Pharmacy News

Entries for June 2018

Local Association Spotlight: OCPA
Local Association Name: Oakland County Pharmacists Association (OCPA)
Counties Represented: Oakland County
Contact: Sarah Lerchenfeldt, president,

What activities does your local organize and conduct?
OCPA is an organization dedicated to serving the community, providing quality healthcare and promoting the profession of pharmacy. OCPA members have participated in several community activities such as volunteering at Forgotten Harvest, helping with brown-bag medicine reviews and providing educational sessions throughout the community. For example, OCPA members have volunteered at Farmers Markets to help educate the public about a variety of topics including opioid addiction, safe medication handling and disposal, and the importance of updated medication lists. In addition, many OCPA members have volunteered for community health fairs in which they have provided immunizations and valuable information to many.

What is an example of an innovative event or initiative that your local has recently been engaged in and how did it have a positive impact?

OCPA is pleased to present a live continuing education opportunity covering the basics of gender affirming pharmacy. It will take place on Thursday, July 12, 2018, at Affirmations in Ferndale, Mich. Transgender people often experience high rates of discrimination in healthcare settings. OCPA hopes that increasing the number of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who are trained to deliver high-quality care to transgender patients can help diminish these disparities. At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to recognize how to improve access and quality of gender affirming healthcare, review a hormone prescription for appropriateness based on patient's goals and explain the expected effects and timeline of changes with hormone therapy.

How would someone get involved in your local if they were interested?
Anyone is welcome to join us at our monthly meetings! They are the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Kerby's Koney Island, 5407 Crooks Road, in Troy. Our next meeting is Sept. 13. We are active on Facebook (search for OCPARx) and Twitter. Please feel free to follow us on social media or email us at if you have any questions. We always love to see new faces!

What is one thing that you would like student pharmacists and pharmacy professionals who are not involved in their local to know?
OCPA is not only a great way to make a difference in the community and network with other pharmacy professionals, but it also offers many opportunities to have fun!  

Posted in: Member News
Tech Spotlight: Sara Hill
How did you get into pharmacy technician practice?
I actually got into pharmacy practice by accident. When I relocated back to Michigan with my Masters in Theological Studies, I was unable to find a position in my field. So I began working part time at a charter school teaching students with special needs. Since the position was only part time, I was looking for another part time opportunity to supplement my income. I had years of retail experience, but wanted something more challenging, so I applied for a technician position with Meijer Pharmacy. I began working evenings and weekends and loved it so much that as soon as a full time opportunity became available, I left my position with the charter school. I always loved being challenged and studying new things and have always been fascinated by medicine. 

Did you work in a different industry or practice before becoming a pharmacy technician? If so, what prompted you to change career paths?
I have been in pastoral care for many years, which really fits into pharmacy practice. I honestly believe much of what we do and offer to our patients is pastoral care. For me, it has always been a ministry. 

What is your educational background? Did you complete the process to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician and, if so, why did you choose to strive for certification?
I graduated from Cornerstone University with my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and from Methodist Theological School in Ohio with my Master in Theological Studies. I became a Certified Pharmacy Technician in 2015. I desired certification because I believe it speaks about your respect and commitment to your profession. I am committed to what I do, love what I do and enjoy the networking it provides. I would highly recommend certification for every technician.

What is your employment?

I began working for Meijer Pharmacy in 2015 and have moved to various positions within the company (list goes from past to present):

Meijer Pharmacy – Rockford, MI – Level II Pharmacy Technician

I enjoyed working in the fast paced environment, connecting and caring for our patients with the best team.

Meijer Pharmacy Spectrum Butterworth – Grand Rapids, MI – Level III Pharmacy Technician 

I loved being part of our mCare delivery program that delivered medications beside to help with transitions of care. This provided another level of pastoral/patient care for me personally. The patient census at this location is much different from that of a regular retail store, in the sense of working with many patients with a terminal diagnosis or debilitating diseases, so I enjoyed the opportunity to be present with them. I also very much enjoyed making compounds.

Meijer Specialty Pharmacy – Grand Rapids, MI – Level III Pharmacy Technician/Patient Services Coordinator

o  I enjoyed working with a great team, the opportunity to learn about specialty medications and help patients be compliant with their medication.

What do you enjoy most about your current position and practice?
I am currently at Hospice of Michigan in Big Rapids, working as a spiritual care counselor. I enjoy working with patients and their families as they are facing difficult circumstances. The care that I offer to our patients and their families is a sacred honor and true privilege. The opportunity to be truly present with my patients and their families is the most rewarding experience. My previous education and training in pharmacology helps me know more about the patient as a whole and what to expect based on certain medications. 

