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Pulse APhA-ASP in the Community

News from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

October 2011

Trip to Senegal Caps Study Abroad Course For six ACPHS students, last spring’s Culture and Customs of Senegal class did not end with a paper or a final exam. It ended with a 23 day trip to Senegal, the culmination of the College’s first ever study abroad course. While a number of students have traveled internationally for pharmacy rotations, there has never before been a course that integrated the study abroad experience into the curriculum. The unique class was taught by Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies, Kevin Hickey, in conjunction with faculty members from Union College and UAlbany. In fact, the Senegal trip was attended by a total of 16 students from the three colleges.

CAC Earns Top Honor

As part of their grade for the course, students were required to document their experiences in a blog. Fifth year student Rebecca Cope interned at the Association de Femmes Juristes, an organization that offers free legal advice to those in need, particularly women. She wrote: “Islam plays a huge role in what is socially acceptable in this country. Since it is permissible for an Islamic man to take up to 4 wives, we have spent quite a bit of time discussing the marriage contract here.” Samantha Barnes, a fifth year Pharm.D. student, interned at three different schools: See Senegal continued on page 5

Each of the students stayed with host families, a fact that helped accelerate their immersions into the culture of this West African nation. Over the course of the three weeks, the students attended lectures at the West African Research Center in Dakar, enjoyed cultural activities such as concerts and sporting events, and performed internships throughout the region. The internship sites were dictated by each student’s personal interests. Internship locations included a community hospital, women’s rights organization, and various schools.


Students gather by an entrance to the Great Mosque, the largest mosque in Senegal. Due to the holiness of the area, it is expected that women cover their hair.

The ACPHS chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) beat out nearly 500 chapters from across the country to capture “Outstanding Chapter of the Year” honors from the organization’s national office. The award is based on the chapter’s activities in each of the four strategic directions of CAC: Education, Advocacy, Survivorship, and Relay For Life. The College also received a Leader of Hope Award for the third time in four years. CAC’s signature event, Relay for Life, has raised approximately $80,000 for cancer awareness and research in just the past two years.

College Adds B.S. in Chemistry; First Graduate Program Approved in Vermont ACPHS has received approval from the New York State Board of Education to offer a bachelor’s degree program in Chemistry. The B.S. in Chemistry is the College’s fourth bachelor’s program, following those in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Technology, and Health and Human Sciences.


New Faces, New Places

The program will be housed in the School of Arts and Sciences and administered by the Department of Basic and Social Sciences. Associate Professor David Clarke, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said, “ACPHS has always maintained a strong chemistry faculty as a result of its pharmacy program and the other science-based programs at the College. As a result, the expertise and many of the resources required to offer this program already exist at the College, making it a logical and complementary addition to our list of program offerings.”


The B.S. in Chemistry will be differentiated from most other chemistry programs by its focus on health. No other school in the region will be able to offer a chemistry program that can integrate coursework in subjects such as medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, and biopharmaceutics. For those who choose not to pursue the health focus, there will be a second, more traditional, track within the program. Associate Professor Martha Hass will serve as the Director of the program.

Four Schools, One College


In other academic news, the master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, the first graduate program ever offered by the College, will be the first graduate program on the Vermont Campus. The College recently received approval from the State of Vermont to offer the program. Applications for both the B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Vermont) are now being accepted.

By the Numbers: Retention Rates

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October 2011

New Faces, New Places ACPHS is pleased to welcome the following faculty and staff who have joined the College since the end of the last academic year.

Michael Biddle Pharmacy Practice VT Assistant Professor

Carolyn Brockmann Campus Life Resident Director

Katherine Cabral Pharmacy Practice Assistant Professor

Jacquelyn Canning Pharmacy Practice Assistant Professor

Arlixer Coleman Health Sciences Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Dixon Admissions Assistant Director

Jack Lansing Information Technology Support Technician

Elizabeth Neuhardt Grant Research Assistant

Jose Rodriguez Campus Life VP of Campus Life and Global Initatives

Binshan Shi Health Sciences Assistant Professor

Markus Stein Health Sciences Assistant Professor

JoAnn Stevelos Grants Administration Grants and IRB Administrator

Emily Sutton Pharmacy Practice VT Assistant Professor

John White Campus Life Resident Director

Amy Wilson Information Technology Software Developer

Eric Yager Arts and Sciences Assistant Professor

In anticipation of the College’s plan to connect the first and second floors of the Library Building, the offices previously located on the second floor – Registrar, Advising, Student Affairs (pictured above), Career Services, Academic Support Services, Instructional Technology, and the Writing Center – have been moved to the third floor.

