Children’s Pharmacist Receives 2013 HOPA Foundation Research Award

Contact: Kathy Bowers 205/914-0357  or kathy.bowers@childrensAL.org

BIRMINGHAM (Dec. 19, 2013) – The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) has awarded Kerry Parsons, BCOP PharmD, with the 2013 HOPA Foundation Research Award.  The HOPA Research Fund provides support for research projects that are likely to result in facilitating the efforts of hematology/oncology pharmacists to optimize the care of individuals affected by cancer. Parsons is a hematology/oncology pharmacist at Children’s of Alabama.

Parsons’ research study, “The Identification and Limitation of Pediatric Chemotherapy Errors Associated with the Transition to CPOE,” highlights the need for hematology/oncology pharmacists in the transition to a computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system. CPOE systems allow medical practitioners to submit medication orders, including chemotherapy drugs, directly to pharmacists.

Parsons has written various hematology/oncology pharmacy publications and has completed many other research studies. Parsons has been a HOPA member for seven years, during which time she has served on various committees and currently serves as the vice chair for the Council on Education committee. She holds her PharmD from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. and her bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

“Medication errors can occur in all treatment settings, but our responsibility is to do all that is humanly possible to limit errors. Our goal remains zero errors. We have made great strides and the HOPA Grant award to Kerry should allow further improvement and greater safety for the children we treat,” said Raymond Watts, MD, professor of pediatrics at the UAB and director of the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s. “She is specifically focusing on new opportunity and possible new errors resulting from the greater use of technology in our hospital processes.”

With her $25,000 grant award, Parsons will be able to research methods of improving the chemotherapy error reduction process and validate the necessity of hematology-oncology pharmacists’ participation in this transition. As she continues her research study, Parsons will receive ongoing support from Watts, Parsons will present the findings of her research at a future HOPA annual meeting.

HOPA is a nonprofit professional organization launched in 2004 in order to help oncology and hematology pharmacy practitioners and their associates provide the best possible cancer care. HOPA has nearly 2000 members and includes oncology pharmacists, as well as pharmacy interns, residents, nurses, technicians, researchers, and administrators specializing in hematology/oncology practice.  More information is available at www.hoparx.org.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past four years by US News & World Report. More information is available at www.childrensal.org.

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