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Megan Davis WRITER

John Backman


Alumni News ACPHS 106 New Scotland Ave Albany, NY 12208 888.203.8010

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Long-term Relationships Lead to Long-term Care Pharmacy

Every now and then, we run across people who do everything long-term: marriages, devotion to their alma mater, even their profession—the difficult work of long-term care pharmacy.

Alumni Feature

Alumni News caught up with Stephen Esker ’08 and Dominique Pepe ’12 to hear about life after ACPHS.


Industry Update

What can we learn from Theranos? A star entrepreneur. World-changing technology. A $9 billion company. Media raves. It was a good story while it lasted—and after it fell apart.

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President’s Message New Board Chair Reunion Weekend

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Campus News Class Notes Friends We’ll Miss

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE They are lumbering giants that consume enormous resources and do not adapt well to change. Many would argue that this statement could apply equally to dinosaurs, the health care system, and higher education. The common perception of both health care and higher education today is that innovation is lacking. The combination of the two would appear to be a double whammy. By contrast, engineering education and engineering as a profession enjoy a strong reputation for innovation. One of the keys to the field’s success is that engineering students “learn by doing”—they form project teams to develop new widgets and perfect their designs through a series of trials and errors. Occasionally, the more entrepreneurial students create spinout companies to market their new devices. These luxuries are not afforded students of the health sciences, and the reason is simple. When you are dealing with people’s health, you can’t afford to be adventurous. I remember years ago driving down a highway in Los Angeles and seeing a billboard for “The Creative Dentist.” My immediate thought was, “I don’t want a dentist being ‘creative’ with my mouth!” It’s one thing to be creative when designing a mobile phone app, but when lives are at stake, it’s a different matter altogether. That is the reason both education and health care are such highly regulated



industries. The question then becomes: How can health science education be innovative against such a backdrop and can we learn from the engineering educational experience? Health Science colleges educate two types of students: health professionals (e.g., pharmacists, physicians, nurses) and health scientists (e.g., medicinal chemists, pharmacologists, and epidemiologists). Though these groups have different functions in the broader scope of health care, the knowledge base for each is grounded in the basic health sciences. A closer look at health sciences education shows that it has more in common with the educational experience of engineers than it may appear on the surface. The experiential aspect of a health professional’s education (as embodied by clinical rotations) certainly has an element of the “learning by doing” approach. Additionally, the increased emphasis on interprofessional teams in health care has brought in aspects of project management that have long been a mainstay of the engineering world.

What’s missing is the design component of the curriculum where engineers learn to think like engineers. It is here that they learn how to translate concept into application, they learn the practical constraints in a given problem and, most importantly, they learn what works for the end user. That is, they learn the human side of an application. But how do we teach design to health science students in a way that no one gets harmed? I believe the answer lies in informatics and information technology. I recently met with a local public health administrator who is very concerned about antimicrobial drug resistance and the overprescribing of antibiotics. By mining Medicaid data, she was able to generate a map of the counties in New York State that showed precisely where overprescribing occurred.

That data could just as easily have been sliced in different ways to explore questions related to public health or the efficacy of a drug in the population. If you think about it, there are literally millions of therapeutic “experiments” being carried out every day across the country, and they are being captured in electronic medical records. Through creative data mining, it is possible to make observations and correlations that go well beyond what can be achieved in the limited confines of a clinical trial. In short, informatics offer the opportunity to innovate in health care without adversely affecting a single patient. And as electronic medical records become more expansive and more sophisticated, the opportunities for health care innovation increase proportionately. So is the key to health science innovation as simple as adding courses in IT and informatics to the curriculum? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The health science curriculum is already crammed with content so that’s probably not a realistic solution. A more promising strategy is to integrate these approaches into existing coursework. Not only would such integration better prepare students for the new workplace, but it would allow for a greater amount of “learning by doing” or perhaps more appropriately, “learning by computing.” If only the dinosaurs were so lucky.




Marylee and Frank Grosso ‘74




There is something about long-term that inspires us. We celebrate 100th birthdays and golden wedding anniversaries. We admire businesses that have been “serving your needs since 1915.” We love the durability and elegance of antique furniture. Maybe long-term inspires us because it’s so rare—and precious. Every now and then, we run across people who do everything long-term: marriages, devotion to their alma mater, even their profession—the difficult work of long-term care pharmacy. In this feature, we profile three ACPHS couples for whom that sort of long-term is a way of life.

“LISTEN AND BE WILLING TO C OMPROMISE” Things were done differently in the late 1950s. Maybe that’s why, when Mary Lou Schipp caught Ralph Mancini’s eye, he asked his Kappa Psi brother to introduce them. It must have worked. They’ve been married 55 years. The word long keeps coming up in the Mancinis’ story. Ralph ‘59 and Mary Lou ’60 are from a long line of health care professionals, including nurses, pharmaceutical reps, and physicians. Their daughter is a pharmacist and their son a patent attorney. Mary Lou worked 25 years for GlaxoSmithKline and its predecessors, finishing up as a manager of technical documentation. After earning his Ph.D., Ralph spent 28 years in the pharmaceutical industry, pioneering the role of scientific consultant to the sales force. Then, for over 15 years as a certified pharmaceutical consultant to long-term care, Ralph ensured facilities’ compliance with regulations by monitoring medication administration records, nursing stations, and the dispensing of drugs to individual patients. That involves a dizzying array of details and rigorous attention to them.

“You can imagine the awesome responsibilities of this profession,” he said. “I thought I would have the opportunity to fully use my education here, and I was right.” Though they’ve spent most of their lives around Philadelphia (“Can you imagine what it was like going from Fonda, New York, with a population of about 1,500, to a city of 7 million?” Ralph asked), the Mancinis have managed to stay in touch with longtime friends from ACPHS. Mary Lou credits the program’s structure for many of those friendships. “When we were students, the school was very small, about 600,” she recalled. “The classes were divided into three sections for all four years. That meant you sat next to the same person pretty much the whole time you were a student. So you made a lot of lifelong friends.” Early in her long career, Mary Lou took a 16-year hiatus to raise their children—a decision necessitated in part by the culture of the day. “In the 1960s, maternity leave hadn’t yet been invented,” she said. “At the end of your third month of pregnancy you resigned. If you wanted to return to work you had to apply for any open positions available.”

Mary Lou ‘60 and Ralph ‘59 Mancini

The Mancinis have contributed to the success of today’s students in an unusual way. “Mary Lou and I developed a schematic diagram of the potential avenues a pharmacy student has open to them when they graduate,” said Ralph. “We presented that to ACPHS. We hope the students review it and take advantage of their ACPHS education in preparing them for their future.”


Clearly the Mancinis have enjoyed a productive life. The key, according to Mary Lou, is a simple but compelling approach. “As far as I’m concerned,” she said, “the secret of doing anything— profession, marriage, relationships—is to listen and be willing to compromise.”

FRANK & MARYLEE’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE One simple belief explains why Marylee ‘74 and Frank Grosso ’74 keep giving back to ACPHS. “The profession has been good to us,” said Marylee. “We often talk about our humble beginnings, both of us from hardworking blue-collar dads and stay-at-home moms. We have always felt grateful to have had such expansive opportunities as ACPHS. So we would never turn our backs on the institution that molded us with values, character, and a devotion to serve.”

Married 41 years, with “two wonderful sons” and five grandchildren, the Grosso’s maintain close ties with ACPHS, most recently participating in the President’s Advisory Council. They take great delight in one particular task, according to Marylee. “When we return to ACPHS to do one of our favorite things—talking to students—we tell them to not be afraid of the unknown, to step out, and to know that there may be something fascinating around the next corner.” Meanwhile, their service to their profession—long-term care pharmacy— goes back to Frank’s first job after ACPHS, at a community pharmacy in Syracuse. “The pharmacy had just secured business with two local nursing homes,” Marylee recalled. “At the time, new regulations required that a pharmacist review the drug regimen of nursing home residents once a month. The pharmacy owner gave Frank a blank piece of paper and told him to make the job his own—and he did.” From those beginnings came more than 40 years in pharmacy operations and longterm care pharmacy, much of it in senior

John and Michele Walker ‘81 and their four daughters



executive positions. Such a successful career has won Frank the profession’s highest honor: he was recently named the CEO and executive director of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. Marylee was not far behind in her own career. During an early job as an inpatient pharmacist, she discovered a strong affinity for the hospital’s nursing home care unit. That led her to join a national long-term care provider—the lone pharmacist in a corporate nursing department. After 25 years, she began a consulting business devoted to medication management and regulatory aspects of long-term care. Their key to life? “Our secret sauce is full of honesty, integrity, communication, laughter, and devotion to family and others,” Marylee said. “Our 41 years together have been full of what we call ‘excellent adventures.’ Each time we’ve moved, we’ve loved the anticipation of something new, and each time it’s proven to be an adventure and a valued experience for us and our children. And a lot of Italian cooking helps. We have always lived by Frank’s mom’s philosophy: when the going gets tough, mangia!”

LONG-TERM SUCCESS IN LONG-TERM CARE Long-term care pharmacy was in its infancy when John Walker ’81 entered the field. “I saw an opportunity to grow professionally in an area of pharmacy which historically had been underserved,” he said. Apparently his foresight was 20/20. Today John serves as chief operating officer at Pharmscript, a provider of pharmacy services to more than 100 skilled nursing facilities in eight states. It’s a fitting capstone to nearly 35 years in a field he shares with his wife Michele ’81, with whom he just celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary.

Fay’s Drug—starting in an internship with ACPHS alumnus Frank Grosso and winding up as director of managed pharmacy services. The sale of Fay’s in 1996 saw the Walkers move to Philadelphia, where their careers took parallel tracks. Both spent years at Neighborcare (and its successor, Omnicare) before joining Partners Pharmacy, currently the third-largest long-term care pharmacy provider in the U.S. Michele serves the company as a clinical consultant pharmacist. Throughout, they devoted themselves to raising what John calls “four very independent, successful daughters, none of whom chose pharmacy as a career path.” Michele’s standing as a consultant pharmacist made a big difference in the girls’ growing-up years, according to John: “the scheduling flexibility associated with a career in consultant pharmacy allowed Michele to participate in their activities as they grew up.” Whatever their situation, Michele and John have found ways to stay connected to ACPHS. “We have tried to give back through financial contributions throughout the years,” John said, “but the most rewarding interactions have been the relationships which we have maintained with several of our classmates. We have a core group of friends; when we come together for reunions it always seems that time has stood still and it is 1978. We are grateful for the opportunities and lifestyle we have been afforded via our careers, which was created by the education provided at ACPHS.” Like many long-termers, the Walkers keep their approach to life basic. “It’s a simple formula: humility, compassion, humor, and patience,” John said. “The key to our marriage and relationship has always been our ability to make each other smile.”

