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LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 9, 2023)José O. Rivera, PharmD, R77, current and founding dean of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) School of Pharmacy, has been named as the recipient of the 2023 Paul F. Parker Award. This distinguished recognition will be conferred at the upcoming American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear meeting in Anaheim, California.

The Paul F. Parker Award stands as a symbol of a lifetime's worth of accomplishments, presented annually to a former University of Kentucky Pharmacy Residency Program resident or an individual closely linked with the program's resounding success. The recipient of this award exemplifies a sustained commitment to advancing the pharmacy profession through contributions to practice, teaching, or research. The awardee must demonstrate unwavering dedication to the highest standards of excellence in their chosen field, exhibit leadership and innovation, and exhibit a profound commitment to fostering the personal and professional growth of others.

Originally from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, Rivera earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the Universidad de Puerto Rico in 1976. Subsequently, he pursued a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Kentucky, with a concurrent residency program at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in 1979, at the time led by Paul F. Parker. 

In the years following graduation, Rivera worked in the clinical and academic realms, contributing his expertise to institutions such as the University of Cincinnati and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In 1995, he relocated to El Paso, Texas, where he served as director of pharmacy services at Sierra Medical Center. He later assumed the role of a critical care pharmacist at R.E. Thomason General Hospital. His significant contributions led him to become a clinical associate professor with the UTEP Cooperative Pharmacy Program, eventually ascending to the position of its director in January 2001.

Rivera is recognized as a stalwart leader in pharmacy education and practice, boasting an impressive array of publications and presentations spanning topics such as cultural competency, alternative herbal treatments, antibiotic resistance, and pharmacotherapy of infectious diseases. His research on border health, complementary alternative medicine, and medication literacy has received funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Thomason Hospital, and several pharmaceutical companies.

His illustrious career has been punctuated by numerous honors and accolades, including recognition as a fellow of the UTEP Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship (Kauffman Foundation) in 2008, the University of Texas at El Paso Faculty Research Award in 2007, and the El Paso Pharmacy Association Pharmacy Research and Education Award in 2001.

In addition to the founding deanship at UTEP School of Pharmacy, Rivera maintains roles as a clinical professor and assistant dean at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. In his current role, Rivera is dedicated to increasing the number of pharmacy graduates from the program, providing students in El Paso with opportunities to enter the pharmacy profession, and continuing his groundbreaking research endeavors focused on healthcare within the border population.

The official presentation of the Paul F. Parker Award is scheduled for Tuesday, December 5, 2023, during the Paul F. Parker Award Luncheon at the ASHP Midyear Meeting. For those interested in attending the luncheon, ticket information can be accessed via this link.

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott tribe, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup County.

We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life including fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals.