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Walgreens recognizes six St. Louis teens as part of the company’s Expressions Challenge

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS — Walgreens last week awarded six area teens cash prizes of up to $2,000 for their participation in the Walgreens Expressions Challenge, according to a story published in The St. Louis American Tuesday. 

The winners were selected out of more than 1,000 entries. 

Walgreens created the Expressions Challenge to engage high school teens between the ages 14 to 18 in the conversation of healthy choices for their future through creative expression. Currently, Expressions is executed in the Chicago and St. Louis markets. Over the last six years, Expressions has reached more than 500,000 teens, Walgreens reported.

The Expressions Challenge motivates teens to voice their opinion across relevant health topics through creative writing or through the use of multimedia or visual arts. 

The Expressions Challenge has awarded more than $70,000 in cash and prizes to date.

The Expressions Program reaches beyond the contest period through the Expressions Challenge Gallery Tours, where the entrants’ art work is on display at partner schools for a three to four week period to promote peer-to-peer healthy choices. Expressions “Stop. Think. Wait.” Poster Campaign transfers the entrants’ works from the Visual Arts category into posters with impactful messages, which are distributed to schools and organizations between Chicago and St. Louis.


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Kroger promotes Jeff Burt to president Central division

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Tuesday promoted Jeff Burt to president of the company’s Central division, where he will be responsible for 136 food stores primarily in Indiana and Illinois.

Burt, 50, has been group VP perishables, merchandising and procurement since 2010. He succeeds Bob Moeder, who recently announced his plans to retire this spring.

"In his 27-year career with Kroger, Jeff has demonstrated strong leadership skills and a deep understanding of our business," stated Rodney McMullen, president and COO Kroger. "His enthusiasm, keen sense of the customer and experience in merchandising and operations will be tremendous assets to the Central Division team."

Burt began his career with Kroger in 1986 as a management trainee. He has held a variety of leadership positions with the company in Cincinnati, Florida, Indianapolis and Seattle, including store manager, produce merchandiser and VP merchandising and operations. In 2004, he was named corporate VP deli/bakery merchandising and procurement, before being promoted to his most recent role in 2010.

The Kroger Central Division has 136 food stores, 114 pharmacies and 75 fuel centers operating under four banners; Kroger, Scott’s, Owen’s and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to three stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio.

 

 

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For pharmacists who provide immunizations, signs of progress and plenty of opportunity

BY Jim Frederick

Good, but it could be better.

I’m talking about the results of a nationwide survey of Americans who were vaccinated against influenza for the 2012-2013 flu season. Based on an online poll of nearly 1,100 adults in mid-January, researchers for Ipsos Public Affairs found a solid majority of Americans still rely on their family physician for their flu shots, but that retail pharmacies and walk-in clinics are making significant progress in their campaign to shift the center of gravity for immunizations away from the doctor’s office.

Drug Store News senior editor Michael Johnsen reports that about 20% of respondents received this year’s inoculation at a retail pharmacy, while another 12.6% were vaccinated at a walk-in clinic. That means that as of Jan. 15, as many as 18.5 million Americans had received their flu shot from a community pharmacist during the current flu season, with another 11.7 million relying on a nurse practitioner or other retail or urgent-care clinician.

It’s good news for chain and independent pharmacy, and affirms the success retail pharmacists have had in expanding their patient-care efforts and convincing patients that there’s a more convenient and cheaper alternative for basic health services like immunizations. But the Ipsos survey results also mean that roughly two of every three Americans are still going to a physician’s office or other professional site for something as universally available and accessible as a flu shot.

That suggests opportunity. Tens of thousands of chain and independent pharmacists have become certified to provide immunizations, not only for influenza but for other diseases, and tens of millions of patients are still bypassing their local drug store, supermarket or discount store pharmacy so that they or their health plans can spend more to get immunized at a doctor’s office.

The survey pointed up another area of potential for retail pharmacies and clinics as well. Pollsters found that only about 40% of Americans had been vaccinated as of Jan. 15, with another 5% of respondents reported to be still considering getting a flu shot this year – despite the fact that the flu epidemic continues to rage in the western U.S.

What’s more, only one in three of those surveyed seemed concerned about catching the flu, and roughly the same number said they were afraid that getting the vaccine increased their chances of getting the flu. Roughly one in six respondents told researchers the vaccines aren’t safe.

Who better to counter those fears than the pharmacist or clinician. Your comments, as always, are welcome.

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