Bernadette Cornelison receives 2023 40 Under 40 Award

Jan. 25, 2024

Bernadette Cornelison, PharmD, MS, BCPS, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Arizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, was recognized with a 2023 40 Under 40 Award from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star. 

Portrait of Dr. Bernadette Cornelison holding an award while smiling.

Bernadette Cornelison, PharmD, MS, BCPS

Cornelison was one of 40 Tucsonans under the age of 40 recognized as “movers and shakers” for their demonstrated leadership and community impact. Cornelison received her award during a ceremony in early December. 

“This award is symbolic of the impact I have on my community, especially with my patients and students,” Cornelison said. “This profession sometimes requires time away from family, so this award is a humbling recognition of the service we provide to the community, in addition to our personal commitment and responsibilities.” 

In addition to co-coordinating the self-care therapeutics course for PharmD students and the over-the-counter medications course for undergraduate students, Cornelison is an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at Banner – University Medical Center.

Cornelison was nominated by Brian Erstad, PharmD, MCCM, FCCP, FASHP, BCPS, a professor and the head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the Coit College of Pharmacy. He highlighted Cornelison’s dedication and optimism in his nomination letter. 

“The theme of optimism weaves into her daily perspective on life and in her teaching of hundreds of students,” said Erstad, a member of the BIO5 Institute. “She also works with several patients every year that have uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and patients who want to quit using tobacco.” 

Ensuring equal access to health care is a top priority for Cornelison. Regardless of the barriers to accessing medications – whether economic, cultural or linguistic – she strives to meet patients’ specific health needs and desired health outcomes. 

“Working with underserved populations, I have found that many patients aren’t just battling their health or medical issues, but sometimes also racial or cultural challenges,” she said. “Sometimes, just making an extra phone call or spending an extra minute to understand the true challenges of each individual can really make an impact on someone’s life.” 

In collaboration with the Tucson Family Advocacy Program, the local International Rescue Committee and with teachers of English as a second language, Cornelison created resources for underserved communities to help individuals gain a better understanding of pharmacy services. These resources and the process developed to create them have been recognized both locally and internationally. 

Cornelison mentors at least 10 students every year and continues to mentor former students as they navigate their careers in pharmacy. As a faculty member and mentor, she said she hopes her students gain the knowledge and expertise to provide high-quality patient care within their community. 

“No matter where our students end up practicing, whether it be research and development, community, hospital or ambulatory care pharmacy, we serve our communities to protect them from a myriad of risks,” she said.