Inaugural SPPS Educational Innovation of the Year awardees announced

By Kara Sweet

Published December 22, 2021

Educational innovation is vital for a creative, dynamic learning culture.


The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical (SPPS) is enhancing its commitment to improving the teaching – learning process with the new Educational Innovation of the Year Award.

The award honors faculty and staff members who develop and implement innovative teaching and learning strategies and assessment methods. 

Expanding cultural dialogue

Gina Prescott, PharmD.

Gina Prescott, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy practice, was recognized for her efforts in engaging student pharmacists with pressing issues of social determinants of health (SDOH), health equity and health disparities.

Prescott expanded SDOH content and dialogue through the cultural competency section of her Pharmaceutical Care 1 course. She introduced Photovoice, an active learning method where first-year student pharmacists take photos that illustrate SDOH found locally. The students met in groups to discuss their photos, the culture of the WNY community, and how social determinants can impact health.

“Recognizing and providing culturally aware healthcare is an important component to improving health,” Prescott says. “This class allows students to recognize that we need innovative measures to advance health through clinical practice focused on patient-specific care.”

Creating a sense of belonging

Sara Robinson.

Sara Robinson, associate director of admissions and advisement, was recognized for her efforts in proposing, creating and operationalizing a new course for incoming first year and freshman pre-pharmacy students, PHM 101 Pharmacy Is Right for Me.

Robinson’s weekly class sessions promote a sense of connection and belonging among the pre-pharmacy students and the school. The course offers advice on navigating the transition to college, information on pharmacy careers, community relationship building and a connection to our pharmacy school. This initiative also aids in the recruitment and retention of pre-pharmacy students.

“I am seeing that those who took PHM 101 are more likely to persist in the major than those who did not,” Robinson says. “We have also had the great benefit of PharmD student teaching assistant and peer mentors who can lead small group discussions each week and share what it’s really like to be in this program.”

Both award recipients will receive a professional development stipend and the opportunity to share their innovation at a school-based seminar for faculty and staff.

For over 135 years, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has continually been a leader in the education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, renowned for innovation in clinical practice and research. The school is accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education and is the No. 1 ranked school of pharmacy in New York State and No. 14 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.