Diana Sobieraj and Joseph Serio ’08 Named 2020 APPE Preceptors of the Year

Wilbur Cross framed by fall foliage
(Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Diana Sobieraj, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, and Joseph Serio, Pharm.D., RPh, have been named recipients of UConn School of Pharmacy 2020 Advanced Practice Pharmacy Experience (APPE) Dennis J. Chapron Preceptor of the Year honors. Sobieraj received the award for full-time faculty and Serio received the adjunct faculty award.

Each year, the graduating class of Pharm.D. students nominates APPE preceptors whose advice and encouragement have been particularly significant during the four years of their professional program. Preceptors can be selected from the greater community of pharmacists, representing a broad array of practice sites including community practice, ambulatory care practice, institutional practice, and industry, among others. This year’s honorees come from the UConn School of Pharmacy and Yale Health.

Pharmacy professor Diana Sobieraj teaching in the classroom at the School of Pharmacy.
Pharmacy professor Diana Sobieraj teaching in the classroom at the School of Pharmacy. Nov. 21, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Sobieraj is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Her teaching expertise includes evidence-based clinical practice, drug literature evaluation, and adult internal medicine. Her practice site is at Hartford Hospital.

When asked about receiving the honor, Dr. Sobieraj said, “I was really humbled to learn that I was selected for this award. I really enjoy mentoring students and supporting them through their learning journey. It’s truly one of my most enjoyable roles as faculty. Thank you so much for recognizing me in this way.”

Joseph Serio headshot

Joseph Serio, Pharm.D., RPh,  is a graduate from the UConn School of Pharmacy, class of 2008. He began employment at the Yale University Health Center Pharmacy in 2008 as a clinical pharmacist and is currently the Manager of Clinical Operations. He holds national certificates of achievement in Anticoagulation Management, Medication Therapy Management, and Sterile Compounding as well as preceptorships with University of Connecticut and University of Saint Joseph Schools of Pharmacy. Serio participates and leads various facility committees including: Pharmacy & Therapeutics, Anticoagulation Management, Research & Education, Infection Control, Skilled Nursing Facility Management, Infusion & Sterile Compounding, Medication  Management, and Antibiotic Stewardship, among others.

When asked about the award, Serio said, “I am honored to receive the 2020 Adjunct Faculty APPE Preceptor of the Year and grateful for the opportunity to precept such amazing students. Please extend my gratitude to the past and present faculty, experiential learning team, and especially to the students of the UConn School of Pharmacy. My pharmacy team and I are consistently impressed with the caliber of young pharmacists from UConn.”

Among the comments in letters of recommendation from students were – about Sobieraj – “Dr. Sobieraj is everything you look for in a preceptor. On her rotation, she promoted a wonderfully-constructed learning environment that fosters learning and encourages curiosities… she made us all feel incredibly comfortable and confident in our abilities. She reassured us that it was okay to not know things and that the whole point of rotations is to learn. You can tell that she genuinely cares about her students, both as learners and as people” – student

And, about Serio, “In many ways, Joe was the best teacher/boss I’ve ever had… Joe also had an incredible rapport with his patients. He wouldn’t just ask about the patient’s health, but also that of their spouses or children… More than once, a patient would pull me aside and tell me something along the lines of “You’re very lucky to be learning from him. He’s the best.” They were right” – student

The Preceptor of the Year awards are named in honor of Dennis J. Chapron who served as associate professor of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy for 34 years. Known for his excellence in teaching, he twice received the School of Pharmacy’s Teacher of the Year Award and was named Preceptor of the Year in 2001.

The circumstances of the COVID pandemic have resulted in a cancellation of the School of Pharmacy’s annual UConn School of Pharmacy preceptor appreciation event this fall, but Sobieraj and Serio will both be honored in next year’s event to commemorate their accomplishments and many contributions to the education of UConn’s Pharm.D. students.