Notes from ASCP’s 2017 President’s Awardee for Education

Deborah Milito, Pharm. D., BCGP

Education has always been the cornerstone for me and my practice –settings through the years. I’ve often been heard saying that once you have your education no one can every take that away from you! I live by that principle as evidenced by my various degrees, certifications, and most recently the President’s Award in Education.

I received my BS in Pharmacy from Duquesne University in 1980. I worked in an independent pharmacy but was envious of my twin sister who was working at an acute care community hospital pharmacy. As luck would have it, they had an opening. At this hospital we had everything from ER to ICU to child & adolescent psych to detox to geriatric psych to OR. I learned quickly that being an effective member of the different teams for each of these departments meant that one had to be a very good generalist. I became certified in Anticoagulation, Hyperlipidemia and Smoking Cessation and decided to pursue my Pharm D. As difficult as it was to be a non-traditional Pharm D candidate – working full-time and being a mother of 2 small children- it was the best challenge that I ever took on. This additional education not only allowed me to be more involved with our other health–care professionals ie: geriatric psychiatrists, Dieticians, Social Workers, but I was also asked to teach at the collegiate level, became a consultant for a behavioral group, and inspect ambulatory surgery centers- to name a few!

Moving from the hospital setting to the long term arena has been an easy transition. Much of the renal dosing of antimicrobials, the pharmacokinetics dosing of Vancomycin, the monitoring of adverse drug reactions, Joint Commission surveys, all have followed me into senior care and the medication therapy management (MTM) world. I saw the need to become certified in MTM, as well as, becoming a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP). I feel that with all of the regulatory challenges coming our way that it is critical to be current – especially with the CMS Mega Rule with Antibiotic Stewardship and Infection Prevention and Control. For this reason, I am currently enrolled in the SIDP/ASCP Antibiotic Stewardship certification program.

I tell my students that we should always be wanting to learn the next new thing about Pharmacy. Pharmacy is a profession that is ever changing, exciting, and rewarding. There are many opportunities for pharmacists, as I have mentioned previously. I see us being called upon – even more – to provide the drug expertise that we have learned and continue to learn - to our communities, hospitals, and senior care facilities.

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