American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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ACCP Report - August 2014

Acquisto, Dunn, and Phung to Receive ACCP Honors

ACCP members Nicole Acquisto, Brianne Dunn, and Olivia Phung were selected by the 2014 ACCP Awards Committee to receive the College’s prestigious 2014 New Clinical Practitioner, New Educator, and New Investigator awards, respectively. The awards will be presented in Austin, Texas, on Monday, October 13, 2014, at 9:15 a.m. during a special session of the 2014 ACCP Annual Meeting.


The New Clinical Practitioner Award honors a new clinical practitioner who has made outstanding contributions to the health of patients and/or the practice of clinical pharmacy. The awardee must have been a Full Member of ACCP at the time of nomination, as well as a member at any level for a minimum of 3 years; in addition, the awardee must have completed his or her terminal training or degree less than 6 years previously. Nicole M. Acquisto, Pharm.D., BCPS, is emergency medicine clinical pharmacy specialist and assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in Rochester, New York. She also serves as the director of URMC’s PGY2 emergency medicine pharmacy residency. Dr. Acquisto received her Pharm.D. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and completed PGY1 residency training at Kaleida Health – Buffalo General Hospital and PGY2 residency training in emergency medicine/critical care at URMC. In her current position, Dr. Acquisto has been responsible for establishing innovative clinical services in the emergency department that improve patient outcomes. Dr. Elizabeth Dodds Ashley, associate director of clinical pharmacy services at URMC, wrote in her letter of support,

Nicole is continually seeking innovative ways to improve patient outcomes through expanded pharmacy services in the Emergency Department.... Through collaborations with providers and leadership, she worked to launch a pharmacy run antimicrobial stewardship program for the emergency department.... As a result of this important program, patients are receiving faster follow-up for their cultures and shorter times to appropriate therapy. It is a model program for timely follow-up and promoting appropriate antibiotic use that is cited throughout our organization. More recently, Nicole has been instrumental in helping us to expand our clinical practice model in the Emergency Department. Instead of replacing the one clinical specialist who left the institution, she has instead helped build a model to provide consistent dedicated pharmacy coverage in the ED 10 hours a day 7 days a week. She has worked closely to develop an advanced model with the goal of having providers know what to expect from emergency pharmacy services and raising the bar for our pharmacists to meet these expectations along the way. It has been a tremendous success under Nicole’s careful watch.

Mason Bucklin, emergency medicine pharmacist at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, commented in his letter of nomination,

I would argue that Nicole’s greatest strength … is teaching. Not only does she have her residents on rotation, but she precepts pharmacy students, PGY1 pharmacy residents, paramedic students, and EM physician residents on rotation as well. Nicole stays involved at the local and national level in education. At the local level, she teaches ACLS, provides lectures to local EMS providers several times per year, and is heavily involved in research and teaching with the EM physician residents on a daily basis.

Dr. Acquisto, who served as the 2012–2013 chair of the Emergency Medicine PRN, has been instrumental in implementing many of the PRN’s initiatives. She has presented her work at national meetings, served as a speaker at numerous national and regional conferences, and published consistently in the pharmacy and medical literature. Dr. Acquisto was also honored as the recipient of the 2013 New Preceptor Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.


The ACCP New Educator Award is given to recognize and honor a new educator for outstanding contributions to the discipline of teaching and to the education of health care practitioners. The awardee must have been a Full Member of ACCP at the time of nomination and a member at any level for a minimum of 3 years; in addition, the awardee must have completed his or her terminal training or degree less than 6 years previously. Brianne L. Dunn, Pharm.D., is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcome Sciences at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy and clinical pharmacy specialist in cardiology at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Dunn received her Pharm.D. degree from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and completed PGY1 and PGY2 residency training at MUSC. She has excelled in both didactic and experiential teaching and serves as a leader in faculty development, particularly in the area of instructional technology. Department vice chair, Brandon Bookstaver, noted in his letter of nomination,

