MPA Annual Awards

Nominations are now open for 2023 Annual Awards

One of the duties and privileges of a professional association is to recognize excellence within the profession. The Montana Pharmacy Association does this each year at the winter conference by presenting professional awards of excellence. Awards will be presented at the 2023 MPA Winter CE & Ski Conference at the Big Sky Resort on Friday, January 6th. These awards are the Distinguished Young Pharmacist, Excellence in Innovation, Fitzgerald Pharmacist of the Year, Pharmacy Technician of the Year, Bowl of Hygeia, and MPA Fellowship Award. Click here to fill out online form or click here for PDF to email to mail to the MPA office.


MPA Fellow Designation Program – Apply to highlight your professional achievements!

Dear MPA Member,

We are pleased to announce the 2nd year of our “Montana Pharmacy Association (MPA) Fellow Designation Program.”   This program allows members to nominate their colleagues or themselves to apply and receive recognition for their professional achievements and dedication to the practice of pharmacy.

This initiative has been endorsed by the MPA Board to recognize and reward pharmacist members who have demonstrated excellence in helping people achieve optimal health outcomes and advance the practice of pharmacy.  Successful candidates for the Fellow of MPA (FMPA) will have made sustained contributions to MPA in addition to demonstrating a high level of excellence in the pharmacy profession.

Applicants who qualify as a FMPA will receive recognition at the MPA Annual Awards Ceremony, special coverage in the MPA Newsletter, an exclusive label pin, a certificate, and an announcement of your achievement to local press outlets in your practice area.

To learn more about how you can apply please go to 2023 Fellow of MPA Application and checkout the complete Fellow of MPA Application form which describes the process and points needed to earn the fellowship designation. Or click here for a downloadable PDF to print and mail or email back to MPA. Thank you!


 We Honor Our 2022 MPA Award Recipients

Click here to view a full listing of all past award recipients.


Bowl of Hygeia
Mike Rivey, PharmD with Community Medical Center, Missoula, MT (PGY1 Residency Director); Retired from the University of Montana Missoula 

Mike retired 3 years ago after over three decades of service to our College, University, State and the pharmacy profession. Mike has demonstrated a level of commitment that should be used as a model for others to follow.

As a faculty member, Mike has enriched the education of countless (believe me, I tried to add the number up!) students both in the didactic and experiential settings. His hospital APPE site, Community Medical Center, is the number one site our students choose to complete their mandatory inpatient/hospital APPE.  It is truly due to his mentorship and the positive learning environment he bestows.

Doug Allington who has worked with Mike for the past 30 years at CMC articulated the following, which really puts Mike's clinical prowess in perspective: "The exceptional faculty member finds a way to create and sustain programs that are of such value that physicians will entrust significant portions of care to other professionals. Mike created pharmacy-based protocols, approved by physicians, which guided medication dosages in order to prevent clotting disorders such as strokes and pulmonary embolisms; maximized the effectiveness of antibiotics; reduced medication costs by timely substitution of oral medications for intravenous counterparts; and launched a pain management program for patients following orthopedic surgery.

Publications describing the process and outcomes of these programs followed each successful program." Naturally the educational experiences of pharmacy students have been enriched through observation and participation in each of these programs.
One of his greatest accomplishments for the profession and state of Montana has been the development, supervision and management of the pharmacy residency program in Missoula. Mike was the first person in the state to achieve this hallmark accomplishment. Currently, there are over 20 pharmacy resident positions across the state and Mike was the inspiration for this. Mike continues his involvement as the Program Director for the residency program at Community Medical Center.


Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year
Jenner Minto, PharmD with the University of Montana in Missoula

Dr. Minto was nominated for her outstanding service to the profession of pharmacy. She is a Fellow in the UM Antimicrobial Stewardship Management program, in collaboration with the MT DPHHS Communicable Diseases bureau. As a specialist with advanced training and experience, she stepped up and has been paramount in constructing a model which has demonstrated excellent success and outcomes in optimizing antimicrobial use, reducing resistance, educating staff and providing resources to hospitals across Montana.

She has integrated herself into the faculty at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and is a tireless worker and educator. She demonstrates passion for both pharmacy and teaching and demands excellence from her students.  Dr. Minto is an Antimicrobial Stewardship Management and antibiotic resistance expert, teaching these specialty subjects in the UM PharmD curriculum.

