Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy is celebrated as a leader in pharmacy education.
And now, Samford Pharmacy is celebrating the incoming leaders of two of pharmacy’s leading national professional organizations.
In 2023, faculty member Valerie Prince and alumna Lea Wolsoncroft, Pharm.D. ’94, will serve as presidents of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), respectively.
Prince, professor of pharmacy practice, assumes her role March 27, after serving a year as president-elect. She’s taught at Samford since 1994 and enjoys demonstrating to students the many ways pharmacists help patients both directly and indirectly.
“For example, a pharmacist who works in industry might be involved in helping patients indirectly through research and development of new drugs,” Prince said. “Pharmacists help patients directly through many practice settings, such as community, hospital, long-term care, nuclear, etc. Pharmacy is a ‘helping patients’ profession.”
Now, Prince will be helping patients on a national scale.
“I hope to bring my life and leadership experiences to this role to facilitate pharmacists’ ability to help patients,” she said. “There are so many moving parts encompassed in that simple statement. Pharmacists’ authority to provide services critical to public health, such as COVID tests, treatment and vaccinations, reimbursement for services to keep the pharmacy doors open, pharmacists’ working conditions, strengthening interdisciplinary and interprofessional relationships are just a few of these moving parts.”
Prince first became involved with APhA as a first-year pharmacy student, during which time she held her first office. She would remain in student APhA leadership during all four years of pharmacy school, after which she tracked directly into leadership in APhA’s Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management, including terms as president and speaker of the house of delegates.
Wolsoncroft, too, was introduced to her organization as a student, having served as the treasurer and chapter president of Samford’s NCPA student chapter.
Professionally, she’s served as an officer in NCPA for five years and has been on the board of directors for six. And as the owner of Remedies Pharmacy in Hoover, Alabama, Wolsoncroft is more than familiar with community pharmacy and the organization’s ethos.
“As community pharmacists, we’re able to spend more time with our patients and offer services that they need,” she said. “For instance, as a small business, Remedies can pivot and start new programs quickly and help our communities instantly.”
As president of NCPA, a role she’ll assume in October, she hopes to continue to spotlight pharmacists’ expanding role in public health. She used the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.
“It really showed our capabilities to our communities through immunization and testing—not just drug dispensing,” Wolsoncroft said. “With collaboration of other health care professionals, we can reach patients like never before. And our accessibility in every neighborhood around the country makes pharmacists’ expanding role very exciting.”
Ultimately, she said, it all comes down to healing.
“It’s what I enjoy most,” Wolsoncroft said. “My practice is focused on compounding, so we specialize in customizing medicines specific to our patients. There’s nothing more rewarding than helping a patient when all the traditional medicines were just not the right fit.”
McWhorter School of Pharmacy Dean Michael Crouch thanked Prince and Wolsoncroft for their service and praised them as exemplars for the profession.
“I can’t think of two better people to lead these national organizations, given the depth of their experience and dedication to our profession,” he said. “The Samford students, faculty and staff stand ready to support them throughout their presidential years.”
About APhA and NCPA
APhA is the oldest and largest national pharmacy organization, leading the profession and equipping members for their role as medication experts in team-based, patient-centered care. To learn more, visit pharmacist.com.
NCPA protects and promotes the interests of independent pharmacists whose current and future success is vital to their patients, their communities and the entire health care system. To learn more, visit ncpa.org.