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06 The Clash
Over Rare Diseases
Patients suffering from rare diseases such as pancreatic cancer can benefit from two FDA initiatives established to get much needed drugs to market faster for the patient population in most need of these treatments, yet these programs do not come without controversy.
Boundless curiosity drives P3 student, Kelsey Hennig, into research partnership
It’s no surprise that there is a primary care physician shortage in the U.S. This problem is further compounded with more people living longer, not necessarily healthier lives. Making the pharmacist part of the health care “team” is one way to help bridge the gap in primary care coverage.
AT A G L A N C E 04 President’s Message 12 Alumni Spotlight 18 Commencement
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Campus News Class Notes Friends We’ll Miss
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Greg Dewey, Ph.D.
Within 18 months of launching the Beyond Practice Ready campaign, our two student operated pharmacies are open for business. College Hometown Pharmacy opened in Schenectady in March 2016, followed by College Parkside Pharmacy in January 2017. During this time, some questioned whether the College should get involved in the “pharmacy business.” I would argue that we have always been in the pharmacy business. As educators of future pharmacists, we are invested in preparing our graduates to go “beyond practice ready” so that they are able to practice at the highest level of the profession. In short, we are invested in the future of pharmacy as both a profession and an industry. Still, there was admittedly a risk associated with this endeavor. But we felt that the reward of providing our students with an innovative learning opportunity outweighed any potential risk. After all, most medical schools have affiliations with hospitals. So why shouldn’t a pharmacy school be associated with a pharmacy? Or in our case, two pharmacies.
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From the start, the vision for these pharmacies has been two-fold: (1) to provide a distinctive learning experience for ACPHS students and (2) to improve access to pharmacy and basic primary care services for medically underserved communities (see page 20 for more on the crisis in primary care). I am pleased to share that is exactly what is happening. Under the direction of pharmacist Dave Geloso ’00, College Hometown Pharmacy is now filling an average of 70 prescriptions per day. Between 50-60% of these prescriptions are for 340B eligible patients from the federally-qualified Hometown Health Centers clinic where the pharmacy is located. Visit the pharmacy today and you will find students clarifying medication orders from providers, filling prescriptions, and counseling patients, all as they learn about the business and back office aspects of running a community pharmacy. Earlier this year, the College added a second rotation site in the clinic. Precepted by new faculty member Assistant Professor
Jacqueline Cleary, students rotating through the clinic gain valuable experience delivering primary care services to a medically underserved population . Dr. Cleary is a certified provider of Medication Therapy Management services which gives our students an opportunity to also be mentored in this practice. The combination of the pharmacy rotation and the clinic rotation provides the college with two premier practice experiences that put students on the cutting edge of pharmacy practice. Students learn to interact directly with patients and also experience what it’s like to work on a team with other health care providers. Located just 2 ½ miles from campus, College Parkside Pharmacy in Albany’s South End is following a similar blueprint. Like its Schenectady counterpart, it is being managed by an ACPHS alumnus (Gus Barranca ’79). While the Albany pharmacy is not part of a clinic, it will soon benefit from a companion “Collaboratory” that we are developing nearby. The Collaboratory (a “laboratory for collaboration”) is being modeled after the Center for Pharmacy Care at Duquesne
University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy in Pittsburgh. It will be overseen by an on-site clinician and a pharmacy faculty member and staffed by students. The Collaboratory plans to offer a suite of pharmacy and clinical services ranging from health screenings to public health education, making it the perfect complement to the pharmacy and a positive addition to the local community. The inspiration for the Beyond Practice Ready campaign was the recognition that the roles of health care providers are changing at the same time that the health care system is undergoing its own transformation. It’s difficult to know exactly how these changes will reshape health care, but I can say with confidence that the role of the pharmacist will increase and become even more crucial to the delivery of care. We need to educate our graduates for this increased responsibility, and the student operated pharmacies are one way we will prepare them for this future. They are also further evidence of why we intend to continue in the pharmacy business.
F E AT U R E S TO R Y
CLASH OVER RARE DISEASES
You’d think federal programs to address rare diseases would excite as much controversy as Mother’s Day.
THREE DECADES OF RESULTS
You would be wrong.
In the decade before 1983, only 10 industrysupported drugs and biologic products for rare diseases were brought to market. Two barriers in particular contributed to the snail’s pace. First, the tiny market for new treatments made it unlikely that any pharmaceutical company could recoup the costs associated with a drug’s development and marketing. Second, for many rare diseases, the entire patient population was smaller than the required number of participants for standard clinical trials.
Two FDA initiatives—the Orphan Drug Act and the priority review voucher program— have drawn fire of late. Both were designed to incentivize the development of drugs for conditions such as pancreatic cancer and high-risk neuroblastoma. A range of life-enhancing treatments might never have seen the light of day without the incentives. Yet in the past several years, reports have accused drug companies of “gaming the system” and reaping exorbitant profits. Do the claims have merit? Answering that question requires a little history and a lot of input from experts, including people from ACPHS who are well versed in rare disease treatments.
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The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 was a landmark in providing incentives to make orphan drug development sustainable. Under the Act, successful applicants can take advantage of tax credits and grants to fund clinical trials. Marketing user fees are waived. Approved orphan drugs typically receive seven years of market exclusivity. (Several other types of exclusivity run three to five years.)