How did you get involved in Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) and the Michigan Society of Pharmacy Technicians (MSPT)? Why do you think it’s important for pharmacy technicians to be involved in professional associations?
I love learning, continuing education (CE) and networking! I joined when Meijer required pharmacy technicians to take the Human Trafficking course through MPA. I never knew MPA was for technicians, so once that was made known, I jumped at the opportunity. I love the Annual Convention and CE options. After joining MPA, I did further research on the MPA website and was interested in getting more involved, so I emailed Larry Wagenknecht to get more information. I have since joined the MSPT Board of Directors and have been very involved. I highly recommend becoming members of professional organizations like MPA and MSPT because it provides many great networking opportunities and connections all throughout the state. It is such a blessing to be part of an organization that gets what you do all day long, while providing help and guidance along your path to success. The connections I have made through MPA and MSPT continually support and encourage me to become the best possible version of myself so that I am able to offer that same excellence to the patients I serve.

What activities have you been engaged in outside of pharmacy, including any professional appointments, advocacy involvement and volunteer activities?
I am passionate about nature photography and enjoy any moment to pull alongside the road to capture scenic images. I love to golf and participate in volunteer events like the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. It is always a great time! I also volunteer for Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society and advocate for human trafficking through Rapha House. I am very involved and interested in helping raise awareness and promote education of naloxone training and the opioid epidemic in West Michigan. 

About me:
I grew up in the Newaygo area and attended Morley Stanwood Community Schools. My parents, Chuck and Karen Hill, currently live in Morley and my sister Kristi is married to Ben Phillips and they have a son Rowan and they reside in Chesaning. I own a home on Indian Lake in Howard City and have lived here since 2008. I rented my home out while in seminary from 2012-2014. Running around the lake and capturing the beautiful Michigan sunsets are one of my summertime favorites. I also enjoy reading, continuing to learn about new things, watching hockey and spending time at Lake Michigan.

Posted in: Member News
Western Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists Update

By Katie Adrian, Pharm.D., BCPS, WMSHP president, clinical pharmacist, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo, western regional society representative


The Western Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (WMSHP) started off the year on Jan. 11 with Jona Lekura, Pharm.D., BCPS, presenting, “An Overview of Chronic Heart Failure Management” at Martell’s restaurant in Kalamazoo. On Feb. 8, at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, Matthew Gurka, Pharm.D., BCCP, enlightened the group with his presentation entitled. “Ketamine: Going Down the K-Hole.” The following month, on March 8, Susan Cornell, B.S., Pharm.D., CDE, FAPhA, FAADE, shared her knowledge about diabetes with her presentation titled, “2018 Diabetes Update: The Medication Makeover” at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. Finally, on April 12 at Uccello’s Ristorante in Grand Rapids, two western Michigan pharmacy residents had the opportunity to present their year-long research projects at our annual Pharmacy Resident Project Showcase. Lauren Fay, Pharm.D, from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s shared her project, “The Urgent Need for Urgent Care Antimicrobial Stewardship,” and Lauren VanDenBos, Pharm.D, from Borgess Medical Center, presented her project, “Effect of Initiation of Pharmacist Driven MRSA PCR Testing on Duration of Anti-MRSA Antibiotic Therapy.” We would like to give a huge thank you to our speakers!


Last month, on May 15, the 49th Annual WMSHP Spring Seminar was held at the Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians received five hours of live continuing education credit, including pain and law topics. Other topics covered were the roles of the pharmacy technician, anti-thrombotic therapy and transitions of care.


In February, WMSHP sponsored two P4 student pharmacists through the Michigan Pharmacy Foundation Adopt-A-Student Program at the Michigan Pharmacists Association’s Annual Convention and Exposition. At the end of May, WMSHP presented one $1,000 scholarship and one $500 scholarship to P3 student pharmacists in the region. This year’s recipients were Ashley Taylor and Dylan Kosaski, Ferris State University College of Pharmacy students. WMSHP truly enjoys supporting our regional pharmacy students and showing them the benefits that membership can provide.


WMSHP will be on summer break through August, and will resume monthly meetings in September. For more information about WMSHP or our upcoming programs and committee work, please visit


Posted in: Member News
Getting Involved: Making a Difference

By Allison Bouwma, Pharm.D., PGY1 pharmacy resident


The day before starting pharmacy school, I was sitting in Williams Auditorium at Ferris State University ready to receive my white coat. I was a starry-eyed student just waiting to put on that coat and become a “professional.” However, as every pharmacist and pharmacy student knows, pharmacy school is challenging. I was not nearly as prepared to take on the title of Pharm.D. candidate as I thought I was. I thought I knew what it meant to be a medical professional, but I had no idea. Looking back on this time as I approach graduation, there is one thing that I am so incredibly happy I did take from that white coat ceremony: “remain professionally engaged.”