The common areas in Notre Dame were renovated over the summer, including the addition of new furniture. All restrooms throughout the building were also redone.

“The Holland Shoppe” is now open in the lobby of the Holland Building. It features pre-made items, hot soups, coffee, pastries, bagels, beverages, chips, candy, and various convenience items. Hours are MondayFriday from 8:00am – 1:00pm.

The School of Health Sciences has been relocated from the O’Brien Building to the first floor of the Holland Building. Pictured above is the new Cytotechnology Instructional Lab.

In effort to improve the quality of mail service, all student mailboxes have been moved to the lobby of the Holland Building. Additional lounge seating and a flat screen television have also been added to the lobby.

The new Student Health Center is located at 25 Hackett Boulevard (across from South Hall). The Health Center is open and available to students Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. For appointments or to reach a practitioner, please call 264-0900.

October 2011

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New School Structure Positions College For Future Growth There were a number of notable construction projects at the College over the summer, but the most significant change didn’t involve a shovel or a hammer.

Another benefit of the structure will be the streamlining of activities. For example, one of the newly formed units is the Division of Innovative Learning and Academic Support Services. The Division will include the Writing Center, Tutoring, Science Assistance Center, Library, Instructional Technology, and Career Services. Though each of these areas is closely connected to the other, they were previously spread out across different offices and departments.

In order to accommodate its recent growth and future expansion, the College has been reorganized into four schools. ACPHS is now comprised of a School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School The Library and Instructional Technology “This structure will make each school more of Health Sciences, School of Arts focused and better capable of enhancing existing reported to the Provost; the Writing Center and Sciences, and a School of and Science Assistance Center were part of the programs and adding new areas of study.” Graduate Studies. Department of Arts and Sciences; and Tutoring and Career Services were in the Office of Student Affairs. Uniting them in one Provost Mehdi Boroujerdi says plans for the new academic division under a Vice Provost will result in improved synergies, more efficient structure have been in the works for several years and are operation, and ultimately, better support of students. A search is currently connected to the vision of the College. “Where do we want to be in underway for the selection of the most qualified candidate for the Vice Provost five years? Ten years? By reorganizing in this manner, the College position. is positioning itself to become a more comprehensive institution in the future,” he said. “This structure will make each school more The remaining units of the academic structure are the Office of Student Affairs, focused and better capable of enhancing existing programs and Office of Research Administration, and the Office of Continuing Education and adding new areas of study.” Professional Development.

Four Schools, One College School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean: Mehdi Boroujerdi Departments: > Pharmacy Practice – Albany Chair: Rob DiCenzo > Pharmacy Practice – Vermont Chair: Ronald J. DeBellis > Pharmaceutical Sciences – Albany Chair: Bill Millington > Pharmaceutical Sciences – Vermont Chair: Stefan Balaz

School of Arts and Sciences Dean: David Clarke

School of Health Sciences Dean: Hassan El-Fawal

School of Graduate Studies Dean: TBA



> Basic and Social Sciences Chair: David Clarke

> Biomedical Technology Chair: TBA

The School will oversee the following aspects of Graduate Education:

> Humanities Interim Chair: Michael Pittman

> Toxicology and Molecular Diagnostics Chair: Hassan El-Fawal

> Academic Standards > Admissions and Recruitment > Curricula Review > New Program Proposals

By the Numbers: Freshmen Retention Rates Freshmen retention rate is determined by the number of first-year, full-time students who return to the same institution for their second year of college.

67% - National retention rate for two and four year schools

72% - National retention rate for four year private schools

Congressman Paul Tonko came to campus on September 29 to visit with the students and mentors in the ACPHS Academy Program. Above he answers a question from one of the third grade students from the Brighter Choice Charter School. Rep. Tonko represents New York’s 21st District which includes Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, and Schenectady counties.