She is the co-coordinator for Microbes and Medicine which is taught Spring of the P2 year. She has restructured the course to make it more applicable to the practice of pharmacy. Dr. Minto is passionate about antimicrobial stewardship and stepped up to co-coordinate the antimicrobial class during the P1 year. She redesigned the class to be practical for future pharmacists and what they need to know about thoughtful antimicrobial selection. She facilitates Integrated studies section in Therapeutics II (Spring Semester).

She is an essential player during the P3 Pharmacy Practice labs both fall and spring semesters. She actively participates during the planning, preparation, and delivery of weekly topics for the lab, which requires a substantial time commitment. Starting the Fall 2020, she became the primary coordinator for the P3 labs. Having been a recent graduate of the program, she knows where the students are in their curriculum and strives to push them to be ready for their P4 year.

She is co-advisor to APhA-ASP and in her spare time, she does relief work at Barrett Hospital and HealthCare Dillon, MT and Roseaurs, Missoula, MT.
Dr. Minto is dedicated and passionate about the pharmacy profession. She is a role model and an inspiration for other young pharmacists to become active in pharmacy leadership.


Excellence in Innovation
Keaton LaBrel, PharmD with Montana VA Health Care System Fort Harrison, MT

Keaten joined the Montana VA team in January of 2016, less than 2 years after graduating from UM School of Pharmacy and completing his PGY1 residency at Great Falls. Prior to his hire, he worked as an Emergency Department pharmacist at a high acuity hospital in Coeur d’Alene. 
In just over one year as the Montana VA team special projects’ pharmacist, Keaton found his niche and was able to pursue his passion in Behavioral Health. He initially grew the mental health pharmacy program by offering multiple group classes, as well as one on one time slots to see veterans with substance abuse disorder or PTSD in our residential program.  
Keaton then branched out into the outpatient arena, offering consultation services and direct patient care appointments for difficult to manage medication management patients. He has since obtained his own DEA number and is seeing patients for benzodiazepine and opioid plus benzo tapers in his BZP taper clinic.
When he initiated this service in 2019, he treated a total of 88 patients on benzos, with 53 getting completely off benzos, and 85% having positive outcomes. So far during FY21, he has completed 75 benzodiazepine/sedative tapers (transitioning 30 patients to safer alternative medications), reduced dosages of these agents in 117 patients, and reduced harm in 85% of patients seen. In an opioid/benzo subgroup of patients, he tapered 22 completely off benzos, tapered 16 completely off opioids, and reduced harm in 100% of patients seen.
During COVID, Keaton’s activities at our Residential Unit were curtailed, so he was first to step up and assist with COVID vaccine handling and drawing up when the vaccine first arrived at our facility in December 2020. Keaton trained staff on efficient vaccine handling, and continues to assist during large events when needed, working that in around virtual patient appointments and other required duties.
Keaten frequently provides educational programs involving opioids and psychotropics, to nursing students at Carroll College and Helena College, benzodiazepine dependency and harm reduction to our regional VA PDSI group, and alcohol use disorder and pharmacotherapy to our VA staff. He is an active PGY1 residency preceptor of Montana VA and is soon to take on the role of Residency Program Director for Montana VA in 2022.  Keaton mentors UM pharmacy students for an elective psychiatric rotation.
Keaton is extremely motivated, knowledgeable, and energetic, and provides a unique direct patient care opportunity for our veterans.  He is an active subject matter expert and member of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program for Lewis and Clark County. Keaton is an avid hunter and fisherman, and is an active member of Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, and the Rocky Mountain Elk foundation

Fitzgerald Pharmacist of the Year
Josh Morris, PharmD with Elkhorn Pharmacy - Boulder, Silvertip Pharmacy - West Yellowstone, Whitehall Pharmacy – Whitehall

