Cardinal Health 2017 Ken Wurster Award winner ‘leads by example’

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Cardinal Health 2017 Ken Wurster Award winner ‘leads by example’

By David Salazar - 08/07/2017
During the opening-day evening activities at Cardinal Health RBC 2017, the spotlight was on Pedro Vanga, owner of Super Farmacia Vanga Inc. in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Vanga was honored with the 2017 Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award — accepting a $10,000 donation from Cardinal Health on his behalf to local organization, Iniciativa Comunitaria.

“After obtaining a PharmD, our winner could have gone anywhere to open a pharmacy,” said Michelle Britt, VP of sales for the east regions, as she and pharmacy business consultant, Claribel Ramos, and Cardinal Health Puerto Rico VP of sales and marketing, Michelle Montalvo, presented Vanga with the award. “Many places would have been more lucrative. But Vanga decided to open shop in the community that raised him. He focuses on the health needs of his patients and his community. He goes beyond the doors of the pharmacy to help the less fortunate receive care.”

Among some of Vanga’s efforts to serve his community beyond the pharmacy counter are regular free screening and diagnostic clinics, as well as his work with Iniciativa Comunitaria, which helps those addicted to drugs, as well as the homeless, become healthy through local clinics and outreach programs. Vanga also gives out backpacks full of school supplies to students in San Juan, and even hosts a Mother’s Day makeover event for the moms in his community every year.

“Pedro, I’ve had the privilege of visiting your pharmacy and meeting your family,” Cardinal Health SVP of marketing and customer solutions for the pharmaceutical distribution, Christi Pedra, said at a luncheon held for Vanga and the four award finalists at RBC 2017. “I’ve seen for myself the tremendous work you've done in your community, and we're very proud that you are this year’s Ken Wurster Award winner. We wish you great and continued success.”

The four Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award finalists were also at the luncheon and present during the award presentation. These pharmacists are active in their communities and use their pharmacies as vehicles to improve the lives and health of their patients.

Finalist John Forbes, who owns a Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale, Iowa — and was the Medicine Shoppe International Franchisee of the Year award winner at RBC 2017 — also serves as an Iowa state legislator, focusing on healthcare policy and budgeting the state’s Medicaid program.

Cheyenne, Okla.-based pharmacist, Jaclyn Stephens, of Cheyenne Professional Drug works with Cardinal Health’s retail independent advisory board and the Women in Pharmacy advisory board. She also — along with her 9-year-old son Alister — delivers Generation Rx presentations in her community to discuss the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse.

Finalist Ritesh Patel — who owns Drugsmart Pharmacy, Bayshore Homecare Pharmacy and Ramtown Pharmacy in Keansburg, N.J. — was the recipient of a 2013 New Jersey State Assembly proclamation and has served as a preceptor for the Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy since 2008.

And finalist Kevin Musto — who couldn’t attend RBC 2017, but sent employees Brandy Street and Melissa Urian, on his behalf — owns Atlantic Apothecary in Smyrna, Del. He also received the Delaware Pharmacists Society’s Bowl of Hygeia award for community service and was awarded the Cardinal Health Generation Rx Champion Award for the state of Delaware.

At the luncheon honoring Vanga and his fellow nominees, Vanga noted that although he was named the winner, the service of his fellow nominees — from their community outreach efforts to the daily task of working to improve the health of their patients in the pharmacy — could have easily earned them the crystal award he took home to San Juan.

“For me, it's a real pleasure and an honor to be among so many other deserving pharmacists because we know what we do, and we do it with passion,” Vanga said. “So I know John, Ritesh, Jaclyn and Kevin just as much deserve the highest prize of the Ken Wurster award.”

Photos courtesy of Alabastro Photography

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