Rodriguez de Bittner Receives APhA’s Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement

Award honors pharmacy practitioners who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing health care quality and medication use among patients throughout their careers.

By Malissa Carroll
September 18, 2015

Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been named the recipient of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation’s 2015 Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement. Established in 1998 to recognize pharmacy practitioners who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing health care quality and medication use among patients, the award honors Rodriguez de Bittner’s service as professor and executive director of the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions (CIPS) at the School of Pharmacy.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner has developed, implemented, and led numerous initiatives to demonstrate the important role that pharmacists can have in improving health, increasing access, and reducing costs for individuals living with chronic diseases, particularly those in underserved communities,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy. “She has been a strong advocate for the profession, equipping other pharmacists with the tools and training necessary to be leaders in their field and establishing programs with sustainable payment models that ensure safe and appropriate medication use for all populations. I have been fortunate to watch Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner gain both national and international recognition for her work, and know that she is most deserving of this prestigious award.”

Rodriguez de Bittner joined the School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor in 1984, and has held numerous leadership positions throughout her career. As executive director of CIPS – a national resource center and leader in the development of innovative patient care and business solutions to health problems – she has spearheaded the development of many nationally recognized innovative pharmacy practice programs, including the CIPS Knowledge Enterprise, an innovative online learning platform that offers a convenient way for health care professionals to advance their knowledge, enhance their clinical practice skills, and sharpen their competitive edge, and the Maryland Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships (P3) Program™, a pharmacist-delivered comprehensive medication management program for individuals with chronic diseases, for which she currently serves as director.

“Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner has dedicated her career to building new pathways to support the advancement of pharmacists as members of the health care team,” says Roxanne Zaghab, DM, CKM, director of the CIPS Knowledge Enterprise, who led the committee that nominated Rodriguez de Bittner for the award. “By presenting her with its Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement, the APhA Foundation is honoring the strategic thinking, perceptiveness, and determination that she has demonstrated throughout her career.”

Under Rodriguez de Bittner’s leadership, CIPS and the Maryland P3 Program have implemented new programs and services that have led to measurable improvements in health outcomes for individuals with chronic diseases. She regularly speaks at national and international forums and has received numerous awards for her endeavors, including recognition as one of The Daily Record’s 2014 Innovators of the Year, the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) 2013 Founders Week Entrepreneur of the Year, and as the recipient of APhA’s 2013 Daniel B. Smith Award. She was also honored as part of the APhA Foundation’s 2010 Pinnacle Award for Group Practices, Health Systems, and Health Care Corporations, which was presented to the Maryland P3 Program.

“Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner’s career has demonstrated that she is an innovator who is willing to try new ideas to advance the role of the pharmacy profession in patient care,” says William Ellis, MS, executive director of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties, who worked with Zaghab to nominate Rodriguez de Bittner for the APhA Foundation’s Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement. “Her drive and determination to improve patient care by leveraging the unique skills and expertise of the pharmacist are unparalleled. She is a tireless advocate for the profession as well as the patients that we all strive to serve. She leads by example and is truly deserving of this award.”

“There are very few people who match Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner’s dedication and commitment to advancing the pharmacy profession,” adds Jenelle Sobotka, PharmD, professor and endowed chair in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Ohio Northern University, who collaborated with Zaghab and Ellis to nominate Rodriguez de Bittner for the award. “Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner goes above and beyond to contribute her time and expertise to new programs and initiatives that will improve quality of care and medication use for patients living with chronic illnesses. She is a role model and inspiration to me and many other pharmacists across the country, and it is a delight to see her honored with the APhA Foundation’s Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement.”

Despite all that she has achieved, Rodriguez de Bittner remains humble about her work, noting that she has no plans to slow her efforts in the near future.

“When I learned that I had been selected to receive the APhA Foundation’s Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement, I was truly surprised,” says Rodriguez de Bittner. “I have dedicated my career to moving the pharmacy profession forward, but I could not have accomplished all that I have without the support of my tremendous colleagues. Faculty and staff within CIPS recognize that it is not only important to develop innovative programs that demonstrate the impact that a pharmacist can have on patients’ health outcomes, but to ensure that the impact of those programs is sustainable. It is incredibly rewarding to have our work recognized at a national level – to have my colleagues reaffirm that my efforts are making an impact nationwide.”

Rodriguez de Bittner received her award during a special ceremony at APhA’s national headquarters in Washington, DC, on Sept. 16. The second annual Pinnacle Awards Innovation in Pharmacy Practice Lecture was held at the School of Pharmacy on Sept. 15. The lecture, which can be viewed on Blackboard Collaborate, featured a presentation by Stuart Beatty, PharmD, BCACP, CDE, associate professor and vice chair of clinical affairs at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, and Neeraj Tayal, MD, FACP, associate professor and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, recipients of the APhA Foundation’s 2015 Pinnacle Award for Group Practices, Health Systems, and Health Care Corporations.

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