UAMS College of Pharmacy’s Megan Smith, Pharm.D., Receives NCPA’s 2022 National Preceptor of the Year Award

By Benjamin Waldrum

The award recognizes a pharmacist who has made a significant contribution to the education of pharmacy students as a preceptor in a community practice setting.

“We are excited to see this national recognition for Dr. Smith’s leadership and excellence in the area of experiential education in the community pharmacy setting,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D. “She energizes every learning opportunity to the fullest and makes a tremendous difference in the careers of all the student pharmacists that come in contact with her in the experiential setting and formal classroom.”

Smith, a community pharmacist at The Pharmacy at Wellington, is an advocate for elevating community pharmacy practice through teaching and research. She directs the UAMS PGY-1 Community-Based Residency Program and helped to launch the Arkansas Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network.

“My passion is to develop workable solutions for community pharmacies,” Smith said. “As a preceptor, I have engaged my students with hands-on experiences to solve real life problems. At The Pharmacy at Wellington, I am intentional every day to ensure students understand the why behind our work so they can  help be part of the solution towards improved practice. Being nominated and receiving this award is an amazing honor.”

Smith guides students through advanced pharmacy practice experiences at community pharmacy sites, with the goal of showing them how pharmacy is evolving, incorporating those changes into providing services and pointing out how different pharmacies operate. This helps students improve their management, critical thinking and leadership skills.

In 2019, Smith created a new elective course for advanced pharmacy practice centered on transforming community pharmacies and adding services. It has been well received by students and has received national attention. She has made panel presentations and given workshops at national conventions on the course and written two peer-reviewed articles on refining it. The course has helped other preceptors design their own practice transformation rotations.

“Common wisdom suggests that a student who is serious about learning something should learn from the very best,” said Nicholas Dziurkowski, Pharm.D., a community pharmacist at The Pharmacy at Wellington in his nomination letter. “We see firsthand why this works for the lucky students who have Megan as their preceptor. She leads and teaches by example and by experience, and her attitude and approach are contagious. We have no doubt that her students will take her lead and continue to transform the profession, expanding the scope of practice to enable pharmacists to work at the top of their license.”

Smith obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She completed a community pharmacy residency at Kerr Drug in Raleigh, North Carolina, and training in practice-based research and education through a community pharmacy research fellowship at UNC.

Smith is chapter co-adviser for the NCPA student chapter at UAMS and is an active member of the American Pharmacists Association and the Arkansas Pharmacists Association.

The NCPA Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1953 to honor John W. Dargavel, who was executive secretary of the National Association of Retail Druggists, now NCPA. The NCPA Foundation promotes the sustainability and growth of independent community pharmacies through scholarships, grants, and ownership development.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.