The impact has been substantial. In the years since, more than 600 drugs and biologics for rare diseases—defined by the Act as affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.—have been approved for market under the auspices of the Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD). Pharmaceutical firms have sought orphan status for more than 2,100 compounds. During fiscal year 2015 alone, according to an FDA report, the OOPD designated a record 355 orphan drugs from 440 new applications. Nor is the orphan drug program the only incentive. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) authorized a program for priority review vouchers—which, as the name suggests, companies can redeem to expedite FDA review of non-orphan drugs. The original FDAAA program covered “neglected tropical diseases”; over time, other voucher programs were added, including one for rare pediatric diseases in 2012. Vouchers are given to companies not to prioritize the treatment in question, but after that treatment has been approved; it’s a sort of reward for taking on the tropical disease or rare pediatric condition in the first place. The vouchers can then be used on other drug research or sold to other companies. Results for the voucher programs have been more modest. To date, reports an FDA spokesperson, the FDA has awarded nine priority review vouchers for rare pediatric conditions. However, the data on success or failure is far from complete: a March 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to congressional committees stated that “it is too early to gauge whether the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) pediatric voucher program has stimulated the development of drugs to treat or prevent rare pediatric diseases.”
CONTROVERSY ERUPTS These advances have not come without controversy. Critics have charged orphan drug manufacturers with setting exorbitant fees for their medications. An annual orphan drug report from Evaluate, a healthcare industry analyst, noted that in fiscal year 2014 the median cost per
patient of orphan drugs was $66,057 per year, versus $4,775 for non-orphan drugs (it should be noted that the FDA does not control drug pricing). Other critics cite the practice of “salami slicing,” in which manufacturers seek orphan status for rare disease applications of already approved mass market drugs. For instance, according to an article in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Amgen’s cancer treatment Epogen also held orphan status for anemia associated with kidney failure. A report from National Public Radio stated that such pharmaceutical “household names” as Humira, Abilify, and Crestor have held orphan designation after achieving mass market success. On this point, FDA press officer Sandy Walsh clarifies, “If a drug is approved for a secondary rare indication, the orphan exclusivity protection applies only to the rare indication. Therefore, generic competition for the other, nonrare indication(s) generally would not be blocked.” Criticisms have also been raised around priority review vouchers. An article in Law Street described a “loophole for pharmaceutical companies, one in which older drugs are registered in order to obtain a highly valuable voucher.” The program includes no requirements that drugs approved for the vouchers be affordable or accessible upon market launch.
P RACTICES FAIR?
Are they acceptable given the benefits? Two ACPHS leaders have, in the course of their work, immersed themselves in these incentive programs, and their perspectives hold insight for the debate as a whole.
MORE COMPETITION FOR BETTER HEALTH Just try staying calm when Shaker A. Mousa, Ph.D., M.B.A., discusses his latest research findings. Dr. Mousa is Vice Provost for Research at ACPHS and Chairman of the College’s Pharmaceutical Research Institute. “We can load this actively-targeted nanoparticle with a chemotherapeutic agent and send it straight into the affected organ,” he said. “The targeted nanoshell is very active by itself, but it can also pinpoint chemotherapy treatments. In theory it gets rid of the usual side effects and delivers 10 times more chemo in each dose.” Drugs like these—all based on a naturally existing compound in humans called tetraiodothryoacetic acid, or “tetrac”—are the raison d’être for NanoPharmaceuticals LLC, a drug developer co-founded in 2013 by Mousa and Dr. Paul J. Davis and managed by the Chairman and CEO Michael J. Rosenthal, and ACPHS. In its most recent technology update, NanoPharmaceuticals described three new compounds to treat a wide variety of diseases. This builds on its success to date with a compound, Nano-Diamino-tetrac (N-DAT) derivatives, which are slated to enter clinical trials in early 2018. The diseases targeted by NanoPharmaceuticals leave bleak statistics and symptoms in their wake. The average patient with glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer, lives 14 months; most do not survive two years. Pancreatic cancer has an all-stage one-year survival rate of 20 percent. Neuroblastoma starts in the developing nerve cells of an embryo or fetus. NanoPharmaceuticals is advancing novel therapeutics for the treatment of adult glioblastoma, pancreatic cancer and pediatric neuroblastoma. All of these diseases are also rare. Only 22,910 adults were diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in 2012. The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 53,000 new diagnoses of pancreatic cancer in 2017.
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As it turns out, N-DAT derivatives hold promise for treating both. So NanoPharmaceuticals applied for, and received, two orphan drug designations for the compound and is applying for orphan drug status for additional N-DAT derivatives. Mousa’s outlook on his work blends a passion for patients with a pragmatic approach. “I am in this to save the lives of these people,” he stressed. “I am also happy to see the College, as our trusted partner, benefit financially if we succeed.” That same approach informs Mousa, who held leadership positions with DuPont Pharmaceuticals for 18 years, as he thinks about the “salami slicing” controversy. “You won’t ever prevent human nature,” he said. “People will use the system to their advantage. But look at the flip side. The whole reason pharmaceutical companies are involved with orphan drugs is because of the incentive. This creates more competition to create more compounds, and that is good news.”
