Pharmacy P E R S P E C T I V E S
CLASS OF 2020 Their last semester at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences proved something our school knew all along: The Class of 2020 is a resilient, hardworking group of professionals. Read their stories inside.
Treating COVID-19 As the novel coronavirus swept the globe, a team of CU Pharmacy researchers began searching for the answer to a pressing question: Could the protease inhibitors that changed the course of HIV and other viruses tame this new threat? Read more about their work on page 2.
Class of 2020 tells their story From married CU Pharmacy students who earned leadership positions with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to a student who has a personal connection to her passion for pediatric pharmacy, members of the Class of 2020 have stories to tell. Read about their journeys on pages 8-15.
In This Issue
The stories of our pharmacists on the front lines
Rare honor: Journal dedicated to professors
10-11 Faces of the Class of 2020
Incoming studentâ€™s ties to CU Pharmacy date back to high school
CU Pharmacy introduces Alumni Association Board Members
Congratulating our award-winning faculty and students
G R A D UAT I O N 2 0 2 0
I N COVID-19 BATTLE, CU ANSCHUTZ TEAM TEACHING OLD DRUGS NEW TRICKS Protease inhibitors that changed the course of HIV and other viruses could help tame new threat Congratulations to our 2020 Graduates! Welcome to the graduation edition of Pharmacy Perspectives. It could as easily be called the COVID-19 edition, because as you read, you will see how the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The remote working orders have challenged everyone to develop innovative ways to do what we do best: TEACHING Our faculty accomplished the herculean task of moving all of their classes, and even experiential courses, online. This has required adopting new technology and rethinking pedagogy. RESEARCH Our researchers have gained national attention for their work on COVID-19 antiviral inhibitors. This has required innovative and diligent commitment to deter a real-time threat. SERVICE Our critical care pharmacists have literally been on the front lines, serving in the intensive care
units caring for those afflicted with COVID-19, and taking up the slack in ambulatory settings. Their dedication to their patients has required extra time, energy, and precautions. LEADERSHIP Our thought leaders have been providing interviews to the media, serving on regional health care support teams, leading state-wide pharmacy advocacy efforts and conducting COVID-19 webinars locally and globally through the International Pharmaceutical Federation. Their efforts have required a new level of agility, balance and collaboration.
It is with confidence that we look forward to the increased recognition and role that pharmacy plays in the U.S. and around the world. As the next generation of pharmacists, we look forward to you carrying the torch and elevating the profession beyond where it is today. On Commencement Day we say farewell to our students and welcome to our new colleagues! Congratulations and best wishes to you all. Sincerely,
Ralph J. Altiere, PhD Dean, University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
BY D E B R A M E L A N I
s scientists around the world scramble against the COVID-19 clock, searching for a vaccine that could stop the viral infection before it happens, a trio of experts on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have taken a different tack: overpowering the new mutation after it invades the body. By using old antiviral drugs that changed the course of HIV, the team hopes its end goal – an antiviral drug that turns the novel coronavirus on its head – can fill a void and make a difference faster. “Vaccines are great, but they don’t really help people who are already infected with the virus, and particularly those most at risk of dying from the virus,” said Jed Lampe, PhD, an expert in drug metabolism in the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The time for an antiviral drug? Now Unleashed in China in December and spreading across the world, COVID-19 has disrupted daily life and proved most deadly in the elderly and immunocompromised, two populations that Jed Lampe, PhD sometimes cannot receive or do not respond well to vaccinations. “We really need new antiviral agents out there in the clinic that we can use to treat patients right away,” said Lampe, whose work with Philip Reigan, PhD, and Shaodong Dai, PhD, could pave the way to faster response time to new viral threats in the future. “And I think the key is being able to repurpose older antiviral drugs.” Teaching an old drug new tricks Two of those drugs, ritonavir and lopinavir (star players in the battle against AIDS), are protease inhibitors that are no strangers to Lampe and his teammates: Reigan, an expert in medicinal chemistry; and Dai, who specializes in immunology structural biology. “We’ve been studying them in my lab for years,” said Lampe, explaining that proteases are enzymes or proteins that viruses need to multiply. “They are kind of the Achilles’ heel of a virus,” Lampe said. “If you de-activate this one protein, it stops viral replication.”
