Ohio Pharmacist Sarah Adkins Awarded 2023 Individual Hero of Hope Award
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Ohio Pharmacist Sarah Adkins Awarded 2023 Individual Hero of Hope Award

Every year, we bestow two Hero of Hope Awards, one to an individual and one to a partner facility. Hero of Hope Award recipients go above and beyond for their patients, leading collaboration with others, inspiring systemic improvements to increase medication access within their communities, and implementing innovative and meaningful ways to engage with and advocate for the most vulnerable among us.

It is with pride that we announce Sarah Adkins, PharmD, of Athens, OH, as the recipient of the 2023 Individual Hero of Hope Award.

Here Comes the Sun
Seeing the sun after “a long, cold, lonely winter,” as The Beatles sang, can be an immense relief. When that “sun” is actually Rising Suns Pharmacy, relief is just a sliver of what many in need feel. That’s precisely what led Sarah to establish the non-profit pharmacy. 

A native of southeast Ohio, Sarah returned to Athens after her schooling and soon dedicated herself to making her dream of opening a pharmacy a reality. Far too many of her friends and neighbors struggle to make ends meet, she admits. Southeast Ohio has the highest poverty rate in the state, and access to quality healthcare is limited, too. Dispensary of Hope has been at her side from the start, helping her and her colleagues ensure medications are on hand and ready to be dispensed to the patients who need them.

Just Getting Started
Rising Suns Pharmacy will celebrate its first anniversary in 2023, and that’s only the beginning. They’re already exploring opportunities to hire a community health worker and to partner with their local food pantry. They’re working on increasing their funding so they can expand their hours, too. 

They’ve continued to work closely with their local college of medicine as well, paving the way for future collaborations that could help them better understand and foster positive long-term health outcomes for community members. At the same time, they’re building strong ties with local health systems and share an important common goal: ensuring patient information is easy for all providers to access so patients can have seamless transitions of care.

Helping One Person at a Time
Sarah and her team will always think big. But they also know the power of truly seeing—and serving—the person who is right in front of them.

We have a fella in his early 50s who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,” she says. The metformin he was prescribed soon interfered with his job as a trucker: stomach pains forced him to make frequent stops, and low blood sugar made it dangerous to be behind the wheel. To make matters worse, his employer of 25 years doesn’t offer health insurance, so he couldn’t afford to switch to Trulicity, as his physician recommended. Then he heard about Rising Suns.

“We have filled his Trulicity for him for the past year and his A1C has decreased from 10 to 7.5,” Sarah explains. He’s now able to complete his long hours on the road with fewer interruptions and without worrying about his safety behind the wheel, or about being able to provide for his wife and children. “He is such a wonderful person who would have otherwise not had access to this medication,” Sarah says. 

Congratulations, Sarah Adkins! You’re proof that one person can, in fact, change the world.

Posted by Matt Blount at 12:48