Fall 2021 Newsletter
Volume 3   |   Issue 1 
President's Message
What a year it has been!
I knew my presidency would be exciting and challenging, but I could have never expected to serve my whole year during a global pandemic. We started with navigating remote work and virtual meetings, and eventually, we were able to welcome the roll-out of not only one but also three COVID-19 vaccines. I was very impressed by the turnout of pharmacists, technicians, and interns who volunteered across the state to ensure Utahans received their vaccines. I am so proud of our pharmacy community! However, we still have a long way to go. ASHP developed a Vaccine Confidence Toolkit
 to help pharmacists, technicians, and interns build vaccine confidence among their team, patients, and community. If vaccine hesitancy is an issue you or your team is battling, I encourage you to use this great resource.
Our 2020 Annual meeting was shifted to virtual, but we had a fantastic turnout because our programming committee designed a fabulous program incorporating learning and wellness. Similarly, our 2021 Midwinter meeting was re-imagined this year to include multiple virtual events throughout the month, and our CE series was completely virtual as well. Don’t forget; the resident CE series is entirely free for our members!
This year, we were able to initiate two new scholarships. The Opportunity Scholarship is available to USHP Student Members. It recognizes both pharmacy and technician students who are part of an underrepresented minority group to encourage a diverse and inclusive future generation of health-system pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This scholarship is offered annually, so keep your eyes on the call for submissions! The Technician Advancement Scholarship is also available to our current licensed USHP Technician members in Utah who are pursuing an advanced Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification and/or certificate. This scholarship has no deadline, so if you’re interested in applying, please visit the USHP website

With COVID restrictions slowly but surely lifting, I am so excited to return to in-person meetings again. I thrive on person-to-person interactions and have greatly missed networking and chatting with our membership throughout the year. If USHP can do anything better or wish to get more involved in one of our committees, please email
 or visit our committee page website
I am so honored I was able to serve as USHP President for the past year! I am thrilled about what we have accomplished and sincerely look forward to the great things USHP has in store.
Courtney C. Cavalieri, PharmD, BCOP
USHP President
Recent Action from the Executive Board
As the summer begins, members of Congress are considering several important issues. It's more important than ever for ASHP members to focus attention on gaining provider status for pharmacists. In recent ASHP communications, pharmacist provider status legislation has been introduced in Congress by sponsors Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. G.K Butterfield (D-NC), and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). 
Individual states have also increasingly recognized the ability of pharmacists to deliver essential services through expanding the scope of practice and collaborative practice agreements. Pharmacists have become instrumental in helping to manage disease states such as diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions. Additionally, providing point-of-care testing for COVID-19, influenza, providing vaccinations, and many other services have enabled health systems to leverage pharmacists as patient care providers fully. The impact of pharmacists providing care in medically underserved areas has become more evident than ever throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  
In addition, the advocacy board committee of USHP has been working very hard in asking Utah's Congress to support the Provider Status Legislation. Nearly 50 members of Congress are now cosponsoring the proposed legislation, and almost 100 health systems have signed the ASHP's letter to Congress expressing their support for "The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act" (H.R.2759/S.1362). We want to thank our USHP members and the USHP advocacy committee for their outstanding leadership and efforts to advance this important legislation to improve access to care for our community’s Medicare beneficiaries who have access to pharmacist services. 
Please read more about this legislation at this website (
), and/or follow the bill’s status by checking on these separate links (12). 

