In March 2020, West Virginia pharmacists celebrated a landmark victory in the shadows of COVID-19. The legislature passed Bill 787, allowing pharmacists to be reimbursed for the health services they provide. This spring, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) will honor the woman whose leadership paved the way for this effort and many others.

Dr. Krista Capehart, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy clinical associate professor and Director of the Wigner Institute for Advanced Pharmacy Practice, Education and Research, is the APhA 2022 Hubert H. Humphrey Award Honoree.  

Dr. Krista Capehart

"I am so incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award. The work done improves patient access to care in West Virginia by educating others and enabling pharmacists to provide the exceptional care that we do each day. I am blessed to have incredible pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy interns all over the state who demonstrate every day what I am telling those in policy that pharmacy can do," said Capehart. "Pharmacists are especially beneficial in West Virginia because, in our rural areas, patients depend on the pharmacist for that first-line triage level of care. Policy and advocacy is a team endeavor and without the support of so many, none of the legislative efforts would have been successful."

The award recognizes APhA members who have made significant contributions in legislative service and all levels of government. Expressly, it acknowledges Capehart's contributions as a West Virginia Board of Pharmacy employee to drafting legislation, testifying before legislative committees, and educating government and state agencies on the benefits of expanding patient access to empower pharmacists to maintain public health and safety.  

"Dr. Capehart's contributions to improve West Virginia's health by leveraging pharmacists' skills through both training and legislative advocacy are outstanding," said Dean William Petros. "Her innovative and patient-centric efforts have led national and state organizations to seek her advice on healthcare improvements."

As Director of Professional and Regulatory Affairs for the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy, Capehart has authored and successfully championed multiple bills in West Virginia. Still, the Provider Status Bill exhibits her most outstanding advocacy leadership. West Virginia's law is unique because it doesn't limit pharmacists. It empowers them to work within the scope of their practice and get reimbursed for any services covered that other healthcare professionals perform.

"APhA and the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists wrote letters and called legislators, but the fight was won by local advocacy in West Virginia, said former APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas Menighan. "Krista led the charge. She is a master of the processes needed, has the relationships earned from years of work in the trenches, and worked the halls and wires tirelessly to gain overwhelming support. In the end, it was a slam dunk, but one earned through solidly building the case for the benefit of public health and West Virginians."

Capehart will be recognized at APhA2022, scheduled for March 18–21, 2022. The APhA Awards and Honors Program is the most comprehensive recognition program in the profession of pharmacy.