It is always a time to celebrate when any member of our Cougar community is recognized for their commitment to the profession. This year the Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) honored several Coug pharmacists on October 30 for their contributions to the profession. Congratulations to the following College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences alumni and faculty.
Washington State Pharmacist of the Year
Nick Bruck (‘04) is a huge supporter of public health and has been unwavering in his response to public health emergencies in Spokane. Over the last year, he led vaccination efforts in eastern Washington and personally drove to remote locations to administer vaccines in rural communities.
This year WSPA has chosen Bruck as the Washington State Pharmacist of the Year, an award which recognizes a pharmacist who possesses qualities of excellence in routine practice and association activities, is an exemplary role model, and who has contributed service and skill to the WSPA during the past year.
Rodney D. Shafer Award
Linda Garrelts MacLean (’78) has been a leader in the pharmacy profession for over forty years, passionately advocating for the profession and constantly working to improve the ways pharmacists care for patients. Recently retired, MacLean continues to serve the college as a professor emeritus and remains a mentor and inspiration to all those around her.
In recognition of all she has accomplished over the course of her career, this year MacLean was chosen by WSPA for the Rodney D. Shafer Achievement Award. The award honors pioneering and sustaining contributions to the profession of pharmacy.
Distinguished Leadership Service Award
Angela Stewart encourages her students and peers to become leaders in the pharmacy profession. Stewart works with those she mentors to find their strengths, recognize areas of opportunity, and strive to reach their goals. In addition to her roles as pharmacotherapy professor and associate dean for the Washington State University (WSU) Doctor of Pharmacy Yakima extension she takes part in numerous professional and community organizations and currently serves as the Director for the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative. Currently, Stewart is also working with WSPA, University of Washington, and her WSU peers to create an interprofessional rural health track focusing on behavioral health to increase access to health care for rural communities.
Stewart was selected for the WSPA Distinguished Leadership Service Award in recognition of her instrumental contributions to the development and growth of the profession, and demonstration of a high level of influence and direction in the workplace, community and the profession.
Bowl of Hygeia
Since its inception in 1958, the Bowl of Hygeia has become one of the highest honors a pharmacist can receive. The national award recognizes pharmacists who possess outstanding records of civic leadership and take active roles in their communities.
This year, two Washington pharmacists were chosen for the Bowl of Hygeia. Leon (’91) and Merrie Kay (’93) Alzola. Leon and Merrie Kay met while pharmacy students at WSU and have shared a passion for pharmacy and each other ever since. Both as a team and individually they are devoted supporters of pharmacy education and the advancement of the profession in Washington state.
In addition to her role as a Senior Employer Account Executive with Novo Nordisk, Merrie Kay Alzola serves as chair of the WSU CPPS Deans Advisory Council and is the Pharmacist Director for Clark College Pharmacy Technician Program. She has also served on the boards of numerous professional and community organizations and provides invaluable mentorship and support to pharmacy students and new graduates.
Leon Alzola, National Director of Kroger Health West, gives generously of his time volunteering for a variety community and professional organizations. In addition, he works with both Washington state pharmacy schools to help shape pharmacy education in the state. Leon serves as a board member for the WSU CPPS Dean’s Advisory Council and the Chair of the Executive Advisory Board for the University of Washington School of Pharmacy.
Excellence in Innovation Award
When a patient walks into Othello Station Pharmacy in the southside of Seattle they find not only pharmacy, but a community center. The pharmacy owned by Ahmed Ali (’08), serves the predominantly East African and Somali community in Rainier Valley and has become a place for patients to ask questions, seek translations of medical communications, and be directed to the help they need.
To further serve the community, Ali established the Somali Health Board to address health disparities disproportionately affecting the Somali population in King County. In addition to supporting wellness programs, advocacy, and community-based research, the nonprofit has been integral in COVID-19 vaccination efforts and education. Ali has posted videos of himself receiving the vaccine and hosted webinars on how the pandemic has impacted the Somali and immigrant community.
For these reasons and more, Ali was selected by WSPA for the Excellence in Innovation Award, a national award which recognizes pharmacists who use innovative pharmacy practice to improve patient care and outcomes.
WSPA Fellow Award
For the 2021 awards ceremony, the organization also introduced the inaugural WSPA Fellow Award in recognition of pharmacy professionals who have shown outstanding service to WSPA and the pharmacy profession through advocacy, community engagement, and advancement of the profession.
WSU alumni and faculty members who received the award:
- Andy Stergatchis (’75)
- Angela Stewart, pharmacotherapy professor and associate dean for the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy Yakima extension
- Bill Fasset, professor emeritus and former dean
- Chris Greer (’91)
- Chuck Paulsen (’84)
- Colleen Terriff (’96)
- Cristina DuVall (’07)
- Holly Whitcomb Henry (’78)
- John Oftebro (’65)
- Julie Akers (’00), pharmacotherapy associate professor and associate dean for external relations
- Kirk Heinz (’86)
- Leon Alzola (’91)
- Linda Garrelts MacLean (’78), professor emeritus
- Merrie Kay Alzola (’93)
- Nanci Murphy (’77)
- Roger Woolf (’83)
- Senator Linda Evans Parlette (’68)
- Steve Riddle (’84)
- Sue Merk (‘76)
- Teri Ferreira (’91)
- Terri Levien (’90), pharmacotherapy professor and director of quality assurance improvement and accreditation preparation