PRESERVING THE INTENT OF THE ORPHAN DRUG ACT Few people know orphan drugs like Pamela Williamson. Williamson joined the College’s President’s Advisory Council in 2014 and has been a member of the ACPHS Board of Trustees since 2015. With more than 30 years of leadership in regulatory affairs, product development, and other biopharmaceutical areas, she holds extensive experience in both rare diseases and the orphan drugs to treat them. At global biotech leader Serono, Inc., she led a groundbreaking effort to win orphan designation for the multiple sclerosis drug Rebif®. At Genzyme and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, she worked on the development of numerous treatments for patients with serious and life-threatening disorders. Two of the Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Vouchers have been awarded to Alexion for development of drugs to treat hypophosphatasia, a disease that disrupts the mineralization of bones
and teeth, and lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) deficiency, a disease that can lead to liver and cardiovascular disease. As you might expect, she keeps a close eye on the orphan drug landscape. “The Orphan Drug Act was groundbreaking at the time it was signed into law,” Williamson recalled. “Now a number of countries have orphan drug designations of their own, although the parameters are defined differently. And in the past five years, we’ve seen an even more significant increase in interest among the major players in this space.” Williamson lauded the FDA for its conscientious application of the Orphan Drug Act. “Right from the start, there was a great hesitancy to do anything that undermined the intent of the Act, and that caution continues to this day,” she said. As evidence, she pointed to the agency’s initial denial of Serono’s Rebif® application because a competing product already held orphan drug status. Serono only won the designation by running a head-to-head clinical trial that established its product’s superior efficacy—the first time a company ever used this strategy. Like Mousa, Williamson is realistic when considering some of the controversial practices associated with the Orphan Drug Act. “‘Salami slicing’ has been an issue from the beginning, and the practitioners are not limited to big pharmaceutical companies,” she emphasized. “Any entrepreneur would do the same. After all, they’re trying to do what they’re designed to do in a free market: maximize value for shareholders.” At the same time, she sees limits in how far companies should go. “Let’s say a company is studying Disease X, which comes with a certain rare mutation,” she postulated. “Their drug is effective for treating patients with the mutation—maybe there are 20,000 of them—but it also works for the broader Disease X population, which may include 500,000 people. This company shouldn’t get the orphan drug incentives.” For its part, the FDA says, “In appropriate cases, we may recognize an ‘orphan subset’
of a disease if there is some property of the drug (e.g., mechanism of action or toxicity) that would limit its use to a subset of the disease population where that subset meets the applicable designation standard….the use of the drug outside of that orphan subset (in the remaining persons with the non-rare disease or condition) would be inappropriate.”
“NOBODY WANTS TO BE ARBITRARY AND KEEP GOOD DRUGS OFF THE MARKET.” Williamson also spoke to the other central concern with orphan drugs: the difficulty (in some cases, impossibility) of running required clinical trials for such rarely occurring conditions. Federal regulations (21 CFR 314.105), while noting that statutory standards apply to all drugs, require the FDA to “exercise its scientific judgment to determine the kind and quantity of data” required—a clause that some have interpreted as opening the door to smaller clinical trials for rare disease treatments. “Where it’s become tricky is not the intent of the Act. It’s the practical application of a program designed to help patients with ultra-rare diseases that don’t have the numbers for typical clinical trials,” she said.
“Nobody wants to be arbitrary and keep good drugs off the market. Neither do they want to be criticized for relaxing standards. The FDA has been very careful in addressing these issues.”
True to that “very careful” stance, the FDA is taking steps to fine-tune its incentive programs. “We strive to ensure that orphan drug and rare pediatric incentives are aligned with the current state of science and with how FDA will ultimately review and approve the drug,” noted Ms. Walsh. “We are engaged in a process evaluation to ensure the orphan drug designation program is functioning in the most efficient way possible given the increase in orphan drug designation requests over the years.”
BOUNDLESS CURIOSITY Like most children of a certain age, Kelsey Hennig asked a lot of whys. One poignant why started her on the road to pharmacy— and into research. “When we visited my grandma in hospice, I kept looking at the IV bag and could not understand why she wasn’t getting better,” Hennig said. “Even then I knew I wanted a career where I’d help relieve the pain I saw in my grandma.” Why has driven the ACPHS student to collaborate with Dr. Allison M. Burton-Chase, Assistant Professor of Health Psychology in the Department of Population Health Sciences, in a series of investigations into patients with Lynch syndrome—an inherited predisposition to several early onset cancers, including but not limited to colorectal and endometrial cancer. Currently a P3 student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program, Hennig has already managed several aspects of the research, presented a poster at an international conference, co-authored a journal article and a book chapter, and is currently writing a journal article as first author. Hennig cites one aspect of the Albany campus as the reason she chose ACPHS over other pharmacy schools (and a pre-law program). “It’s a small community within a larger community,” she said. “You’re surrounded by a community of students in pharmacy, law, medicine, nursing. As you go through
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courses and special events, you see a huge commingling of students from the different schools.” Her introduction to Burton-Chase came in a General Psychology lecture course. “From her earliest days in that class, she stood out,” Burton-Chase remembered. “She sat in the front row, asked interesting questions, and made connections that were extraordinary at that level. I had come to ACPHS hoping to find undergraduate research partners, and Kelsey fit the bill.” As the semester progressed, Hennig “practically camped out” in Burton-Chase’s office, continually posing new whys. So, when Burton-Chase applied for a grant to advance her latest research—on Lynch patients’ lower levels of satisfaction with health care providers—she charged Hennig with writing part of the grant.
DRIVES PHARMACY STUDENT INTO RESEARCH
“I was absolutely overwhelmed when I read the background papers,” she recalled. “But Dr. Burton-Chase walked me through it, and we got funded.” From there Hennig took on more responsibility. She developed questions for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol. She conducted nearly half the 55 patient interviews. Eventually she first-authored a poster for the Sixth Annual ACPHS Research Forum in January 2016 and later for an annual meeting of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer (CGA-ICC), where she was recognized with a Top Poster Award. This academic year, she is overseeing two research assistants focusing on Lynch syndrome and advance care planning.