Philip Reigan, PhD
Shaodong Dai, PhD
The team hopes that by modifying the HIV-effective drugs, it can target COVID-19 more effectively, reducing illness and boosting chances of survival in people already afflicted. If all goes as well as the researchers predict, pre-clinical trials in animal models could happen in as little as six months to a year, Lampe said. Building an arsenal against the enemy “I know they’re fast-tracking the vaccine process right now,” Lampe said. “So we may get a vaccine for this virus sooner than we would otherwise. But typically, it takes about five to 10 years to get a safe and efficacious vaccine in the clinic.” Antivirals, which have an important role to play in the COVID19 battle, generally can be produced and tested faster, Lampe said. Both the preventative and the therapeutic drugs are critical, he said. “We need a two-pronged approach here.”
The researchers are optimistic about their chances of success for numerous reasons, including the speed at which science surrounding COVID-19 has already progressed. “Once the sequence was published of the virus in late January by Chinese scientists, we searched that sequence to find the viral protease specific for COVID-19, and we cloned that gene,” Lampe said. “Now we will start making large amounts of protease in the lab so we can screen drugs for it.” Using computational screening with a library of known drugs, including ritonavir and lopinavir, the researchers will study how the drugs bind and fit on the COVID-19 protease. Lampe likened the work ahead to reshaping a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. “If you get a puzzle piece that’s from a different puzzle (HIV), it’s not going to fit into your puzzle (COVID-19).” CU Anschutz researchers feel an edge Lampe believes the team’s proprietary strategy gives it an advantage over the scores of other scientists worldwide scrambling to find weapons against the novel coronavirus. Also, working on a premier research campus with the top
minds in their fields gives the scientists an edge, he said. “We all bring this different expertise to this project, and working together, we can really leverage our expertise and generate results much faster than any one of us could do alone.” Using drugs that have already been through the FDA-approval process and shown safety and efficacy in the clinic with other viruses also helps hasten their work, Lampe said. Ultimate goal: halting a COVID-19 repeat “So I think, if we’re successful here, others can use this strategy, this template, to quickly identify and repurpose drugs to target individual proteases of all sorts of emerging viruses so we can really get out in front of these epidemics before they have a chance to spread.” Given the importance of the work, the team has outside scientists ready to collaborate on the project and is confident in its ability to find corporate partners and funding. “Not only could it save lives from COVID-19, but it could make the system much more responsive next time – because there will be a next time,” Lampe said. “Hopefully, it won’t be like this.”
Coronavirus changes life at CU Anschutz
s the world changed during the coronavirus pandemic, so did life at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. After COVID-19 became widespread in Colorado not long after the state’s first case was announced in March, campus leaders took action to transition students, faculty and staff to remote learning, research and work. Among the biggest impacts on the campus and CU Pharmacy was the cancellation of the physical commencement ceremony. Through the changes, the resilience of the campus and school was on full display. Faculty members worked on the front lines in hospital ICUs, caring for the sickest patients impacted by the virus. Students
completed their courses, and those with internships at hospitals continued their training. Rotations went on virtually, giving students experiential training in a new environment. In lieu of the physical commencement ceremony, CU Anschutz and CU Pharmacy opted to host virtual ceremonies to honor the Class of 2020. All graduates were honored by the state’s leader. Ahead of the ceremony, Gov. Jared Polis sent a special message of congratulations to graduates, summing up what so many of us know. “Health care workers are heroes, especially in times like these,” he said. “I know each and every one of you is going to do amazing work for the people of Colorado.” Visit https://bit.ly/CUPharmacyCommencement to see the tribute to the Class of 2020.
