Abby A. Kahaleh

Abby A. Kahaleh

Member Spotlight

Our third member spotlight is Abby A. Kahaleh, Ph.D., M.S., MPH, BPharm, FAACP. Abby is a tenured faculty of clinical and administrative sciences at the College of Science, Health, and Pharmacy at Roosevelt University. She is a Roosevelt University Board of Trustees faculty trustee, chair of the AACP Public Health SIG for 2022, member of the AJPE editorial board, and has presented at many AACP-hosted webinars throughout the years. Abby spoke to Matt Cipriani, AACP Associate Director of Knowledge Management and Member Engagement, about her career and experience with AACP.

Which of AACP’s strategic priorities do you support and/or identify greatly with and why? 

I strongly support all the 2024 AACP strategic priorities. I identify greatly with the following top strategic priorities:

  • Leading the Transformation of Pharmacy Practice and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-racism (DEIA) Efforts
  • Well-being for All
  • Achieving Financial Health

I would like to reflect on my education and training in pharmacy. In addition to completing BPharm, M.S. in pharmaceutical sciences, and Ph.D. in pharmacy administration degrees from colleges of pharmacy, I added an MPH as a dual degree from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health (SPH). Collaborating with a diverse group of faculty and graduate students at the SPH in Ann Arbor enhanced my education on the needs of the vulnerable population. Including DEIA in my training expanded my horizon on opportunities to transform the scope of pharmacy practice in the public health arena.

Currently, I am the 2022 AACP Chair of Public Health. I developed a Strategic Plan for the Special Interest Group (SIG) with the Executive Committee. The PH Strategic Goals are aligned with the AACP strategic priorities. I also established the committees’ charges and recommended to the committees’ chairs to map their activities to the strategic priorities. Ensuring the well-being of our AACP SIG members and students has been one of my strategic priorities for our public health SIG.

Lastly, ensuring the financial health of our AACP members has been a top priority as well. Therefore, I share resources and empower my colleagues to seek funding for their research, teaching, and continuing professional development programs.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy academia?

After completing my pharmacy degree, I was planning on becoming a clinical pharmacist in a health care system. Shortly after, I was contacted by one of my colleagues to replace her as a faculty at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. I discovered my passion for teaching. Currently, I am a tenured faculty of Clinical and Administrative Sciences at the College of Science, Health, and Pharmacy, and a Board of Trustees Faculty at Roosevelt University (RU). In 2010, I collaborated with the RU administration on finding a new College of Pharmacy as the Associate Dean for Experiential Education. I enjoy living the social justice mission established by FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

One of the greatest and most rewarding challenges is to advocate for pharmacists to become health care providers. Historically, the pharmacy associations have worked separately to advance pharmacy practice at the local, national, and global levels. Recently there have been more collaborations among health care professional associations.

How many years have you been a member of AACP?

I have been an active and proud AACP member since 2003.

What has been the most impactful way that AACP has helped you in your career?

Since 2006, I have served as the chair of the Experiential Education Section, Curriculum, Global Education, and Public Health SIGs. I am also serving my 2nd term on the AJPE Editorial Advisory Board. In 2014, I completed the Academic Leadership Fellows Program at AACP. Based on the leadership, professionalism, and competencies that I gained from this AACP program I was able to become more strategic in my advocacy initiatives to expand pharmacists’ sphere in public health.

What advice do you have for new AACP members?

Please select an AACP Section and/or a SIG that you would like to join. Feel free to reach out to the Executive Committee and request a mentor. This worked very well for advancing my pharmacy career in academia.