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Mariava Phillips
April 19, 2023

The UNC Eshleman School of Pharmacy’s Rural Pharmacy Health Initiative was developed to advance pharmacy practice while building the workforce North Carolina needs to provide high-quality health care for rural and underserved communities. A core piece to accomplishing that mission is through the appointment of Stephanie Kiser ‘92, BScPhm, as executive director, effective July 1. 

“Our School of Pharmacy was built to serve the people of North Carolina. We have an opportunity to provide accessible, high quality and affordable health care to all North Carolinians, and I believe Stephanie is the one to lead this initiative to success,” said Angela Kashuba, Dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. 

Kiser is currently the director of rural health and professor of the practice at the school, while also serving as the director for interprofessional education and practice with UNC Health Sciences at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville.  

“Stephanie understands the landscape of North Carolina having grown up in Eastern North Carolina and currently living in Asheville. Her past experiences make her a great fit for this position,” said Stefanie Ferreri, Pharm.D., Smith-Olsen Distinguished Professor and chair of the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education. “She has a deep understanding and appreciation of where public health and rural interprofessional practice intersect.” 

Kiser says the School’s investment in its rural pharmacy program is what drew her to join the faculty. Over the course of her 30-year career, she has held a variety of pharmacy leadership roles that position her well as a connector to rural pharmacists and community members.  

“I want to see rural pharmacists thriving in their community—I’m doing this work because I don’t want anyone to go through the ‘not-knowing’ that I went through as a new pharmacist,” said Kiser. 

“Patients of this area are undoubtedly some of the most vulnerable patients in the state and rely heavily on their community pharmacists as one of the most accessible members of their health care team,” said Ashely Abode ‘10, Pharm.D., clinical service coordinator at Realo Drugs in New Bern, which will be participating in this initiative. “Realo Drugs is excited to partner with this initiative in hopes to enhance and expand the scope of clinical services provided by pharmacies.” 

This Rural Pharmacy Health Certificate program is yet another example of the School’s commitment to serving the state. At any given time, 225 students are providing care and support statewide, and 73% of alumni live in all 100 North Carolina counties. 

“Our pharmacy school is a workforce engine for North Carolina. This initiative is an exciting opportunity to bring our entire community together to improve the health for all the people of our state,” said Kelly Collins ‘07, Associate Dean of Advancement and president of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Foundation. 


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