A Steward of Good Practice
Lisa Avery Leads the Antibiotic Stewardship Team at St. Joseph’s Health While Teaching the Next Generation of Pharmacists to Improve Treatment of Infectious Diseases
A faculty member in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy since 2008, Dr. Lisa Avery has delivered dozens of presentations, published several papers, and earned multiple teacher and educator of the year awards.
And just this past weekend, Avery was inducted as a 2019 Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP). This professional association represents clinical pharmacists, and induction as an ACCP fellow is the highest honor it bestows on its members, recognizing excellence in the practice and science of clinical pharmacy.
In addition to her classroom teaching responsibilities, Avery, who is based in Syracuse, New York, provides clinical pharmacy services for patients and clinical oversight to fourth-year pharmacy students at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. Since 2016, she has also served as the director of a Post Graduate Year-2 Infectious Diseases residency program, a co-funded residency with St. Joseph’s and the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, working with post-graduate pharmacy residents specializing in infectious disease.
Her career has been built around the world of infectious diseases. She explored that specialty as a resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, and at St. Joseph’s she conducts evidence-based observational research to better understand the use of antibiotics in treating infectious diseases.
“Conducting research helps me try to answer a clinical question about antimicrobial therapy,” she said. At their core, Avery’s inquiries are driven by the desire to enhance patient care. “I love to take care of patients, and through research, you can find the best way to provide patients with the most appropriate antimicrobial regimen, at the appropriate dose, for an optimal duration.”
For Avery, that means focusing on how health care providers use antibiotics to prevent patient readmissions and how to avoid antibiotic resistance in patients. Antibiotics are often prescribed in outpatient settings, so branching out into ambulatory care, urgent care, and long-term care environments is an important part of her stewardship, she said.
Currently, Avery is working with her resident to study how pharmacists involved in urgent care centers can improve the use of antibiotics in that setting. Many patients come to urgent care centers to address common colds, flu symptoms, or other viruses and bacteria, she said, so educating patients on when to use an antibiotic versus an over-the-counter medication is an important role pharmacists can play.
“I’m very excited about the urgent care research because it can really change pharmacy practice,” she said. “Pharmacists have a lot of knowledge on over-the-counter products, so it makes sense for us to develop resources to help patients improve the appropriate use of OTC agents for cough and cold symptoms.”