Stebbins named CPhA Innovative Pharmacist of the Year

Marilyn Stebbins, PharmD, is the first female recipient of the California Pharmacists Association Innovative Pharmacist of the Year award, which honors accomplishment, creativity, and value added to therapeutics or pharmacy practice. The award was presented during the association's February 4-7, 2010, meeting in Long Beach, California. Stebbins is a UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member and specialist in primary care pharmacy, managed care pharmacy, and Medicare Part D.

Stebbins began her career at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Sacramento, California, developing ambulatory care clinics for the pharmacy department. "She was fresh out of hospital residency but her lack of an ambulatory care background did not discourage her," explained Timothy Cutler, PharmD, Stebbins' UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty colleague. "She set up a highly successful clinic and went on to establish a residency program. Marilyn is fearless, creative, and incredibly bright."

It was this passion for developing new and better models of pharmacy care that led Stebbins to her next challenge, noted Cutler. Stebbins was recruited by the Mercy Medical Group in Sacramento to decrease pharmacy costs. She evaluated the group's prescribing practices, developed a system to promote cost-effective medication use and, as a result, was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

She then established a clinic for Mercy Medical Group that was designed to overcome a benefit change in Medicare Advantage Plans that threatened to leave senior patients without options for medication coverage. The result was the Pharmacist Review to Improve Cost Effectiveness (PRICE) Clinic. PRICE clinic was one of the first pharmacy care models to consider the cost-related issues seniors could face when prescribed medications. Her work in the PRICE clinic was published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy in 2006. Her research showed significant cost savings with the interventions she developed and described one of the first medication therapy management encounters in the Medicare population.

As the prospect of the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage program, commonly known as Medicare Part D, became a reality in 2006, Stebbins saw the need for both practitioners and seniors to master the confusing and complex benefit if seniors—especially underserved seniors with low incomes and limited or no English language skills—were to get the most from it. She subsequently incorporated a new Medicare Part D model into the PRICE clinic and, with UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty colleagues Helene Levens Lipton, PhD, and Cutler, pioneered a Medicare Part D outreach program in California that led to significant cost savings for seniors. With the support of a $3.7 million grant from the Amgen Foundation in support of the program for three-and-a-half years, a statewide Partners in D research-based outreach and education program involving 7 pharmacy schools in California was created in 2006 with Stebbins and Levens as co-principal investigators. It remains under way.


[Partners in D Website][link defunct]

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.