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Downing Receives APhA Distinguished Achievement Award in Specialized Pharmaceutical Services

downingDon Downing, clinical associate professor, has been awarded the APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management (APPM) Distinguished Achievement Award in Specialized Pharmaceutical Services for the career-long contributions he has made to the expansion and adoption of provisions for specialized pharmaceutical care at the local, state and national level. Downing has led the expansion of numerous pharmaceutical care initiatives to include Emergency Contraception (EC), on-going hormonal contraception, immunizations, tobacco cessation and diabetes management.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has now funded a study, on which Downing is an investigator, to begin a program in which pharmacists, in addition to physicians, are able to prescribe on-going contraception to their clients. This program, known as Direct Access, is an innovative new approach to women’s health care and based on Downing and his colleagues original work in EC in which they realized the primary need of on-going hormonal contraception (i.e. birth control pills, patches and rings) was not being met by women seeking pharmacists care for EC.

Downing received his appointment to the University of Washington School of Pharmacy (UWSOP) 25 years ago. He maintained a clinical practice for many of those years as pharmacy director with the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority and as owner of two community pharmacies in both Bonney Lake and Federal Way. In 1996 Downing became pharmaceutical care coordinator at UWSOP and Washington State College of Pharmacy. In this position, supported by Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA), he helped to implement innovative pharmacy service in the state of Washington and teach students how to provide those services. Currently, Downing is involved in pharmacy care legislation at the state level and serves as counsel on the national level as an expert resource on health care policy regarding female health issues. For the UW, he performs what he terms “reverse clinical practice.”

“I bring to students in the classroom the realities of pharmacy practice,” explains Downing, “and I bring to students and practitioners in the workplace the products of university research.”

His current role with UWSOP as that of a liaison between research and practice enables him to provide an important bridge of understanding between the two. This, with his wider efforts in addressing and advancing forward-thinking pharmacy issues, statewide and nationally, have made him an invaluable resource not only to the School but to the greater pharmacy community. Downing, however, credits his colleagues within the health care arena for his on-going success.

“I really owe my success to the incredible collaboration of our pharmacy schools and their respective faculty, the Board of Pharmacy and the WSPA…not to mention all the physicians and ARNPs who have been willing to sign pharmacists’ collaborative drug therapy agreements,” explains Downing, “It has been a team effort all the way.”

UW School of Pharmacy is very proud of Don Downing’s achievements and pleased to see them recognized by APhA-APPM. Downing will be honored, along with other APhA-APPM awardees at the upcoming APhA 2005 conference to be held on April -1-5 in Orlando, Florida. For more information on this event please visit


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