Throughout its history, Baptist Health South Florida has been known for being a forward-thinking organization, says Madeline Camejo, MS, PharmD, vice president and chief pharmacy officer for the health system.
“We see our role not only as caretakers of the sick and injured in our community, but also as advocates for health and wellness,” he says, quoting the first line of the organization’s mission statement: “Baptist Health’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of people and to promote the sanctity and preservation of life in the communities we serve”.
Underscoring the organization’s commitment to wellness, Baptist Health is the first company in the country to add clinical wellness pharmacists to its staff. “The hiring of a clinical wellness pharmacist has never been done at any other institution and is an example of what sets Baptist Health apart from other organizations,” says Dr. Camejo. She says Baptist Health is committed to expanding its wellness services to its more than 29,000 employees and physicians, as well as the entire South Florida community.
Marissa Brooks, PharmD, was appointed to the newly created position of Clinical Wellness Pharmacist, according to Dr. Camejo. She says that Dr. Brooks, who is also a certified wellness coach, will focus on the areas of oncology, community health, and employee health. A second clinical wellness pharmacist, Brandon Welch, PharmD – also a certified wellness coach – will focus on executive health, orthopedics and sports medicine.
“These two new positions will support the services of pharmacists, as well as build greater relationships within Baptist Health between physicians, nurses, dietitians and support staff,” says Dr. Camejo.
Dr. Brooks says Baptist Health will benefit from the addition of clinical wellness pharmacists. “This approach reinforces our contribution as a health system, as we act as a link to health and health care for our patients and their families,” she says. “And as we move forward, having drug experts address prevention and therapy supplementation is increasingly important.”
This first-of-its-kind position also sets a precedent for the profession, according to Dr. Brooks. This summer, the American Society of Health System Pharmacists launched the first cohort of its wellness certification program. Dr. Brooks helped create the program and is the first pharmacist employed at an institution to focus on wellness directly as part of her role. “I’m sure other health systems will follow our example,” she says.