CU Pharmacy students and faculty members work on the coronavirus pandemic front lines.
On the Front Lines :
UNSUNG HEROES ON THE COVID-19 FRONT LINES BY LORI WESTERMANN
s the coronavirus pandemic grows, so does the reliance on health care workers around the world. From social media salutes to neighborhood parades, the world is finding innovative ways to applaud the efforts of the medical community on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. The public, and the news media alike, generally identify the front line fighters as being “doctors and nurses.” But there is another critical, yet often unknown, member of the health care team in every COVID19 intensive care unit. Coronavirus Shoes When Dr. Paul Reynolds returns home after his shift as a critical care specialist at the University of Colorado Health Hospital, he enters his home through the garage, not the front door. That’s so he can change out of his scrubs before he enters his house. “I have a set of ‘coronavirus shoes’ that I don’t wear into the house,” Reynolds explains. “We had to make a decision, as far as the risk of me bringing home the virus, so my wife and child decided to live with their parents while I’m working on the COVID-19 unit.” Across town, Dr. Rob MacLaren goes through a similar routine after his day as part of an intensive care team. “When I come back from the hospital, I’m stripping in the garage then straight to the shower,” MacLaren says. “It’s what we’re trained for first of all, so Pic t ure d b e l ow i s (L- R) Dr. Rob er t Page, Depar tm ent of Clin ica l Phar m ac y; Al is o n Novak, PGY2 c r i ti c al c are resi d ent, Co u rtn ey Sh a kows ki, U C H c ard io l og y cr i ti c al c are phar mac i s t. Shakowski is s een h elpin g Nova k into he r P P E re s pi rator b efore enter i ng a COVID - 19 patient’s ro o m .
I think everyone understands that from a family perspective ... Other than that, I think there’s the general anxiety of the family when I’m going into the hospital and making sure I’m safe.” Elsewhere, Dr. Joseph Saseen logs onto his computer to help lead the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) Colorado Zoom meeting. Saseen is a member of the multidisciplinary team working to develop and distribute best practices for dealing with COVID-19. “Our goal is to improve patient care and the way we’re doing it is by empowering clinicians and other supporters with information,” Saseen says. Profes s o r Jo e Sa s een , Ph a rmD
Behind the Mask If many members of the general public saw these doctors in a clinical setting, they might assume they were physicians. But as pharmacists know, they would be wrong. Because Reynolds, MacLaren and Saseen are all Doctors of Pharmacy, they work alongside physicians and nurses as a core part of the team. In addition to their faculty responsibilities at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, they all serve in clinical or ambulatory care settings.
the team, and that’s probably an area that gets forgotten ... During rounds we’re at the bedside, we’re with the team providing interventions that could be anything from appropriate antibiotic dosing to let’s try a different sedative for the patient or preventing an adverse reaction from a drug.” According to MacLaren, one of the unique challenges associated with caring for patients with COVID-19 is the unusually large doses of sedatives that they require. “These patients are on non-physiological ventilator modes requiring a tremendous amount of sedation that really I haven’t seen before in my 20 years of practice. So, we’re trying to come up with innovative techniques to see how these drugs work together.” In addition to managing the drugs that keep a COVID-19 patient comfortable while on a ventilator, critical care pharmacists develop therapeutic strategies that optimize safety for the entire medical team. “We’re thinking not only of the wellbeing of the patient, but also of the health care providers,” Reynolds explains. “We’re thinking about the medications that we’re selecting. Is there an alternative to a medication that’s longer acting? If so, that means that the nurse doesn’t have to go into a sick coronavirus patient’s room as often.” A s s is ta nt Profes s or Pa u l Rey n ol ds , Ph a r mD
Profes s o r Ro bert Ma cL a ren , Ph a rmD
MacLaren, who is a critical care pharmacist explains the key role that pharmacists play in the ICU. “We’re there to provide rational evidence-based medical decisions but also to educate
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Online Expertise Unlike Reynolds and MacLaren, Dr. Saseen is an ambulatory care pharmacist. When he’s not teaching, he can be found in the UCHealth A.F. Williams Family Medicine Clinic, where he provides drug management and counseling to physicians and patients. During the coronavirus pandemic much of his normal clinical duties have gone online, including the
