By WestView Staff
Each year, Schneps Media and Gay City News host the annual Impact Awards honoring individuals who have made a difference in the queer community in New York City. LGBTQ+ leaders and allies are recognized for their achievements in their various fields ranging from advocacy, the arts, healthcare, and more. Their motto is “honoring individuals who make a difference to leave people better than they found them.” This year’s awards were generously supported by VillageCareMAX.
Included in this current group of honorees is the West Village’s own neighborhood pharmacist, John Kaliabakos. John is the Director of Pharmacy Services at Village Apothecary, an independent pharmacy on Bleecker Street specializing in HIV care.
John was born and raised in New York City and attended the Bronx High School of Science and St. John’s University College of Pharmacy. Upon graduating in 1994, he was recruited by the founder of Village Apothecary, community leader and activist Michael Konnon. Under Konnon’s mentorship, John began his career as a pharmacist serving the community and advocating strongly for patients living with HIV/AIDS.
From early on in his career, John fostered relationships and collaborated with St. Vincent’s Hospital and various infectious disease practitioners in the area to ensure a collaborative approach to tackling healthcare needs of patients. In an ever insurance coverage issues, John has been a fierce advocate of patient’s rights, particularly those in need.
In 2018, he was instrumental in enrolling Village Apothecary in the PEP Program in a partnership with the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute in an effort to promote post-exposure prophylaxis from HIV. In 2019, John joined protests at City Hall to end unfair insurance practices to protect Medicare patients living with HIV. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, John and the staff of Village Apothecary provided continuity of care and pharmacy-related services, including coordination of vaccinations for immunocompromised patients. He also helped secure Village Apothecary’s ability to dispense the COVID-19therapeutic Paxlovid when its availability was strictly limited. Most recently, John has been actively assisting patients in obtaining monkeypox vaccinations throughout New York City. “I was humbled to be selected for this honor alongside so many exceptional individuals who truly take the motto of making a difference to leave people better than they found them to heart” said Kaliabakos. “It is truly gratifying to be recognized for all the hard work and patient care that we provide at Village Apothecary. It is a team effort and we are fortunate to have such a dedicated staff. This year marks the pharmacy’s 40th anniversary and I am confident that our founder, the late Michael Konnon, would be proud that we are continuing his legacy of providing the greatest pharmacy care possible to our community.”