Chief Pharmacy Officer Scott Giberson Discusses Advanced Pharmacy Practice
Rear Admiral Scott Giberson presented “A Ship Built for Sea” at the 2012 Samuel W. Melendy Lecture, which was held on both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses in March.
“A ship is safest in the harbor, but it’s built for sea,” explained Giberson. “As students, you are in an academic shipyard, getting ready for sea.”
Giberson encouraged students to not “play it safe and stay in the harbor,” but rather, to transform the profession “for our patients, the health system and our nation’s health.” He continued by saying that “in order to transform the profession, you must lead, accept risk and make changes.”
According to Giberson, there is tremendous opportunity for pharmacists.
“In today’s health care system, there is a disease burden in which 45 percent of our population has a chronic disease,” he said. “Pharmacists can be a part of solving this issue. About 80 percent of chronic care visits are treated through medications. This is an opportunity for pharmacists to maximize our expertise and education to alleviate the issues with chronic care.”
Giberson also spoke about the decrease in access to care coupled with a health provider shortage, and said this is another area in which community pharmacists can help. “Nearly 270 million people — or the equivalent of the entire U.S. population — visit a pharmacy each week. Based on this contact rate, pharmacists are the logical choice to have an impact on health care.”
He encouraged students to embrace the idea that the role of pharmacists goes beyond “pill pushing” — today’s pharmacists prevent disease and improve disease outcomes. He also encouraged faculty to educate students on disease outcomes rather than medication outcomes, and to instill in students the confidence to be patient care providers.
Giberson, who is U.S. Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Pharmacy Officer for the U.S. Public Health Service, is the primary author of “Improving Patient and Health System Outcomes through Advanced Pharmacy Practice — A Report to the U.S. Surgeon General 2011” that garnered the U.S. Surgeon General’s public support.
Giberson received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Temple University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Massachusetts. He began his career as a clinical pharmacist in the Indian Health Service (IHS) and is a founding member of the National Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Program. He served as chief pharmacist at the Fond du Lac Health Clinic in Cloquet, Minn. He has also worked for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. He maintains dual licensure as a pharmacist and a clinician, and has worked as a member of the IHS Family Practice Medical staff for most of his career.