Tallahassee, FL – Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jasper W. Watkins III, a 1982 graduate from Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy was recently elected president of the Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists (ABHP). Watkins, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, also received a masters of science in health services administration from Central Michigan University.
Watkins serves as Chief, Bureau for Statewide Pharmaceutical Services, Florida Department of Health (DOH). In his role, he manages a budget in excess of $100 million and the provision of pharmaceutical services to all Florida Department of Health facilities. He oversees the States’ Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, Florida Formulatory system, assists in expansion of the States’ Pharmaceutical Stockpile Program, provides technical support for all areas of pharmaceutical services related to preparedness, and coordinates with the pharmacy managers of County Health Departments and DOH during times of disaster.
His 25 years as an Army pharmacist encompassed a unique blend of administrative, operational and specialty pharmacy. While in office, Watkins made history becoming the first African-American in the State of Florida and the Armed Forces to have completed the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Nuclear Pharmacy Residency Program and hold certification and licensure in nuclear pharmacy and a Fellowship in Medication-Use Safety.
“The nation's health care system has a "long way to go" in reducing health care disparities,” said COL Watkins. “The Association of Black Health System Pharmacist is committed not only to addressing the issues of health care disparities; but cultural competence, women’s and men’s minority health issues, better access to care for all children, and health literacy. I view our nation’s health care disparities as a personal call to action and I am honored to be selected as president and energized by the opportunity to further these and other efforts of ABHP. My goals are to first and foremost be able to elucidate the role that all pharmacist play in reducing health care disparities. Additionally, at this summers Annual Meeting and Minority Health Conference to be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia on May 16 – 18, 2008, I hope to unveil ABHP’s, Minority Health Disparities Strategic Plan and establish our organization as a clearinghouse for minority health information and resources. Moreover, we look to address polices and practices related to community and public activism as it relates to awareness, planning, and action. To this end, I am and ABHP is committed.”
“COL Watkins’ long standing career as a healthcare practitioner and soldier speaks volume to his commitment to his country and to alleviating healthcare disparities among underrepresented communities,” said Henry Lewis III, dean and professor of the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “We congratulate him for the contributions he has made as a leader in the healthcare professions in the armed forces.”
The ABHP is a national organization of health-systems pharmacists whose mission is to promote advocacy, leadership, education, and collaboration that improve the health status and quality of life of black patients and to advance the practice of black pharmacists and serve as their collective voice on issues in the health systems.
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