Faculty “see knowledge” in pharmacy practice, science

NIB_PharmacyScienceAt the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science takes knowledge from the realm of the classroom and the laboratory and applies it to pharmacy practice.

The department’s mission is to “promote excellence and provide leadership in the pharmacy profession.” And this year, three faculty members from the department have served, or have been elected to serve, in national leadership positions for professional organizations in their field.

Associate Professor Melody Ryan, the college’s director of international professional student education, is president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science. Ryan is a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Pharmacists Association. She also serves on the Medicare Model Guidelines Expert Panel for the United States Pharmacopeia.

“Pharmacy Practice and Science is a diverse department,” Ryan said. “We deal with knowledge that encompasses the activity of all pharmacists. We look at things like policy and outcomes, scholarship and educational practices, and how to use existing medicines in new ways.”

In her own research, Ryan has a particular interest in the use of pharmaceuticals in the practice of neurology. She recently conducted a study comparing the effectiveness of brand-name epileptic drugs with their generic counterparts. That knowledge can help inform policymakers to make sure that patients are getting medication that works, without spending more money than necessary.

Associate Professor Kelly Smith, the college’s associate dean for academic affairs, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), an organization that represents nearly 40,000 pharmacists, pharmacy trainees and technicians that practice in hospitals, health systems and ambulatory clinics. Smith has long been closely involved with one of ASHP’s

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core missions, to set standards for and accredit pharmacy residency and technician training programs throughout the world.

Smith’s national contributions to residency training are notable for her five years on the ASHP Commission on Credentialing, for which she served as chair. Her other ASHP experience includes leadership roles with the Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists, Council on Therapeutics, Council on Education and Workforce Development, and the House of Delegates.

Smith said she didn’t seek a leadership role in ASHP, initially, but when she was invited to become involved in the residency accreditation process, she rose to the challenge and said yes.

“Having the courage to say ‘yes’ opened up a whole world of opportunity for me, both professionally and personally,” she said. “Since that initial call to serve, I have been fortunate to continue my journey of service to ASHP in so many ways, leading me to travel to places and work alongside people I could never have imagined I would.”

Smith’s own scholarship and practice innovations center on pharmacy workforce development. Her most recent book publication, for which she serves as an editor, is the Roadmap to Postgraduate Training in Pharmacy.

Professor Peggy Piascik, the department’s associate chair for professional education advancement, has been elected as president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Founded in 1900, the AACP is the national organization representing pharmacy education in the United States.

“I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity,” Piascik said. “Having served in a variety of capacities at AACP over the years, I have the utmost respect for the organization and what it represents. I now have the chance to give back to a profession that has given me so much throughout my career. I can’t wait to get started.”

Piascik joined the faculty at UK in 1980. Since then, she has won several awards for teaching excellence, including two AACP Innovations in Teaching Awards. She also served as administrative coordinator for the College of Pharmacy’s nontraditional PharmD option, from its inception in 1988 through its termination in 2005. The program graduated more than 250 students.

Piascik’s areas of teaching expertise include pharmacology, over-the-counter products including dietary supplements and herbs, communications skills and integrated skills in pharmacy practice. Piascik has spoken extensively on the topics of new drugs and novel biotechnology agents. She teaches a problem-based elective course in the area of herbal and dietary supplements and co-coordinates an elective course in behavior modification coaching.


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