The two met as first-years and moved to the Rochester area after graduation, marrying in November 1982. For 13 years after the birth of their first daughter, Michele ran her own long-term care pharmacy consultant practice while John moved up the ranks at FALL/WINTER 2016


S O LV I N G T H E HIV PUZZLE... HER E AND IN AFR I CA There’s a rare energy about Stephen Esker ‘08. It shows up in his lifelong fascination with, and dedication to fighting, HIV/AIDS. It comes out when he mentors ACPHS students or young peer counselors in Africa. In a word, the man is engaged. So it’s not enough to say he’s the associate director of US Medical HIV, a division of Bristol-Myers Squibb. There’s so much more to tell, starting with his days at ACPHS. “A summer with Albany Medical Center opened my eyes to the world of infectious disease,” Esker recalled. “Then I signed up for an HIV clinical rotation, and I was fascinated by the puzzle it presented: the regimens, side effects, drug-drug interactions, drug efficacy. I wanted to see how I could use that fascination to make a difference.” During his eight years with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Esker has provided support to clini-



cians and researchers in several aspects of drug research. He takes particular satisfaction in registrational and post-launch clinical trials of FDA-approved drugs. “You may get the drug to market, but the research is not done then,” Esker explained. “We have to research the drug’s long-term uses, its applications for different populations. If pregnant women use this drug, will it prevent HIV transmission to the baby with a low risk of birth defects? How will an aging population react? It’s great to work with all these levels of research.” Esker’s work recently led him to spend two months in South Africa and Zimbabwe, part of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Secure the Future initiative. While there, he helped to launch pediatric hospitals, worked with physicians, and trained adolescents to engage in peer counseling about HIV.

“The community-based organizations in that area recognize the power of peer counseling,” Esker reflected. “A whole generation of children and adolescents have lost parents to HIV, so there’s this natural wall between teens and adults. Adolescents can reach other adolescents in ways no one else can.”

All of this would be enough for most people, but not Esker. Along with his father, he is the co-founder of Esker MultiMedia, a video production company focusing on training solutions for academic institutions. He spent nearly six years as a registered pharmacist at Walgreens to stay close to the patient.

Esker also plies his mentoring skills with ACPHS students, part of his role as a member of the ACPHS Alumni Council Volunteer Board. The board seeks to re-engage alumni “at a level that makes them feel like they’re getting something and giving back,” Esker explained.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that, when asked about lessons learned at ACPHS, he talks about involvement. “You have these tremendous resources at the college: caring professors, advisors, and organizations like student government, Phi Delta Chi and APhA,” he said. “Getting involved while being a student prepared me for life.”

“You may get the drug to market, but the research is not done then.” And when he says “mentoring,” he means something different from the traditional model. “Mentoring is often seen as onedirectional,” Esker said, “but it should flow in both directions. Students have so much to teach us—for instance, the better use of technology, novel approaches to communicating in a more agile way.”







“I loved the class, and she obviously saw my interest because she asked me to help with her research. I thoroughly enjoyed developing different formulations and microemulsions, which would later deliver lycopene through the epidermal layer of porcine skin.”

There are certain jobs the world just can’t do without—like the quality assurance specialist at a pharmaceutical company. That makes Dominique Pepe ’12 pretty important. Pepe currently works in quality assurance at Regeneron, a Tarrytown firm whose FDA-approved products include EYLEA® (aflibercept) injection for patients with “wet” age-related macular degeneration. She ensures compliance with a whole range of regulations and specifications, performing hands-on monitoring to ensure product safety, integrity, strength, purity, and quality. Regeneron’s corporate culture is a perfect fit for Pepe, who sees in her employer the same qualities that attracted her to ACPHS. “I loved the tight-knit family feel of the Pharmaceutical Sciences program at ACPHS,” she remembered. “Being part of a tight-knit group helped me develop a work ethic based on trust and transparency—two of the five values at Regeneron. After working here for a year, I felt the same way as I did at ACPHS: part of a family and we’re all in the same boat.” Pepe came to Regeneron with no fewer than three published research papers to her credit—the legacy of her time as research assistant to ACPHS faculty member Luciana Lopes in 2011-12. “I took a research foundations lab with Dr. Lopes that focused on column chromatography and extracting lycopene from tomato paste,” she recalled.

That experience with formulations helped Pepe settle in at Regeneron, where she first worked as a biotech production specialist in a formulation group. “I was part of the manufacturing process that had their hands on the drug right before it was administered to our patients.” A combination of childhood interest and practical considerations drove her decision to join Regeneron at its Rensselaer facility. “I was always interested in the sciences growing up,” she said. “When my cousin went to school for his pharmacy degree, it perked my interest. I knew that I wanted to be in pharma, rather than sales or retail. When I applied to Regeneron in July 2012, all the criteria checked off in my book: close to home, entry-level position, effective training, and, as [ACPHS Associate Professor Ray] Chandrasekara taught me in a health care class, benefits that fit my needs as a recent graduate.” If her future unfolds as she envisions it, Pepe could well become that rarest of professionals: someone who stays at one company for much of her career. “Regeneron is a wonderful company to work for,” she said. “They treat their employees like family, offer wonderful benefits, and are committed to transparency. I honestly see myself thriving in this company for years to come.”


