May 24, 2023
Caroline Welles Sasser ‘17, Pharm.D., had an interest in global pharmacy from the beginning. However, it wasn’t until after residency that she started to pursue that passion.
During her time as a student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and a pharmacy resident in Greensboro she specialized in ambulatory care.
“Once you specialize in something, you become really good at it, but the level of challenge changes,” said Sasser, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s PharmAlliance program coordinator. “I learned that I loved collaboration, teaching and being around inspiring students, so I decided to go into academics.” This led her to the PharmAlliance postdoctoral fellowship and her current role.
PharmAlliance, established in 2015, is a partnership among the pharmacy schools at Carolina, Monash University in Australia and University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. It strives to address major challenges in the profession through collaboration in pharmacy education, research and pharmacy practice.
Sasser supports the partnership’s internal and external interactions, including sending Carolina students abroad and receiving international students from Monash and UCL. She gets the opportunity to teach on global and professional development topics at the three schools as well.
Her involvement in building pharmacy leaders doesn’t end there. Sasser is also the advisor to the Epsilon Chapter of Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) National Pharmacy Leadership Society and incoming president for the national PLS organization.
Her journey with PLS started when she was inducted as a student. During her fellowship, she was approached to serve on their international affairs committee.
“I saw this opportunity when PLS shared their goal of going international. I thought this is something that I actually believe in – spreading this leadership messaging and training. The U.S. has a lot to learn from other parts of the world and vice versa, but I think one leg up that the U.S. has in pharmacy education is that we really spend a lot of time developing our students as leaders,” she said.
After serving on the international affairs committee for PLS, she was asked to consider running for president-elect and was inducted in May 2022. She will be inducted as PLS president in June 2023.
As PLS incoming president, Sasser is hosting the Board of Directors retreat over Memorial Day weekend in Chapel Hill. This is the first time the School has hosted the event.
Sasser believes in the PLS mission of recognizing leaders in the profession, cultivating leadership development and inspiring transformational change—both locally and globally.
“That’s what I love about PLS—it gives students a place to practice, learn and develop as a leader,” she said.