Sisson takes on role of CPPI assistant director
“When asked what I do and why I like my job, I often have difficulty providing a short answer,” Sisson said. “I am in a unique position where I can align my passion to help people as an educator and a clinician. Together, my colleagues and I are training an interprofessional workforce to increase access to much-needed medical care in Virginia and around the world.”
Sisson is taking on the assistant director position since Teresa Salgado, CPPI’s previous assistant director, moved into the director position in January 2022. Salgado follows Dave Dixon, who will remain involved with CPPI as a core faculty member.
When CPPI began, Sisson’s main role with the center involved serving as the liaison between CPPI and The Center for Healthy Hearts, a local free clinic and one of CPPI’s first practice partners. In addition to caring for patients in the interprofessional clinic, Sisson also serves as the pharmacy residency director for two PGY2 Ambulatory Care residents at CHH and CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, another local free clinic and CPPI practice partner. Sisson also began a National Diabetes Prevention Program at VCU, which gives Pharm.D. students hands-on experience interacting with patients and is funded by CPPI’s InnoVAte grant from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.
He works in all these areas and others in addition to teaching courses as a professor at VCU School of Pharmacy. This work is meaningful to him, he said, as it all aligns with his personal mission: “to serve the underserved and teach others how to do it.”
“Including pharmacists on the diabetes care team is important because the disease affects so many people and causes so many health concerns,” Sisson said. “I like teaching people how to be well.”
In his new undertaking as CPPI assistant director, Sisson brings this experience and perspective to other areas of focus within the center. He and Salgado are hopeful their shared and differing experiences will propel the center forward toward achieving its goals.
“Dr. Sisson brings to this role his unique relationship with the community and his connections across the university and Virginia,” Salgado said. “He is a connector who makes things happen, and I could not be more thrilled to have him help move the center’s mission forward. I look forward to this new phase of the center.”
Sisson, Salgado and others in the center are working on projects that demonstrate the value of integrating pharmacists into patient care more extensively. As pharmacists are largely considered the most accessible health care professionals, incorporating their expertise as part of care teams more often can make health care more holistic and help improve patient care.
“Our vision for advancing pharmacy practice is not a pharmacist working alone in a silo somewhere,” Sisson said. “It’s truly as an integrated part of the medical team. You get better outcomes more consistently when you have a team than you do with any individual working by themselves, so that’s what I’m trying to advocate.”
In addition to these CPPI-related roles, Sisson is a certified diabetes educator and past member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Recent publications include a book chapter on Pharmacotherapy for Glucose Management in the fifth edition of ADCES’s Art and Science of Diabetes Self-management Education. Additionally, he authored the 10th edition of ADCES’s Quick Guide to Medications.