In honor of National Pharmacy Week, we turn the spotlight on our very own director of outpatient pharmacy, Roberta Reynolds, to understand what motivated her decision to join this field and what major accomplishments she is most proud of throughout her career at CHA HPMC.

Q: How did you discover your passion for the field of pharmacy?

I was fortunate to have a mentor and advisor while I was studying chemistry at the California State University, Northridge who noted my love for molecular aspects of the life sciences. She shepherded me in the direction of pharmacology. However, I truly discovered my passion when I came to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in 1981 as a new graduate. I was given the opportunity to run the Outpatient Pharmacy with two technicians. With the support of hospital leaders, we have transformed the pharmacy department from filling medical building prescriptions to caring for our Sub Acute Patients and for our hospitalized patients as they are discharged from the hospital. We are able to touch the full range of patient centered pharmacy services. I am honored to lead a dedicated and caring team which is passionate about outpatient pharmacy services.

Q. What is the importance of the pharmacist role in hospitals?

Pharmacists are health care team members with the complete knowledge of drug therapy and they are prepared to use that information to act as the key coordinator of drug therapies. We provide those services for both inpatients and outpatients. As CHA HPMC continues to grow and expand its outpatient services, the coordination of those services across the spectrum of inpatient and outpatient pharmacy services will be even more important.

Q. What does a typical day or week look like in your current role?

Each day feels like a new day and we never have a dull or monotonous moment. My days are filled with multitude of meetings supporting overall hospital operations, with a particular emphasis on improving our patient experience and our contributions to the community. I maintain a hands-on role in providing a safe and efficient environment to care for our Sub Acute patients and our hospital outpatients.

Q. What is the best part of your job at CHA HPMC?

The best part of my job is working with a caring and committed group of hospital leaders and staff who are all working to provide the best experience possible for our patients. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this team—my pharmacy team and the hospital leadership team.

Q. How do you and your team impact patient care?

The Outpatient Pharmacy provides pharmaceutical services to our medical center outpatients, our employees, our hospitalized Chalet Sub Acute patients and our patients being discharged from the hospital. In Chalet, we care for fragile long-term care patients. My team provides all medications while reviewing dosing, interactions, and adverse reactions through review of every drug regimen. We also provide support to the Chalet staff for interdisciplinary team interventions, nursing education, policies, and Antimicrobial Stewardship. For the outpatients and acute discharge patients, my team dispenses prescriptions while supporting reimbursement and providing education to ensure that our patients understand how to achieve the best outcomes of their pharmaceutical therapy.

Q: What’s something you’re proud to have achieved, contributed, or impacted during your career as a pharmacist?

Over 39 years, I have had the opportunity to develop many aspects of our Outpatient Pharmacy Services. One of our most impactful programs has been the Bedside Medication Program. By providing medications in hand, as the patients leave the hospital, we are achieving a national best practice in contributing to the goal of helping our patients achieve the best outcomes while reducing the chance that they will need to return to the hospital. A few years ago, a group of my pharmacy students from the University of Southern California demonstrated that the Bedside Medication Service does indeed reduce the readmission rate and their work was presented during the annual education conference of the California Society of Health Systems Pharmacists. I am extremely proud of my students and my staff who supported their work.

Q. You were recently named woman of the year by Senator Anthony J. Portantino to represent the 25th state senate district. Tell us about this recognition.

The Woman of the Year event was founded in 1987 by Assemblywoman Bev Hansen (R) and Assemblywoman Sally Tanner (D), who noticed that the California Legislature had no events planned for the month of March, Women’s History Month. In celebration of the contributions to society made by remarkable women throughout California, Hansen and Tanner arranged to invite one woman from each Senate and Assembly district to come to the Capitol and be honored for their accomplishments. The women were to be recognized as ‘Woman of the Year’ in a formal ceremony on the floors of the Senate and Assembly. This yearly event, sponsored and organized by the Women’s Caucus, is greatly anticipated by all Legislators today.

Senator Portantino represents one million people of the 25th Senate District. I was humbled and honored to be chosen this year to represent this district. With this award, the Senator recognized my work in the community to advocate for our students through years of volunteer work with the PTA, my thirteen years of service on the Burbank Board of Education, and my advocacy for the inclusion of all students, particularly those in the LGBTQ community.

Q. How has your role at CHA HPMC helped you achieve this recognition?

Senator Portantino is also a strong and passionate advocate for health care and has been the author and advocate for numerous health care bills. These measures focused on health insurance coverage for cancer patients, eliminating barriers to treatment for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the development of a statewide system of youth-focused substance use disorder treatment programs. My work of about four decades in the healthcare industry, with my role as an essential frontline worker during the COVID-19 pandemic, was certainly an important deciding factor in my selection for this recognition. I believe that another factor was to showcase the ability of women to balance nurturing services in the community with significant professional contributions. CHA HPMC has helped me maintain a work-life balance to fully participate in contributing to my community and I am thankful to my team and leaders for fully supporting me always.
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