Each month, IPA chooses a member to highlight that demonstrates excellence in the practice of pharmacy and in association involvement.
"I continue to encourage students and colleagues to join IPA, highlighting advocacy and networking as reasons to join. Even though I no longer have an employer paying for this membership, I personally see the value it provides for my career and skill development. For these reasons, I continue to invest financially and through my time."
- Denise Fields, PharmD, FASHP
Denise Fields received her Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Butler University in 1992. Five years later, she completed the non-traditional Doctor of Pharmacy program at Purdue University in May of 2003. Since then, she has gained several years of practice experience, and continued to enhance her knowledge and skills through certification programs. Dr. Fields currently holds certifications in anticoagulation, diabetes care, immunization, medication therapy management (MTM), and pharmacogenomics.
Dr. Fields is a past President for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) state affiliate, and the Indiana Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ISHP). She also has served on the Indiana Rural Health Association’s Board of Directors and the Indiana Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force. Nationally, she served as Chair for the ASHP Section Advisory Group on Small and Rural Hospitals, was a member of the advisory group for the ASHP Center on Pharmacy Practice Advancement, and served as a Delegate to ASHP House of Delegates.
Dr. Fields is currently serving as the President of the newly formed Indiana Academy of Non-Traditional Pharmacists (IANTP). This newly formed academy serves as a home for pharmacist, pharmacy technician, and pharmacy student members of the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance, who are practicing in non-traditional pharmacy settings.
Dr. Fields currently works for Express Scripts as a Population Health Pharmacist. She is assigned to a large, self-insured employer within Indiana. Dr. Fields is involved in population health claims review, provides MTM along with health and wellness education for the active employees and dependents of her employer client, and serves as a resource for the physicians and other staff within the client’s medical home center. There are approximately 40,000 lives served in this population. Although she started this role by conducting patient visits within the work environment and homes of these patients, she now enjoys the team-based care environment of a large multi-disciplinary medical home center (which was opened by her client in 2016).
Journey to a Non-Traditional Practice Setting:
Dr. Fields started her journey as a pharmacist in 1992 as a night-shift pharmacist at Methodist Hospital but soon after accepted a position closer to her childhood home as the Assistant Manager at Walmart Pharmacy in North Vernon, IN. A few years later, she was excited to return to hospital practice at Dearborn County Hospital in Lawrenceburg, IN where she led an EMR platform transition and implementation of automated dispensing machines.
In 2004, Dr. Fields took on the role of Director of Pharmacy Services at Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, IN for nearly 10 years, where she established a medication safety committee, implemented an electronic health record, CPOE, and a 340B program, developed and managed an anticoagulation clinic, implemented discharge counseling and a travel health program. Dr. Fields not only advanced her own skills, but also the skills of the pharmacists she led by supporting their certification in anticoagulation, diabetes and immunization therapy. In her time as director, the facility went from no automated dispensing to more than 90% of doses coming from automated dispensing cabinets and as of 2005 was a critical access hospital uniquely equipped with bedside barcode scanning technology.
While Dr. Fields was not looking to leave her role at Decatur County Memorial Hospital, she was identified through LinkedIn in 2013 for her experience and certifications by Express Scripts who offered her a role in managed care to serve as an on-site pharmacist for a global, self-insured manufacturing employer to provide MTM services in the primary care clinic they were building. Realizing that the profession needed to continue to advance in ambulatory care services, Dr. Fields took the biggest career leap of her life, and left health system pharmacy after nearly 20 years.
Her most recent projects include the facilitation of an eight-week lifestyle education program for the employees of her client, and the creation and implementation of a diabetes condition management program within the medical home center.
Both programs focus on the importance of lifestyle choices, and the impact they have on health and wellness. Topics include nutrition, activity, hydration, sleep hygiene, stress management, goal setting, forgiveness, gratefulness, and sustainability. Dr. Fields conducts individual patient visits and shared medical appointments. As a result, she has witnessed medication reductions and elimination for patients, with a correlating improvement in biometric measurements, such as A1C, glucose, total cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride, blood pressure, and weight. Smoking cessation as well as medication adherence rates have improved through cost reduction strategies and education.
Dr. Fields finds it so exciting to be able to show patients that pharmacists do not just want to fill prescriptions or see them started on yet another medicine. Many are surprised to find a pharmacist working to empower them to get off of their medications (or avoid needing to start them) through lifestyle change.
Additionally, her role involves claims review to identify opportunities for medication optimization at the population level. She was the first pharmacist for Express Scripts to work on site with a client in this role, to transform how health care is delivered.
“Become a life-long learner. Look for non-traditional areas where pharmacists can make an impact and can demonstrate the value we bring to the table. Don’t rule out any settings.”
“Also, you must become an advocate for public policy and pharmacy-specific interests. If you want to see advanced roles continue be a possibility, then you must work to help local, state, and federal law be changed to allow for pharmacists to work at the top of their license.”
“Lastly, you have to get involved with other organizations outside of pharmacy to ensure we have a voice at the table. I was a board member for the Indiana Rural Health Association. I was also a National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) member, and I served on the Indiana Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.”
IPA's Value to Members:
“If we want to really advance our profession to provider status within Indiana, then we must invest in IPA so that IPA can advocate on our behalf. Invest in your career through an investment in IPA.”
“Most importantly, today it is for the advocacy of provider status. We need to have a combined and strong voice for many pharmacy-centric issues. IPA provides a home for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students from all practice settings to have one combined voice on behalf of our profession.”