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Birnie Named 2018 Champion of Pharmacy

February 21, 2018

Dr. Christine R. Birnie, dean of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College, was named the 2018 Rochester Champion of Pharmacy by the Pharmacy Society of Rochester and Rochester Society of Health System Pharmacists.

Christine Birnie

Birnie is the sixth individual to be named a Champion, and second from the School of Pharmacy, as she joins founding dean Dr. Scott Swigart on the Champions Wall of Fame. She was formally recognized during the Rochester Pharmacy Gala, held on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Robert Single, RPh, a past awardee and member of the selection committee, said that Birnie’s professional accomplishments and leadership of the School in the wake of Swigart’s passing in 2015, made her the obvious and unanimous choice.

“For these reasons, we were very happy to honor her as our 2018 Rochester Pharmacy Champion,” he said. 

Birnie received her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and continued her studies at the same institution, completing a doctoral degree in the area of pharmaceutics. She has worked in a range of pharmacy settings including community and hospital pharmacy and is a registered pharmacist in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. 

Upon completing her doctorate, she joined the pharmaceutical industry as a Formulations Scientist and GMP Operations Manager at Merial, Ltd., a joint venture with Merck and Aventis.  She next joined the faculty of Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she helped to develop the compounding laboratories and pharmaceutical science curriculum in the newly founded school.  She began her tenure at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy in 2006, first as a founding faculty member, later as chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and in 2017 was appointed dean.

Birnie’s primary teaching responsibilities have included pharmacy calculations, pharmaceutics, and the compounding laboratory.  She developed and taught an elective course, Introduction to Medical Missions, which includes students from nursing and pre-professional disciplines. She also precepts final year students in clinical rotations related to international medical missions and local service learning rotations.

Birnie’s research interests include the development and formulation aspects of semi-solid dosage forms, stability of compounded products, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has stayed active in scholarship, publishing and presenting poster/podium presentations and is a regular speaker nationally on the topics of pharmacy missions and international pharmacy.

An avid proponent for service and volunteerism both locally and abroad, Birnie has participated in more than 20 student-based medical mission trips around the world and leads a medical mission trip to India annually. She has served in elected positions and boards for the Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International, Pennsylvania United Medical Association, and the advisory committee for the Global Missions Health Conference. She is actively involved in American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), having served in numerous delegate and planning committees, including the Compounding Task Force, Pharmaceutics Section programming committee, and strategic planning committee. She is a 2012 graduate of the AACP Academic Leadership Fellowship program.  She is a member of American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences, American Pharmacists Association, and the Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.

Birnie has been the recipient of several awards, including Teacher of the Year (2006), CPFI’s Warren Weaver Service Award (2008), St. John Fisher College’s Diversity Innovation Bricoleur Award (2010), and is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award to India (2013).

“It is truly an honor to be selected as the 2018 Rochester Champion of Pharmacy,” she said. “The pharmacy community in the Rochester region continues to be tremendous supporters of our program and the students we serve.”