Appointments Made to the Sterile Compounding Expert Panel Announced by Pharmacy Stars

Green Bay, WI September 12, 2022 --(PR.com)-- The Sterile Compounding Expert Panel (SCXP) was established by Pharmacy Stars on July 7, 2022. Pharmacy Stars executive leadership has appointed key members to serve on SCXP’s panel. They have joined in support of the organization’s mission to strengthen sterile compounding practices in support of the healing power of pharmacy. The expert panel comprises experts in cleanroom design/certification, industrial hygiene, engineering, infection prevention, pharmaceutical microbiology, pharmacy technology, and sterile compounding in infusion centers, hospitals, health systems and veterinary practice settings.

The appointees (listed in alphabetical order):

Ghalib Abbasi - Pharmacy

Gina Bliss - Pharmacy

Howard Cohen - Pharmacy

Seth DePasquale - Pharmacy

Herschell Hitchcock - Industrial Hygiene and Engineering

Christine Hong - Pharmaceutical Microbiology, and Editor in Chief SCXP

Stephen Milstead - Pharmacy

Keith St. John - Infection Prevention and Control

“These appointees have brought deep expertise, valuable skills, and crucial diversity to the SCXP for strengthening sterile compounding practices,” said Pharmacy Stars CEO Keith Streckenbach. “As the SCXP heads into its inaugural year, I am inspired by and grateful for the commitment that these appointees bring as we work together to ensure that all compounders can efficiently and consistently prepare accurate, sterile compounded preparations,” added Streckenbach.

The inaugural panel comprises experts in cleanroom design/certification, industrial hygiene, engineering, infection prevention, pharmaceutical microbiology, pharmacy technology, and sterile compounding in infusion centers, hospitals, health systems and veterinary practice settings. This structure ensures guidance documents provided by the SCXP bring together all facets of the complex compounding practice, simpler to the United State Pharmacopeia Expert Compounding Committee.

More on these appointees:

Dr. Ghalib Abbasi, PharmD, MS, MBA is the System Director of Pharmacy Informatics at Houston Methodist Hospital System in Houston, Texas. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Science Degrees from the University of Iowa, and his MBA degree from West Texas A&M University. During his tenure, Dr. Abbasi has worked in several pharmacy settings including community, hospital, and industry. He has spent most of his career in the field of pharmacy informatics, where he heavily contributed towards the progress of this niche section of the profession. Dr. Abbasi has several publications and US patents in the field of pharmacy informatics, operations, and finance. He is a member of multiple national and international pharmacy organizations, and has special interest in the areas of interoperability, sterile compounding technologies, clinical decision support and pharmacy artificial intelligence. He holds several academic and professional honors and rewards, and continues to be dedicated to improving the pharmacy profession and enhancing safe medication practices through Technology.

Gina Bliss is a Board-Certified Sterile Compounding Pharmacist, Doctor of Pharmacy, and the Founder of Penn Family Pharma Consulting, LLC (Bliss Compounding Compliance). Gina is a thought leader and expert in clean room compliance. Her experience includes the management and oversight of hospital pharmacy cleanrooms and ambulatory oncology infusion center pharmacies. She also has a wealth of experience advising facilities functions to ensure cleanroom regulatory compliance. A graduate of University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, Doctor of Pharmacy program she began her career at Lenox Hill Hospital Pharmacy in New York as a pharmacist and Pharmacy Supervisor. She has spent over a decade within the Yale New Haven Health System in several positions including, Clinical Pharmacist, Training and Education Coordinator, and IV Room Manager. During her career at YNHHS she participated in countless regulatory surveys as the Compounding and Quality System Manager. She led the standardization of both the sterile and non-sterile compounding program for a health system, including the safe handling of hazardous medications. Over the last few years, she played a key role in the design and the construction upgrades of at least 15 cleanrooms to meet the guidance requirements per USP chapters <797> Pharmaceutical Sterile Compounding and <800> Hazardous Drug – Safe handling in Health care settings.

Howard I. Cohen RPh, MS, FASHP, is a seasoned healthcare professional with more than 40 years of leadership experience. He is known as a manager who develops staff and maximizes operational excellence while ensuring safe and high-quality patient care. Howard most recently served as the Executive Director of Oncology Pharmacy Services for the Smilow Cancer Hospital and Network of Yale New Haven Health, an NCI and NCCN cancer program, where he led the oncology pharmacy until his retirement from Yale in 2021. He is currently the President of Safe Medication Management Assoc. Inc., a leading healthcare consulting firm. He is the former Director of Pharmacy Services for Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc. and has served as the Director of Pharmacy Services at several other major teaching institutions. Howard has provided direct oversight in the planning and implementation of several USP <797> and USP <800> compliant cleanrooms including the development of operational procedures and the training of staff for compounded sterile products. Howard earned his pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas, School of Pharmacy in Lawrence, Kansas, and his Master of Science degree from Temple University School of Pharmacy in Philadelphia, PA. He completed an Executive Management fellowship at the Wharton School of Business - Leonard Davis Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1995 he received the designation of Fellow of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Howard is a member of the ASHP, HOPA, NCODA and other professional organizations. He has served as an Editorial Advisor, is an experienced speaker, and has authored numerous articles on various pharmacy and health system related topics. In 2014, under his leadership, the Smilow Cancer Hospital Pharmacy was honored as the recipient of the highest ASHP award, the ASHP Foundations Award for Medication Safety and Use.