“I wanted a career where I’d help relieve the pain I saw in my grandma.” The experience of research has been invaluable, Hennig said—and it meshes well with her pharmacy education. “From the research interviews, I gained a ton of insight into how to ask questions,” she said, “and I’m honing that ability now in my pharmacy skills course. Talking to participants is like talking to
patients: the way you ask the question can change the answer you get.” Her experience to date has further whetted her appetite for collaborations of all kinds. At the CGA-ICC conference last October, her poster presentation drew attention from health care providers such as genetic counselors and physicians eager to bring care coordination into their own practices. As an executive board member for the ACPHS chapter of the American Pharmacists Association, the Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), she helped coordinate a campaign to raise awareness of both the value of pharmacists on the health care team and the impact pharmacists have on patient care. Whatever she does in the future, Hennig hopes to integrate clinical pharmacy practice with research. Burton-Chase, for one, is glad to hear it. “Kelsey brings a perspective all her own to research,” she said. “She’s clinically trained, so she thinks the way health care providers think. She’s highly inquisitive, puts things together in complicated ways, and has learned to challenge ideas. I’ve been researching issues with Lynch syndrome for more than 10 years, so sometimes I make assumptions and take shortcuts. I’ve invited Kelsey to challenge me on this, and she does.” As she should. Because there’s no end to the whys you can ask—or the breakthroughs that come from them.
As soon as she began her studies at ACPHS, Jillian said she was completely absorbed by it. “It definitely grabbed me from the get-go.” She feels particularly grateful for the role played by instructor Jenna Benson, MS CT (ASCP). “She was amazing. I learned so much.” She also credits Dr. Lawrence Lansing. “He provided valuable knowledge from what he’d experienced during his years of practice. It was so helpful the way he gave us this real and complete picture of diagnosing a patient.”
Jillian Schook’s Path to CytoTech Since her teenage years, Jillian Schook, ’14 has been on a mission to contribute to the field of health, and somehow make a difference. At first, she didn’t know how she’d make this happen. Then, during her freshman year at the College of Saint Rose, Jillian visited Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. From the moment she arrived on campus, she knew she’d discovered the path she needed to take. Jillian enrolled in the Biology/Cytotechnology program, a collaboration between Saint Rose and ACPHS. Within four and a half years she’d earned both her B.S. in biology and M.S. in Cytotechnology and Molecular Cytology. This journey actually began much earlier in Jillian’s life, from a very personal kind of heartache. When she was growing up on Long Island, her mother had thyroid cancer that went undetected until she became gravely ill. Later, her mother was also diagnosed with a low grade B cell lymphoma. This time, Jillian’s investigating skills kicked in. She started looking at the reports, seeing what she could uncover and how she could help. “I was always investigating,” Jillian recalled. “I knew at this young age that I’d found my calling. I wanted to contribute. I wanted to be someone who found answers.”
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Today, Jillian is employed as a lead cytotechnologist by the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, at its Queens Hospital Center. “It’s such an interesting job,” she says. “I’m constantly learning. There are always new discoveries happening in this field.” Recently, Jillian went on a mission trip to Peru, as part of a team helping to fight the scourge of cervical cancer that afflicts that country. “Here at home I work in an area with a high-risk population,” she says. “So, going to Peru I didn’t feel unprepared for what I might find. But I wasn’t expecting the extent of how bad the abnormalities would be. Some of the paps screened in Peru were a woman’s first, and they were coming back positive for cervical cancer. This was shocking.”
“I was always investigating.” The experience also provided Jillian with a greater appreciation for her own situation back here in the States. “It definitely was an eye opener, to realize how privileged I am to work where I do,” she says. “Seeing the lab there have issues and not have the resources to fix them made me so appreciative of the resources we have here and the work we’re able to do.” And making a difference is what Jillian Schook has always wanted to do.
hormone replacement therapy preparations to unique veterinarian dosage forms for animal patients. Clearly, Matt has traveled a long way from his childhood home and small town life in the Adirondacks, with its high school class of just 32 students. And this has been by design. Part of what first attracted Matt to pharmacy was the notion that he could go anywhere and find a job.
Compounding Interest When Matthew Lasaro, ’91, was growing up in the small upstate New York factory town of Fort Edward, he remembers the factory shutting down and what seemed like the entire town being put out of work. This moment made a lasting impression. Later, in high school, when Matt was told pharmacists had a 100% job placement rate he was immediately interested, especially since his best subjects in school were science and math. But if the idea of becoming a pharmacist was born from a desire for job security, what has come of this career is the sense Matt has that he’s found his true calling, and that his career is so very well suited to who he is at heart. “I love what I do,” he says. “I love solving problems. I’m working with doctors and patients to make medications that are specifically designed to meet an individual patient’s needs. I’m doing what can’t be accomplished by grabbing a bottle off the shelf. This might be for a child with a heart condition, or anyone really. I’m creating something that can truly make the critical difference.” Today, Matt owns, with two partners, Solutions Specialty Pharmacy in Las Vegas, Nevada. The business, with its staff of 13, provides custom compounded medications for everything from skin disorders and
After graduating from ACPHS, Matt first went to work for Fay’s Drugs in Rochester, NY, which at the time was one of the largest drug store chains in the country. From there, at the encouragement of friends working at Medco in Las Vegas, he made his way west. After seven years at Medco, he took a job as a compounding pharmacist, and then two years after that he had started his own business. Las Vegas has become Matt’s home, and he has no plans to move back east with its long, snowy winters. He’s very much come to enjoy being able to experience the big beautiful parks in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California. He continues to love the idea of traveling and notes New Orleans as one of his favorite places, with its great music and food. When home, he’s got his four dogs to keep him on his toes.
“I love what I do… I love solving problems.” But Matt hasn’t forgotten where he came from and how he got his start. He had a great experience at ACPHS, he says, remembering the positive influence of people like Jane O’Neil, a pharmacist and an instructor in his professional practice lab. And he remembers, of course, that it was at ACPHS where he first learned compounding, which provided the foundation for a career that’s proved rewarding on so many different levels.
