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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 4, 2024) — The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy (UKCOP) is proud to announce the induction of five exceptional preceptors into the prestigious Hall of Distinguished Preceptors. This honor will be bestowed during the annual awards ceremony on Friday, April 19, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. EDT. The College will extend the celebration to a broader audience by streaming the event live on its YouTube channel.

The awards recognize individuals with voluntary or adjunct faculty status who have significantly contributed as preceptors for student pharmacists. UKCOP celebrates the individuals’ remarkable excellence in precepting and unwavering dedication to the education of future pharmacists through experiential learning. This year’s Hall of Distinguished Preceptors includes honorees across five categories: APPE, IPPE, Commonwealth Experience Rotation, Louisville Clinical Education Center, and New Preceptor of the Year.

“With nearly 700 active preceptors in our program, it is a great honor to acknowledge a select few for their exceptional mentorship and leadership qualities,” said Holly Divine, PharmD, director of the Experiential Education Office. “Our preceptors are the backbone of pharmacy education, shaping the future of our profession one student at a time. We extend our heartfelt congratulations and sincere gratitude to this year's Hall of Distinguished Preceptors awardees. Your dedication to fostering the next generation of pharmacists is the cornerstone of our experiential education program."

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Elizabeth Autry is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Following graduation, she undertook a pharmacy practice residency at ECU Health, previously known as Vidant Medical Center, in Greenville, North Carolina. With a burgeoning interest in pediatric pharmacy, she moved to Lexington, Kentucky, for a Pediatric Specialty Residency under the guidance of Robert Kuhn at UK HealthCare and Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Completing her specialty training led Autry to accept a position as a Pediatric Clinical Pharmacist, specializing in pediatric pulmonary medicine and working across inpatient and outpatient settings. Her role expanded to include pediatric allergy and immunology clinical services. In addition to her clinical duties, Autry holds adjunct appointments at the University of Kentucky Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, illustrating her dedication to the education of students and residents. She has taken on numerous educational roles, such as preceptor, advisor, and mentor, and most notably, has become the residency program director for the PGY2 Pediatric Pharmacy at UK HealthCare and Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Within a year of starting her clinical practice, Autry established an advanced pharmacy practice experience in pediatric ambulatory care, mentoring countless students over the past decade. She actively promotes student engagement through shadowing opportunities, informally and formally, via student organizations like PediaKATS. At the College of Pharmacy, she has welcomed longitudinal introductory pharmacy practice experience students, introducing them to the breadth of opportunities in pediatric pharmacy. Her commitment to fostering student growth toward residency training is further evidenced by her role as a ResCAT mentor since the program’s inception.

By participating on the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy preceptor advisory committee, Autry contributes significantly to experiential education. Over the years, she has demonstrated that experiential learning enriches future pharmacists' training and ensures student learners' success under her guidance.

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Shelley Roberts, a native of Parkersburg, West Virginia, arrived in Kentucky in 2002 to attend the University of Kentucky, where she completed her undergraduate and professional studies. Earning a PharmD degree in 2008 from the UK College of Pharmacy marked a pivotal moment in her life, academically and personally, as she met Lindsey Roberts, her future husband. Their shared love for the Bluegrass region inspired them to make Lexington their home, where they have built a fulfilling life with their four children and two dogs.

Roberts began her career at Kmart Pharmacy, rising to the pharmacy manager position. Seeking to innovate within the retail pharmacy sector, Roberts and her husband opened Grassroots Pharmacy. This venture reflects their vision for a pharmacy prioritizing wellness and overall well-being. Roberts, trained with the Institute of Functional Medicine, champions a holistic approach to health, advocating for a healthcare model that integrates nutrition, exercise, supplement knowledge, and root cause analysis to enhance patient outcomes.

Beyond her professional commitments, Roberts and her husband founded the Grassroots Running Club, a non-profit organization that supports youth running programs in central Kentucky. They personally coach 150 elementary students in cross country and track and field at Liberty Elementary School annually and assist other schools in expanding their running programs.