professional lifeline that he provides to rural health care workers through the ECHO online platform. “The overall goal is to provide information in a real-time resource. Imagine it, some clinicians may be out there, and they may be the only clinician for a very wide catchment area. So, to have some colleague support from experts at the University is comforting to a lot of them,” Saseen says. When asked about the value that pharmacists bring to the fight against COVID-19 Saseen was quick to answer, “Pharmacists are essential workers. Period. Look at this crisis and looks who’s out there on the front lines. It is pharmacists and other health care providers.” National Recognition It appears that the nation is getting the message. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health issued new guidance under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act authorizing licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved. HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated, "Giving pharmacists the authorization to order and administer COVID-19 tests to their patients means easier access to testing for Americans who need it. Pharmacists play a vital role in delivering convenient access to important public health services and information. The Administration is pleased to give pharmacists the chance to play a bigger role in the COVID-19 response, alongside all of America's heroic healthcare workers." CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy policy advocates are currently working with state leaders to make the authorization order operative in the state of Colorado. But for now, pharmacists across the state, and around the world, will continue to serve on the front lines of the pandemic as both the vocal medical expert for the health care team and, as Dr. Reynolds puts it, a silent partner for their COVID-19 patients. “If you think about it, most of the patients that we’re managing in the ICU are not really aware of anyone’s presence. But I like to think of ourselves as almost the guardian angels that are looking out for those patients. Even when they can’t see, or hear, or feel, or know what’s going on, we’re still advocating for them.”
To see behind-the-scenes interviews, visit https://bit.ly/FrontLinePharmacists.
Pharmacy School Now Offers Medical Cannabis Education Research shows most health care providers are not equipped to answer patient’s questions about medical cannabis By Lori Westermann
ndustry analysts say the market size of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals could generate up to 2 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2020. The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry reports that 6,031 patients received a physician certification for medical cannabis in the month of January alone, bringing the total number of medical cannabis users on the state’s registry to almost 82,000. And yet, in a recent report, published by Mayo Clinic researchers, half of the health care professionals surveyed said that they were not prepared to answer patients’ questions about medical cannabis. But three-quarters expressed a desire to learn more. It’s findings like these that led experts at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the Anschutz Medical Campus to create one of the first programs specifically focused on educating health care professionals to respond to the growing questions they receive about medical cannabis. “The huge variety of cannabis products at dispensaries – inhaled, edibles, concentrates, topicals – and the proliferation of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) consumer products makes it difficult for clinicians to gauge whether a patient’s cannabis use is potentially useful or harmful, or simply a waste of money,” said David Kroll, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology. “This course will help health care professionals ask the right David Kro ll, PhD
questions of their patients and be able to give answers based on science and clinical research, not product marketing.” “Although many states require a health care professional to certify a patient’s authorization to purchase medical marijuana, the expansion of the so-called recreational cannabis market takes the practitioner out of the equation,” said Laura Borgelt, PharmD, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Family Medicine. “But many of these consumers are still using the products for medical purposes.”
And, although state laws vary on which conditions qualify people for treatment with medical cannabis, some of the most common conditions include:
L a u ra Bo rgelt, Ph a rmD, M BA As opposed to promoting the use of medical cannabis, the Medical Cannabis Education for Health Care Providers seeks to provide a deep understanding of the role that medical cannabis may – or may not – have in patient care. The eight-week evidencebased course is taught online by international experts from the School of Pharmacy. The dissonance between state and federal laws sometimes makes the clinician feel uneasy about discussing cannabis with their patients. But, according to experts, it’s an important conversation to have because the quality of evidence for medical cannabis varies considerably and some products have the potential for interactions with other medications or the patient’s underlying health status. Studies report that some forms of medical cannabis have possible benefit for several conditions.