I took this recommendation to heart and joined any and everything that interested me. Some may say that I joined and did too much, but I will never say that. I have learned so much in the classroom, but I have learned so much more by being involved in the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) as well as other organizations at the local, state and national level. I first decided to join MPA because it was the most reasonable cost for student membership. Also, there was no Ferris State University student MPA chapter at the time, so I would not have to commit myself to another monthly meeting. That all changed after I attended my first MPA Annual Convention and Exposition during my P1 year.


I fell in love with MPA in Detroit and wanted to do everything I could to be actively involved in the organization. My second year of pharmacy school I became the first MPA president of the new Ferris State University Student Michigan Pharmacists Association (SMPA) chapter. This position gave me the opportunity to sit on the Student Pharmacist Executive Council (SPEC). Last year I chaired the council and also sat on the MPA Executive Board. My story has been very unique, and I know I will be a better pharmacist for it. This is not the journey of every student pharmacist, but any amount of active involvement at any level in the profession is going to improve your pharmacy school experience and career satisfaction immensely.


The one thing I say to every student entering pharmacy school is to be involved. Not only is this important to obtain a residency or job after graduation, it is also going to teach you more about the wonderful profession than you could ever learn in a classroom. The pharmacy profession is always changing, and we must be at the forefront of this evolution because things are going to change with or without us.

Posted in: Member News
Best Practices for Enhanced Pharmacy Technician Roles

By Christine Ford, Pharm.D., PGY1 pharmacy practice resident, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo

As the focus of our healthcare system shifts away from fee-for-service toward payment for quality-based outcomes, the need for more clinical pharmacy services is growing. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should strive to practice at the top of their licenses in order to provide quality patient care services. As of 2014, Michigan requires pharmacy technicians to become licensed in order to perform the following relevant to inpatient care: assisting in the dispensing process, compounding drugs and preparing or mixing intravenous drugs for injection.1 Pharmacy technicians are required to pass a certified pharmacy technician examination in order to become licensed. Passing the certification examination demonstrates that licensed technicians have a baseline knowledge to safely prepare medications for distribution. As qualified members of the healthcare team, pharmacy technicians have the potential to expand their role with proper training and protocol implementation in health-systems.

Several states have legislation regarding tech-check-tech. Presently Michigan does not have legislation permitting tech-check-tech programs. However, studies outside of Michigan have shown that automated dispensing cabinets restocked and checked by pharmacy technicians versus pharmacists are similarly accurate.2 Barcode scanning technology, automated dispensing cabinets and robotic dispensers can help improve accuracy and documentation in the dispensing process thus enabling pharmacy technicians to perform a final check. If legislation legalizing tech-check-tech in Michigan is passed, institutions wishing to participate should implement the proper training and competency assessment programs compliant with the law and utilize appropriate technology to provide quality patient care.

Pharmacy technicians can practice at the top of their licenses by completing admission medication reconciliations under the supervision of a pharmacist. A standardized training program should be implemented that includes effective patient interview strategies, the use of open-ended questions and methods to document appropriate medication history in the electronic medical record. Accurately completed admission medication reconciliations ensure that medications prior to admission are resumed during patients’ hospitalization, which is a vital part of providing high quality care. By training pharmacy technicians to complete admission medication reconciliations, pharmacists will have more time to provide enhanced clinical services such as counseling patients and participating with collaborative healthcare teams.

Pharmacy technicians should also be empowered and encouraged to participate in and design process improvement projects to help meet department goals. For example Marie Mitchell, CPhT, B.S., is currently working on a process improvement project to reduce the number of inhalers requiring special disposal at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Her process includes collecting and analyzing clinical data, assessing workflow for areas of improvement and collaborating with pharmacy leadership to implement innovative solutions to reduce the number of inhalers wasted. Best practices for technician-led process improvement projects include: technician’s familiarity with relevant hospital policies, collaboration with pharmacy leaders and buy-in from all stakeholders prior to proceeding.


  1. Public Health Code Act 368 of 1978 MCL333.17739
  2. Adams AJ, Martin SJ, Stolpe SF. "Tech-check-tech": a review of the evidence on its safety and benefits. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2011;68(19):1824-1833.
Posted in: Professional Practice
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