The following individuals have been honored as Tradition of Excellence Award recipients. The award recognizes the achievements of a young alumnus/a who is continuing the Tradition of Excellence established by prior generations of UConn School of Pharmacy graduates. Recipients have received a BS, MS, Ph.D., or Pharm.D. from the school within the past 15 years in the areas of academia, industry, and pharmacy practice, as well as non-traditional career paths.
2015 – Lauren M. Aleksunes, BS ’00, Pharm.D. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, DABT
Dr. Aleksunes earned her bachelor’s and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees at the University of Connecticut. She was the first graduate of the joint Pharm.D./ Ph.D. degree program. She earned her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from UConn in the pharmacology/toxicology discipline. Upon receiving her Ph.D., she took a postdoctoral position at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. She is currently an associate professor at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers. Her current research investigates how drug transporters protect against accumulation and toxicity of pharmaceuticals and environmental contaminants.
Dr. Aleksunes is active the Society of Toxicology and the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, serving as secretary/treasurer for that organization. In 2012, the University of Connecticut Alumni Association presented her with the Graduate of the Last Decade Award. She has received multiple professional awards and recognitions. As a student here at UConn, she was awarded the Women in Toxicology Student Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology, the Lambda Kappa Sigma Young Pharmacist of the Year Award and B. Olive Cole Grant. She also received the prestigious Howard Hughes Pre-doctoral Fellowship and the American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education Rho Chi – Schering Plough First Year Graduate Scholarship.
2014 – Christopher R. Fortier, BS ’01, Pharm.D. ’03
Dr. Fortier received his Bachelor of Science in 2001 and Doctor of Pharmacy in 2003. While at UConn, he was an active member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, served as chapter president of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, and was on the executive committee of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association. He is also a member of the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership fraternity and a lifetime member of the UConn Pharmacy Alumni Association.
Following his graduation, Fortier completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and a PGY-2 Health-System Pharmacy Administration residency at the same institution. He then continued at MUSC for 8 years, most recently served in the role of manager (associate director), pharmacy support and operating room services.
While in South Carolina,he was a state chapter representative to the ASHP House of Delegates and served as secretary of the chapter and chair of the Education/CE Committee. He also held adjunct faculty appointments at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, MUSC Campus.
In 2013, Fortier returned to New England and joined Massachusetts General Hospital as chief pharmacy officer, Department of Pharmacy Services. He has already taken an active role in the Massachusetts Society of Health-System Pharmacists, serving on the Programing Committee, and he is an adjunct associate professor with Northeastern University Bouve School of Pharmacy in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a preceptor for PGY-1 and PGY-2 residency programs with the Massachusetts General Hospital Pharmacy Residency Program.
One of Fortier’s early publications was with UConn professor, Dr. C. Michael White, and he has continued to publish in journals such as Annals of Pharmacotherapy and the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. He is also the author of several book chapters.
Fortier has traveled extensively for invited presentations at national and international meetings, including medication safety and pharmacy conferences held in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. In 2013, he was recognized as a fellow of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.