Marion Morton ‘84 has held a wide range of great jobs. She wants ACPHS students to know they can too. “A degree in pharmacy or health sciences is excellent background for many different roles in industry,” said the college’s newest board chair. “I know I was always seen as a more competitive candidate, no matter what the position, because of my pharmacy degree. And that pharmacy training turned me into a fast learner as well.” Morton has spent more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry, focusing particularly on marketing and sales. Her career has included positions at Sandoz, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim, and now Nestlé Health Science, where she serves as the global category head for obesity care. Along the way, she has helped to bring some of the world’s best-known drugs to the marketplace. Her marketing skills were put to good use, for instance, during the clinical outcomes trials for Pravachol and



Diovan. “It takes a great deal of effort and time to communicate the results of largescale outcomes trials that reduce morbidity and mortality,” she recalled. “These types of trials provide the evidence to change clinical guidelines and practice. It was a great experience to work on these products in the cardiovascular area as well as have the opportunity to work in specialty areas like opthamology and transplant.” Morton’s original interest in health sciences came organically. Her father was a science teacher and one of her extended family members was a clinical pharmacist. That, combined with her interest in chemistry, brought her to ACPHS, then later to Fairleigh Dickinson University for an MBA in pharmaceutical studies/marketing. In her new role on the board, Morton sees herself supporting the strategic agenda laid out by President Greg Dewey. “The role of pharmacy has evolved in exciting directions over the years,” she said. “It’s adding value in an ever-growing number



of health care settings. At the same time, our own mission—as articulated by Dr. Dewey—is expanding to include such areas as population health and pharmaceutical sciences. There’s a tremendous convergence happening, and we want to position the College at the forefront, both for our own future and the future of health care.”

“We have created drugs that lower glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.,” she said. “Weight loss would alleviate the need for many of these prescriptions. However, physicians don’t have the training for conversations about obesity, and they don’t have the time. We need to get obesity on the radar as a disease that can be treated.”

This kind of alignment with the College’s mission has drawn accolades from Dr. Dewey himself. “Marion brings all the right ingredients to the chairmanship of our Board,” he said. “She is a successful, accomplished professional with in-depth experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She is an alumna that is passionate about the school. And she is a thoughtful and caring leader.”

Her new role sheds light on the career diversity available with an ACPHS degree. But Morton already sees that diversity among current alumni. Now she wants to communicate it.

After many years in pharmaceutical firms, Morton has enjoyed her fresh start at Nestlé Health Sciences, which seeks to foster a therapeutic role for nutrition in improving health outcomes. Obesity, from her view, presents a major opportunity.

“I would really like to conduct an alumni survey to show the incredible diversity of careers among ACPHS graduates,” she said. “It’s important to communicate the full range of possibilities, particularly to students who may be wondering what they’ll be doing in 10 years.”




HER B C H O R BA JIA N ON INCREDIBLE RUN AS CHAIRMAN Herb Chorbajian stepped down as Chairman after completing his latest nine-year term on the Board of Trustees in October. He has been succeeded by Marion Morton, ‘84, Global Category Head of Obesity Care at Nestlé Health Science, who had previously served as the Vice Chair. Since becoming Chair in 2011, Herb has been instrumental in helping steer the growth of the Board. Herb’s background in banking made him a particularly valuable member of the Board’s Finance Committee, and in fact, he served as Treasurer for many

years during two previous terms on the Board. Most recently, he was part of an effort that created the Capital Reserve Fund, an initiative that has provided the College with a greater level of financial flexibility. Herb’s wisdom, wit, and sense of humor will certainly be missed. He was recognized for his many contributions to the College at a dinner following the fall board meeting. From all of us at the College we would like to thank Herb for his valuable input and leadership. We wish you well!

Board of Trustees Marion Morton, ‘84, Chair

James E. Dering

Matthew Bette, Vice Chair

Chris DiLascia, ‘83

Christopher D. Mitiguy, Treasurer

Michael Duteau, ‘92

Kandyce J. Daley, ‘74, Secretary

Geno J. Germano, ‘83

Stephen Ainlay

Rocco Giruzzi, ‘58

Raymond Bleser Jr., ‘81

Susan Learned, ‘81

Walter S. Borisenok

James Notaro, ‘84

Leigh Briscoe-Dwyer, ‘87

David Stack, ‘76

Richard H. Daffner, ’63

Scott Terrillion, ‘85

Thomas D’Ambra

Pamela Williamson

Paul DerOhannesian II




“At Rochester I began training some of the residents in cytopathology,” she recalled. “It’s there I discovered my love of teaching.” She returned to ACPHS for her M.S. in Biotechnology, then joined the faculty in 2013.

Reaching the World for Cytotechnology It was love at first sight. “Would you believe me if I told you I just happened to stumble across cytotechnology?” said Jenna Benson. “I had never heard of it until my junior year in college. I attended a presentation by an ACPHS student and immediately fell in love with the field. As soon as the presentation was over, I went and changed my major.” That was only 10 years ago. Today, at age 30—when many people are still trying to figure out their future—Benson is not only the director of the ACPHS cytotechnology program. She is also the incoming president of the American Society for Cytotechnology (ASCT). “What an honor it is to hold positions in these professional societies!” Benson exclaimed. “Both ASCT and the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) are such strong supporters of the field, and they give us a voice. To be able to give back to them is a great feeling.” Benson first set foot on the ACPHS campus as a student, soon after changing her major. “I did my research on cytotechnology programs,” she said. “ACPHS’s history and reputation are held in high regard. The curriculum was and still is at the forefront of cytotechnology education.

