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St. John Fisher College Appoints Dean of Wegmans School of Pharmacy

January 13, 2017

After an extensive national search, St. John Fisher College has appointed Dr. Christine Birnie as the new dean of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, effective immediately. The search was led by Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc., an executive search, consulting, and training firm.

Christine Birnie

Christine Birnie

“Dr. Birnie brings a strong professional background and significant academic experience to the dean position, both of which have already greatly benefited Wegmans School of Pharmacy students and graduates,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College. “I am pleased that she will continue to lead the School and further strengthen the excellent reputation and impact of Fisher pharmacists in the Rochester community and beyond.”

Previously, Birnie had served as the School’s interim dean following the passing of the Founding Dean, Dr. Scott Swigart.  Prior to stepping into the role of interim dean, Birnie was a founding faculty member of the School and was promoted to department chair of pharmaceutical sciences in 2010.  Most recently, she has led the School through its accreditation process with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, which resulted in the School earning a full eight-year accreditation.  In addition, for the last three years, School of Pharmacy graduates have achieved the highest pass rates in the state on the pharmacy national licensure exam.

Birnie received her B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and continued her studies at the same institution, completing a Ph.D. in the area of pharmaceutics.  After working in the pharmaceutical industry for a few years, she joined the ranks of academia, serving as a faculty member of Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida.  In that role, she helped develop the compounding laboratories and pharmaceutical science curriculum in the newly founded school.  Her research interests include the development and formulation aspects of semi-solid dosage forms, stability of compounded products, veterinary pharmacy, medical missions, and academic course design.  She has stayed active in scholarship, and is a regular speaker nationally on the topic of pharmacy missions.

An avid proponent for service and volunteerism, Birnie is very involved in the profession, both locally and globally.  She has led or served in more than 20 short-term medical mission trips in at least eight countries, and has initiated a permanent medical clinic in Pune, India, which now serves as a clinical rotation site for Fisher pharmacy students.  During her time at the School of Pharmacy, she created the School’s medical mission service program, which has grown to include approximately 30 percent of the student body who participate in at least one of the service-focused trips to underserved populations around the world.

Birnie has also served in elected positions and boards for the Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International and advisory committee for the Global Missions Health Conference.  She remains involved in American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), having served on the Compounding Task Force, Pharmaceutics Section programming committee, as well as serving as an abstract reviewer and NIA grant reviewer.  She is a 2012 graduate of the AACP Academic Leadership Fellowship program (ALFP), and is also a member of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and the American Pharmacists Association.  Finally, she is a registered pharmacist in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida.

Birnie has been the recipient of several awards, including Teacher of the Year in 2006, Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International’s Warren Weaver Service Award in 2008, Fisher’s Diversity Innovation Bricoleur Award in 2010, and was also named a Fulbright Scholar to India in 2013.

“It is my privilege to serve as the permanent dean of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy.  The School has built an incredible reputation of distinction, known for its student-focus, service commitment, and academic excellence,” said Birnie. “At a time when the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists are expanding, it is an exciting moment to lead the School in the development of the next generation of pharmacy leaders.”