Tunnel Vision Imagine being the mother of a five year-old, a three year-old, pregnant with your third child, and going to school full-time. What would that be like? “It’s like being in a tunnel,” said Marika Krull ’14. “You’re focused on what’s immediately ahead of you, and then what needs to be done after that.” To maintain that kind of focus, Marika remembers doing homework in her house in Burlington, Vermont while wearing headphones, “the kind you use when you’re mowing the lawn.” It wasn’t easy going back to school at 35, Marika admits. She often needed to remove herself from family functions. She also needed a husband who was able to be especially understanding. “I certainly could not have done it without Eric.” Marika got a late start on earning her Pharm. D. because she’d first tried another career. After graduating from Middlebury College as a Psychology major, she’d worked in the field of social work, helping those with developmental issues. She’d found the work rewarding, but it just didn’t seem the right fit for her. There had been a time earlier in life when she’d considered a career in the medical field and that old desire was surfacing again. Around that time, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences was opening its Vermont campus in nearby Colchester. Marika would become part of its second class, starting in 2010. “I was thrilled to have this opportunity, right here in my backyard.” But going back to college for the second time, as a wife and mother, meant making some pretty big adjustments. “I knew I needed to establish a real sense of balance, and not let myself get overwhelmed,” Marika said. “I needed to be a planner
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in a way that I never had been before. I couldn’t be pulling all-nighters…And I had to let go of my perfectionism. I had to let go of the ego part. I ended up doing well, but I told myself from the start that this wasn’t going to be about getting all A’s.” How does she think this challenge affected her three daughters? “I think they thought it was exciting what their mother was doing. I feel like I was setting a good example for them, being a strong role model,” she said. Marika had had that kind of role model in her own life. “My mother was a single mom who worked three jobs and went back to school herself.” Today, Marika works at the University of Vermont Medical Center. “I have come to love the hospital setting,” she said. “I love the variety and the intensity of the job. I appreciate being in the clinical world of a teaching hospital, with its collegial feel and the sense of collaboration. It’s even better than I hoped it would be.” She also feels like she’s “starting to have a life now.” She’s begun to play soccer again, as well as go skiing and hiking. She does all this with her own clear perspective on what it means to have the career she has. She recalled listening in on the conversation of a young student who was nearing the end of his college career. She heard him say: Only a few months left. “I thought to myself, ‘No, you’ve got 35 years left!’” Marika Kroll has found that in this career she’s worked hard to achieve for herself, “you need to be a life-long learner.” This is a big part of why she likes it so much.
THE SPRING 2017
A B O LT O F NEW ENERGY ON THE
Ask Jennifer Payne about her work, and her words tumble out in a rush. It’s the exuberance of someone in a job she loves, in a place she loves. Just a year in, the associate director of student affairs has energized life on the College’s Vermont campus. Along with coordinator of student affairs, Carolyn Claxton, she helped coordinate the campus’s first career fair, sparked the creation of the group Students Against Relationship Violence (SARV), helped student government find its voice, expanded counseling time on campus, presented professional development workshops, and hosted the Vermont Secretary of State. For starters. Not bad for a new person in what was essentially a new job. “The campus hadn’t filled the position for quite a few years,” Payne explained, “so they gave me a clean slate. I’m glad I started in the spring (of 2016) because it gave me time to step back a bit, observe, and let the needs of the campus become apparent.” One thing quickly came to the fore: the need for an expanded orientation. The previous format for P1 students ran a day and a half. Payne expanded it to four days—and amped up the energy. “I wanted the students to gain a love of Vermont, as well as a comfort level with the community and have a lot of chances to bond,” she recalled. “It worked because the students have a really solid foundation, and they have become close.”
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Some of that bonding came from the activities. Payne took them on a bus tour of essential locations, from the gym to the best place to buy maple creamees (the iconic local ice cream). They hopped a gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield. They visited farmer’s markets and corn mazes and got to know the support staff. Payne’s enthusiasm for student affairs stretches back 25 years, to when she was in college. “I was active in everything extracurricular: athletics, Greek life, volunteering, student leadership, club sports, etc.,” she recalled. “When I graduated, I realized I could develop my professional career right on campus, in student affairs. I did venture away from the field for a few jobs, but then came back because I missed the campus energy and working with college students.” As Dean of Students Wendy Neifeld Wheeler tells it, Payne has excelled at bringing successful programs from the Albany campus to Vermont. Their collaboration on SARV and student government are prime examples; so was the opening of a writing center. “Until this year, Vermont students had to contact the Albany campus for writing support,” Neifeld Wheeler said. “Jennifer recognized right away that we needed our own writing center. I found funding for a pilot project, and what a difference it’s made. You can tell by the number of appointments how popular the writing center is.”
A number of students on the Vermont campus have returned to school after years in the workforce, and that’s reflected in Payne’s approach to them. “These students already have maturity, focus, and direction,” she explained, “so a big part of my work is helping them develop their professional side—taking their life/work experience and styling it up. Together we look at their leadership style, their communications style, and find ways to polish them. I help them find and prepare for niches in the job market.”
Overall, Neifeld Wheeler cannot say enough about what Payne has brought to ACPHS Vermont. “Jennifer’s emphasis on the student experience, and how important it is to academic performance: that was missing in student affairs before this year, and it’s intrinsic to everything she does,” the dean said. “She is the consummate student-centered professional. And she’s the living, breathing spirit of Vermont.”
