Washington, D.C. – The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) is pleased to announce the two Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna award winners in the patient care organization and individual category. Baptist Health’s Miami Cancer Institute Pharmacy Program in Miami, FL has been named the 2022 recipient of the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Award in the organization category. For the individual category in 2022, the award goes to James Ponto, MS, RPh, BCNP, FASHP, FAPhA.
BPS announced the establishment of the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Award as part of the BPS 40th Anniversary celebration. The award recipient must be an individual or patient care organization who has advanced health quality and/or patient care by promoting the recognition and value of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and the BPS board certification of pharmacists.
Nominations for the Weaver/Penna Award were solicited separately for patient care organizations and individual persons, and an Award is provided to one recipient in each category at the discretion of the BPS Board of Directors.
“This year’s awardees truly reflect the purpose and intent of the Weaver/Penna Award: to recognize those going above and beyond to provide patient care and further the pharmacy profession through certification. James Ponto and the Miami Cancer Institute Pharmacy Program personify the commitment to learning, service, and pharmacy that is at the heart of the mission of the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.” Said Ruth E. Nemire, PharmD, EdD.
Patient Care Organization Category Award
The Miami Cancer Institute is a destination cancer center approaching its 5th year in southern Florida. The Institute provides high-quality cancer care and access to clinical trials for patients in the tri-county area in which it is located. Miami Cancer Institute sees about 1,200 patient visits daily and provides care to cancer patients 7 days a week, including holidays. The Institute serves patients through both the infusion center and the dedicated oncology, hematology, and transplant inpatient units at Baptist Hospital Miami, adjacent to the Institute on the same campus.
The oncology pharmacy team is proud to have 32 board-certified pharmacists, 10 of whom are dual certified. Fully integrated into the care of the cancer patient, the pharmacists educate patients on oral oncolytic medications, round with multidisciplinary teams, and are active leaders within disease management teams, research committees, and a system-wide Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee. The oncology pharmacists are medication experts, with weekly pharmacy lectures and monthly multidisciplinary education for advanced practice providers and nurses.
In addition to the clinical services that the board-certified pharmacists provide, the Operations Team has several staff who are Board Certified Sterile Compounding Pharmacists (BCSCP) - one of whom now leads the Compounding Quality Assurance Program for the entire healthcare system. The team has standardized the policies and procedures for cleanrooms, optimized competency for the pharmacist and technician staff, and most recently, participated in an experiential learning site for technician students within the health system to address the staff shortage. Another achievement includes Miami Cancer Institute’s pharmacy technicians advancing their knowledge and professional growth through additional certifications from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). The Oncology Pharmacy team has achieved two PTCB-certified technicians within the past year.
The Miami Cancer Institute pharmacy team is internally motivated to be the best for the patients they serve. Additionally, the team is motivated to be active within professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels. The pharmacy team has participated in over 50 presentations, 20 publications and research posters, and staff have held numerous leadership positions in pharmacy and cancer organizations over the past three years.
“We are thrilled to receive the Weaver/Penna Award in recognition of the Miami Cancer Institute pharmacy team’s diligent commitment to the profession and our patients,” said Madeline Camejo, chief pharmacy officer, Baptist Health. “Our pharmacy team has a wealth of experience - critical to the day-to-day activities. Additionally, the team has the drive to maintain a certification that encourages the long-term development of evidence-based practices.”
Individual Category Award
The recipient of the Weaver/Penna Award in the individual category is James Ponto, MS, RPh, BCNP, FASHP, FAPhA, Emeritus Clinical Professor at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.
“Over the past several decades, I’ve seen the tremendous growth of board certification and I’m proud of the role that I played in the expansion of BPS specialties and the overall number of board-certified pharmacists. I am humbled and honored to receive this award in recognition of my dedication to pharmacist development and advancement of the profession as a whole.” Said James Ponto, MS, RPh, BCNP, FASHP, FAPhA.
James (Jim) Ponto has maintained an outstanding career with a commitment to building the foundation for and promoting the value of pharmacist board certifications. Ponto was one of 63 pharmacists who passed the first BPS exam in Nuclear Pharmacy in 1982 - the first BPS specialty certification offered. Ponto subsequently recertified every seven years and is among a handful of colleagues who have continuously maintained their board certification since the inception of the first BPS specialty.
Ponto was also an engaged member of the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Council after becoming board certified, serving two terms: 1982-1985 and 1986-1989. During his time as Chair of the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Council, Ponto led many discussions with the specialty council and the BPS Board of Directors regarding the duration of board certification and ultimately supported 7-year time-limited certification rather than enduring certification. In his role as chair, Ponto developed the pathways for recertification: successfully passing the recertification examination or completing necessary continued professional development requirements. Ponto was engaged in petitions for specialty recognition of Nutrition Support Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy through his role as Chair of the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Council.
Ponto was further engaged with the inaugural Nutrition Support Specialty Council as a non-specialist member in terms from 1989-1992 and 1992-1995 immediately following completion of his term on the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Council. He assisted in developing eligibility criteria, policies, procedures, and worked to establish and implement the first Nutrition Support certification exam. Ponto continued to participate in the growth of the recognized BPS specialties through his time on the BPS Board of Directors. From 2013-2018, he led the evaluation and approval of six new specialty areas. During his two terms, his service included proposing the concept for the Weaver-Penna Award as a part of the recognition of the 40th anniversary of BPS.
The Board of Pharmacy Specialties offers congratulations to these deserving recipients of the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Awards for 2022. Visit this page to learn more about the Warren E. Weaver/Richard P. Penna Award and visit this page to see previous award winners. More information on Warren E. Weaver and Richard P. Penna can be found on this page.
About the Board of Pharmacy Specialties
The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) was established in 1976 as an autonomous division of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The mission of BPS is to improve patient care by positioning BPS Board-Certified Pharmacist Specialists as integral members of interprofessional healthcare teams, through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge, and skills for pharmacists in the United States and internationally. Board certification is a recognized credential for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels given the rigorous standards mandated by BPS board certification and recertification. BPS currently recognizes more than 54,400 active pharmacist certifications across 14 specialties.
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