Josh was the first in the state to open a telepharmacy and helped draft some of the original rules for telepharmacies.
Josh has served on the MPA board, numerous MPA sub-committees and always makes time for those in need (industry or community) when called upon. He is an ever-present voice and mentor.
Josh is an advocate for pharmacists, independent pharmacies, and community needs. He was instrumental in helping the Children’s Hospital in Boulder, by raising awareness to ensure patients/employees could access local pharmacies when there was a chance their plans wouldn't allow local pharmacies to be in network. Josh is aware that his actions and voice against 'the major players' makes him a target of frequent audits, but that has not stopped him from being involved, shedding light on the dark corners of the industry.
Currently, Josh serves on the Montana Family Pharmacies Board and works closely with the MT State Board of Pharmacy.  He was a crucial voice on SB395, giving countless hours in meetings, calls, and testifying (again - being an open target).  For all of his political relationships and knowledge of inner workings, he is counted on by MPA and has worked with lobbyists for years making advancements for all Montana pharmacies. Josh is a steady voice of reason and an advocate for progression in our industry. There is truly no one like Josh Morris, and we would all be worse off without his actions and advocations.
Over the past year, Josh found the time and the means to set up covid vaccination clinics for all of Jefferson County School District, as well as other surrounding areas, and 4 separate community clinics, and learned all of the billing and procedure codes on a moment's notice to fill the void.
Josh sponsors nearly every local community event and is involved in his local booster club.  In addition to being an owner of three pharmacies, board member, activist, and all-around great guy, he coaches high school football and junior high basketball.  And Josh finds time for his family and working his coonhounds.
Josh will always make the time to help and be involved.  His wife jokes that work and community always come first.  There are many pharmacists in this great state of MT, and each one brings their unique point of view and value.  Josh Morris is one who puts his all into his community and pharmacies across the state.  No one might be more deserving than this unsung hero.

Pharmacy Technician of the Year
Twyla Bailey, CPhT with Montana Family Pharmacies/Columbus, MT

Twyla has been a pharmacy technician for over 21 years, working her way up from a very young trainee, to corporate/chain trainer and inventory manager, to Director of Member Services for Montana Family Pharmacies, where she acts as the front lines and communications gateway for over 50 independent pharmacies in MT and dozens more in other states.
Twyla assists pharmacy owners on a wide variety of needs, from ownership challenges to contracts and PSAO agreements.  She consults and educates on a multitude of topics, such as inventory management, improving workflow strategies, choosing the right ancillary programs, and more.  Twyla works directly with pharmacists, technicians and clerks on their day-to-day needs, including training for a variety of programs.  She serves as a resource and extension to pharmacies all across Montana and surrounding states.  If she doesn't have an answer, she will take the time to find a resource. Rarely is there a problem too big or too small.
Twyla also works closely with several vendors and other industry-related companies to ensure MT pharmacies are finding the right programs for their workflow at the best possible cost.  She learns the ins and outs, setup processes, pain points, and best practices for every company, industry partner, or problem that comes her way.  This makes her an invaluable resource to her employer and every pharmacy that reaches out to her. 
As a prime example, Twyla developed a custom ordering program which saves pharmacies thousands of dollars each year.  This endeavor required her to learn many facets of the electronic data interchange, combine them with her expertise in specific software, and work with industry giants to make it all come together.
In 2020, Twyla took it upon herself to learn all things COVID related, including complex billing and setup procedures. She assisted several MT pharmacies in becoming Federal Partners for receiving COVID vaccines. Twyla tirelessly advocates for the crucial role technicians play in pharmacy, and as such assisted several pharmacies in establishing onsite vaccination training programs for technicians.
In keeping with Twyla's penchant of always going above and beyond, Twyla recently gained technician licensure in Colorado and is actively working on licensure in several other states served by Montana Family Pharmacies.
Although Twyla isn't physically in a pharmacy very often these days, spending the majority of her time on backend processes, she works closely with frontline teams all over the state to stay current on today's challenges and what can be done in the immediate and distance future to advance technicians and independent pharmacies alike.
Twyla is an MPA member and has been instrumental in "getting the word out" regarding a number of MPA legislative initiatives. Additionally, she regularly encourages independent pharmacies to join MPA and highlights the benefits MPA provides.  Twyla recently introduced several industry partners to MPA to gain MPA more sponsorship opportunities. Independent pharmacy owners and staff across Montana, and indeed the nation, find Twyla an invaluable resource and a beloved friend, always willing to give of her time or lend a sympathetic ear.  She never forgets a birthday and constantly finds ways to brighten the days of everyone near and far.  Twyla truly is one-of-a-kind, in the very best of ways.

Fellow of MPA for 2022

 

Paul Brand, PharmD with Florence Community Pharmacy-Florence

 

Tom Richardson, PharmD with St. Peter’s Health-Helena

Mike Rivey, PharmD with Community Medical Center-Missoula

Logan Tinsen, PharmD with Benefis Hospital-Great Falls