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Rx for Success: Indian Americans Concurrently Lead Three American Pharmacy Organizations 

Rx for Success: Indian Americans Concurrently Lead Three American Pharmacy Organizations 

For the first time, Indian Americans are serving concurrent terms as presidential officers at three of the leading U.S. pharmacy organizations. Anandi Law is president-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP); Nishaminy (Nish) Kasbekar is named head of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP); and Alex C. Varkey is leading the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Alex C. Varkey, the first Indian American to serve as president in APhA’s 172-year history, has “dedicated his career to advancing the pharmacist’s role in patient care,” according to a APHa press release. His passion for professional service began as a student pharmacist when he served as national president of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP), the press release said. 

He is currently director of Pharmacy Services at Houston Methodist Hospital–Texas Medical Center, where he and his team have implemented innovative technologies to enhance efficiency and safety in medication-use processes and developed thriving learner programs including their award-winning two-year health-system pharmacy administration and leadership residency. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his team coordinated efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to over 150,000 Houstonians

In a statement, Varkey said it’s an “honor” to serve as APhA president, and that he’s “acutely aware that I not only represent my colleagues in the profession, but I also represent my family and heritage.” He’s also “honored to share this responsibility” with Kasbekar and Law, to whom he considers ‘incredible examples of leadership and service.” The knowledge that “we share cultural ties makes this experience of service more special and meaningful to me,” he said. “I look forward to working alongside them and for many opportunities to collaborate.”

He received his PharmD from the University of Houston and Master of Science in Health-System Pharmacy Administration from The Ohio State University. He completed a two-year health-system pharmacy administration residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. 

Anandi Law is a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration and associate dean for assessment in the College of Pharmacy at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.

“I am humbled, honored and very excited to take on this role to help advance pharmacy education,” Law said in a statement posted on the college website. “I am deeply indebted to all my mentors who encouraged me. A special thanks to my colleagues for their continued support and belief in me, I hope to live up to those standards and expectations. I am very grateful to have this opportunity to represent academic pharmacy and very proud to represent my institution.”

Law, who joined WesternU in July 1999, “headed the most recent accreditation self-study and strategic planning process at WesternU’s College of Pharmacy,” a college press release said. She also served as COP’s Pharmacy Practice and Administration Department chair. She has served on AACP’s Board of Directors as elected Chair of Council of Faculties from 2015 to 2018.

She has been named this academic year to the WesternU Provost’s Distinguished Scholar Award. She has several grants, more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, 90 peer-reviewed abstracts and eight book chapters in her areas of interest and several invited talks across the globe. She directs an ACCP peer-reviewed Health Outcomes Research fellowship, which has graduated nine fellows since 2003, and she recently headed COP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. 

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In addition to being active in professional associations such as AACP, APhA and ISPOR, she has an active interest and role in advocating for expanded pharmacist roles. She also serves on the editorial advisory board of four peer-reviewed journals.

Nishaminy (Nish) Kasbekar is the Chief Pharmacy Officer at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and completed residencies in pharmacy practice and infectious diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. S’

She began her career providing direct patient care as a clinical pharmacy specialist in infectious diseases, implementing an antimicrobial stewardship program. In her 25 years at Penn Medicine, she has led many strategic and programmatic initiatives expanding the scope, services, and influence of the pharmacy department in inpatient and ambulatory areas.

She has also received numerous recognitions for her work and contribution to pharmacy, including the PSHP Pharmacist of the Year Award, Joe E. Smith Award, Sister M. Gonzales Duffy Award, and as a Fellow of ASHP. She has also published and presented on a variety of topics, including leadership development, process improvement in healthcare, well-being and resilience, and innovative practice models.

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