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NCPA honors independent pharmacy leaders at virtual Annual Convention

The National Community Pharmacists Association’s virtual Annual Convention was a whirlwind. The organization handed out several awards, including its lifetime achievement award, the inaugural Sharlea Leatherwood Memorial Trailblazer Award and the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition, among several others that recognize leaders in independent pharmacy. 

This year’s NCPA Calvin J. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award went to Nasir Mahmood, owner of Pine Plains Pharmacy in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. The award, which honors a pharmacist whose career has been dedicated to advancing the pharmacy profession, was bestowed on Mahmood for his career that started as an independent pharmacist in Stillwater, Okla., and went on to include time as president of NCPA when it was still the National Association of Retail Druggists and a five-year term as NCPA vice president. He has served the Pine Plains Area since 1989. He also has worked with the American Pharmacists Association; the Hudson Valley Pharmacists Society; and the Pakistani American Pharmacists Association, and played a role in New York allowing pharmacists to administer influenza and pneumococcal disease vaccines. 

“Through his dedication to patients, involvement in professional organizations, and local leadership, Nasir Mahmood is an asset to his region and to independent pharmacy,” said NCPA president Brian Caswell. “He has had a meaningful impact in New York and is a tremendous example of how independent pharmacists across the country work tirelessly to serve their communities and improve quality of life. I commend Nasir for his exceptional leadership and am pleased to recognize him with the Calvin J. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award.” 

NCPA awarded the 2020 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year Award to Amina Abubakar, owner of Rx Clinic Pharmacy in Charlotte, N.C. The award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith for the 12th year running, is given to a pharmacist who has show exemplary professional leadership, community service and commitment to independent pharmacy. Abubakar has lived up to those criteria. Born in Kenya, Abubakar looks to practice beyond dispensing, offering health fairs with patient screenings, immunizations and point-of-care testing, as well as spearheading education and advocacy for her patients with HIV and AIDS. She also works with Lamu, Kenya-based Safari Doctors, which coordinates mobile health clinics and provides medicine to marginalized communities in the region. Her work with Safari Doctors earned her the United Nations Person of the Year award in 2017. Abubakar also is the founder of the Avant Instituto and a clinical director for Troy Medicare and is a national luminary for CPESN USA, a national network of clinically integrated pharmacies. 

“Amina is a tireless advocate for her patients, her community, her colleagues, and the future of pharmacy,” said NCPA CEO Doug Hoey. “She is a deserving recipient of the Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year Award, demonstrating with her strong leadership what it means to be an independent community pharmacist. We applaud Amina’s dedication and hard work and are proud to partner with Upsher-Smith to recognize her as this year’s Independent Pharmacist of the Year.” 

Beverly Schaefer, co-owner of Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy in Seattle, earned the Sharlea Leatherwood Memorial Trailblazer Award, which is meant to recognize an outstanding pharmacy owner whose business blazes a trail for other independents and is given in remembrance of former NCPA and NCPA foundation president Sharlea Leatherwood. Schaefer’s pharmacy offers patient care services and immunizations to its patients, and Schaefer has prescriptive authority over 40 legend drugs, including most of those prescribed while traveling. She has been an NCPA member for 40 years and has mentored many students who have participated in the annual Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition.

This year’s student business plan competition was won by the team from the University of Arkansas, with a team from the University of Iowa as runner-up and students from the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy as second runner-up. The finalists — who stood out among 27 entrants — presented their business plans virtually on Oct. 6 via a live, Q&A-style webinar with competition judges and an online audience. The winning team, comprised of team captain Marissa Johnston and team members Brittany Butterfield, Patrick Gurley, and Byron Johnson, was advised by Seth Heldenbrand and Schwanda Flowers. As winners, the school’s chapter received $3,000 and NCPA donated $3,000 in Dean Cindy Stowe’s name to promote independent community pharmacy at the university’s pharmacy school. The runner-up team earned $2,000 for their chapter and NCPA donated $2,000 in their dean’s name, and second runners-up earned $1,000 for their chapter with $1,000 donated in their dean’s name. 

“Congratulations to all of the participating teams from the 17th annual Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition, and in particular this year’s finalists and the winning plan for the Functional Pharmacy,” Caswell said. “Each of these teams demonstrated an extraordinary resilience in crafting their business plans as the coronavirus pandemic evolved and the pharmacy industry itself adapted to serve patients as safely as possible. I applaud them all for their efforts and congratulate UAMS for rising to the top of a very strong pack. The future of independent pharmacy is looking bright if these students are indicative of what’s to come.

Also honored by NCPA this year was William Scharringhausen, a third-generation pharmacist and pharmacy owner from Park Ridge, Ill., who was awarded the 2020 John W. Dargavel Medal by the NCPA Foundation. Sponsored by Mckesson, the award is given to an individual whose contributions to independent pharmacist honor the award’s namesake —former National Association of Retail Druggists executive secretary John Dargavel, in whose honor the NCPA Foundation was established in 1953. Scharringhausen began his career in pharmacy when he graduated from pharmacy school in 1956, when he joined Scharringhausen Pharmacy — started by his grandfather in 1924 — where he worked with his grandfather, father, wife and sister until his retirement in 1999. He is a former NARD/NCPA president, among other roles he has taken on over the years. 


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