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Four Pharmacy Faculty Lead Professional Organizations

October 14, 2021

This year, four faculty members in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy are leading regional and state-wide professional pharmacy organizations. Through their leadership, these organizations are supporting students, uniting practitioners, and advocating for the profession.

Drs. Kathryn Conner, Alex DeLucenay, Shaun Fellows, and Karl Williams

An enthusiastic member of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) since she was a pharmacy student, Dr. Kathryn Connor is excited to step into a leadership role for the New York chapter. She has been involved with the national chapter for about 15 years, and joined the New York chapter in 2009.

“Involvement has allowed me to collaborate with other clinical pharmacists, advocate for advancements in pharmacy practice, develop as a leader on my ICU patient care team, and help improve patient outcomes through clinical research,” she said.

NYS-ACCP has a commitment to excellence and innovation in clinical pharmacy practice, research, and education and works to advance clinical pharmacist roles and responsibilities, aiding in the prevention and treatment of disease.

“NYS-ACCP constantly strives to increase student, resident, and early-career pharmacist involvement in the organization, and continually invest in our membership,” Connor said.

In 2020, Connor served as president-elect of the organization, and the chair of the Program Planning Committee. In addition to her role as president this year, she is also chair of the Nominations Committee. Next January, she will transition to the immediate past-president role, and the chair of the Membership Committee; and she plans to continue to be involved in NYS-ACCP and national ACCP. 

This year, Dr. Alex DeLucenay leads the Pharmacy Society of Rochester (PSR), the regional chapter for PSSNY, serving pharmacists in Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties.

DeLucenay joined PSR in 2011, and has also served on the Board of Directors. Similar to PSSNY, PSR is committed to improving the standards of practice for pharmacists. The two organizations often work together to advocate for expanded practice privileges and create legislative change.

“When I was a student at Fisher, pharmacists couldn’t give any immunizations or prescribe any medications or order any labs in New York State. After members of PSR/PSSNY advocated tirelessly for many years, we were able to accomplish this,” he said. “It is through the work of our organization, and all of the other organizations represented by my colleagues here at Fisher and across the state, that we are able to do push our profession ever forward to be the best pharmacists we can for our patients.”

As president of the Rochester Area Health System Pharmacist (RASHP), Dr. Shawn Fellows is committed to enhancing the utility of pharmacists on patient care teams and in the community. RASHP seeks to represent its members and advance pharmacy as an essential component of health care, ultimately bettering the health of patients they serve.

In 2015, Fellows was recruited to join RASHP by Dr. Matt Zak, a colleague in the School of Pharmacy. Since joining, Fellows served on several educational committees at the state level, for both pharmacists and students.

Fellows said involvement in RASHP has energized him as a practitioner, offering opportunities to network, collaborate with colleagues, and advocate for the profession.

“What motivated me to take an active leadership role is the advocacy,” he said. “Our chapter and its members this past year were able to meet with eight local state legislators from the assembly and senate to discuss important issue for pharmacy practice.”

Dr. Karl Williams is president of the Pharmacy Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), an association whose goal is to empower the profession through advocacy, education, networking, and interprofessional collaboration.

A member of PSSNY for 27 years, Williams said the organization has a reputation for tackling issues faced by pharmacists in every setting across the profession.

“PSSNY consistently provides cutting-edge information to members to facilitate professional life, professional growth, and continuing education, and most important, relentless advocacy in the legislature and the regulatory agencies,” Williams said.

As president, Williams is committed to moving PSSNY’s advocacy efforts forward.

“My personal mission is to ensure that our graduates can actually provide the patient care and public health benefits for which we train them,” Williams said, noting that New York law does not now permit pharmacists to practice at the national standard of care for the profession. “Even though pharmacists are trained and competent to provide more patient care services, a narrow legal ‘scope of practice’ prohibits it. So, my aim as president is to bring professional practice into the 21st century here in New York.”

Williams has also served as a board member for PSSNY’s local chapter. At the state level, he has served as a regional representative, member of the Board of Directors, legislative committee chair, and now president. Next year, he will step into the role of chair of the board.