Seth DePasquale, R.Ph., BCSCP Board Certified Sterile Compounding Pharmacist and Senior Director for Visante, Inc. Seth previously worked as Director of Content Creation at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and has been instrumental in initiating a Board Recertification Course for the Board of Pharmacy Specialties Sterile Compounding Certification. Prior to APhA Seth was the Pharmacist in Charge and co-owner of BET Pharmacy in Lexington, KY, a pharmacy specializing in sterile injections for the equine industry. Seth is a visionary, outspoken advocate for increasing compliance and quality for pharmaceutical compounding as demonstrated through his educational content and work as a consultant to health-systems, 503A and 503B pharmacies. Seth is a 2002 graduate of Albany College of Pharmacy in Albany, NY.

Herschell Hitchcock BSSE, BSIE, RIH Founder and CEO of Veteran Scientific, LLC. Previous to this role he was the owner of a certification company that span 27 states and more than 1200 healthcare, military, and government customers. Starting his career in the United States Air Force as an Industrial Hygienist his career has taken him from IH Technician to business owner. Herschell received his BS Degree from Southern Illinois University with subject matter training from the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine. He is CETA SCF Certified and sits on the Controlled Environment Testing Association Board of Directors.

Christine Hong, BS: Christine Hong joined the inaugural Sterile Compounding Expert Panel as Editor in Chief. Hong currently also serves as the Quality Assurance Manager for AdventHealth’s Central Distribution Pharmacy where she created and now oversees the organization’s centralized Pharmacy Microbiological Quality Services program. Hong also oversees quality assurance of the facility’s centralized Parenteral Nutrition compounding program. Formerly system Quality Assurance Manager, she helped to create and co-chaired the organization’s first Designated Persons Panel and helped to develop many of the standardized compounding policies, procedures as well as audit and investigation tools now in use. An experienced Pharmaceutical Microbiologist and Quality Professional, her previous roles over the last decade include leadership positions in Quality Control, Microbiology, and Quality Assurance for both large scale sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing and 503B Compounding. She is an ASQ certified GMP professional and is passionate about quality education, contamination control, CSP stability, investigations, and continuous improvement and their role in improving patient safety. Hong received her Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences (Microbiology and Molecular Biology) from the University of Central Florida.

Steve Milstead, PharmD, BCSCP works at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, AL as the Operational Supervisor over compounding of sterile and non-sterile drugs and as the coordinator over hazardous drugs. Steve is also the founder of Soigner Solutions and consults as an expert on regulatory issues governing sterile compounding and handling of hazardous drugs. He provides training and guided, practical solutions for regulatory compliance while keeping patients and employees safe. Steve has 20 years of experience developing sterile compounding programs and managing compounding staff and he has maneuvered many obstacles that face sterile compounding. Steve has successfully overseen planning and oversight for IV clean room renovations. He also participates on several committees pertaining to IV room processes and policy, he has implemented hazardous drug programs at the institutional level and he has assisted with Alabama State Board recertification of Parenteral Pharmacist. Steve’s passion for sterile compounding and proper handling of hazardous drugs is driven by patient and employee safety. His goal is to help ensure the safety of patients and employees while delivering safe and effective compounded medications. Steve received his Doctor of Pharmacy from McWhorter School of Pharmacy and is Board Certified in Sterile Compounding by BPS. He holds two additional degrees, from Sorbonne University in Paris, France and from Samford University in Birmingham, AL.

Keith H. St. John, MT(ASCP), MS, CIC, FAPIC Keith St. John, President of North Star IPC Consulting Services, LLC was previously employed by Professional Disposables International (PDI) as the Vice President of Clinical Affairs from 2016-2022. He served as the Division leader with 10 direct/indirect reports.. Keith received his Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Delaware and his Master of Science degree in Clinical Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. He received additional training in Infection Prevention and Control at the CDC in Atlanta and Medical College of Virginia. Keith has been an Infection Preventionist for the past 30+ years. Keith is certified in Infection Control (CIC) and is a past President of the Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology (CBIC.) Keith is also a Fellow of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (FAPIC). In 2005-2010, as well as continuing to serve during the next term from 2012-2015, he was a member of the United States Pharmacopeia Convention Expert Compounding Committee and was co-author of the current chapters of the USP <797> on Pharmaceutical Compounding - Sterile Preparations as well as the USP Chapter <800> on Hazardous Drugs – Handling in Healthcare Settings. Keith is the co-author of a chapter in the ASHP Compounding Sterile Preparations textbook entitled Microbiological Issues in Compounding Sterile Preparations, published in 2017. Keith has served as a past member of the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Infection Control. In addition to his long-standing affiliation with APIC, Keith is also a current member of numerous other professional societies and organizations. In 2021, he was awarded the SIS President’s medal for Exemplary Service to the Society. Keith has co-authored several journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and has a special interest in IT software, predictive analytics, MDRO’s, environmental microbiology, disinfection and sterilization practices, pharmaceutical compounding of preparations, antimicrobial stewardship, as well as skin antisepsis. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the international DASH-UTI study, Dr. Meher Rizvi, PI, located in Muscat, Oman and as an International Advisory Board member of the Human Health and Education Research Foundation.

Contact Information:
Pharmacy Stars, LLC
Susan Streckenbach
608-332-0424
Contact via Email
https://pharmacystars.com

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