Pharmacy Welcomes New Faculty as Academic Year Begins
LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 5, 2023) — The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy is pleased to announce the recent additions of Ashlan J. Kunz Coyne, PharmD, MPH, and Courtney Simpkins, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, to the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science. These esteemed professionals have joined the faculty as assistant professors, marking a significant step forward in the department's commitment to excellence in education and research.
Kunz Coyne, a Minnesota native, received her PharmD degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Health from Wayne State University. Upon joining the College, Kunz Coyne expressed her enthusiasm, saying, "I was initially drawn to the University of Kentucky due to its compelling atmosphere that’s fresh, dynamic, and innovative, complemented by a renowned track record in pioneering pharmaceutical research. The sense of community, marked by warmth, collaboration, and a commitment to pushing boundaries, resonated with me personally and professionally."
Kunz Coyne brings substantial expertise in infectious diseases pharmacy to the department, focusing on antimicrobial pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) models. She aims to enhance health outcomes by optimizing conventional and novel therapeutic regimens against multidrug-resistant bacteria. Kunz Coyne is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) LRP award, underscoring her dedication to advancing research in the field.
Her research interests encompass precision antimicrobial PK/PD targets, therapeutic infection models over time, and multiomics. She eagerly anticipates applying her recent health outcomes and PK/PD research to deepen our understanding of historical and novel antimicrobial regimens, a vital step in guiding effective clinical management for infections caused by priority multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
Simpkins, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, returns to her alma mater with a strong pharmacy practice and education background. Her passion for interprofessional collaboration and education is evident in her extensive experience encompassing teaching and learning, professional development, research and scholarship, administration and management, and clinical care.
Reflecting on her journey, Simpkins stated, "I take immense pride in graduating from one of the nation's top pharmacy programs. The University of Kentucky prepared me to be a lifelong learner, and now, in practice, I've realized the importance of being a lifelong teacher, too."
In addition to her faculty role at UKCOP, Simpkins currently serves as the ambulatory care pharmacist at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Family Practice Center in Edgewood, KY, and is a faculty member in the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Family Medicine Residency Program. Beyond her professional achievements, she actively engages in community service, including a recent service trip to Honduras, where she served as the primary pharmacist at a family health center.
Simpkins is enthusiastic about her work in expanding Hepatitis C treatment options at the Family Practice Center, focusing on achieving a cure and improving accessibility to treatment. She is also involved in a project aimed at integrating continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) into family medicine clinics and identifying barriers and ideal candidates for CGM use.
"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Kunz Coyne and Dr. Simpkins to the department,” said David Burgess, PharmD, chair of Pharmacy Practice and Science. “With their addition, we are poised to make even greater strides in advancing pharmacy education and enhancing patient care. We look forward to the contributions they will undoubtedly make to our academic community."
Kunz Coyne and Simpkins officially assumed their positions on September 1, 2023. Their appointments represent a significant asset to the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, further strengthening its commitment to advancing pharmaceutical research, education, and patient care.
The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy continually ranks as a top-ten institution of pharmacy education in the nation, and research funding has more than doubled in the last decade.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.
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.