COMMENCEMENT 2017 On Saturday, May 13 the College held its Commencement Excercises at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for Albany and Vermont campus students. This year there were 294 graduates in the class of 2017 representing 18 states and 7 countries. Commencement speaker, Howard Zucker, MD, JD, New York State Commissioner of Health, (top right) addressed the graduates with an inspiring sendoff into their professional careers. Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) – 226 Albany: 185 Vermont: 41 Bachelor’s degrees – 50 Bachelor’s and Master’s dual degrees – 3 Master’s degrees – 15
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I N D U S T R Y U P DAT E
First the good news. Advances in medical science over the past several decades mean that people are living longer than at any other time in human history. The population age 65 and older is projected to grow by 39 percent through 2027. But longer life expectancy does not ensure quality of life. As the population ages, more people will have to contend with multiple chronic diseases, cognitive impairments, and various limitations in their daily activities. The needs of an aging population are placing a corresponding strain on the nation’s health care system. This problem is being compounded by the overall poor state of health of Americans across all age categories. A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that less than three percent of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle.” As the need for primary care services is growing, the number of primary care physicians is shrinking. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the nation will be short 23,600 physicians by 2025, with primary care doctors accounting for one-third of this number. The shortage could be worse if people who do not now utilize health care because of financial, cultural, social, or geographic barriers enter the system. In response, the Association of American Medical Colleges has asked medical schools to increase their class sizes, petitioned Congress for federal funding to add new residency positions, and sought to improve uses of technology and research innovations in the delivery of care.
ACPHS ALUMNI NEWS
Even if each of these efforts comes to pass, it’s likely that they will only lead to incremental improvements in our ability to meet the country’s primary care needs. Any long term solution to the primary care crisis will require redefining the roles of other providers, and pharmacists are near the top of this list. This is not a new concept, and depending on where you live, it may be commonplace. New Mexico, for example, enacted the Pharmacist Prescriptive Authority Act in 1993, recognizing pharmacists as “midlevel practitioners who can manage primary care patients independently in written collaboration with a physician.” Under this designation, pharmacists are allowed to prescribe and dispense medications in accordance with state law.
23,600 THE NUMBER OF PHYSICIANS THE NATION WILL BE SHORT BY 2025
While other states have been slower to expand the pharmacist’s role, change is coming. According to the American Pharmacists Association, in 2015 there were 53 bills introduced at the state level addressing scope of practice issues, a sharp increase from the previous year.
Of course, pharmacists alone are not going to be able to bridge the gap in primary care coverage. It will take a “team” comprised of some combination of pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, therapists, social workers, community health workers, and perhaps others. We are already seeing success with a version of this model in the form of clinics now being offered by Walgreens and CVS. The two retail chains combined have nearly 1,500 health care clinics throughout the country. Smaller chains and independent stores have also begun to offer similar services. Staffed typically by nurse practitioners or physician assistants, many of these clinics do not even require an appointment, making them a popular choice for diagnosing common family illnesses (e.g., strep throat, ear infections), treating minor wounds or skin conditions, and conducting routine lab testing. Since these clinics are housed in pharmacies, it’s easy for the treating clinician to coordinate care with the pharmacist who can fill any prescriptions, manage the patient’s medications, and administer immunizations. According to Walgreens, 80% of patients who visited a retail clinic stated the experience was as good or better than going to their primary care provider. In addition to producing a positive patient experience, such clinics also reduce the cost of care. Another study by insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield indicates as many as 29.8 percent of emergency room visits could potentially be treated in retail clinics. The College’s two student operated pharmacies – College Hometown Pharmacy and College Parkside Pharmacy – are modeled on a similar concept. College Hometown Pharmacy is located in the Hometown Health Centers clinic in Schenectady, which offers primary and preventive health care to children and families, including behavioral health, lab services, and even comprehensive dental care. Having a pharmacy embedded in this environment not only provides a convenient option for patients in need of pharmacy services, but it also offers students opportunities to become engaged members of a health care team.
College Parkside Pharmacy, which opened in Albany this past January, is not part of a clinic, but it will soon benefit from a nearby “Collaboratory” being developed by the College. Plans for the Collaboratory (literally, a laboratory for collaboration) include an on-site clinician, CLIA laboratory, screening rooms, and a classroom. When complete, the Collaboratory and pharmacy will offer an integrated suite of services that will be similar to that of a retail clinic.
THE POPULATION AGE 65 AND OLDER IS PROJECTED TO GROW BY
39% THROUGH 2027
This team-focused, community-based approach to primary care is only going to grow in the future. The next step in the evolution of the concept may be taking shape in Bronx, NY, where St. Barnabas Hospital is in the process of building “The Bronx Center for Healthy Communities.” This mixed use project will integrate affordable housing, wellness oriented health care services, and complementary retail in one setting, thereby galvanizing the population into embracing better health and wellness priorities. Included in this community will be a 50,000 square foot Outpatient Health and Wellness Hub that will include an urgent care facility; women’s health center; pediatrics; and a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) department. It may take some time before projects on this scale become mainstream, but the path ahead is clear. If we are going to meet the nation’s primary care needs, we cannot be exclusively dependent on the physician. Pharmacists and other providers will need to play expanded roles in keeping Americans healthy, and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences intends to do its part to help prepare students for this emerging health care environment.
