Two University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty members and a student were honored with awards that recognize pharmacy innovators from across the U.S.
Associate Professor Sarah Anderson, PharmD, Assistant Professor Rhianna Fink, PharmD, and student Nashel Patel were all honored in the Next-Generation Pharmacy Awards, sponsored by Pharmacy Times and Parata Systems. The awards honor 30 finalists from across the country in 10 categories.
All three honorees traveled to San Diego on Oct. 25 to attend the Next-Generation Pharmacy Awards reception. At the ceremony, Anderson was presented with the Health-System Pharmacist 2019 Award. Fink and Patel were both honored as finalists in their categories.
Sarah Anderson: Health-System Pharmacist Award winner
When Anderson experienced working in an ambulatory care setting in as a resident, she knew it was the place for her.
“It’s one of those things where you feel like you’re home, like this is where I need to be,” she said.
Anderson’s pharmacy career has been centered on home in more than one way. Before earning her PharmD with CU Pharmacy in 2007, the Denver native graduated from CU Boulder. After pharmacy school, she completed her first-year residency with Denver Health and her second-year residency at CU Pharmacy.
“I bleed black and gold,” she said. “I’ve gone to CU for everything, for all my schooling and now I work here.”
In addition to her work at CU Pharmacy, Anderson is a practicing health-system pharmacist at the Denver Health Bernard F. Gipson Sr. Eastside Family Health Center. Colleagues from both of her workplaces — CU Pharmacy and Denver Health — nominated her for the Next-Generation Pharmacy Award.
“To find out I was a finalist — that’s a big deal,” Anderson said. “It’s very humbling to have my name put forward by my own colleagues. And then to find out I was a finalist — it’s a bit overwhelming. I feel like I do my job because I love what I do. So, it’s the cherry on top to be recognized for doing a good job at it.”
Rhianna Fink: Patient Care Provider Award finalist
When Fink found out she was selected as a finalist in the patient care provider category, she was at work at Clinica Family Health, a federally qualified health center with five locations in northwest Denver and the surrounding communities.
She knew her colleagues submitted her name for nomination, she said, “but I didn’t expect to be a finalist at all. So it was a really pleasant surprise.”
Fink has been a faculty member with CU Pharmacy since 2015. She also completed her second-year residency with the school. The award shines a spotlight on her work at the clinic, where she has collaborative practice for several disease states, from hypertension to smoking cessation.
“I really enjoy my clinic site, the patients that I am able to serve and the providers I work with,” she said. “I think it takes special individuals to work in that population, so I am really proud of the people I work with and the clinic as a whole. It’s not just me. I feel like I have a really good support system.”
Nashel Patel: Future Pharmacist Award finalist
Patel, a fourth-year student at CU Pharmacy, is a finalist in the Future Pharmacist category.
In her undergraduate years of college, she knew she wanted to work in the healthcare field — and quickly narrowed her career options to pharmacy.
“I realized pharmacy was an area where I could have a true impact on patients,” she said.
Now that she’s completing her final year of pharmacy school, Patel is interested in pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
“I hope to be involved in the advancement of drug therapy to improve the lives of patients on a global level” she said.
In her time with CU Pharmacy, Patel has already made an impact. She has been involved with student organizations, including the Industry Pharmacists Organization, Phi Lambda Sigma and the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacists. Patel also was one of two CU Pharmacy students who led the school’s American Pharmacists Association Women’s Health Campaign, earning national recognition for increasing awareness for women’s health education through a series of major projects.
“I know I picked the right field,” Patel said. “There’s so much you can do with it.”