Mercer Pharmacy Faculty Selected to Attend Elite National Leadership Programs

Mercer Seal

ATLANTA – Four members of the Mercer University College of Pharmacy faculty have been selected to participate in prestigious national programs that will significantly enhance their leadership and research in academic pharmacy and pharmacy practice. The faculty members are:

C. Lea Bonner, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, who will be among 30 pharmacy faculty members nationally selected to participate in the 2014-2015 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Academic Leadership Fellows Program (ALFP). Dr. Bonner is also director of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences in the Mercer College of Pharmacy. Michell Butler, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, who is among the 2014-15 National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation Faculty Scholars. Dr. Butler is also director of the Community Residency program in the Mercer College of Pharmacy. Annesha Lovett, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice, who will participate in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy(ACCP) Research Institute's Focused Investigator Training (FIT) program. Gina J. Ryan, Pharm.D., CDE, interim associate dean of administration and clinical professor of pharmacy practice, who will attend the Harvard Macy Institute's Program for Educators in Health Professions at Harvard University. Dr. Ryan is also director of Continuing Pharmacy Education in the Mercer College of Pharmacy.  

“These are outstanding opportunities for four of our dynamic faculty members who are becoming national leaders in pharmacy practice and education,” said H.W. “Ted” Matthews, Ph.D., dean of the Mercer College of Pharmacy and senior vice president for health sciences at Mercer University.

Dr. Bonner will participate in a yearlong intensive leadership and management development program. It is designed to develop the nation's most promising pharmacy faculty members for roles as future leaders in academic pharmacy and higher education. She will be in four intensive sessions in residence supported by an ongoing informal program of mentoring and introduction to leadership roles at Mercer.

“This is a huge honor,” Dr. Bonner said. “I hope to gain insight into strengthening my leadership skills that I can put to use in academia, and to make our Doctor of Pharmacy program better.”

Dr. Butler will take part in a program designed to educate junior faculty at U.S. schools and colleges of pharmacy about effective and meaningful community pharmacy-based patient care research. It is also a program that seeks to connect the faculty scholars with community pharmacy and research experts nationally to add to the diversity of their education. The 2014-15 class for the NACDS Foundation Faculty Scholars will have no more than eight participants.

“Being selected as a faculty scholar in the NACDS Foundation Community Pharmacy Faculty Scholars program is an incredible honor,” Dr. Butler said. “The program will be monumental at helping me learn critical research skills appropriate for community practice. The information learned will allow me to be a better director for Mercer's Community Practice Residency program.”

Dr. Lovett will be among only 18 participants nationally in the ACCP Research Institute's Training FIT program. The FIT program is an intensive five-day, hands-on mentored training program. Investigators will be challenged to explore individual professional research goals and, by the end of the program, will have taken critical steps toward completion of a mentor-assisted competitive grant application.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Dr. Lovett said. “I am looking forward to a week of focus and opportunity to learn from experienced National Institutes of Health funding recipients. I am excited to discuss my research ideas with the FIT program mentors as they share their wisdom and insight.” The 2014 FIT program will take place July 10-14 at the University of Georgia's College of Pharmacy in Athens.

Dr. Ryan will be among a select group of program participants who will be provided with the knowledge and skills to enhance their expertise in conducting educational design projects and taking a leadership role in educational activities.

The program will consist of two sessions in residence – an 11-day winter session and a 6-day spring session – at Harvard. The learning formats include whole-group presentations, interactive exercises, problem-based learning, observations, reflective use of journals, and discussion in large and small groups.

“I have learned that leadership is considerably more about service than about exerting your agenda,” Dr. Ryan said. “A critical part of leadership involves leveraging the strengths of those you lead. While at the program at Harvard, I hope to learn more about how to effectively oversee the strategic plan that my colleagues map out and to engage a multidisciplinary team in implementing a robust interprofessional educational program.”

Dr. Ryan is chair of the Mercer Health Sciences Center's interprofessional education (IPE) committee charged with designing and implementing a program for team-based learning among Mercer students in the colleges of medicine, pharmacy, nursing and health professions.

About the College of Pharmacy

Mercer University's College of Pharmacy is ranked No. 4 among pharmacy programs at private institutions in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.). Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. In 1988, the College launched its graduate program, offering the Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences. The College is one of four health sciences units within the Mercer Health Sciences Center. With an enrollment today of more than 650 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College of Pharmacy houses seven centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The College's motto, “A Tradition of Excellence – A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the College, please call 678.547.6304 or visit