Albany Student Operated Pharmacy, Officially Open for Business On January 25, before a packed crowd that included Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and several other leaders in county and state government, ACPHS opened its second student operated pharmacy in less than a year. The new College Parkside Pharmacy—located at 20 Warren Street in Albany’s South End—is now serving patients Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. The school’s first student operated pharmacy (College Hometown Pharmacy) opened last March
Giving Day Raises Over $26,000 in 24 Hours On April 27, the College hosted its third annual Giving Day. In just 24 hours, more than $26,000 from alumni, faculty, staff,
ACPHS ALUMNI NEWS
in Schenectady. Funding for the opening and initial operations of both pharmacies is being provided through the current “Beyond Practice Ready” campaign. Plans are also underway for an additional space not far from College Parkside Pharmacy for a companion “Collaboratory.” Building partnerships with community based organizations, the Collaboratory will allow students to engage in new approaches to delivering pharmacy and clinical services to this medically underserved community. For more information go to acphs.edu/ beyondpracticeready.
students and friends of the College was donated in support of the Innovation Fund’s three initiatives – the collaboratory, research, and the innovation exchange fellowship and residency programs. Students on both the Vermont and Albany campuses kept the excitement going throughout the morning at their Giving Day headquarters in the Brain Food Café and Rite Aid Lounge. Fun photos and video of the day can be found at acphs.edu/ givingday. We can’t thank you enough for your support on Giving Day. We’re already looking forward to next year!
New Active Learning Spaces Host Spring Semester Classes The spring semester kicked off on January 17 with the opening of three new active learning classrooms in the Holland Building. Each room is equipped with wall-mounted and portable whiteboards, monitors, and moveable tables and chairs to encourage small group work and help promote active and engaged learning. High quality display screens and robust wireless capabilities allow faculty and students to connect to digital resources within and outside of the physical classroom. Thirteen faculty members made up the inaugural group of instructors using the classroom spaces last semester. Courses spanned a variety of subject areas including Modern World, Health Psychology, IPS Workshop, and Health Care / Human Values.
Relay for Life: “If Cancer Doesn’t Sleep, Why Should We?” The annual ACPHS Relay for Life event took place throughout the night on March 3-4 and proved to be another great success. Organized by the ACPHS chapter of Colleges Against Cancer, 377 participants and 26 teams of students, faculty, and staff came together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and raise money to support the efforts of the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life has raised nearly $36,000 so far, and it’s not over yet (the official tally doesn’t close until August)! Visit the ACPHS Facebook page to view photos from this year’s event.
College’s Newest Dual Degree Program Has Research Emphasis The College recently announced that it has received approval from the New York State Education Department on a new dual degree program that will allow students to obtain a B.S. in Microbiology and an
M.S. in Molecular Biosciences in just five years (as opposed to six). By reducing the total number of courses needed and the total time required for the combined BS/MS degree, students will now be able to save both time and money when compared to the requirements of pursuing each degree separately. The combination of the two degrees will provide graduates with a stronger foundation in research, giving them a competitive advantage whether they choose to pursue employment opportunities immediately following graduation or decide to continue their education in a Ph.D. or professional program.
ACPHS Team Places 3rd in National Compounding Competition ACPHS placed 3rd overall out of 18 teams in the national Medical Compounding Competition held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, in March. The College was represented by P2s Kyle Farina (Albany Campus), Donna Gordon, and C.J. Miller (both from the Vermont Campus). In addition to the compounding challenge, the students competed in a pharmaceutics “game show” (where the team finished 2nd) and a poster presentation (where they were 3rd). The team also finished first for their pre-taped presentation about starting a compounding pharmacy.
Two ACPHS Students to Hold Positions with National Organizations Alyssa Hopsicker and Seema Jaipal have been elected to national positions with APhA-ASP, the student academy of the American Pharmacists Association. At the APhA Annual Meeting last month, Alyssa, a P3 student on the Albany Campus, began her role on the APhA-ASP’s National Awards Standing Committee. Also at the conference, Seema Jaipal, a P3 student on the Vermont Campus, was elected National Member at Large for Phi Lambda Sigma, the pharmacy leadership society. Seema also represented ACPHS at the National Patient Counseling Competition held in conjunction with the conference.
BSPS Program Celebrates 10 Years In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the Bachelor’s degree program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, the College hosted celebration events on June 3 over Reunion Weekend to highlight the evolution and success of the program over the last decade. Alumna Lisa Murphy Scudder ’09 was the keynote speaker for the Accomplished Alumni Forum. Faculty and students presented and showcased their recent projects at the Research Gallery. Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences on the Albany Campus, James Gallo, Pharm.D., Ph.D., closed out the day by leading the afternoon town hall discussion and shared the future and vision of the program.
Symposium Celebrates Student Research Achievements The College held its fourth annual Student Research Symposium on April 6 in one of the new active learning classrooms in the Holland Building. A total of 36 students were represented in the 29 research posters; the work of these students was supported by 15 faculty research mentors. Due to the number of posters this year, organizers split the Symposium into two 30-minute sessions so that students had adequate time to present their research. Subject areas spanned a wide range of disciplines including chemistry, pharmacology, cellular biology, public health, neuroscience, infectious disease, and psychology.
Women’s Track and Field Finishes as National Runner-Up On April 29, the women’s track and field team competed at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national meet hosted by SUNY Delhi.
Meet Colleen McLaughlin: Chair of Dept. of Population Health Sciences Colleen McLaughlin, Ph.D., has joined ACPHS as Associate Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences. Dr. McLaughlin brings a wealth of experience to the new department and the programs it serves (B.S. in Public Health and M.S. Health Outcomes and Informatics). For the past 25 years, she has worked in multiple bureaus at the New York State Department of Health including the Bureau of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance, and the Bureau of Cancer Epidemiology. Dr. McLaughlin also taught epidemiology at the UAlbany School of Public Health for several years.
ACPHS ALUMNI NEWS
Junior Dannie Griffin finished first as Individual National Champion in the javelin with a throw of 34.73 meters setting a new school record. Freshman Rachel Mayotte finished first as Individual National Champion in the high jump with a jump of 1.51 meters.
