Special to the Opelika Observer
Dr. Spencer Durham, associate clinical professor in the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, has been named to Alabama’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force by Gov. Kay Ivey.
The task force is a collection of cabinet and state agency officials, as well as disease specialists in the state of Alabama. Durham, who also practices as the infectious diseases clinical pharmacist with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, is a board-certified infectious diseases pharmacist.
“This is an unprecedented time in medicine and what we are learning about COVID-19 is literally changing on an hourly basis,” Durham said. “I am truly honored to be able to help Gov. Ivey and the citizens of Alabama navigate through this situation. If I am able to help offer a unique standpoint as an infectious diseases pharmacist, I will do all I can to help.”
The task force will discuss any developments and precautions on a routine basis and will make recommendations to the governor as necessary. Gov. Ivey has designated Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, to serve as chair of the task force and to lead any public announcements and directives.
Durham is the lone pharmacist on the task force, providing the perspective of a profession that is battling the virus in the hospitals and educating and working with patients in the community every day.
“Pharmacist representation on this task force is essential as we are often the most accessible medical professionals for patients,” Durham said. “During this uncertain time, patients in the community setting are still going to need prescriptions filled, both new prescriptions and ones for chronic disease states. Health system pharmacists are part of the team caring for patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the state.
“This crisis is causing a burden on all aspects of the health care system, including pharmacists and pharmacies, so representation on this task force offers an important perspective that the governor and other state leaders need to hear.”
Along with serving as an associate clinical professor in the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice, Durham also serves as the director of alumni and professional affairs. He graduated from the Harrison School of Pharmacy with his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2007 and completed a post-graduate residency at Children’s Health System/UAB in 2008.
Durham holds a dual board certification as a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) and a Board Certified Infectious Diseases Pharmacist (BCIDP). He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in respected journals and several book chapters and is an active speaker each year at national, state and local conferences, where he educates health care professionals on topics related to infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship.
For more information about the Harrison School of Pharmacy, call 334-844-8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.