For additional news, photos, and information about the College, please visit our Facebook page. 85% - ACPHS retention rate for incoming class of 2010 (i.e., 15% of students who enrolled last fall chose to attend a different school or were dismissed for academic performance)

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October 2011

APhA Students Lend a Hand in Albany and Vermont APhA-ASP students and faculty members from the Vermont Campus staffed a booth during Senior Day at the Champlain Valley Fair and Exposition (left). The students gave 117 blood pressure readings, answered questions from seniors about medications, and provided pamphlets on a variety of disease states. The Albany chapter of APhAASP set up a table at the annual picnic of a local neighborhood association, where they conducted screenings and talked with attendees about their health (right).

Q&A with José Rodriguez, Vice President of Campus Life and Global Initiatives Tell us a little bit about your background and education.

What is your approach to this position?

I was the first in my family to go to college. While it was not the norm in the community where I grew up (the Washington Heights section of New York City), it was always my expectation that I would go to College, and it was my mother’s expectation too. When I walked through the doors of Manhattan College, a world opportunities opened up to me, and I was determined to take full advantage of all that college had to offer. After graduating from Manhattan, I eventually went on to get three master’s degrees (Counseling, Liberal Studies, and Education) before getting my Doctor of Education.

There are many different ways to transition from one institution to another, but being anonymous is not one of them. I promise to make myself accessible and available. I basically want to be as visible as I can be and communicate as best as I can to all members of the community. That’s not going to happen by me waiting for them to come to my office; it’s going to be about me going to see them. My message to students is that I am here, and I am here for you.

What are your experiences in the area of Campus Life?

Global initiatives is part of your title. What is your philosophy for this area?

After working at Manhattan following graduation, I went to St. John’s University where I was for 25 years, nearly all of that in the Office of Student Affairs. I held a number of different positions throughout that time, but since 2005, I served in the role of Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. I was responsible for our main campus in Queens, the Staten Island Campus, and the Manhattan Campus.

Global experiences should be part of a student’s education, and it is a responsibility and obligation for us as a college to provide these opportunities. I should add that global experiences are not just about students studying abroad. They are also about bringing students to our campuses and bringing diverse experiences to this College. We need to ask how we can contribute in meaningful and relevant ways to what is going on in the world today. I think we can contribute significantly, and in many instances, we are already doing so.

Hoops Teams to Play Series with St. Louis

Kick Six

History will be made on Saturday, November 12 at 2:00 p.m. when the men’s basketball team travels to St. Louis to play the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics (a “eutectic” is the scientific process off two solids being combined to form a liquid). The game will be played in the STLCOP gymnasium which is nicknamed “The Pillbox.” This represents the first ever matchup between two of the country’s oldest pharmacy programs (STLCOP was founded in 1864; ACPHS was founded in 1881). It is also the first of what will be four games played between the schools in the next four years. Next year ACPHS will host the STLCOP men’s team; the following year, the ACPHS women’s team will travel to St. Louis; and in the final year of the agreement, the STLCOP women’s team will play in Albany. Director of Athletics and Recreation Ryan Venter explains how the series came together: “As two colleges of comparable size who each share a long history in pharmacy education, I thought it would be fun to play each other. President Gozzo and Provost Boroujerdi were very supportive of the idea, and so I reached out to the athletic director at STLCOP. She spoke with her president, and with everyone on board, we agreed to this series of games.” The game will be just the second of the year for the men’s team. They open the season at home vs. St. Joseph’s College of Vermont on Tuesday, November 8.

Second year soccer player Zach Hecox set a single game scoring record by netting six goals in a 10-1 victory over Vaughn College on Sept. 17. Zach is congratulated above by Head Coach Rich Komulainen following his historic performance.

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Martha Hass Receives NIH Grant to Develop New Compounds for Protection from the Sun Martha Hass, an Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, received a three-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $453,896. She will be developing a series of chemical compounds that could prove instrumental in limiting the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The compounds are designed to be “trapped” inside the skin, and though they metabolize over

time, they are not washed off like conventional sunscreens. Successful formulation of these compounds into lotions or creams may lead to products that could serve as effective complements to sunscreen by providing a second layer of UV protection. They might also have the potential to treat other skin diseases and perhaps be incorporated into cosmetic products.

