Mary Beth O’Connell earns ACCP Education Award for boosting interprofessional, cultural aspects of PharmD curriculum

Professor of Pharmacy Practice Mary Beth O’Connell has taken Wayne State students deep into the Peruvian rainforest to teach them about medicinal plants and the cultures of the Amazon. She pioneered an elective focused on understanding patient and cultural perspectives. And she developed multiple interprofessional activities before doing so was mandated in accreditation standards. And now she has earned national recognition for all of those efforts and more.Professor of Pharmacy Practice Mary Beth O'Connell

The American College of Clinical Pharmacy has chosen O’Connell for its 2020 ACCP Education Award, which honors members who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to clinical pharmacy education. Lynette Moser, Department of Pharmacy Practice chair and associate clinical professor, said, “Dr. O’Connell has been a dedicated educator at many levels within the Doctor of Pharmacy program. She embraces opportunities to mentor students through organizations, directed studies and challenging situations, and has made significant contributions to our program.”

O’Connell has worked to add cultural competency to Wayne State’s PharmD curriculum, and focused on women’s, men’s and geriatric pharmacotherapy. Recently she became the lead editor on the first pharmacy textbook devoted solely to women’s health and pharmacotherapy, free to everyone at the university through AccessPharmacy. And, with faculty and student collaborators. she frequently publishes on her teaching innovations.

O’Connell said she feels fortunate and blessed to receive the award: “I am privileged to teach at a college and university where excellence in education is a goal and expectation. I have been able to create new teaching and learning opportunities within and outside my program, and great joy and opportunity have come from faculty collaborations to pioneer new models of interprofessional education.”

ACCP is a professional and scientific society that provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources enabling clinical pharmacists to achieve excellence in practice, research and education. Executive Director Michael S. Maddux said O’Connell’s “sustained work and leadership in clinical pharmacy education at both the professional and postgraduate levels is truly commendable and has set a high standard for other educators nationally to emulate. We can think of no individual more deserving of this award.”

O’Connell expressed gratitude for her colleagues and students who have been an active part of her success and this award. “Our university offers many resources and training to help all of us be great teachers. I’m surrounded here by many excellent educators, who generously share to help all of us be successful,” she said. 

She added that her students “make each day fantastic. They also provide great insights to help me meet their needs. I routinely seek students’ advice for many of my educational activities.” 

The award is scheduled to be presented during ACCP’s annual meeting in Dallas this October.

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