Air Force pharmacy residents visit DLA Troop Support

By Shaun Eagan DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Medical supply chain hosted pharmacists from the Air Force Pharmacy Residency Program Feb. 7 as part of their National Capitol Region rotation.

The pharmacists met with employees from Medical’s Customer Pharmacy Operations Center to learn how the agency supports Air Force pharmaceutical operations.

“Our main goal is to spread information about our mission and capabilities to these future Air Force leaders,” Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Underhill, CPOC chief, said about the visit. “Having residents spend a few hours here allows us to answer questions and put aside misconceptions about what DLA Troop Support can accomplish.”

The rotation teaches medical and pharmacy big-picture perspectives on clinical pharmacy practice to help them understand effects that happen at the technical and tactical levels. The rotation includes visits to the Pentagon, Defense Health Agency and Fort Detrick, Maryland.

DLA Troop Support is part of the rotation because of its role as the Air Force’s primary pharmaceutical supplier. The CPOC team taught the pharmacists about logistical processes that can affect operations throughout their career.

“Meeting these future leaders and networking on a personal level is crucial in executing our mission to support our customers,” Underhill said. “Reaching out to a specific person in a different agency is far more effective than contact through a generic email or voicemail.”

The pharmacists were able to learn about the CPOC team’s direct support to their units.

“The CPOC team was extremely helpful teaching us what it takes to always have access to pharmaceutical products,” said Maj. Joanna Heskett, a pharmacy resident at San Antonio Military Medical Center. “Our visit taught us how DLA Troop Support processes work to always ensure we can maintain the airmen’s readiness.”

The pharmacy residency is a yearlong accredited program that provides clinical skills and prepares pharmacists for leadership and clinical positions. Residencies are located at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas and Travis AFB, California.

“The rotation provides us with an opportunity to get top-level perspectives on the military health system,” said Heskett. “It’s designed to help us learn about our field and become better leaders when we return to our units.”

Underhill hopes the information clarified how DLA Troop Support supports the pharmacists.

“We hope they will be able to carry this information forward, from completion of residency to all of their future pharmacy assignments,” Underhill said.

In addition to talking with the CPOC team, the visit also included a tour of DLA Troop Support’s flag room, where employees make military unit flags and hand embroider the presidential and vice-presidential flags.