Warwick – April 8, 2019
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) recognized Christopher Durigan, PharmD, BCPS, director of clinical pharmacy at Thundermist Health Center, as an emerging leader. NACHC leadership presented the Geiger Gibson Program Emerging Leader Award to Dr. Durigan on Saturday, March 30 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Durigan’s passion, determination, and expertise has helped Thundermist Health Center to improve patient care, address policy issues, and address our state’s overdose crisis. He joined Thundermist Health Center only two years ago. During that short time, his work has had a profound impact on patients and staff. He led a pharmacy technician project that allows providers to increase their focus on direct patient care while empowering pharmacy technicians to manage provider refill requests under established protocols he jointly developed with our chief medical officer. He also trains the next generation of pharmacy students to work in health centers.
Dr. Durigan goes above and beyond to support important policy initiatives that improve the health of the community. He was instrumental in training Thundermist Health Center employees on how to administer naloxone and supported efforts to ensure all employees had access to the overdose-reversing medication. He also guided research and subsequent advocacy efforts that led to the development of legislation that expands access to naloxone by allowing community health centers and other practice locations to distribute and bill for naloxone. He subsequently testified on this legislation and was instrumental in its passage. He also researched and identified solutions to address the multiple use of single dose vials of testosterone for patients who identify as trans*. This resulted in the submission and subsequent passage of a bill that will improve safety and efficiency and reduce costs for patients. Other states plan to replicate the legislation.
In addition to his strong clinical impact, Dr. Durigan has emerged as a policy leader and advocate for health center patients. The Rhode Island Health Center Association recognized him last year as a Rhode Island Health Center Hero.
“It is an honor to work for an organization that is constantly advocating for their patients and removing barriers to health care,” said Dr. Durigan. “I am thankful to Thundermist for taking a chance at adding clinical pharmacy to their wide variety of services. I am honored to be recognized with this award.”
Each year, the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy honors young emerging leaders in community health. Emerging Leaders are nominated by community health centers and primary care associations nationally and are selected by a committee drawn from the senior health center leadership.
Thundermist Health Center is a full-service primary care provider with dental and behavioral health services. The non-profit community health center aims to improve the health of patients and communities by delivering exceptional health care, removing barriers to that care, and advancing healthy lifestyles. Thundermist has locations in West Warwick, Woonsocket, and South County. The organization cares for patients regardless of insurance and ability to pay. In 2019, Thundermist cared for more than 51,000 patients.