Adriane N. Irwin, Pharm.D., M.S., FCCP, BCACP, CDCES, is an associate professor (clinical) at the Oregon State University (OSU) College of Pharmacy, where she also serves as chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Irwin earned her Pharm.D. degree from the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy in 2010 and then completed a PGY1 residency at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She proceeded to do a research fellowship in ambulatory care and pharmacy practice–based research with Kaiser Permanente Colorado. After practicing as an ambulatory care pharmacist in a rural health center for 7 years, Irwin transitioned to Salem Health Hospitals & Clinics, where she currently provides data analytic support to department initiatives primarily focused on quality and medication safety.
Outside her clinical and administrative responsibilities, Irwin maintains an active research program focused on safe practices for opioid prescribing and improving care for persons with substance use disorder. Her work has been funded by multiple organizations, and she has contributed over 50 peer-reviewed publications to the literature. Finally, she is the pharmacist representative to the Oregon Health Authority Health Evidence Review Commission, which is charged with prioritizing spending for the state’s Medicaid program using evidence-based practices.
Irwin started with a traditional ambulatory care practice in a rural setting; however, she continually found herself gravitating to opportunities that influence care and outcomes on a system level. This ultimately led to her decision to step away from direct patient care. She saw the value that data can bring to a health system and evolved this interest into the clinical service component of her academic position. Reflecting on her path today, she realizes it is somewhat nontraditional and unique to have the opportunity to influence health systems on a greater scale. However, she sees the value in taking “the road less traveled” and advises her trainees to do the same. For Irwin, if a path does not currently exist, it can be forged; hence, it is always important to be flexible and open to new opportunities and to follow one’s passions.
An initiative she is particularly proud of is the Medicare counseling service built in her previous rural ambulatory care practice site. This was an underserved area, where patients had substantial challenges with Medicaid to Medicare transitions. As a result, Irwin became a certified Medicare counselor with the Oregon Senior & Disability Services and provided free Medicare counseling in the community. The ability to help patients and community members make better-informed decisions on their insurance coverage and navigate financial assistance programs was transformative for many in that community. This experience left a profound impression on her to this day, and she still volunteers regularly as a Medicare counselor. She also teaches a course on the U.S. health care system, where she integrates cases on navigating Medicare insurance. These cases are inspired by situations encountered as a Medicare counselor and often focus on how structural issues within our health care system create and perpetuate inequities.
Irwin also values advocacy and building on the success of past leaders. She has served as president for one of Oregon’s state pharmacy associations and has actively addressed legislative issues, particularly around the dynamics affecting community pharmacy. She advises that active membership in at least one state and one national organization is important. Pharmacy practice is heavily regulated at the state level, so she recommends that those hoping to increase their advocacy efforts begin by understanding the issues in their state and connecting with their local elected officials because it helps leaders to hear from their constituents on important issues.
ACCP is one of Irwin’s professional homes. She appreciates how ACCP brings together students, practitioners, and researchers who are interested in a wide range of clinical areas. Over her career, her involvement has evolved from the Ambulatory Care Practice and Research Network (PRN) to include the Clinical Administration PRN (chair-elect), Health Outcomes PRN, and Community-Based PRN. She is also chair of the ACCP Clinical Practice Affairs Committee this year. She particularly enjoys the ability to quickly network and connect with others who have similar interests within ACCP. In addition to her own involvement with ACCP, she is the faculty adviser for the ACCP student chapter at OSU and supports student engagement in the ACCP Clinical Research Challenge. She chooses to give her time and energy to ACCP because the organization has created a passionate community striving to achieve the same goals. Involvement helps her feel part of the pharmacy community and professionally fulfilled.
In addition to her professional pursuits, Irwin has been an avid rock climber for 20 years. She began climbing even before its recently gained popularity and, over the years, has climbed in Mexico, Europe, and Southeast Asia.