The American Society for Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) recently named Amie Blaszczyk, Pharm.D., the 2018 recipient of the Armon Neel Senior Care Pharmacist award. Blaszczyk, an associate professor for the School of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacy Practice in Dallas, received the award during ASCP's 49th Annual Meeting & Exposition Nov. 1 - 4 in National Harbor, Maryland.
The national award recognizes pharmacy practitioners who demonstrate their knowledge of geriatric pharmacotherapy and work each day to improve the quality of life for seniors through their practice of senior care pharmacy.
"I think what thrills me the most is that my peers in senior care pharmacy nominated me for this award," Blaszczyk said. "I've been working in senior care for a while, and it's incredible to know that others see me as worthy to be given an award for something I love to do every day. It was truly my joy to accept this award; the older population has always been one I've loved to 'hang out with' - I love to hear their stories, their advice and their grumbles because I think, on some level, I'm just like them on the inside. I've always been called an 'old soul,' so I think that's probably as close to a kinship with patients as you can get."
When she started pharmacy school at Duquesne University in 2003, Blaszczyk learned she could combine her passions for pharmacy and geriatrics into a career. She said it's important for geriatric patients to have someone keeping an eye on their medication regimens, and she sincerely believes all pharmacists should be trained to do so.
"I adore TTUHSC and the School of Pharmacy for their commitment to training the best and brightest students to, at least on some level, be senior care pharmacists," Blaszczyk said. "I would tell any of my students who might be interested in working with seniors to take advantage of every geriatrics-focused opportunity offered here at TTUHSC, whether it be a senior-focused health fair, taking the advanced geriatrics elective or using their fourth-year electives to do additional geriatrics experiences."
Blaszczyk said she also would encourage them to take advantage of free membership to the ASCP offers to pharmacy students.
"This has truly been my professional home for quite some time, and it's an incredible organization focused on pharmacists who take care of seniors, regardless of their care setting," she added.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Blaszczyk sees patients through her practice for a long-term care corporation that is based in Dallas and has similar facilities located across Texas. Her husband also works as a consultant pharmacy for the same company.
"With this practice, I do both focused consulting in buildings, as well as corporate-level programming to assist with some of the clinical efforts to make medications safer across all facilities," she said.
In accepting the Armon Neel award, Blaszczyk spoke about the many blessings she has received in her geriatric pharmacy journey.
"And, when your cup runs over with these blessings, you can't help but to share them," she told the audience. "I'm in the pay-it-forward mode on a daily basis, as I can't begin to recount all the incredible people and opportunities which have brought me to this moment."