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Pharmacy Director to Receive Top Honor for Patient Safety, Smart Clinical Practices

Los Angeles - Feb. 23, 2012 - During her 34-year career, Rita Shane, PharmD, has earned a reputation as a tireless advocate for patient safety – one who has transformed the way pharmacists perform their jobs.

Now that work has brought Shane, director of Pharmacy Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the highest honor for health system pharmacists.

She is the recipient of the 2012 Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award.

In choosing Shane, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists cited her commitment to safety and her efforts to expand clinical pharmacy services at Cedars-Sinai.

The organization pointed out that Shane has led the creation of a “progressive pharmacy practice model” while at the helm of Cedars-Sinai’s pharmacy operation, training pharmacists how to deliver specialized services for patients with diverse medical needs, whether in the Emergency Department, transplant units or other settings.

The pharmacist group also mentioned Shane’s role as an advocate for regulatory changes in California that allow pharmacy technicians to check each other’s work in acute care settings, freeing pharmacists from paperwork to spend more time with patients.

“Rita is an exceptional leader, practitioner and visionary who has had a tremendous impact on our profession,” said Paul W. Abramowitz, the society’s chief executive officer. "She has consistently helped shape the conversation about the role of pharmacists in delivering patient care.”

Shane will receive the Whitney award June 12 in Baltimore during the organization’s summer meeting, where she will deliver a lecture about the challenge of translating healthcare imperatives and evidence into clinical practices.

It will be the latest recognition for the veteran pharmacist who has become a national authority on healthcare trends and a mentor to a generation of clinicians.

“It’s a huge honor and privilege because of what the award represents,” said Shane, who also received the pharmacist society’s award for distinguished leadership in 2005. “The recognition from my peers means a lot to me.”

Shane started her career at Cedars-Sinai in 1977 as an intern pharmacist after earning her doctorate from USC’s School of Pharmacy. She became a clinical pharmacist in pediatrics and rose steadily to become director of pharmacy services in 1988.

At the same time, she ascended the ranks of academia, starting as an assistant clinical professor at USC and later earning an appointment as assistant dean of clinical pharmacy at UC San Francisco’s School of Pharmacy.

During her time at Cedars-Sinai, Shane developed pharmacist and technician career ladders as well as a clinical pharmacy intervention program to document the role of pharmacists in preventing adverse drug events. She also has created a number of clinical specialty positions and helped develop evidence-based medication guidelines.