Adherence Pharmacology Program

Erie County Medical Center is the only designated AIDS Center in the western New York region.  ECMC’s Immunodeficiency Services department provides HIV/AIDS clinical consultation and educational services.  A multidisciplinary team was established that included physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and a community outreach component. 

The ambulatory and in-patient components of the program utilize the Adherence-Pharmacology Unit as a central point for coordinating ARV medication management.  The pharmacology program provides an integrated environment for optimal HIV pharmacotherapy management while also enabling education and training programs to foster the development of new HIV pharmaceutical care specialists.  This unit has developed into a formalized consultation program and provides an opportunity for pharmacists to provide specialized pharmaceutical care services to HIV-infected patients in order to optimize clinical benefit from complex ARV regimens, minimize ARV treatment disruption during periods of hospitalization, and facilitate the transition back to primary care following discharge.  Pharmacists are available on-site to review HIV resistance test results for patients requiring secondary and tertiary ARV regimens, to assess drug interactions and likelihood for adverse effects, and to review plasma HIV RNA concentrations to identify patients who may need re-evaluation and/or adherence counseling.

Pharm.D. HIV Specialists

Joshua Sawyer, Pharm.D., HIV Specialty Pharmacist, Clinical Assistant Professor 

Dr. Sawyer graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2006 and received post-graduate training in HIV/ID Pharmacotherapy at the University at Buffalo and Erie County Medical Center Corporation.  He precepts Doctor of Pharmacy Students on site at ECMCC IDS throughout the academic year and works with the New York / New Jersey Clinical Education Initiative to provide didactic lectures on HIV/AIDS Pharmacotherapy to health care professionals who undertake clinical “mini”-residencies at ECMCC.  In addition to being an HIV Pharmacotherapy and Adherence Specialist at ECMCC, he serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and as Co-Director of the Post Graduate Year II HIV/AIDS Pharmacotherapy Residency at UB and ECMCC.   Scholarly interests include the complex interplay between socioeconomic factors and adherence to medications as well as treatment as prevention of HIV/AIDS. He is also interested in the role of HIV and antiretroviral medications in exacerbation of co-morbid conditions commonly faced by patients living with HIV/AIDS

Samantha Sithole, PharmD, Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Sithole received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy in 2013. Since graduating, she has gained experience as a retail pharmacist and has recently joined the Translational Pharmacology Research Core Adherence Pharmacology Unit at the Erie County Medical Center.  Dr. Sithole is interested in expanding her training to further her knowledge on HIV treatment strategies and clinical research skills with a focus on public health.  During her postdoctoral training period, Dr. Sithole is contributing to the current grants and will record/report clinical and research data as needed.  She is also precepting IPPE and APPE students.  Dr. Sithole is also involved with the University at Buffalo-University at Zimbabwe collaboration and plans to extend her training to integrate the skills gained with ongoing clinical projects at the University of Zimbabwe.

Holly Hamilton, PharmD, PGY2 HIV/ID Specialty Resident

Dr. Hamilton completed her undergraduate pre-pharmacy education at Purdue University before receiving her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Sullivan University College of Pharmacy in 2013. Dr. Hamilton completed her PGY-1 community practice residency with Walgreens and Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky in 2014. She then continued on to pursue her current PGY-2 residency in HIV/AIDS Pharmacotherapy here at the University at Buffalo. Dr. Hamilton has several years of experience in community pharmacy practice and has a strong interest in HIV pharmacotherapy. She has plans to continue to practice in immunodeficiency services upon completion of her residency. Within her specialty, Dr. Hamilton has interests in HIV prevention and hopes to obtain a clinical position in an ambulatory care setting with opportunities to teach.


Kelly Patton,MSHA Senior Research Support Specialist

Ms. Kaufman provides research operations support for the Adherence Pharmacology Unit at the Erie County Medical Center.  She provides guidance on protocol development, institutional review board submissions, trainings, implementation, data collection and health information management, scientific dissemination, and grant submissions.