Ask her about her chosen profession and she begins to speak in exclamation points. “If you give us cells and a microscope, we can give you a diagnosis. That’s pretty incredible! We can diagnose anything from normal/benign tissue to infections, precancerous lesions, and specific types of malignancy—just by observing and interpreting cellular changes. Every day, every patient, every slide is different. It’s like a puzzle. Trying to solve that puzzle is my motivation—and what I find so intriguing.” As exciting as it can be, cytotechnology is not exactly on everyone’s radar. That’s why Benson sees “getting the word out” as a priority. “My favorite question to lead off a recruiting session is ‘How many of you know what cytotechnology is?’” she said. “On average, I get one or two hands that go up. They might have an idea that when a clinician collects a sample, it gets sent out, some sort of magic takes place, and then the patient has an answer. The cytopathology lab is one area where that magic happens. We need to get to students earlier with the multitude of possibilities in the field.” That multitude of possibilities—and the young people who could take hold of them—are a big motivator for Benson as ASCT president. “I want to strengthen our members’ voice and get them engaged,” she said. “Being involved in societies is great for networking—this is especially important for students. So I would like to provide all students with multiple opportunities to do so. “Cytotechnology education, being active in societies, advocating for the profession: all these things are very near and dear to my heart. I hope this comes across to members and helps make an impact.”

After earning her cytotechnology certificate, Benson started her career at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where she made an unexpected discovery.


REUNION WEEKEND ‘16 The Friends of Noah Sorensen and Mario Zeolla Golf Tournament kicked off another fun-filled weekend for the College. This two-day spectacular complete with tours of campus, an Albany city pub crawl, fancy dinners and cocktail receptions, and barbeque style lunch gatherings brought back more than 200 alumni to campus. Save the date for June 2-4, 2017! We can’t wait to see you back where it all began. Visit acphs. edu/reunion for more information.








T HERAN OS? A star entrepreneur. World-changing technology. A $9 billion company. Media raves. It was a good story while it lasted—and after it fell apart. The downfall of Theranos has consumed business and popular media alike. While the full story is far from clear (pending the results of federal investigations), it has raised questions about topics critical to the future of health care: the path of innovation, the role of secrecy, and government regulation, among others. Alumni News put some of these questions to two ACPHS leaders for their insights.



The Pride—and the Bane—of Silicon Valley It was 2003 when 19-year-old Elizabeth Holmes left Stanford to launch Theranos. Shortly thereafter, her scientific team began to develop Edison, a machine that (according to company publicity) could run tests for hundreds of diseases with “just a few drops of blood.” By overcoming patient resistance to needles, Edison could result in earlier diagnosis and treatment for millions. Holmes proclaimed that it could “change the world.” The world—at least the worlds of media and finance—seemed to agree. At its zenith in 2014, Theranos was valued at $9 billion.

Holmes had graced the covers of Forbes, Fortune, and Inc. Walgreens had opened “wellness centers,” featuring Theranos technology, in 45 of its locations, providing Theranos with its primary revenue stream. And then it fell apart. An October 2015 investigative report by John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal cast serious doubt on Holmes’s claims. According to his findings, proficiency testing—the tests that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use to ensure the accuracy of results—uncovered deficiencies in the technology. Abnormal results began to show up in patient tests as well. Even before the Journal broke the story, government investigators from the FDA and CMS had started to delve into inaccurate results on patient testing. Within a few months, the FDA banned the use of Edison, CMS prohibited Holmes from owning or operating a lab for two years, and Walgreens terminated its partnership with Theranos. Meanwhile, a slew of follow-up stories highlighted abnormalities in the way Theranos was run. For one thing, the board—a star-studded cast with the likes of Henry Kissinger and George Shultz—had almost no experience in health care. Just as serious was Holmes’ insistence on secrecy. Even within the company, one unit rarely knew what another was doing. The details of Edison were not divulged outside of Theranos.

Of Secrecy, Science, and a Delicate Balance Did Theranos go too far? What is the proper role of secrecy in health care innovation? Shaker Mousa sees a middle way between absolute secrecy and oversharing of details. “The protection of novel scientific observations until patent issuance is of course justifiable,” said the executive vice president and chair of ACPHS’s Pharmaceutical Research Institute. “Once IP protection is secured, however, then exchanges of information with the relevant scientific community are essential to continuing development. The evidence eventually needs to be presented in national conferences and reported in peer-reviewed journals.”

From the available details, Mousa said, Theranos did not follow this path as rigorously as it could have. “Even diagnostic data from the IP-protected diagnostic system could have been shared to define the system’s advantages. Theranos did participate in an occasional published clinical study, but other than that secrecy was a standard of behavior in virtually every regard.”

What is the proper role of secrecy in health care innovation? For Mohamad Kolakji, the director of the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program at ACPHS, the internal secrecy was the fatal flaw. “As health care professionals, we spend extensive time fostering the idea of teamwork for the greater good of our patients and the quality of our services,” he said. “That makes Theranos’s alleged work process a huge mistake. The valuable collective brainstorming was missing from the beginning.” Just as flawed was the makeup of the Theranos board, according to Mousa. “Having an advisory board with scientific credibility and strong expertise in the diagnostic domain and clinical trial design is essential to guide the process,” he said. “It appears to me that the company developed the best sales messages while the device was not fully developed and validated.” Ultimately, both leaders tout the balance between innovation and regulation as essential to the advancement of technology. “No matter how important and innovative the idea is,” said Kolakji, “if it doesn’t follow the normal flow of regulation or the process of validation, it will end up as failure in the history of innovation.” Mousa, meanwhile, tied the balance to the raison d’être for health care. “Innovation has to be encouraged, and we have to have regulations when it comes to impacting human life,” he observed. “We must put human health in the forefront, and nothing else should interfere.”


CAMPUS NEWS New Active Learning Classrooms Groundbreaking The College is excited to announce that construction for the new Active Learning Classrooms is in full swing!

