Pharmacists are on a lot of “most” lists. They are recognized as the most accessible healthcare provider in underserved areas. They repeatedly rank as one of the most trusted professions by Gallup. And they are the typically the most highly trained medication experts in the healthcare field.
October is when they are lauded the most, in recognition of American Pharmacists Month.
And when Drug Store News announced its Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty awards this week, we were thrilled but not at all surprised that two DrFirst pharmacists are included in this year’s prestigious group of award winners. Heidi Polek and Mary Lou Notaro are integral members of the DrFirst Clinical team, which adds valuable perspective and real-life experience to the development of our products and services.
Business Excellence Award: Heidi Polek, RPh
Heidi’s 30 years of experience in the retail pharmacy sector, pharmaceutical industry, and healthcare technology market position her perfectly as a clinical subject matter expert at DrFirst, where she provides industry and clinical insights that enhance the design and user experience of our medication management and care collaboration solutions. She also serves as a spokesperson for the company and is a sought-after expert at industry events and in media coverage. Heidi was quoted by USA TODAY about the harm prescription delays can have on patients due to postal challenges during the pandemic, and was interviewed on air by Georgia TV station WRBL on the dangers of chronic care patients not taking their medications.
Heidi has worked closely with the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and the local Drug Enforcement Administration to provide staff and site support for local drug take-back events. She also has worked with local officials to provide pharmacy services information at senior events and has been recognized for her work to help raise awareness of colon cancer with the Cancer Services Program of New York state and western New York.
Commitment to Care Award: Mary Lou Notaro, RPh
Mary Lou’s personal and professional experience is influenced by her family’s ownership of independent, full-service community pharmacies in upstate New York. Since earning her degree at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 30 years ago, she has dedicated her career to advancing the profession. In addition to her role as Strategic Program Manager for DrFirst’s Backline care collaboration platform, Mary Lou still occasionally practices in her family-owned pharmacies, where she has implemented programs in diabetes management, patient safety, and medication adherence. During the pandemic, Mary Lou played an integral role in COVID-19 vaccine administration.
She is active in the Pharmacists Association of Western New York and is a long-time volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Mary Lou regularly meets with national and state elected officials to educate them on diabetes prevention, outreach, treatment, education, and research.
Congratulations to Heidi, Mary Lou, and all the Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty award winners!