Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Western New England University College of Pharmacy, age 39
Kam Capoccia says she has two passions, teaching and patient care — activities that one what might not associate with someone who is a pharmacist by trade. But Capoccia, by bringing her passions front and center in an intriguing mix of career endeavors, is changing some attitudes about those in her profession.
She has a business card from Western New England University identifying her as a clinical associate professor and residency program director for the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Meanwhile, she is the director (and the heart and soul) of the Consultation and Wellness Center at the Big Y on Cooley Street in Springfield, a unique program created in a partnership between the school and the corporation.
In both settings, she gets to teach. At WNEU, she’s educating students about everything from conducting blood-pressure screenings to how to listen to a heart. And at the consultation and wellness center, she’s educating patients about such matters as monitoring their blood sugar, controlling hypertension, and achieving weight loss.
And there are ample rewards from both endeavors. “I enjoy the interaction with learners — I love watching the lightbulbs go on,” she said of her work with WNEU students as they assimilate the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in that challenging profession. At the clinic, meanwhile, she has helped one patient lose more than 40 pounds over the past year or so and assisted countless others with a host of issues, especially Type 2 diabetes.
“I love going to work every day — the clinic is what really drives me,” she told BusinessWest, noting that the facility is open three days a week. “With the patients, the numbers continue to increase, and we’re seeing some great results.”
Her many career pursuits — she also takes shifts in a Walgreens pharmacy on a per-diem basis — consume much of her time, but she also focuses on achieving work/life balance, making time for her family and especially her three children, Jacob, Melissa, and Jack.
The creators of the Big Y center describe it as a program featuring “the pharmacist as educator.” That’s a very accurate depiction, and one that brings Capoccia’s twin passions clearly into focus.
— George O’Brien