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Rafael Saenz

2020 Distinguished Service Award Winner

Rafael Saenz

Pharm.D., M.S., FASHP

Chief of Staff

American Pharmacists Association

Washington, DC

Rafael Saenz is the Chief of Staff for the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), where he oversees the implementation of strategic initiatives of the organization. Dr. Saenz has long been focused on advancing the scope of practice for both pharmacists and technicians. He has spent a majority of his career advocating for and contributing to the fight for provider status for pharmacists, along with the establishment of training and education standards for technicians, by working collaboratively with multiple pharmacy organizations.

From 2011-2019, Dr. Saenz served as the Chief Pharmacy Officer at the University of Virginia (UVA), where he oversaw the pharmacy enterprise for the health system. In this role, he led an expert team that successfully deployed clinical pharmacist services throughout the system, implemented LEAN medication distribution workflows, created an ASHP/ACPE Accredited Technician Training Program in collaboration with Piedmont Virginia Community College, established the VCU School of Pharmacy- UVA Division campus, and created several new business lines for UVA including a full service specialty pharmacy. Further, he led the expansion of pharmacy residency programs at UVA, tripling the availability of positions during his tenure.

Prior to UVA, Dr. Saenz served as Pharmacy Operations Manager for UPMC in Pittsburgh. In this role, he had oversight for clinical unit-based pharmacy services and retail operations, before switching his focus to the pharmacy practice sites within UPMC’s international ventures in Palermo, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. Additionally, he co-created the Health System Pharmacy Administration Residency Program at UPMC, along with establishment of an in-house technician training program. In 2015, he was appointed to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and served as Chairman of the Board from 2018-2019.

Dr. Saenz served the ASHP Section of Pharmacy Practice Leaders in a variety of capacities, including serving as Vice Chair and Chair of the Section Educational Steering Committee, member of the Section’s Committee on Nominations, member of the Section Advisory Group on Pharmacy Business Management, and member of the Section Advisory Group on Multi-Hospital Pharmacy Executives. He also served ASHP through service on the Council on Education and Workforce Development, the Taskforce on Organizational Structure, the Pharmacy Forecast Advisory Committee, and the Pharmacy Student Forum Executive Committee.

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