Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs and was an advocate for pharmacist patient counseling and clinical activities. Penna served as the APhA staff member assigned to the Taskforce on Specialties in Pharmacy in 1973, and he went on to assume responsibility as the first secretary/executive director of BPS in 1975.


In 1985, Penna joined the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy as associate executive director and was named executive vice president and chief executive officer in 1995. The prestigious APhA Remington Honor Medal was presented to Penna in 2002, recognizing his distinguished service to the profession of pharmacy. Penna passed away in August 2011 at the age of 75.


About the Board of Pharmacy Specialties
The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) was established in 1976 as an autonomous division of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The mission of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties is to improve patient care and increase awareness of the need for BPS Board Certified Pharmacists as integral members of multidisciplinary healthcare teams through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and specialty board certification and recertification of pharmacists throughout the world. Board Certification through BPS has become recognized as the gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels as a result of the rigorous standards mandated by BPS board certification and recertification. Today BPS recognizes more than 46,000 pharmacist certifications across 13 specialties worldwide.


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