Ambrose named CSHP Pharmacist of the Year

Peter Ambrose, PharmD, a veteran clinician and educator with special expertise in clinical pharmacokinetics and sports pharmacy, has been named the 2012 California Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (CSHP) Pharmacist of the Year.

The award from CSHP, a state professional society representing thousands pharmacists and technicians, recognizes Ambrose for “significant and sustained contributions to pharmacy practice in California.”

A full-time faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy since 1997, Ambrose is program director for Los Angeles and Orange County area clerkships, the advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) undertaken by student pharmacists in their third and fourth years. He practices at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Southern California and is department vice chair for Off-Campus Programs.

Ambrose has taught clinical pharmacokinetics (how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes and excretes drugs) for 30 years. He has won:

  • Long Foundation Prize for Excellence in Teaching: Five times.
  • Long Beach Memorial pharmacy residents’ Preceptor of the Year: Four times.
  • LA/Orange County Clerkship Apples for Preceptor Award: Twice.
  • UCSF School of Pharmacy Alumni Association Project Awards: Twice.
  • Dean’s Project Award.

He has also provided preceptor development programs on subjects ranging from geriatric medicine to diabetes in pregnancy to dietary supplements.

In addition, Ambrose has developed special expertise in drug testing polices and procedures in sports. He has been involved in efforts at state, national, and international competitions, including as a Doping Control Officer at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Sydney, and Beijing. And he has educated athletes and created an APPE to train UCSF student pharmacists in doping control principles.

Beyond his myriad achievements as a professor and clinician, Ambrose played a vital role in the 2006 enactment of California’s Tech-Check-Tech law. The legislation allows specially trained pharmacy technicians to check the work of other technicians in filling unit dose medication cassettes (sectioned pill trays) in certain situations in hospitals with clinical pharmacy programs. Previously, pharmacists had been required to check the cassettes, a process that took each pharmacist about an hour per day.

A key to the law’s enactment was a study conducted and co-authored by Ambrose and colleagues at Long Beach Memorial and Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, including School colleagues Dale Adams, PharmD, and Rita Shane, PharmD. The study, conducted under a special waiver from state regulators, found that the trained, certified, and supervised technicians actually had a slightly higher filling accuracy rate than pharmacists.

The change that emerged was significant for patient care because it freed up pharmacists’ time “to expand clinical services and respond to drug therapy-related requests from physicians, such as dosing recommendations,” explained the paper published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

In being awarded CSHP’s Pharmacist of the Year in the organization’s 50th year, Ambrose joins the ranks of other UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty CSHP honorees, including:

  • Rita Shane, PharmD (2007)
  • Michael Winter, PharmD (2003)
  • Betty Dong, PharmD (2001)
  • Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD (1991)
  • Donald Kishi, PharmD (1989)
  • David Adler, PharmD (1987)
  • Eric Herfindal, PharmD (1982)
  • Glenn Yokoyama, PharmD (1979)
  • Eric Owyang, RPh (1976)
  • Jack Heard, RPh (1973)

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.