Dr. Dunn has spearheaded our effort to transition from paper-based assessment to electronic (online) testing. She has chaired our University committee and liaised with the University information technology department. Based primarily on her committee’s assessment and presentation to college administration, we decided to utilize Blackboard as our e-testing platform. Dr. Dunn created and facilitated a number of faculty development sessions to ease the transition which, according to >80% of faculty surveyed, went much smoother than expected without any major complications. She has garnered the label in our department as the “IT and Blackboard guru” and unofficially has become the expert and “go to” when anyone has questions of implementation. Her push with technology also recently included implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) system into our clinical assessment and laboratory sequence…. Our students and faculty are ecstatic about the new real life feel of the clinical cases and the flexibility now provided in creating scenarios for student instruction.

Kelly Ragucci, professor and chair of the Clinical Pharmacy and Outcome Sciences Department, wrote in her letter of support for Dr. Dunn,

She has consistently received positive evaluations from both students and residents and received two teaching awards from pharmacy students last year – including campus teacher of the year…. In addition, her yearly peer evaluations from faculty colleagues are excellent. It is clear that she brings energy and enthusiasm to all of her teaching efforts, most notably coordinating one of our rigorous Pharmacotherapy courses and incorporating a simulated electronic medical record into our courses…. Dr. Dunn has developed an online complementary and alternative medicine course as well as a course titled “Preventing Childhood Obesity” on the University of South Carolina (USC) campus. Brie assisted with bringing this Junior Doctor of Health elective from the Medical University of South Carolina to USC…. I cannot think of any junior faculty member more dedicated to teaching pharmacy students and making certain that our curriculum continues to progress effectively. She is always thinking “outside the box” and incorporating active learning techniques and utilizing technology in the classroom.

In addition to being honored as 2012–2013 Teacher of the Year and 2013 P2 Professor of the Year, Dr. Dunn has been recognized as an MUSC College of Medicine Teacher of the Month. She is also actively engaged in pedagogical research and scholarship and has presented her work at national professional and scientific meetings.


The New Investigator Award recognizes an ACCP member who has made a significant impact on an aspect of clinical pharmaceutical science. The awardee must have been a member of ACCP for more than 3 years, must have completed his or her terminal training or degree less than 6 years previously, and must have a research program with a substantial publication record that includes a programmatic theme or an especially noteworthy single publication. Olivia J. Phung, Pharm.D., is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Western University in Pomona, California. She received her Pharm.D. degree from Northeastern University and completed an outcomes research fellowship at the University of Connecticut/Hartford Hospital AHRQ Evidence-Based Practice Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Phung’s research focuses on evidence-based outcomes in internal medicine and diabetes. At the time of her nomination, Dr. Phung had published 30 peer-reviewed research papers, 10 review articles, and 17 research abstracts. Her work has been published in well-recognized medical journals, including Annals of Internal Medicine, Chest, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Journal of the American Medical Association, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, and Pediatrics.

William Baker, professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, summed up Dr. Phung’s qualifications for the New Investigator Award in his letter supporting her nomination:

Dr. Phung is one of the true rising stars among pharmacy researchers today…. To date, Dr. Phung has had 17 research abstracts presented as international/national meetings. These not only include pharmacy organizations, but also medical organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, American College of Cardiology, and American Thoracic Society. These are of particular note, since relatively few young pharmacists present research at these prestigious meetings. Even more impressive, Dr. Phung has routinely published her work in high-impact factor journals early on in her career. This is a tremendous achievement in my eyes. She has also been successful at securing research funding, including over $90,000 in grants for which she was the primary investigator. She has also been the lead or supporting investigator on more than $2 million in federal grants as part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center program.

Dr. Phung will deliver the annual New Investigator Award lecture during the October 13 Special Session in Austin.

Members of the 2014 ACCP Awards Committee were Robert MacLaren (chair), M. Shawn McFarland (vice chair), Judy Cheng, Jennifer Clements, Susan Davis, Krystal Edwards, Elizabeth Farrington, Stacey Folse, LeAnn Norris, Keith Olsen, and Kim Thrasher.