(2) their instability causes them to quickly break down in the presence of heat and light. The new compounds proposed in the grant incorporate a design that helps address each of these limitations, in addition to enhancing the antioxidant effectiveness of both Vitamin E and lipoic acid (i.e., it’s a 1 + 1 = 3 effect).

“Both Vitamin E and lipoic acid are effective antioxidants The compounds, referred to as codrugs, are derived from Vitamin E independent of each other, but when the two compounds are and lipoic acid. Both Vitamin E and combined into a single molecule, lipoic acid are non-toxic, naturallythe result is enhanced chemical occurring antioxidants, but their ability to protect against the damage stability and the opportunity caused by UV radiation is limited by for the two antioxidants to act two key factors: (1) they are absorbed synergistically inside the skin,” said Dr. Hass. into the skin at different rates, and

Diagnosing Cancer in Peru Indra Balachandran, an associate professor in the School of Health Sciences, had a memorable experience this summer when she served for ten days as a cytotechnologist volunteer in Cusco, Peru. Cusco is the located in the Andes Mountains, more than 11,000 feet above sea level. Dr. Balachandran’s trip was organized by the International Cervical Cancer (INCCA) Foundation, a non-profit organization of health care providers and volunteers dedicated to the prevention of cervical cancer in disadvantaged populations worldwide. “I had wanted to volunteer with INCCA for some time, but personal and professional commitments made it difficult for me to do so. I finally had an opportunity this summer, and I was excited to help,” said Dr. Balachandran. Cervical cancer is a preventable disease and pap smear screening has proven successful in reducing the morbidity and mortality due to cervical cancer. In the U.S., the incidence of cervical cancer is 8 per 100,000. With an incidence rate of 100 per 100,000, Peru and Bolivia are among those countries with the highest incidence of cervical cancer, more than 10 times that of U.S., with two thirds of women having never had a pap smear. Through outreach and education, INCAA has helped encourage more than 25,000 women to receive Pap smears in the past five years with volunteer cytotechnologists like Dr. Balachandran playing a key role in examining the tests

Indra Balachandran (center) and other volunteer cytotechnologists search for cell abnormalites.

Dr. Hass will be collaborating with Luciana Lopes, an assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and J. Andrew Carlson, a professor and pathodermatologist at Albany Medical College. ACPHS students from both undergraduate and graduate programs will also be active contributors to the project.

An article about Dr. Hass’ grant was the lead story in the September 19 edition of the Times Union.

Senegal from page 1

a “street” school, a prestigious private school, and a nursery for orphaned babies. She wrote: “This brief internship allowed me to see education in a third world country, and the large disparities that exist between financial classes. And as I often found on this trip, I was reminded of how lucky I am to be an American.” Inspired by what they experienced, students from the three Colleges donated boxes of medical and school supplies to one of the local villages.

and searching for cell abnormalities that may be indicative of cancer. “When I arrived, there were approximately 1,400 pap smears waiting to be evaluated by me and the other cytotechnologist volunteers,” said Dr. Balachandran. “We worked very hard and cohesively in less than optimal conditions, and by the end of our time in Cusco, we were able to diagnose a number of precancerous lesions and one case of cervical cancer.” In each case, the women with abnormal pap smears were notified and follow-up treatments were offered at no cost to the patients. “I’ve been to many developing countries, but Peru was very different. The people were very genuine and appreciative of what we did. They hugged us and said ‘thank you for coming all this way to help.’ They even threw a big party for us on our last day.” “I shared my experiences with my students, and they said, ‘When do we go?’ I encouraged them to do so if they have the opportunity. It is so rewarding.”

Students traveled by pirogue (dugout canoe) to visit the famous cemetery at Joal-Fadiout where Christians and Muslims are buried in the same cemetery amid a grove of baobab trees (visible in the background).