The team finished second out of ten teams in the field to earn National Runner-up honors, an improvement of six places from their eighth place finish in 2016. This was the last collegiate track meet for Seniors Chiara Evans, Rebecca Foote and Nicole Kulakowski. They are collectively the first three women to complete four years of track and field at ACPHS.
The men finished 6th at the same USCAA meet. Junior Nicholas Stornelli finished third in the discus with a new school record mark of 36.18 meters, third in shot put with a throw of 12.23 meters, and eleventh in the javelin with a new school record distance of 36.53 meters. Senior Captain Kyle Guiffre finished as national runner-up in the shot put with a new school record throw of 13.19 meters and fifth in the discus with a mark of 33.36 meters. This was Guiffre’s last meet. He is the first man to complete four years of track and field at ACPHS.
For registration details, more information and a complete listing of Continuing Education, Admissions and AlumniCommunity Events, visit acphs.edu.
The Paul Byrnes ‘34 Archives
June 17 Continuing Professional Development: Barbara M. DiLascia ’55 Hematology/ Oncology Lecture Series. Lake George, NY
July 24 24th Annual President’s Cup Golf Tournament August 22–26 Orientation
The Paul Byrnes ‘34 Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible materials relating to the history of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Located in the Lewis Library on the Albany campus, the Archives contains a collection of documents created and gleaned from the day-to-day processes and workings of the College. Among its holdings are meeting minutes, College publications, and personal papers from ACPHS community members. To access the Online Archives, visit http://libraryservices.acphs.edu/home.
August 28 First day of Fall ‘17 Semester
Alumni Council Volunteer Board The Office of Institutional Advancement, along with the Alumni Council Volunteer Board, has the perfect opportunity for individuals LIKE YOU to share your insight with current students and fellow alumni. Help shape an ACPHS student’s future. Serve as a member of the Alumni Council Volunteer Board. The volunteers on the Alumni Council are working on a number of initiatives including mentoring, special events, and recruitment and WE WANT YOU to join us! Consider Alumni-Student Mentoring as an additional opportunity to stay connected and support current and future graduates. If you would like to partner with fellow alumni please email email@example.com today!
1996 Congratulations to Adeka McIntosh and his wife Olivia who welcomed little Quincy Xavier on January 8, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first child for the couple.
GIVE US A RING
(518) 694.7393 DROP US A LINE
firstname.lastname@example.org We want to hear how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to since graduation. Keep the College, your fellow classmates and friends in the know by sharing your stories, milestones, and accomplishments with the Office of Institutional Advancement. We look forward to hearing from you.
2008 Congratulations to Erika Fallon who was recently elected to the 2017 International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) Board of Directors. IACP represents over 4,000 pharmacists, technicians, students and members of the compounding community.
the Maine Pharmacy Association. Dr. Parsons is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Husson University. Cassie currently serves on the board of the Maine Pharmacy Association and is the organization’s presidentelect. She also received 2016 teaching awards for Faculty Preceptor of the Year and P4 Teacher of the Year. Cassie married her husband Ryan Parsons, an engineer, in September 2016. 2013 In October 2016, Jason Long, ACPHS, VT Campus, was named the new Director of Pharmacy of Finger Lakes Health. Previously, Jason was the Director of Pharmacy at McLeod Dillon Hospital in Dillon, South Carolina. 2015
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 Facebook Page
2012 Congratulations to Cassandra “Cassie” Parsons who was named Distinguished Young Pharmacist in Maine by
ACPHS Alumni Twitter Feed twitter.com/ACPHSAlumni
ACPHS LinkedIn Group www.linkedin.com/groups/ 1913669
ACPHS ALUMNI NEWS
Ali Mohammed who completed the joint Pharm.D. and MBA program at ACPHS was featured on the cover of Drug Topics magazine in February 2017 for his work in the area of Specialty Pharmacy. Check out the article by visiting www.drugtopics.com.
F RIE N D S WE’L L M I SS Alumni 1947
June A. Favreau Cherniak
Richard Thomas Cornell Sr.
November 11, 2016
May 18, 2017
January 4, 2017
John William Resnik
Barry Marc Tompkins
February 10, 2017
February 12, 2017
November 20, 2016
Stanley R. Stankes May 10, 2017
James R. O’Brien February 11, 2017
Gordon VanDeBogart May 7, 2017
Paul A. Pastore July 1, 2016
Virginia McBride April 26, 2016
Robert A. Rieben
Richard Dewey Baylis
John Paul Martin, Jr.
November 22, 2016
October 7, 2016
John V. “Tag” Tagliaferri
Keith A. Harris
April 22, 2017
September 21, 2016
Robert M. Toomajian
Philip F. Luther
December 27, 2016
January 10, 2017
Floyd A. Firman
March 22, 2017
Dorothy “Dottie” McGregor Fausel April 27, 2017
December 1, 2016
Donald M. Nash, Jr. June 8, 2016
Emilee Mazur August 19, 2016
U P DAT E
Goal $250,000 by 6/30/2017
THE ACPHS INNOVATION FUND I N N O VAT I O N B U I LT O N T R A D I T I O N As of April 30, 2017, our community has generously invested over $170,000 to the new Innovation Fund that is directly impacting three key initiatives and future graduates. Support Innovations at ACPHS today! Use the envelope provided in this edition of the Alumni News Magazine or make your gift online at acphs.edu/innovation. Your gift will do two things: push forward innovation in healthcare and educate the next generation of health professional leaders. Together, we can create a bright future that benefits both our healthcare community and our students. Thank you!