On September 28, the College held a groundbreaking and media event to announce the $1,650,000 project, which when complete will transform 5,850-squarefeet of unused space on our Albany Campus into three state-of-the-art active learning classrooms. The classrooms will become technologyenhanced environments. Classrooms will hold up to 70 students per room, and tables will seat 6-8 students, fostering dynamic, small group interaction and teamwork. The project is being funded by contributions from Rite Aid Pharmacy, The Kinney Drugs Foundation and Envision Architects, PC, as well as a $335,838 grant from the New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program. Additional funds are being raised from corporate and community partners, alumni, as well as friends of the college. The active learning classrooms are one of four components of the college’s $6 million “Beyond Practice Ready” campaign, which is designed to prepare graduates to be adaptable to a changing workforce landscape. The project is expected to be finished by the Spring semester. For more information on the Beyond Practice Ready Campaign and ways to support, visit acphs. edu/beyondpracticeready.



Health Expo Changes Its Name and Moves Off Campus The ACPHS APhA-ASP chapter hosted the inaugural Albany Community Health Day (formerly the ACPHS Health & Wellness Expo) on September 24 at the Capital South Campus Center at 20 Warren Street in Albany, home of the College’s future second Student Operated Pharmacy.

Health Day enables ACPHS students to share their knowledge, while providing an array of services to educate and promote healthier habits among members of the community. The event provided an array of health/ wellness services and activities, including flu shots; screenings for asthma, depression and anxiety, diabetes, blood pressure and HIV; educational advice on topics such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immunizations, and over-the-counter medications; and, risk assessments for both kidney disease and breast cancer. The event also featured a medication take-back for proper medication disposal, educational sessions on topics such as Medicare Part D education and enrollment, and a mobile education center to discuss impaired driving. More than 120 ACPHS students stepped up to coordinate the event with support from advisors, staff, administrators and community volunteers. For more information, highlights from this year’s event and ways to get involved and support the 2017 Albany Community Health Day, please visit

College Launches New Web Site The College’s newly redesigned web site is now live at! The new site was designed in conjunction with our marketing partner 160over90. As you move through the site, you will notice that it employs bolder colors, more photography, streamlined navigation, and a new style of writing – all of which will hopefully lead to a better user experience.

Freshmen Forecast On August 24, the College welcomed its newest class of freshmen, which included 142 Doctor of Pharmacy students and 27 Bachelor of Science students. The 2016 enrollment mix shakes out to be 68% from New York and 32% from out of state.

President’s Cup There’s also completely redesigned academic program pages; a Discovery Spotlight to highlight faculty, students, and alumni stories; a new facts and statistics module, and more.

The annual President’s Cup Golf Tournament teed off on September 26 after the initial July date was rained out.

We will continue to work to enhance the site with new and expanded features in the future. But for now take a look on your laptop or mobile device and let us know what you think!

Athletes On the Move Women’s Cross Country won the HVIAC conference championship and the Men finished in second place. They both travelled to Virginia Beach to compete in the USCAA National Championship where the women placed third in the nation and the men finished 18th. Men’s and women’s soccer both earned bids to the USCAA National Championship in Virginia Beach. The Women entered the tournament the third seed and the men were the 11th seed.

We are happy to share that this year’s tournament raised over $32,000. Since its inception in 1994, the tournament has generated more than $675,000, all of which has gone toward merit-based academic scholarships. To date, 21 students have received over $364,000 in scholarship funds. Each scholarship recipient receives $3,000 per year for every year he or she is enrolled at the College.

The men played two games and lost to Florida College, but beat SUNY Delhi 1-0. This was their first ever USCAA National Championship tournament game win. The women won their pool, defeating Florida College 4-3 in double overtime and penalty kicks. They then defeated Washington Adventist 10-1 to advance to the National Final Four where they faced conference rivals SUNY ESF. The women would lose in the semi-finals 2-0 to SUNY ESF.

Thank you to all who attended this fun day out on the greens. We appreciate your commitment to our students. For more information on the 2017 President’s Cup, please visit


& Caregiver Chapter of the Year, the only school in the country to receive this honor. The award goes to a campus that went to great lengths to make sure their survivors and caregivers felt cared for, thought of, and honored. In announcing the award, the American Cancer society said that ACPHS’s “creative and thoughtful Survivorship program sets a high standard for all of our campuses.”

Sarah Scarpace Peters Invited to Cancer Moonshot Summit Sarah Scarpace Peters, Pharm.D., MPH, BCOP, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and President of the Hematology/ Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA), was among the 300 individuals invited by the Office of Vice President Joe Biden to participate in the Cancer Moonshot Summit held at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on June 29.

ACPHS was also just one of 30 schools to be named a Leader of Hope. According to the American Cancer Society, this year’s Leader of Hope schools demonstrated a commitment to not only Relay For Life, but also Advocacy, Cancer Education, and Survivor and Caregiver Engagement. It is the fourth time in the last six years that ACPHS has been recognized as a Leader of Hope.

Announced by President Obama during his January 2016 State of the Union address, the goal of the Cancer Moonshot is to “make a decade’s worth of progress in five years in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care - to ultimately end cancer as we know it.” The Summit was held to bring together all sectors that have a role to play in making progress on the Cancer Moonshot goals, to share new ideas, and launch new collaborations and actions. Dr. Scarpace and another colleague from HOPA advocated for the role of pharmacists in improving cancer care.

College Hosts Forum on Opioid Epidemic The Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli held a press conference and participated in a Community Forum held on June 2 at the College and hosted by U.S. Representative Paul Tonko. The event was one of a series of forums held across the country to continue the conversation that President Obama began in West Virginia in October, where he announced public and private sector efforts to address the opioid overdose epidemic.