By all accounts, the experience was a great success. Fourth year student SeHee Kim no doubt spoke for many of the attendees when she wrote: “When I arrived in Senegal, I was worried that time would go by really slow but when I look back, it went by really fast... so fast that it made me want to stay another 3 weeks. I didn’t know I would fall in love with the country this much so fast. This trip was clearly much more than what I was expecting.” Dr. Hickey plans to offer the course again in 2013. He will also be traveling with students on a medical mission to Belize in January 2012. Read more about Senegal in these ACPHS student blogs:

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October 2011

Checking The Pulse A roundup of ACPHS news and notes  Professors Earn Accolades for Infectious Disease Publication The American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy recently reported on a survey of the most significant publications in Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy in 2010. A publication from ACPHS Assistant Professor Nimish Patel and Associate Professor Tom Lodise was ranked second among the 25 papers identified in the survey. The publication, titled “Identification of optimal renal dosage adjustments for traditional and extended-infusion piperacillintazobactam dosing regimens in hospitalized patients” appeared in the January 2010 issue of Anitmicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.  Student Poster Selected as Finalist in Nationwide Competition P4 student Heena Patel’s abstract submission to the American College of Clinical Pharmacy entitled “Differential effect of IV iron compounds on intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in aortic coronary endothelial cells” has been selected as a finalist in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s (ACCP) Best Student Poster competition. She will present her poster to the judges at the ACCP annual meeting in Pittsburgh on October 17. Co-authors on the poster are Alexander Prokopienko, Associate Professor Amy Barton Pai, Nancy Gertzberg, Paul Neumann, and Professor Arnold Johnson.  Vermont Faculty Members Lead Professional Organization Joanna Schwartz (right), an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice on the Vermont Campus, has been named President of the Vermont Society of Health System Pharmacists. Sommer Zarbock, who is also an assistant professor in Vermont, is the president elect.  ACPHS Signs Pact with Peru University The College has signed a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) with the Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Silva (UNAS) in Tingo Maria, Peru. The agreement is the result of a research collaboration between UNAS Professor Manuel Sandoval and ACPHS Assistant Professor Andy Zheng who are exploring the potential existence of valuable drugs (i.e., natural products) in the Amazon rainforest. The MOU is expected to not only strengthen these efforts but to also open up an exchange program for students from both schools. Tingo Maria is in the Upper Amazon rainforest in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.  Vice Provost Mousa Delivers Keynote Address Shaker Mousa, Vice Provost for Research, was the keynote speaker at a Research Training Retreat hosted by RPI, UAlbany, and the Wadsworth Center in September. The event was part of a broader program that is designed to help foster collaborative, cross disciplinary research – primarily between the areas of biomolecular science and engineering. The participants were pre-doctoral students.

We want to hear from you! Send your questions, comments or submissions for The Pulse to: (518) 694-7394

New Student Clubs and Organizations Since the beginning of the last academic year, there have been five new clubs or organizations formed on the Albany Campus and eight in Vermont: Albany • Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy • American College of Clinical Pharmacy • Amnesty International • Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International • Community Service Vermont • Rho Chi • Phi Lambda Sigma • Green Group • Dance Club • Pediatric Group • Vermont Pharmacists Association • American Society of Health System Pharmacists • Service Group The College now has more than 30 student clubs and organizations. A complete list can be found in the Student Handbook, located on the ACPHS web site and Blackboard. For additional information, please visit the Office of Campus Life located on the second floor of the Student Center.

Fall Calendar October > Thursday, October 13 - Health Fair > Friday-Sunday, October 14-16 - Family Weekend (Vermont Campus) > Saturday, October 15 - Admissions Open House > Sunday, October 23 - Continuing Education Event: Chronic Kidney Disease Pharmacy Practice Institute

November > Thursday, November 3 - Career Forum > Friday, November 4 - Career Fair > Saturday, November 5 - Interview Day > Sunday, November 6 - Continuing Education Event: Annual Law Day > Saturday, November 12 - Men’s Basketball at St. Louis College of Pharmacy > Sunday, November 13 - Admissions Open House > Saturday, November 19 - Continuing Education Event: Management of MRSA in the 21st Century > Wednesday-Friday, November 23-25 - Thanksgiving Break

December > Thursday, December 1 - White Coat Ceremony (Vermont Campus) > Friday, December 2 - White Coat Ceremony (Albany Campus) > Friday, December 9 - Last day of classes > Monday - Friday, December 12-16 - Final Examinations

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