Office Of Experiential Education Names 2020-21 Preceptors Of The Year

The Duquesne University School of Pharmacy Office of Experiential Education has announced the recipients of the Preceptor of the Year awards for the 2020-21 academic year.

The two APPE Preceptors of the Year are Alfred Adam L'Altrelli, Pharm.D. and Michael Sekhon, Pharm.D.

The two IPPE Preceptor of the Year are Edward A. DeCaria, R.Ph. and Kathryn Rybak, Pharm.D.

The Preceptors of the Year were recognized and presented with certificates at the 2021 White Coat Ceremony on Sunday, August 24 at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.


(L-R) Dr. Alfred Adam L'Altrelli, Dr. Michael Sekhon, Mr. Edward A. DeCaria. Missing from photo: Dr. Kathryn Rybak.

L’AltrelliAlfred Adam L'Altrelli, Pharm.D., is the Administrative Director of Pharmacy at UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside in Pittsburgh. He was nominated by Matthew Jackson, Pharm.D., a member of the Class of 2021.

"Al was the most influential preceptor that I have had on rotation," Jackson says. "Everything he did on this rotation revolved around setting his students up for success in their career. He gave two other students and I the opportunity to speak to pharmacy administrators and coached us to be successful in this venture. Al treated all of his students as peers who were working with him and mentored us all despite his extremely busy schedule. I have not met another individual who is as dedicated to his students, residents, fellows, and staff. He is a truly caring individual who exemplifies the School of Pharmacy's mission in everything he does for students. One of his managers told me how special of an individual Al is and how dedicated he is to his staff and patients. He serves as an advocate for the profession. Due to Al and his influence, I decided to pursue pharmacy administration and he has served as a mentor to me even after the rotation has ended. Al deserves this award for his hard work and dedication to the profession of pharmacy and his outstanding ability as a mentor."

"There are many amazing preceptors who continually dedicate themselves to our profession as they help grow and shape emerging pharmacists," Dr. L'Altrelli says. "I see this every day at UPMC, and I am honored to be one of many who are giving back to the profession of pharmacy. Being nominated by students who participated in my experience is quite humbling. As a preceptor you want to be meaningful and impactful in the development of your students and, for me, this recognition helps me feel that I have. I believe that the creativity and partnership with Duquesne to create a mini-residency program for the students played a big role in allowing for the positive student experience that is being recognized. I am so thankful to Duquesne School of Pharmacy and the students who were, are, and will continue to be part of this program."

SekhonMichael Sekhon, Pharm.D., is the System Director of Pharmacy for Excela Health, headquartered in Greensburg, PA, and was nominated by James Johns, Pharm.D., a member of the Class of 2021.

"Dr. Sekhon is the very model of professionalism and humanity coexisting together in a well-balanced individual," Johns says. "When the pandemic altered my previous rotation, he was gracious enough to take me on at his site on a very last-minute basis. Nevertheless, he never treated me like a second-class intern. He was interested in my progress, gave me regular feedback, and was all-around very inclusive and genuine in his preceptorship. He always kept the face of pharmacy present during interprofessional meetings and was receptive to different ideas as well as vocal about sharing his own thoughts on different processes, while advancing the interests of pharmacy. He was an all-around wonderful preceptor, and those individuals and professionals who worked under his leadership were extremely valuable employees who were equally helpful and knowledgeable."

"I view precepting students as a amazing opportunity to provide real life experience and mentorship to the next generation of professionals," Dr. Sekhon says. "Duquesne University provided me with a wonderful foundation on which to build on. I believe the preceptor relationship is the next step in constructing your pharmacist toolkit. I greatly enjoy the opportunity to give back what I can whether that be how to mix a drip, how to manage a formulary, or how to pay off your student loans! Receiving this reward is a great honor and I hope I can live up to those that stand beside me and came before me."

DecariaEdward A. DeCaria, R.Ph., is a co-owner of Porter's Pharmacy & Compounding Lab in Moon Township, PA. He was nominated by Maci Egger, a member of the Class of 2023.

"Ed DeCaria had such a positive impact on me for my first IPPE experience during a time of many uncertainties," Egger says. "He trusted me and taught me more than I ever could have expected to learn, and I am forever grateful for this experience. He would go above and beyond just showing me things but let me perform many pharmacist tasks under his supervision. His constant positive attitude made every hour I spent there fun, and I genuinely looked forward to going to rotation every day. He showed respect to everyone around him and created a positive work environment for all involved. To tell the honest truth, I'm actually scared to go on my next rotation because I know it will not compare to the experience I had at Porter's. I cannot thank Ed Decaria enough for what he has shown and taught me."

"This was a great surprise and is a great privilege to receive the IPPE Preceptor of the Year award," DeCaria says. "I have always enjoyed having students on rotation and have done my best to ensure they have a good educational experience. It is very rewarding to be nominated by a student and recognized for my efforts."

RybakKathryn Rybak, Pharm.D., is an Inpatient Pharmacist at Heritage Valley Beaver in Beaver, PA and was nominated by two student pharmacists–Paige Elias and Kexin Hu, both members of the Class of 2022.

"(Dr. Rybak) took the time to explain everything to me thoroughly and gave me a new task to work on each day," Elias says. "I learned a significant amount and monitored Coumadin and vitamin K, dose vancomycin, renally dose critically ill patients, compound Remdesivir for a COVID patient, and participate in their Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. I really looked up to her during my time there and many of the other pharmacists would turn to her for advice as well. Overall, the site was a great experience and I enjoyed it significantly. It was my favorite rotation so far and she was an amazing preceptor!"

"She was so adaptable to COVID-19 guidelines and really tried to teach us to the best of her abilities," Hu says. "Even though we weren't able to round anymore, she still tried to stimulate that experience of working up patients. She also adapted the rotation to teach us about different COVID guidelines and even allowed us to compound Remdesivir. Heritage Valley Beaver partners with UPMC for an antibiotic stewardship and when going over all of the patients, she really took her time to explain all of the rationale behind why they chose the drug they did. I learned so much while on this rotation and she was an amazing preceptor!"

"It is a great honor to receive this recognition," Dr. Rybak says. "Being able to precept these bright minds has been such an enjoyable opportunity and I hope I can continue to have a positive impact on our future pharmacists. This has been an awesome way for me to give back to and remain a part of my alma mater! Go Dukes!"

Congratulations to Drs. L'Altrelli, Sekhorn and Rybak and Mr. DeCaria and thank you to all preceptors for your commitment to the students of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy!

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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