With nearly a decade of experience in precepting students, Roberts finds great satisfaction mentoring the next generation of pharmacists. She is committed to enriching their educational journey by emphasizing the profession's intricacies and the significance of advocacy.

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Tara Neitzel was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She returned to Kentucky to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky, where she also earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2012. Neitzel furthered her professional training with a PGY1 residency at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville, Kentucky, where she began her career journey as a clinical staff pharmacist. Her dedication and hard work led her to become board-certified in pharmacotherapy, fulfilling a significant professional goal.

In her role at Ephraim McDowell, Neitzel took on the responsibility of precepting residents in the emergency medicine required rotation and the advanced emergency medicine elective rotation. Her commitment to education and mentorship was further recognized in 2018 when she was appointed PGY1 residency program director. The following year, Neitzel introduced longitudinal experiential education for pharmacy students into the residency program, enhancing the training by allowing residents to precept students and allowing students a unique learning experience within the community hospital environment.

Neitzel's passion for education shines through her efforts to ensure that students receive thorough orientation, clear expectations, and access to essential resources during their learning experiences. As the residency program director, she finds it particularly rewarding to see residents grow into their roles as preceptors and mentors. Neitzel cherishes the moments when she encounters former students at residency-related events, celebrating their accomplishments and successes. Her journey reflects a deep commitment to nurturing the next generation of pharmacy professionals.

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Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, William Reesor began his pharmacy career at the University of Kentucky, obtaining a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2014. His journey continued with a PGY1 residency at Robley Rex Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, leading to a role in the inpatient pharmacy and, subsequently, the position of ICU pharmacist in 2019. Throughout his career, Reesor has valued the opportunity to mentor pharmacy students.

Reesor's approach to precepting is rooted in two fundamental principles. First, he emphasizes translating academic knowledge into practical skills and integrating it into a team dynamic, which is especially critical in the ICU's multidisciplinary environment. He believes that a preceptor's role is to teach and model these skills, showing how to apply them in real-world settings.

Second, Reesor champions that effective precepting should be personalized, catering to each trainee's unique interests, abilities, and aspirations. He strives to make complex concepts understandable, encourages critical thinking, and fosters a sense of initiative. Reesor finds joy in mentoring students from diverse backgrounds, especially those not initially directed towards acute care, and appreciates the mutual benefits of such mentorship.

Reesor believes in the medical principle of treating the patient rather than the symptoms to inspire a passion for lifelong learning and development in the pharmacy profession. Reesor is committed to continuing his mentorship, hoping to impact positively the careers of many future pharmacists.

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Raised in Olympia, Kentucky, and a Bath County High School graduate, Kelly Karrick began his path to a career in pharmacy with pre-pharmacy courses at both the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University. After earning his degree from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in 2014, Karrick began his career at Campton Discount Drugs in Campton, Kentucky.

The following year, Karrick advanced to the role of pharmacist in charge at Whitaker Pharmacy in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, where he implemented immunization protocols and expanded the non-sterile compounding business. Additionally, Karrick developed a medication synchronization program that now benefits over 400 patients, enhancing medication compliance. Currently, he works with students to broaden clinical services through medical billing, a strategic move to ensure the sustainability of independent pharmacies.

Since 2018, Karrick has been a preceptor for various stages of pharmacy students, including introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences. Reflecting on the influence of his preceptors, Karrick is motivated to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of pharmacists. He takes great joy in mentoring students, aiming to highlight the merits of independent community pharmacy.

Karrick cherishes the opportunity to precept motivated students, finding their enthusiasm and fresh perspectives invaluable for maintaining a dynamic learning environment at his pharmacy. His students contribute to various projects, from vaccine clinics to the development of new clinical protocols and compounding formulas, bringing contemporary clinical insights that spur his professional growth. 

Karrick is dedicated to showing students the rewards of a career in independent pharmacy and equipping them to be competent pharmacists capable of contributing meaningfully. He also takes pleasure in following the career progress of his former students and celebrating their achievements. Karrick is committed to continuing his preceptor role and enriching pharmacy students' educational experiences for many years.

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott tribe, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup County.

We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life including fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals.