Jason Ausili joined NACDS this week as the director of pharmacy affairs—find out what he brings to the table.

As a pharmacist myself, I find it really exciting to have that direct impact on a patient and their well-being.

Jason Ausili joined NACDS this week as the director of pharmacy affairs. Ausili will drive NACDS’ initiatives designed to optimize pharmacy care and will assist with emerging care models.

Ausili will also lead the development of relationships with schools and colleges of pharmacy. Ausili, a pharmacist, most recently served as health quality leader at Target Corp., where he developed and executed healthcare quality strategies designed to improve patient outcomes and reduce overall costs. NACDS.org spoke to Ausili this week about his vision for pharmacy’s future, why he’s optimistic about it, and more.

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Washington, Illinois.

Q: What made you want to become a pharmacist?

A: It was really about helping people. I grew up in a small town and the pharmacist in my town was seen as this big force in the community. I love the idea that anybody off the street could walk in and see their pharmacist. The whole community-feel of being in the pharmacy and being part of the neighborhood was really what drew me to the profession.

Q: Where did you go to pharmacy school?

A: Butler University in Indianapolis.

Q: Are you encouraged by the increased role pharmacists are playing in healthcare delivery?

A: Absolutely. One of my main goals is to promote top-of-license practice for pharmacists. It’s why pharmacists go to school. They come out of pharmacy school wanting to do more to help people directly, so finding ways to enable them—and free them from the traditional dispensing process so they can actually spend time with their patients to improve their outcomes—is definitely where we need to go. As a pharmacist myself, I find it really exciting to have that direct impact on a patient and their well-being.

Q: Are you optimistic about the direction pharmacy is headed?

A: Definitely. We’re seeing some very positive momentum, whether it’s provider status or the actual services pharmacists provide. Immunizations are a great example. Ten years ago, who would have thought people could get a flu shot in their pharmacy? Now it’s very common. That’s just one example of how the tides are turning and pharmacists are becoming a much bigger player in healthcare. There are a lot of people who don’t have access to care—conveniently and in a cost-effective manner—so pharmacists provide a more accessible, lower-cost alternative for those people.

Q: What do you look forward to accomplishing at NACDS?

A: My personal vision is to enable pharmacists and pharmacy technicians—the pharmacy team—to practice at the top of their license in order to deliver on the Triple Aim of healthcare: to improve patient outcomes; improve population health; and decrease the overall cost of care. There’s no better job out there with that type of broad impact, because it really happens in the neighborhoods and the communities where our retail pharmacies are. By representing our members on that journey, we can really make a difference.

Q: What’s one thing about you that would surprise most people?

A: I’m basically a foodie at heart. My wife and I go to a new restaurant every month, and we also experience restaurants with our friends. It’s a great way to keep us out and about and enjoying good food.

Q: What’s your guiding principle professionally?

A: I’m big on being transparent and accountable. At the end of the day, having a really good strategy is very important, but then you have to execute it. You course correct along the way, but you have to have a long-term vision.

Q: What do you bring to the table?

A: Experience. I’ve spent time behind the bench as a pharmacist and I’ve got a number of years in retail headquarters, where I was an operations manager, and also led the quality program at Target. In representing NACDS’ members, I’ve been there. I’ve experienced many different aspects of what our members go through. That’s what I bring to the table.