College’s Throop Museum Featured on Travel Channel

Colleges Against Cancer Chapter Honored with Two Awards The ACPHS chapter of Colleges Against Cancer has been honored with two national awards from the American Cancer Society. The College was named the 2016 Survivor



Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ Throop Pharmacy Museum and its curator Lee Anna Obos, RPh, were featured over the summer in an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum.” The show’s crew filmed on location at the pharmacy museum in November 2015, during which time they interviewed Ms. Obos, who also serves as an instructor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

College Ranked 3rd in the Country for Salary of Graduates ACPHS was ranked third for its graduates’ salaries out of more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the latest College Scorecard. The College, which climbed two spots from last year’s #5 ranking, was measured against the 4,053 colleges and universities that make up the College Scorecard database. The College Scorecard lists the average “Salary After Attending” for ACPHS graduates as $118,800, which represents a 7.4% increase from the $110,600 figure attributed to ACPHS in last year’s Scorecard. The average salary after attending for all schools is $33,800. This latest ranking builds upon additional national recognition received last October when the Brookings Institution ranked ACPHS the #1 college in the country in a report that measured the contributions of colleges to their students’ outcomes.

given, as well as medication reviews with pharmacists, and health screenings and assessments, including vision diabetes, heart health and blood pressure.

White Coat Ceremonies Recap On August 24 and 26, the college hosted its annual White Coat Ceremonies for the Vermont and Albany campuses, respectively. Associate Professor, Sarah Scarpace Peters, Pharm.D., MPH, BCOP, was the speaker for the Vermont Campus, where 37 students received their professional coats. Frank Grosso ’74 (featured in cover story, page 7) was the speaker at the Albany campus where 184 students received their white coats.

Vermont Campus Shows Support for Opioid Law Students and faculty from the Vermont campus joined Governor Peter Shumlin on June 8 at Community Health Center in Burlington when he signed opioid abuse bill S.243 into law. ACPHS students initiated research and collaborated with the Vermont Pharmacists Association to find a sponsor for the bill. In addition, they attended legislative sessions and spoke about the expanding role of pharmacists in optimizing drug therapy and providing health care.

Vermont Wellness Fair The Vermont Campus was proud to again serve as organizer for the Colchester Community Wellness Fair and Harvest Dinner on November 4 at Colchester High School. The evening provided families with information on nutrition, fitness, health, and personal well-being. Flu shots were

College Welcomes Dr. James M. Gallo On July 1, James M. Gallo, Pharm.D., Ph.D., assumed the role of Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College. Dr. Gallo brings a breadth of research and teaching experience from his previous position as Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, as well as his past positions at the University of Georgia, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Temple University. The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this spring. Watch for more information about how the College plans to acknowledge this major milestone together with Dr. Gallo. FALL/WINTER 2016

Annual Alumni Soccer Game a Big Hit Alumni took the field on September 24 under the brand new lights for the annual Alumni Soccer Match. The festivities kicked off a day before at the live draft party at the Recovery Room across from campus hosted by legendary men’s soccer coach, Rich Komulainen and head women’s soccer coach and athletic director, Christine Kanawada.



Over 40 alumni from the men and women’s soccer programs competed in a competitive match-up. For game photos visit and for more information on future Alumni Athletics Events please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at alumni@

UPCOMING EVENTS April 27             Giving Day

Mark your calendars for a great mix of events in 2017! For more information or for a complete listing of events visit

May 13             Commencement

January 26–29 (Saratoga Performing Arts Center, PSSNY Mid-Winter Meetings                                                              Saratoga Springs, NY)

Albany, NY

June 2            Friends of Noah Sorensen ’97 and Mario Zeolla ’97 Memorial Golf Tournament                 

January 28             Annual Research Forum     Albany & Vermont Campuses

(Orchard Creek Golf Club, Altamont, NY)

March 24–27             June 2–4             APhA Mid-Year Conference                                                    Reunion Weekend San Francisco, CA

STAY CONNECTED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA ACPHS has a number of social media and online resources to keep you connected to the College and your fellow alumni. Check them out and start liking, sharing, and tweeting today!

ACPHS Alumni Facebook Page

ACPHS Alumni Twitter Feed

ACPHS LinkedIn Group

RXinsider CareerTapp Search Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Alumni Student Mentoring Program President Dewey, together with the Offices of Institutional Advancement and Career Services, recently launched the Alumni-Student Mentoring program, a joint venture connecting students to alumni in their related fields of study. The goal of the program is to match students to like-minded alumni mentors who can share their expertise and experience, and help guide them as they embark on their careers in both pharmacy and the health sciences. Dan Corwin, alumni council president and recent graduate, is passionate about helping students grow professionally and sees the Alumni Council Mentoring program as a valuable and natural resource for career development.

“I find it’s important to mentor and provide our current students with the tools they need to be better prepared and successful upon graduation,” Dan said. “This will lead to more confident and experienced practitioners and ultimately a stronger health care field. We currently have several dozen alumni matched with students in our mentorship program, but we’re seeking more alumni who want to make a difference. Please consider giving back by mentoring a student. It takes very little time, and is as simple as answering some emails from your student match.” We invite students and all interested alumni to join this grassroots mentoring program. Please visit to sign up today.




1982 Dr. Nicholas Zacharczenko has done it again! Dr. Zach won the 55-60 category Javelin competition at the Liberty Games (formerly Empire State Games) on July 16 at Mohonasen High School in Rotterdam, New York. Dr. Zach also recently released his new book,

(518) 694.7393 DROP US A LINE

Class Notes are a way to share what’s going on in your life with your ACPHS classmates. Let us know about your recent news, and we’ll include it in the next issue of the Alumni News magazine.


