SOP Alumna and Leading Pharmacy Executive Ellen H. Yankellow Donates $1.1 Million to School

Dr. Ellen H. Yankellow, President and CEO of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc., the nation’s leading woman-owned institutional pharmacy service provider, and chair of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Board of Visitors, has committed a gift of $1.1 million to the School.

This donation, which is part of the School’s ongoing capital campaign, is the largest gift ever from a female graduate and will support a first-of-its-kind fellowship at the School designed to capture health outcomes and economic data about the value of clinical pharmacy services.

Correct Rx is unique in the field of institutional pharmacy, with its commitment to clinical pharmacy – working as partners with an institution’s medical staff rather than a supplier. The Correct Rx approach can mean improved medical outcomes and reduced overall healthcare costs for institutions.

“At Correct Rx, we have evidence that shows that allowing a clinical pharmacist to participate on the health care team can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the patient, as well as on the overall health care cost to the payer,” says Dr. Yankellow. “Because the School of Pharmacy has always focused on and advocated for the value of clinical pharmacy and the future of pharmacy as a profession, this fellowship will be a natural and fitting partnership.”

Fellows will complete coursework at the School of Pharmacy during the first year of the fellowship and receive on-site training at Correct Rx during their second year. At Correct Rx, they will work with a clinical pharmacist mentor, as well as a mentor in the School’s Departments of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research or Pharmacy Practice and Science, to complete a major project. The fellowship will be open to all individuals who have earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an accredited institution, with the gift funding five consecutive two-year fellows over 10 years.

“My gift to the School of Pharmacy will plant the seed for this fellowship,” says Dr. Yankellow. “Once the individuals who are placed in this fellowship start producing results and, later, are placed into industry or academia, they will have a level of expertise that organizations will be seeking, and the School of Pharmacy will develop a reputation for producing fellows with this unique expertise.”

“Leadership donations by our alumni are vital to sustaining the excellence of our programs,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy. “Dr. Yankellow has long supported the School in a significant way, and we thank her for her contributions. Her entrepreneurial spirit and forward thinking ideas are an inspiration to our students, faculty, and to all who know her. We appreciate the innovative example she sets for the profession and for pharmacists across the country.”

“The ultimate goal of the fellowships Dr. Yankellow has established is to verify what we already know – the value of pharmacists as the medication experts on an interdisciplinary health care team,” says Dean Eddington.

Dr. Yankellow’s $1.1 million gift will also name the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium in Pharmacy Hall, with a naming ceremony to be held on October 16, 2013. A portion of the money will also benefit an unrestricted giving fund at the School to support its areas of greatest need.

Background on Ellen Yankellow
Originally from Canada, Dr. Yankellow graduated from the School of Pharmacy with honors in 1973, and earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 1996. After a long career as a top executive in the pharmacy services industry, she founded Correct Rx in 2003. The Linthicum, Md., firm has grown to one of Maryland’s largest female-owned companies.

Dr. Yankellow has been recognized with numerous awards, including the School of Pharmacy’s Key to Pharmacy Hall, Anne Arundel County and Annapolis Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leader of the Year, Associated Black Charities’ 2013 Community Investor Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for health services.

Dr. Yankellow has also been named one of “Maryland’s Top 25 CEOs You Need to Know” by the Gazette of Politics and Business, and has received the Daily Record’s Influential Marylander as well as three of its Maryland’s Top 100 Women awards, which led to her induction in the Daily Record’s Circle of Excellence.

Background on clinical pharmacy
In recent years, pharmacists have started to transition from their traditional roles as medication dispensers to new roles in which they serve as the medication experts on the health care team. Now practicing in health care settings that allow them to directly interact with patients, clinical pharmacists collaborate with doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to ensure that the medications prescribed for their patients contribute to the best possible health outcomes.

Although previous research on the economic benefits of clinical pharmacy services has been positive, with findings of cost savings and better health outcomes, the challenge remains to express the benefits of clinical pharmacy to corporations, institutions, health care providers, and other key players in the health care team.

The fellowship established with Dr. Yankellow’s gift aims to train Doctor of Pharmacy graduates to develop expertise in health outcomes assessment related to clinical pharmacists’ services, as well as provide the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze and interpret health outcomes and economic data in pharmacy. Fellows will provide data that validate the benefits of clinical pharmacy, demonstrating that pharmacists add undeniable value to the health care team.