The Duquesne University School of Pharmacy boasts over 5,200 alumni now serving as
community and workplace leaders across the United States and throughout the world
at community and hospital pharmacy settings, with major pharmaceutical companies,
in academic and research institutions and alternative practice areas.
Duquesne University School of Pharmacy alumni give back in a variety of ways as a
vital aspect of ongoing professional commitment to pharmacy. In addition, many members
actively engage in campus events and activities, including serving as guest speakers
or mentors for the next generation of pharmacy leaders.
The Pharmacy Alumni Association encourages all graduates to consider joining and always
seeks new members. A close relationship between the Alumni Association and the administration,
faculty, and students of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy directly impacts
in the success of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy. The Pharmacy Alumni
Association sponsors many social and continuing pharmacy education (CPE) activities
throughout the year, including the Annual Alumni Conference, one of the largest venues
for earning valuable continuing education credits, networking, and reuniting with
old and making new friends.
The School of Pharmacy wants alumni to keep in touch by sending updates through the
online alumni community. The online alumni community provides a forum to connect with
former classmates, stay current with School of Pharmacy news, and learn about all
Alumni Award Winners
Distinguished Alumni Award: Laura Mark, Pharm.D.
Laura is Vice President of Pharmacy for Allegheny Health Network. In 2006, Laura joined
Allegheny General Hospital, and has served in roles as Director and System Director
of Pharmacy as well as leadership oversight of various other clinical departments
at Allegheny General Hospital. Her management experience includes Nationwide Children’s
Hospital, McKesson Med Management, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center, as well as a serving for the past fourteen years as a board member
for a home health nursing company in Ontario, Canada. Laura is an alumna of Duquesne
University, where she earned both her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees.
She also received her Master of Science degree in Hospital Pharmacy Administration
and completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency in Health-System Administration at The
Ohio State University Medical Center. Laura is also a graduate of McMaster University
where she received her Master of Health Management degree. She is most proud
and receives most enjoyment of being a mother of four children, Aaron, Olivia, Evan,
and Christian, which keep her and her husband quite busy and entertained.
Alumni Achievement Award: Shawn Nairn, R.Ph.
Shawn Nairn is a pharmacist and owner of ACORx, LLC. After graduating from the Duquesne
University School of Pharmacy, he began exploring pharmacy ownership through several
channels. Shawn’s background is diverse, including chain pharmacies, owning and operating
various independent pharmacies, long-term care, and medication adherence packaging
pharmacies. Shawn has been active in pharmacy for more than 30 years and has developed
a successful working knowledge of the pharmacy industry, focusing on patients and
offering outstanding customer service. In 2015, he saw an opportunity in concierge
pharmacy and began moving towards creating a pharmacy based on medication adherence
and at-home services. ACORx was born from this idea and has since been named one of
the top 100 fastest growing companies in Pittsburgh for 2016 and in the top 50 fastest
growing companies in 2020 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Shawn is actively involved
in the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association as a member of their Legislative Committee
and is a Regional Board Member with Value Drug. In 2018, Shawn received the George
S. Maggio Award, presented to the pharmacist who has contributed the most to pharmacy
in Pennsylvania through their work in legislative and advocacy activities. In 2022,
Shawn was awarded the Excellence in Innovation Award, from Upsher-Smith. This award
highlights exceptional work and innovation in pharmacy, specific to their efforts
to drive improved patient outcomes. One of Shawn’s favorite things to do when he
is not working, is to play a round of 18 holes at the nearest golf course with his
friends and family.
Young Alumni Award: Joe Cardosi, Pharm.D.
Joe Cardosi is the Founder and CEO of Free Market Health. Joe began his career in
clinical and patient-facing roles at small and large specialty pharmacies before managing
the business aspects of the pharmacy benefit at Gateway Health (now Highmark Wholecare).
Following Highmark Wholecare, Joe served in sales and strategy leadership roles within
Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy (now AllianceRx Walgreens). Joe holds both an MBA and
a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Duquesne University.
Young Alumni Award: Chiara Gessler, Pharm.D.
Chiara Gessler, Pharm.D. is a 2002 graduate of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy
who comes from a truly Duquesne family–her parents, husband, sisters, brother-in-law,
and niece are all fellow Duquesne alumni. She serves as the Senior Manager of Pharmacy
Training, Education, and Research for Giant Eagle Pharmacy, where she oversees the
clinical services and training programs for community pharmacy locations; is the Residency
Program Director for the PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency Program through Duquesne
University and Giant Eagle; and an instructor in the community pharmacy concentration
at Duquesne. Chiara made an impact on public health by leading Giant Eagle’s COVID
vaccine response and through her past work with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
She is an active member of the Giant Eagle’s Women’s Business Resource Group, where
she has been recognized as a leader, as well as PPA. Her past experiences include
various positions in community pharmacy operations, compliance, clinical services,
and a shared faculty position at Duquesne University. Throughout her pharmacy career,
she has always loved to share her passion for community pharmacy patient care and
teaching. Chiara’s biggest accomplishment is her marriage to Chad and their two beautiful
Young Alumni Award: Zach Leslie, Pharm.D.
Zachary Leslie is a dynamic, behavior-driven professional with extensive experience
in healthcare and operations leadership. For the past five years, he has served as
the Area Healthcare Supervisor for Walgreens Pharmacy in the Pittsburgh market, leading
his team to deliver superb clinical outcomes and business results while improving
team engagement and organizational efficiency. Zach grew up in the Erie, PA area where
he enjoyed playing baseball and hockey during his time at McDowell High School. He
then attended Gannon University for two years of pre-pharmacy courses before transitioning
to Duquesne University, where he graduated with his Pharm.D. in 2010. Zach’s passion
in life is spending quality family time with his wife Angela and two young daughters
Claire and Penelope. When he is not busy coaching youth sports, you might catch Zach
running on the local trails or hunting with his four-legged companion, Tex.
Pharmacy Alumni Association Vision, Mission, Values
The Pharmacy Alumni Association (PAA) strives to provide a shared pathway of lifelong
professional development and opportunities for alumni and future graduates in partnership
with the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy.
Provide programs, services, and resources to foster the continuous professional development
of all alumni
Establish a support network to provide benefits to local and remote alumni
Provide alumni with student mentoring and precepting opportunities and serve as a
valuable resource to student pharmacists
Cultivate and nurture communication among alumni, the Duquesne University School of
Pharmacy and Duquesne University
Contribute to the advancement of pharmacy practice through service to the profession
Support and promote the mission of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and
the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Encourage and recognize the dedication and accomplishments of alumni in service to
the pharmacy profession.• Recognize the potential of alumni and student pharmacists
to impact the pharmacy profession as leaders in the provision of health care
Remain committed, dedicated and fully supportive of the pursuit of pharmacy excellence
Serve as mentors, educators and role models
Commit to supporting the educational and intellectual needs of all Pharmacy Alumni
Respect ethical and spiritual values and foundation of the organization.
Pharmacy Alumni Association Officers
President Amanda Simmons, Pharm.D.'09
Vice President Jonathan Ogurchak. Pharm.D.'09
President-Elect Dominic Bertucci, P'95
Immediate Past President Melissa Sciulli Greco, Pharm.D.'08