“Dental School: A Bizarre Comedy,” which is available online through Amazon.

1983 Dr. Christopher Di Lascia, Pharm.D of Transition Patient Services, a pharmacy distribution and patient engagement services company, received the Greater Philadelphia EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Award for Medical Services. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence, innovation, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. “I am proud to share this award with the TPS team and with our customers who make this achievement possible,” DiLascia said. “We all are bound together by our commitment to improving health outcomes for the patients we serve. We remain committed to our vision of improving each patient’s health care journey


through personalized patient support and evidence-based solutions that reduce barriers to medication access and help our clients reach their clinical, financial, and organizational performance goals.” 1992 On October 20, Michael Duteau was named Pharmacist of the Year at the Excellence in Healthcare Awards, presented by Bankers Healthcare Group. The annual awards ceremony took place at The Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles Falls, New York, and honored individuals and organizations that have a significant impact on the quality of health care in Central New York. 1999 Statewide board and commission appointees confirmed by the Alaska Legislature in April 2016 included Richard Holt of Wasilla, Alaska to the Board of Pharmacy. Richard is the Market Health and Wellness Director for Walmart of Alaska. He holds a master of business administration from Northeastern University. Holt is a licensed pharmacist in Alaska, New York, and Florida. 2000 Joe Muench, better known as “Pharmacy Joe,” is a Critical Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York. He is the founder of and has his own podcast entitled “The Elective Rotation.” Joe is now the

author of “A Pharmacist’s Guide to Inpatient Medical Emergencies: How to respond to code blue, rapid response calls, and other medical emergencies.” For more information, visit

2002 Congratulations to Kelly Rudd who was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy at the ACCP Annual Meeting in October 2016 in Hollywood, Florida.

Nicole has owned Green Street Pharmacy since December 2011. She is the co-owner of Addison’s Apothecary Inc., in Addison, New York as well.

2005 Nicole Pagano, Green Street Pharmacy’s co-owner and supervising pharmacist in Ithaca, New York, was recently recognized as the 2016 Cardinal Health Generation RX Champions Award recipient. This accolade comes from the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York for her passionate pursuit to reduce and prevent prescription drug addiction in Tompkins County. “To receive this honor is an incredible feeling. It shows that what my team and I are doing is impactful and meaningful,” shared Nicole in a recent interview with The Ithaca Voice.

2010 & 2013 Congratulations to Kristin Pesto (class of 2013) and Andrew LaFrance (class of 2010) who were recently engaged and reached out to their alma mater to share the news and request for some of their engagement photos to be taken where they met at ACPHS. 2012 Kari Lynn McCabe and Jason Michael Burke were married in October 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kari is a Pharmacist with Rite Aid in Virginia Beach. Jason enlisted in the United States Navy in 2004 and is currently a board eligible candidate for Chief Petty Officer. He is presently stationed on the USS George H.W. Bush in Norfolk.




Morris Klein

Richard “Dick” Arthur Coessens

Suzanne R. Whelan

June 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

1954 Lewis Sturgess December 22, 2015

1969 Helen Young Magrum May 9, 2016

1957 Marguerite Grego Matarrese


Frank Moreno

The Honorable Michael Julius, Mayor of Johnstown, NY

July 23, 2016

July 28, 2016



April 6, 2016

Jeannie Kramer April 29, 2016

George Doherty

September 30, 2016

1995 Serge Shishik May 14, 2016

2014 Drew Anderson August 18, 2016

FRIE ND S OF T HE COLLE GE John R. “Bob” Crison October 3, 2016

April 9, 2016 FALL/WINTER 2016

Establishing a Lasting Legacy at ACPHS ACPHS established the Francis J. O’Brien Society to recognize alumni and friends who have invested in the College through charitable planned giving. The generosity of planned giving donors strengthens opportunities for ACPHS students, faculty and programs each and every day. We would like to thank all the members of this society for your continued support and welcome our newest members: •

Joseph Guerra ‘56

James Little ’60 and Kathleen Ryabn

Melvyn Mitteldorf Masters ’55 and Pearl Masters

Ellen Morrissey Nesbitt

Arthur ’65 and Dyan Poremba

Frank ’58 and Angela Viviani

Should you choose to include ACPHS in your will or other estate plans, we would be honored to know of your intentions and add you as a member to the Francis J. O’Brien Society. For more information on how you can establish a lasting legacy at ACPHS, contact Brian Mohan, Director of Development, 518-694-7251 or


the ACPHS Innovation Fund



The College has created a new annual giving program. Your support to the Innovation Fund (formerly the Annual Fund) will help provide a world-class educational experience to our students and provide them with the tools they need to transform advances in the basic sciences into therapies that benefit humanity. The Innovation Fund meets the innovation challenges through the funding of three specific initiatives: The Collaboratory: The Collaboratory will allow students to engage in new approaches to delivering pharmacy and clinical services to medically underserved communities. Research: Through your support, we can establish funding for student and faculty research efforts and allow for deeper exploration of critical health problems. Innovation Exchange (IX) Fellowship & Residency Program: This program gives our graduates the opportunity to gain experience in specialty areas of pharmacy and the health sciences under the dual mentorship of a faculty member and a corporate sponsor. Please consider an investment in the Innovation Fund. Your gift will do two things. Push forward innovation in health care and educate the next generation of health professional leaders. Together, we can create a bright future that benefits both our health care community and our students.

GOAL: $250,000 by June 30, 2017. Visit to make your contribution!






ACPHS Alumni News Fall/Winter 2016