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WVU School of Pharmacy recognizes outstanding alumni and faculty during Alumni Day event
Service to others is a common characteristic of the pharmacy profession. When the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy announced awards during Alumni Day 2022, it was a reminder of the diverse ways pharmacists give back to their communities.
The School of Pharmacy held Alumni Day in late June. “Together Again” was the day’s theme as alumni came to Morgantown for the Association’s first in-person gathering since 2019. The itinerary included continuing education sessions, a ribbon cutting and a tour of the School’s new Skills Development Center, in addition to an all-years class reunion dinner at the WVU Art Museum.
During the dinner, the School honored several of its alumni and faculty for their outstanding professional achievements and commitment to community service and the pharmacy profession. Awards, voted on by the School of Pharmacy’s Alumni Association, which sponsored the event, were presented for the years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, and Dr. Betsy Elswick (PharmD, 2001), associate professor and alumni association coordinator, presented the awards.
Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards
2020-2021 recipient: Dr. Kris Holley (PharmD ’11)
Dr. Holley, BCPS, is a clinical pharmacy specialist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington. Holley cared for some of the first COVID-19 patients in the country in the ICU where she works. She then used her experience to help prepare pharmacists across the country by sharing valuable, timely and early information through social media, email and personal messaging. The advanced tips and knowledge she provided to pharmacists and practitioners from her shared experiences were invaluable.
2021-2022 recipient: Dr. Lisa Pitrolo Keller (PharmD, ’06)
Dr. Keller, BCPS, BCIDP, is the PGY1 pharmacy residency director and clinical manager of residency and education at WVU Hospitals. Keller was honored for her service to the community and state through her leadership of the COVID-19 vaccine clinics through WVU Hospitals. One of her administrators commented, “Dr. Lisa Keller was one of the first clinicians to volunteer services in helping to vaccinate our employees and patients across West Virginia.” Because of her work, tens of thousands of doses of life-saving vaccines were administered.
Outstanding Alumni Community Service Award
2020-2021 recipient: Dr. Dani Dolin (PharmD, ’03)
Dr. Dolin, RPH, CDE, is a diabetes care and education specialist at United Hospital Center, WVU Medicine. She was recognized for her work with West Virginia’s diabetes camp for children, Camp Kno-Koma. Dolin first attended camp Kno-Koma and discovered diabetes education as her passion during her community pharmacy residency in 2003. She has returned every year to serve as a preceptor and mentor for scores of residents and student pharmacists. She goes above and beyond to ensure that the experience is as life-changing for the medical volunteers as it is for the camp participants. In addition to her service at Camp Kno-Koma, Dolin has provided more than 30 continuing education sessions for the School of Pharmacy.
2021-2022 recipient: Dr. Scott Bragg (PharmD, ’11)
Dr. Bragg is an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy and Family Medicine. Bragg has also provided invaluable services over the years at Camp Kno-Koma. However, his connection is more personal. Bragg was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after his first year of pharmacy school at WVU. He attended Camp Kno-Koma during his P2 years and was “sold” right away. He has attended camp as medical staff 10 times so far. Although he lives in South Carolina, Bragg continues to help coordinate pharmacy staff volunteers for the camp and has served on the Board of Directors.
In addition to recognizing its alumni, the School also honored pharmacy professionals who are not Mountaineers by diploma but who provide a tremendous service to the state.
Outstanding Service Award Non-Alumni
2020-2021 recipient: Dr. Krista Capehart
Dr. Capehart, BCACP, is a clinical professor at the School of Pharmacy. She was honored for her efforts during West Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. She was instrumental in coordinating statewide efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Through her formal roles at the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy and Director of the WVU School of Pharmacy Wigner Institute for Advanced Pharmacy Education and Research, Capehart assembled an army of pharmacists, student pharmacists and technician volunteers across the state. Capehart was also an essential member of the Governor’s Joint Interagency Task Force, which was housed in the State’s National Guard headquarters to provide a rapid response to the pandemic. Her work led to West Virginia being recognized early on as a worldwide leader in providing COVID-19 vaccines. Capehart provided multiple local, national and international interviews on the state’s response plan.
2021-2022 recipient: Dr. Elizabeth Scharman
Dr. Scharman, DABAT, BCPS, FAACT, is a clinical professor at the School of Pharmacy and director of the West Virginia Poison Control Center. She has been at the helm of responding to calls through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Coronavirus Hotline, which is a partnership with the West Virginia Poison Center, since March 2020. Her team has responded to more than 65,000 calls. She has worked tirelessly to combat false or misleading information received by the public. Scharman also helped to oversee monoclonal antibody treatments later in the pandemic.
Dr. Charles D. Ponte was inducted as an Honorary Alumnus. Dr. Ponte, BC-ADM, BCPS, CDE, CPE, FAADE, FAPhA, FASHP, FCCP, FNAP, is a professor of pharmacy and family medicine at WVU. He has served the University for 42 years. Ponte received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy and his PharmD from the University of Utah College of Pharmacy. Ponte has garnered numerous awards and honors during his years of teaching and devotion to the profession. He has served on multiple boards and committees and has been a fellow of five national organizations. He has authored enough articles to fill several bound volumes and has been the subject of many interviews and presentations. He has devoted most of his four decades of teaching and patient care to diabetes and pain management. Dr. Ponte will be greatly missed when he retires later this year.
In addition to the awards presentation, the alumni association announced the newly installed officers for 2022-2023. They are Co-Presidents: Drs. Jeremy and Leesa Prunty, President-Elect Dr. Brian Pierson (’02), Secretary Susan Meredith (’67), Treasurer Scot Anderson (’68) and Member at Large, Julie Austin (’96).