Recent News
Intermountain Healthcare Community Pharmacy Closures and Transition to Pharmacies
It was announced that Intermountain Healthcare would be closing 25 of their community pharmacies. As a health-system-focused organization, it is our mission to advance public health and improve patient outcomes. Part of this includes collaboration with community pharmacies to provide medication continuity that has been shown to decrease hospital readmission rates.
Community pharmacies are valuable resources that provide access to medical care that may not be readily available, especially in rural areas. It concerns that community pharmacies are being closed or consolidated due to ever-growing expectations and continually decreasing reimbursements. Advocacy for these pharmacies is imperative.
This announcement is affecting about 250 pharmacy staff members to whom we offer our support. Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) has also planned to transition employees to an equivalent job within the company or have the option to be considered for positions at a local CVS Pharmacy location. Out of the 25 of their closing pharmacies, 19 sites will have their inventory and prescriptions will be automatically transferred to nearby CVS pharmacies. The remaining 6 sites will transfer their prescriptions to Walgreens or other local independent pharmacies in rural areas. In order to help this transition go smoothly, patients have also received a letter explaining the closures, information about the prescription transfer process, and the pharmacy's contact information.
Please read the complete statement regarding our response to the closure of intermountain community pharmacies located on our USHP website HERE.
COVID-19 Spotlight
This past year and a half have been unquestionably challenging for pharmacy staff members to navigate. Yet, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have consistently stepped up to the plate and delivered quality healthcare in innovative ways to our patients. We highlight two incredible pharmacists in this issue, Kavish Choudhary, PharmD, MS, and Katie Fitton, PharmD, who were intimately involved in the COVID-19 vaccination effort at the University of Utah Health. 
Dr. Kavish Choudhary, interim Chief Pharmacy Officer, played an instrumental role in the COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the University of Utah Health. Kavish managed many of the logistical challenges surrounding the vaccination clinics - finding and setting up appropriate physical space, preparing U of U’s facilities to receive, store, and prepare the vaccine as soon as it was released, and managing the vaccine supply chain. Other challenges included -coordinating the buildout of the electronic health record to document vaccinations given and training the pharmacy volunteers to prepare and administer the vaccine. It was an enormous task that he and the rest of the University of Utah pharmacy department handled with grace. Says Kavish, “The biggest challenge was the unstable supply chain. We were unsure what vaccine we were going to get and the quantities from week to week. It coupled with the emotions tied to the pandemic, led to some challenges.” Despite the unstable supply chain, the University of Utah could effectively vaccinate its workforce fairly and timely with a minimum of vaccine waste. When asked about the mood in the vaccination clinics among volunteers and patients and employees receiving the vaccine, Kavish said, “Happiness, hope, and for many, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Dr. Katie Fitton, a current PGY2 Cardiology Pharmacy Resident at the University of Utah Health, had the unique experience of being on a management rotation with Kavish amid the COVID-19 vaccine clinic planning. She reports being very involved in the set-up and day-to-day management of the clinic from day one of her clinical clerkship, with the primary responsibility of organizing volunteer outreach. Katie spent the majority of her clinical clerkship on-site with the volunteers in the vaccination clinic, ensuring everything was running smoothly and creating and revising training documents as needed to ensure everyone felt secure in their role. She and her co-resident, Chanah Gallagher (current PGY2 Internal Medicine at the University of Utah Health), were invited to give the first vaccinations at the University of Utah in front of the marketing team and press, an experience she noted was both priceless and nerve-wracking. Her experience was not without challenges; a quickly obvious issue was the difficulty in lawfully balancing the ratio of pharmacists to technicians and interns among the volunteers staffing the clinic. To read more about the first University of Utah Health frontline healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, click HERE. Through this experience, Katie learned how to communicate and work together with diverse management personalities effectively. The capstone of her rotation was when she got to witness the reaction of the respiratory therapists receiving their first doses of the vaccine - “They were so excited, touched, and emotional. It was the beginning of the end of a horrible experience for so many people, and getting to see those reactions was priceless.”
It’s clear to both Katie and Kavish that pharmacy will play an essential role in future disasters and pandemics. Our understanding of supply chain management and logistics, clinical knowledge, and ability to provide patient care prove invaluable to our institutions and communities. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, interns, and the entire pharmacy department is versatile and played many roles well during the pandemic. We can expect to see our roles continue to expand as our utility is proven time and time again. One of the most critical ways pharmacy staff members can use their expertise to contribute today is addressing vaccine hesitancy in their communities. Talk to your patients and community candidly about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Kavish suggests, “many pharmacists in the community know their patients well, and this provides an opportunity for the patient to ask questions to someone they know and trust.” Katie admits that convincing someone who is vaccine-hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine is complex, but gives a tip, “I think the easiest way to change someone’s mind which seems to be made up against the vaccine is to make it personal. COVID-19 has affected or touched most lives, and bringing this context to individuals you know I think is sometimes the best way to get through your point.” Do your part to address vaccine-hesitancy in your community, starting with your family and friends immediately surrounding you.
USHP wants to thank both Kavish and Katie for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to our interns about their unique experience managing the massive COVID-19 vaccination effort in their health system. They are excellent pharmacists who serve as excellent examples of innovative pharmacy leadership. If you would like to nominate a pharmacist, pharmacy technician, or team member who is an exemplar of creative practice and exceptional leadership, please send us a message at
Save the date! The 2021 USHP Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 18th, from 8:00 am - 2:00 pmlocated at Roseman University of Health Sciences (10989 S. River Front Pkwy, South Jordan, UT 84095). Attendees this year may join us either in person or virtually.
The focus of the 2021 USHP Annual Meeting will be “Lessons Learned” from the year 2020, including an ASHP Keynote Speaker and other breakout sessions for our future continuing education topics. To help us determine Utah's pharmacists and technicians' needs to provide quality continuing education (CE) programs, we would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to complete the USHP CE Assessment Survey
. These survey results help us develop CE topics that are valuable and interesting to you. 
More details regarding CE information, registration and participation links, student poster sign-up, and vendor registration will be available. Please continue to check our website at
, and/or follow us on social media to stay current on all of our updates. If interested, please see our Past USHP Meetings page to learn more about our meetings. If you have any questions regarding the Annual meeting, feel free to reach us at

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Interested in Joining USHP?
We would love to have you! USHP is a volunteer-run organization.
If you’re interested in volunteering on one of our committee boards: advocacy, communications, membership, program, or technician. You can contact any of our individual committees to volunteer at our USHP website below! 
USHP Committee Website

Happy to help!

And finally, we always welcome questions, ideas, and feedback! Don't hesitate to contact us at if you have any suggestions or improvements for our next newsletter. 

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Newsletter Content Acknowledgements

Brian Bothwell, PharmD, BCPS (USHP President-Elect)
Anastasia Blair, PharmD, BCCCP (USHP Communications Liaison)
Erica Marini, PharmD, MS, BCPS (USHP Communication Committee)
Alisyn May, PharmD, BCACP, CDCES (USHP Communication Committee)
Miao Lai, PharmD Candidate, BS (USHP Intern, University of Utah College of Pharmacy)
Payson Ashmead, PharmD Candidate (USHP Intern, University of Utah College of Pharmacy)
Lindsey Hannibal, PharmD Candidate (USHP Intern, Roseman University College of Pharmacy)