Dr. Christine R. Birnie   
Fulbright-Nehru Project Title: "The Use of Active Learning Methodology in a Newly Developed
Doctorate of Pharmacy Program in India"
Field of Study: Science and Technology
Home Institution in US: St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY
Host Institution in India: SRM University, Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu  
Start date/Month in India: September 2013
Duration of grant: Four months

Brief Bio:
Dr. Christine Birnie is an associate professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, St.John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. As a founding faculty member of the School, Dr. Birnie has been active in curricular development and course design for the PharmD program, particularly in the areas of pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical compounding and service learning. In addition to her administrative responsibilities as department chair, Dr. Birnie remains active in the classroom, team teaching pharmaceutics related courses and laboratories. She also developed a medical mission/service initiative at the School, overseeing international and domestic service projects. She annually offers a service-learning medical mission elective course and international clinical rotations.

Dr. Birnie received her BS in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a PhD in pharmaceutics from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Dr. Birnie is a registered pharmacist and has worked in both community and hospital pharmacy settings. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, she worked for several years as a senior research scientist and GMP operations manager for Merial, an animal health pharmaceutical company. She then joined the pharmacy faculty of the newly formed Palm Beach Atlantic University School of Pharmacy before moving to St. John Fisher College.

As a trained pharmacist and pharmaceutical scientist, Dr. Birnie's research interests have included the development and formulation of semi-solid dosage forms and stability of compounded products. In more recent years, her research has focused on her efforts in global service projects and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Over the past several years, pharmacy education in India has expanded to include the doctorate of pharmacy degree, training students to provide medication related patient care as part of an integrated healthcare team. Vital to students' development as clinicians is their ability to become proficient communicators of pharmaceutical knowledge. Dr. Birnie's Fulbright project will focus on introducing students and faculty to active learning techniques that will facilitate learning, promote critical thinking, and enhance team-building and communication skills. Implemented through pharmaceutics courses and faculty development workshops, this innovative approach to teaching and learning will assist in the development of new instructional methodology in pharmacy education.