Pharmacy preceptor Leigh Briscoe-Dwyer inspires a new generation of pharmacists
From humble beginnings to president-elect of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Briscoe-Dwyer is living her dream and helping Binghamton students follow suit
Even before earning the title of president-elect of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) in August, Leigh Briscoe-Dwyer made it her mission to use her love of pharmacy and experience to inspire others.
“I am an example of endless possibilities,” she said. “I’m a little girl from upstate New York. I graduated from high school with 28 people in my class. And yet here I am, I’m going to be the president of the largest pharmacy organization in the country.”
Growing up in Laurens, N.Y., a small village outside Oneonta with a population of a few hundred, Briscoe-Dwyer always dreamed of big things but was never sure if she would be able to achieve them.
She joined UHS Wilson Regional Medical Center in 2021 as the system director of pharmacy services. Though her office is firmly planted in the basement of the hospital, it’s right in the middle of the pharmacy action she knows and loves.
“One of the best things I ever did was I worked for five years as a bench pharmacist at a small 200-bed community hospital in Long Island,” she said. “So I did everything, and you were expected to work every shift. When I worked the evening shift, I worked it alone. I didn’t have a technician, I didn’t have anybody, so I learned the ropes very quickly. I think that was super-helpful to my career because as a leader, sometimes you’re making decisions, and it’s nice to know I’m making decisions about something I’m aware of.”
With the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences right around the corner from UHS Wilson in Johnson City, Briscoe-Dwyer believes the school and the hospital have a unique opportunity to benefit from one another.
“The partnership UHS has built with [Binghamton University] has given us a pipeline for our future workforce,” she said. “It has also increased the number of pharmacists who participate as preceptors because they find value in training the next generation of pharmacists. After all, it makes them better.”
Briscoe-Dwyer may not consider herself a trailblazer, but School of Pharmacy of Pharmaceutical Sciences alumni are following in her footsteps.
“My first encounter with Leigh was in 2017 at my white-coat ceremony as part of the inaugural class of Binghamton’s School of Pharmacy,” said Stephanie Schwartz, PharmD ’21. “She was the speaker and told her story about why pharmacy is important to her and ended it with the powerful statement: ’I am a pharmacist.’ I loved her passion and have since had the privilege to see her speak on several occasions, and every time I left feeling empowered about what I can achieve.”
Briscoe-Dwyer’s passion inspired Schwartz to dream big and strive to reach her potential as a pharmacist.
“After not matching with a residency program my P4 year, I decided to introduce myself and meet with Leigh for advice,” she said. “Since that meeting, I have now become a licensed pharmacist and graduated a PGY-1 pharmacy residency program. She has become an amazing mentor to me and has believed in my ability to accomplish my goals. Advocating for pharmacists to practice at the top of our license is something Leigh is incredibly passionate about. This is important in the pharmacy world to allow pharmacists to be at their best and part of the healthcare team in any practice setting.”
Cassondra Raymond, PharmD ’23, was also heavily inspired by Briscoe-Dwyer to make an impact on the pharmacy world.
“The first time I spoke with Leigh, I knew that she was going to be someone in the pharmacy world that I looked up to,” Raymond said. “She has been involved in many experiences and leadership roles within the pharmacy realm that she can speak on and provide advice about. She has been an extremely influential advocate for the pharmacy profession and continues to show how impactful pharmacists are on patient care day in and day out.”
Raymond has also benefitted from Briscoe-Dwyer’s mentorship.
“Just like pharmacists are there for their patients, Leigh has been there for me. She mentored me during pharmacy school and continues to do so in my current role as a PGY-1 pharmacy resident at UHS. Leigh has assisted me in navigating being a new pharmacist and always reminds me to look at challenges from a different perspective so that I can persevere. I am so grateful to have such an amazing role model to look up to and work with daily.”
When it comes to following your dreams, Briscoe-Dwyer shared a quote that has stuck with her all these years: “Don’t put your dream on hold just because it’s going to take time. Because that time is going to pass anyway.”