Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy Selected as an Inaugural ACT Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence

by Kelly Clisham
Pictured (left to right): Danielle Kieck, assistant professor of pharmacy practice; Jonathan Ference, dean of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy; Nicole Pezzino, associate professor of pharmacy practice

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and the Academia-Community Transformation (ACT) Pharmacy Collaborative named the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy at Wilkes University as an inaugural ACT Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence. The selection showcases Nesbitt School of Pharmacy’s commitment to advancing community pharmacy through teaching, service, scholarship, leadership and partnerships. 

Together with 16 other schools from across the country, the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy will proudly serve as an ambassador for pharmacy education. The group will network with pharmacy and healthcare leaders and work to mobilize and amplify community pharmacy practice transformation efforts.   

Nicole Pezzino, associate professor of pharmacy practice, led the application process for the ACT program. The data she gathered for the 13-page application highlights her department’s work in community transformation and practice advancement. The submission earned Wilkes a spot on the inaugural Center for Excellence list, with reviewers remarking on faculty members’ commitment to service and scholarship, as well as support of practicing pharmacists and promotion of student involvement.

Faculty in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy lead by example, with innovative approaches to community pharmacy practice seamlessly integrated into the curriculum. This approach ensures that Wilkes grads turned future pharmacists are well-prepared for the demands and opportunities they will encounter in their professional careers. “Students and prospective students are going to be immersed in experiences that drive innovation and hands-on experiences for real-life community practice,” says Pezzino.

Since its founding in 1996, the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy has committed to community pharmacy practice by partnering with local, advanced community practice sites to provide educational opportunities for our student pharmacists and hiring residency-trained community pharmacy practitioners as full-time faculty members.

For the pharmacy professionals on campus, the Center of Excellence designation is about more than the accolades — it’s confirmation of the wide-spread potential of their high standards of patient care. “We believe that training future community pharmacists is vital to ensuring the well-being of our communities. They serve as accessible healthcare professionals who not only dispense medications but also provide critical health education, manage chronic diseases and promote healthy lifestyles,” says Jonathan Ference, dean of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy. “Investing in their education and training empowers them to make a significant impact on public health, improving the lives of their patients and their communities as a whole.”

Wilkes University will be formally honored in Boston in July at AACP’s annual Pharmacy Education 2024 meeting. “The recognition highlights that Wilkes is truly a small institution with a big impact,” says Pezzino.

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