The Department of Pharmacy at Boston Medical Center Health System (BMCHS) is being recognized by the Massachusetts Society for Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP) for its success in industry-leading initiatives to combat the opioid crisis and improve patient care. Two individual leaders and one pharmacy team at BMC have been chosen to receive awards from MSHP in 2020, highlighting their efforts and leadership in the field of pharmacy in Massachusetts.

Natalija Farrell, PharmD, BCPS, DABAT, has received the MSHP Pharmacist of the Year award, honoring her contributions to pharmacy practice within the Department of Emergency Medicine at BMC. Farrell, who is the pharmacy clinical coordinator for emergency medicine and toxicology, is being recognized in part for her role in implementing pharmacy-led programs to dispense Suboxone and intranasal naloxone to patients with opioid use disorder being discharged from BMC’s emergency department. As the director of BMC’s PGY2 emergency medicine pharmacy residency program, Farrell plays an integral role in training the next generation of pharmacists. In addition, she was recently appointed to assistant professor of emergency medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, demonstrating her unparalleled leadership in both the clinical and educational aspects of pharmacy practice.

Erin Smith is this year’s recipient of the MSHP Technician of the Year award. Smith, who works as a medication reconciliation technician supervisor for the department of pharmacy, has exhibited leadership, compassion and excellence over her nearly three years at BMCHS. Promoted for the traits that make her an effective and respected leader, Smith has led a number of initiatives to standardize her team’s workflow, strategically deploy her team to areas of high volume, expand services where none previously existed, and target specific at-risk patients for medication reconciliation. She has also taken an active role with MSHP on the Technician Advancement Committee and was a member of a panel discussion at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Boston Medical Center’s Opioid Utilization Improvement Team has won the Pharmacy Health-System of the Year Award, recognizing the team’s multidisciplinary work responding to the opioid crisis. Led by more than 20 pharmacists from BMC’s ambulatory, inpatient and retail pharmacy units, the team reduced inpatient opioid utilization in surgical patients by 41 percent since being implemented in 2017, and sustained those results over a period of 18 months. BMC also reduced discharge opioid prescribing for surgery patients by 25 percent, resulting in 74,000 fewer opioid dosage forms dispensed in 2019. In addition, the pharmacy team helped facilitate the dispensing of more than 1,000 intranasal naloxone kits and provided training about its use to more than 1,000 employees and community members.

“The exceptional teamwork and collaboration among members of the pharmacy team have led to our department’s success that is demonstrated through these awards,” said David Twitchell, PharmD, MBA, vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Boston Medical Center Health System. “I could not be more proud of the BMC pharmacy team and all their consistent efforts to provide the very best of care to the community we serve.”

Joy Vreeland, PharmD, senior director and associate chief pharmacy officer for BMC’s inpatient pharmacy, Kevin Horbowicz, PharmD, associate director of inpatient clinical pharmacy services, and William Vincent, PharmD, clinical coordinator, were key players in overseeing the work for which BMCHS was recognized. The Massachusetts Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP) was founded in 1945 to foster the professional growth of hospital pharmacy in Massachusetts.

About Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 514-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. It is the largest and busiest provider of trauma and emergency services in New England. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution, receiving more than $97 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2018. It is the 15th largest funding recipient in the U.S. from the National Institutes of Health among independent hospitals. In 1997, BMC founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc., now one of the top ranked Medicaid MCOs in the country, as a non-profit managed care organization. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in Boston HealthNet – 14 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit

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