This past Friday, The Triangle Business Journal included a special insert profiling the 2010 40 Under 40 winners. WakeMed is proud to have two top-notch ladies receiving the award this year. Here’s a little bit more about Laura Aiken and Valerie Barlow. After reading portions of their nominations you will see that these two ladies are real winners.
The chances of finding this young professional in or anywhere near her office are slim. Laura Aiken is director of Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) and community health specialist with WakeMed.
Healthy lifestyles have been a passion of Aiken’s for her entire life. She received her bachelor’s degree in health promotion and athletic training and a master’s degree in health, physical education and sports management from Appalachian State University and then promptly entered the WakeMed Health & Hospitals workforce.
Aiken was truly at the forefront of the childhood obesity issue. In the early 2000s she created WakeMed’s first children’s fitness and weight management program. Aiken’s program quickly gained popularity, which is evidenced by the fact that it later served as the foundation for the WakeMed Pediatric Diabetes’ national award-winning Energize! program, a grant-funded initiative to help children ages 10 to 18 prevent type II diabetes and lead healthy lives through diet and exercise.
In her work with corporations and organizations throughout Wake County, she began to create important relationships and seeing the big picture – the need for easy access to healthy food choices and fitness activities. This was the beginning of Advocates for Health in Action, a collaboration of organizations working to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity in Wake County.
Aiken is an active member of the North Carolina Alliance for Health. She is co-chair of NC Action for Healthy Kids; an active member of the state’s Eat Smart Move More advocacy and leadership committees; the NC Prevention Partners school obesity committee; and the County Commissioner appointed Wake County Fitness Council. She also is currently serving as president of the Appalachian State University Alumni Association.
In conclusion, it’s hard to believe, but this community leader and mother of two small children also finds time to practice what she preaches. She gets in at least four serious workouts a week and builds activity in to every day. She makes it a point to cook for her family, and her weekends are spent doing activities with her kids.
Valarie Barlow was promoted to director of pharmacy at WakeMed Raleigh Campus in November 2009 after serving as Director of Pharmacy Services at WakeMed Cary Hospital for nine years and also Apex Healthplex for two years.
In her short time as Director Pharmacy Services at WakeMed Raleigh Campus, Valarie is making major strides to implement technologies like bedside barcoding that improve patient safety by reducing medication errors.
She is a staunch supporter of education and has implemented several new training programs for her staff and started WakeMed’s first pharmacy residency program. Valerie practices what she preaches by attends UNC Kenan-Flagler Business Scholl Executive MBA Program where she will graduate in August 2010 with an MBA with a concentration in Leadership & Strategy.
Valerie is also active in the community. Some of her accomplishments include the following:
• Chair of the North Carolina Pharmacists Recovery Network (NCPRN), a non-profit organization dedicated to the early identification, intervention and treatment of, monitoring and advocacy for the impaired pharmacist and pharmacy technician;
• Works with Pharmacy Schools (UNC & Campbell) and WakeTech Pharmacy Technician Program for WakeMed to precept their students;
• Co-chair of the Rosewood High School Class of 1990 class reunion;
• Team Manager for Youth 8 soccer—Fuquay Varina Athletic Association;
• Volunteer for the Bentwinds Swim Team;
Valerie’s future goals include becoming a vice president in a healthcare organization and one day becoming a Chief Operating Officer or Chief Executive Officer. She is well on her way to obtaining those goals. Valerie is a “go getter” and is not afraid to seek opportunities for growth and development. An example of this is Valerie’s desire to continue her education while working full-time and being the mother of 2 young children. This year Valerie will graduate with a MBA from UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business Scholl Executive MBA Program.