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Shaler woman earns recognition as Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year in PA

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Stephanie Harriman McGrath, second from the left, received the 2013 Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year award in Pennsylvania at the Annual Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association meeting. McGrath poses with three pharmacists who nominated her, Jenny Bacci, left, Melissa McGivney and Maria Osborne.

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By Bethany Hofstetter
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 11:42 a.m.
 

Stephanie Harriman McGrath's commitment to the community and health of her patients has earned her the 2013 Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year award in Pennsylvania during the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association's annual meeting.

McGrath, 31, of Shaler Township, was nominated by three fellow pharmacists for the award that recognizes a professional for his or her dedication to and participation in the state pharmacy association, commitment to the practice of pharmacy and involvement in community activities, according to the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association's website.

“I was very honored to have been nominated and considered for the award, especially being nominated by one of my colleagues and mentors and two of my (former) residents,” McGrath said. “I love what I do. I love going to work every day and helping patients and training students. The recognition for the work I've done is really just a bonus.”

The Jamestown, N.Y., native graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2007 with a doctorate of pharmacy degree and completed her residency in 2008. McGrath now works as a clinical pharmacist at a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Shaler and as an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

In addition to dispensing medications, McGrath also works directly with patients in her role as a Rite Aid pharmacist. She meets with patients by appointment to review their medications and works with the patients' health care providers to resolve any issues.

As an assistant professor, McGrath teaches in the classroom and also acts as the supervising pharmacist for new pharmacists during their residency programs. She also goes out into the community and helps provide blood pressure screenings at senior centers and poison prevention education programs at local primary schools.

McGrath was nominated for the award by two former residents, Maria Osborne, clinical pharmacist with UPMC St. Margaret, and Jenny Bacci, community pharmacy research fellow at Pitt's School of Pharmacy, as well as McGrath's colleague and mentor Melissa McGivney, associate professor at Pitt's School of Pharmacy and director of the community pharmacy residency program.

“So many of us nominated her, we were thrilled (she received the award),” Osborne said.

“If you look overall, in addition to what she is doing with patients and students in the university, she has really brought a heightened sense of awareness to pharmacists' role as advocates for public health. She is helping promote the image of pharmacists as accessible members of health care.”

McGrath said she is looking at ways to continue to improve and expand the community programs through Rite Aid and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy in order to better serve individuals and the overall health of the community.

“I think we're only as strong as the community we live in,” McGrath said. “I don't want to be a part of a community that is not supportive of everyone else, and my role, in the education that I've received, there are many ways I can help improve the lives of people in the community.”

“Pittsburgh has really grown on me and been really good to me. Because I'm able to, I want to give back in any way I can.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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