The American Pharmacists Association has elected Alex Varkey as its president for 2023–2024, succeeding Valerie Prince on March 25, 2024, at the conclusion of the 2024 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Orlando, Fla.
Also elected to serve a 3-year term beginning in March 2023 on APhA’s board of trustees are Cathy Worrall and Lauren Bode. James Ponto was elected as the 2023–2024 honorary president.
All officers will be installed at the 170th APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Phoenix, Ariz., March 24–27, 2023.
Varkey has dedicated his career to advancing the pharmacist's role in patient care. His passion for professional service began as a student pharmacist, when he served as national president of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists.
Varkey's service and dedication to APhA and other pharmacy organizations have continued for almost two decades, including his current service as trustee on the APhA Board of Trustees.
APhA shared that Varkey is passionate about promoting practitioner well-being as an essential component of a well-functioning health care system and is a recognized pharmacy thought leader in this space. As chair of APhA's Well-Being Steering Committee, Varkey promotes awareness of well-being concerns in pharmacy and resources to help individuals and organizations address these concerns.
Varkey is currently director of pharmacy at Houston Methodist Hospital. In this 950-bed academic medical center, he and his team have implemented innovative technologies to enhance efficiency and safety in medication-use processes and developed thriving learner programs, including their award-winning two-year health-system pharmacy administration and leadership residency.
Most recently, Varkey and his team coordinated efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 150,000 Houstonians. Varkey received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston and Master of Science in Health-System Pharmacy Administration from The Ohio State University. He completed a two-year health-system pharmacy administration residency at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Worrall is the associate dean for admissions and student affairs and a professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. Formerly a critical care registered nurse, Worrall earned her PharmD at the University of Florida, then completed a residency in critical care and nutrition support therapeutics at the University of Tennessee—Memphis.
Following residency training, Worrall worked as a critical care clinical pharmacy specialist at the Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., where she started Mayo Medical Center's critical care pharmacy residency program. She later accepted a position at MUSC, where she specialized in burn, trauma and nutrition support until she transitioned 12 years ago to the dean's office at the College of Pharmacy.
Worrall is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Her current research interests focus on student pharmacists’ personal and professional development, including professionalism, self-awareness, leadership development, emotional intelligence and wellness and resiliency. Worrall is an active member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, APhA, Phi Lambda Sigma, Rho Chi, the South Carolina Pharmacy Association and the South Carolina Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists.
She has served in numerous leadership roles in these organizations. Worrall is an APhA Fellow, a past recipient of APhA's Distinguished Achievement Award in Hospital/Institutional Practice, SCPhA's Kenneth Couch Distinguished Mentor Award and the 2021 recipient of the PLS Proctor and Gamble National Leadership Award.
Bode is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Vermont campus of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and practices with the University of Vermont Department of Family Medicine as an ambulatory care clinical specialist. In 2010, she graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a degree in art conservation; however, she realized she wanted to use chemistry to restore people instead of art and went to the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, graduating with the highest honors in 2016. After graduation, she completed a PGY-1 and PGY-2 pharmacotherapy residency at the University of North Carolina Medical Center.
Involvement in APhA and state pharmacy organizations has been a feature of her career since being a student, serving as the APhA–ASP speaker of the house and then in various state and national leadership positions including chair of the APhA New Practitioner Advisory Committee.
She is unwavering in her belief that pharmacists are central to improving patients’ lives and seeks to create opportunities for pharmacists to do so in innovative and fulfilling ways. For her efforts, Bode was awarded the Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award from the Vermont Pharmacists Association in 2019.
Ponto is emeritus clinical professor at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. He earned his BSPharm from University of Iowa and MS in Radiopharmacy from the University of Southern California. Ponto completed a short residency in nuclear pharmacy at Duke University Medical Center. He then spent his career at the University of Iowa, where he was chief nuclear pharmacist at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and clinical professor at the college of pharmacy until his recent retirement.
Ponto has been a continuously board-certified nuclear pharmacist since the inaugural BPS certification exam in 1982. In APhA, he served on numerous APhA–APPM and nuclear pharmacy committees, including as chair of the Section on Nuclear Pharmacy. He also served on various BPS groups, including as Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Council chair, nonspecialist member on the Nutrition Support Specialty Council and two terms on the BPS Board of Directors. He also has served on several United States Pharmacopeia expert committees and expert panels. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, 40 abstracts, 20 book chapters and numerous continuing pharmacy education lessons. Honors received from APhA include Fellow, Distinguished Achievement Award in Nuclear Pharmacy Practice, Daniel B. Smith Practice Excellence Award and 4 poster Presentation Merit Awards.
Other honors include ASHP Fellow, Society of Nuclear Medicine Presidential Distinguished Service Award and USP Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Standards. As a practitioner and educator, he strove to advance nuclear pharmacy specialty practice and recognize, promote, and advance other practice specialties in pharmacy.