The medical cannabis course provides 20 hours of continuing education credit for pharmacists, nurses and physicians, and includes sessions on:
• Alzheimer’s disease • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) • HIV/AIDS • Cancer • Crohn’s disease • Epilepsy and seizures • Glaucoma • Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms • Severe and chronic pain • Severe nausea
• Endocannabinoids and the pharmacology of cannabis and hemp • Formulations, dosing, and adverse effects • The clinical interview and mental health considerations • Epilepsy and movement disorders • Sleep & migraine • Pain management and supportive care in oncology • At-risk populations, product safety, and patient concerns • Legal and regulatory controversies “Schools of pharmacy have traditionally been where health care providers go to learn about medicines from plants,” Kroll said. “As our University of Colorado faculty have led research projects to investigate the medical use and risks of cannabis and products derived from the plant, we feel that reaching out to the practicing community to share our knowledge and expertise fulfills our national and global mission to improve patient care.” Learn more about this program by visiting bit.ly/MedicalCannabisForHealthCareProviders.
Our Innovators :
A rare honor in pharmaceutical sciences:
Journal dedicated to professors John Carpenter and Ted Randolph BY SARA KNUTH
t wasn’t long after John Carpenter and Ted Randolph started working at the University of Colorado that a mutual friend and colleague suggested they collaborate. Both were already experts in protein chemistry, and they were just a campus away from each other as Carpenter began working at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Randolph started in at CU Boulder in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. During the course of their collaboration in the following decades, the duo transformed the biopharmaceutical industry. More than two decades later, they were presented with a rare honor in pharmaceutical sciences: The January 2020 Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences issue was dedicated to Carpenter, PhD, and Randolph, PhD. The dedication is a recognition of who the journal calls two “true giants” in pharmaceutical sciences. Together, Carpenter and Randolph, who have been collaborators since 1993, have published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and are inventors on 42 issued patents. They’ve educated scientists who are carrying on work in their highly specialized field of biopharmaceutical chemistry across the globe. They are also the co-directors of the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. “It was exciting,” Carpenter said. “It’s a really great honor to be recognized by my peers with my partner in crime, Ted Randolph.”
Randolph added: “It’s just great fun. What’s really nice is we got a pile of submissions from our very best friends and colleagues. It’s exciting to see the names of people you collaborated with, and a lot of past students who are publishing in the field.” As a testament to their impact, a group of journal editors — mostly former students and colleagues — worked together to gather articles for the issue from scientists across the globe. A total of 92 papers were included in the special issue. “This outpouring of interest and enthusiasm are clear demonstrations of the respect and the admiration that pharmaceutical and biological engineering scientists around the world have for the research contributions of Professor Carpenter and Professor Randolph and their longstanding commitments to training graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scientists, and their desire and their ability to collaborate with scientists in the pharmaceutical sciences and biological engineering,” the journal’s editor-in-chief, Dr. Ronald T. Borchardt, wrote. CU Pharmacy Dean Ralph Altiere said the issue represents a tremendous accomplishment and honor. “It is a rare honor to have a scientific journal volume dedicated to individual researchers and both John and Ted are most deserving of this recognition,” he said. “This dedication also brings great honor to our school for which we are most grateful to John and Ted.” Broadly, Carpenter and Randolph work in the field
The January 2020 issue of The Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences was dedicated to the legendary University of Colorado research team John Carpenter, PhD, and Ted Randolph, PhD.
DEAN ALTIERE NAMED TO INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP POSITION
niversity of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean Ralph Altiere, PhD, is leading pharmacy education on an international scale with a new position with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). FIP announced Dean Altiere will serve as the interim chair of the FIP Education Initiative (FIPEd), which ensures that pharmacy education provides the foundation for developing pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical services and the profession to meet societal needs for medicine expertise. Dean Altiere was selected by the FIP Bureau and took office May 1. “It has been a privilege to contribute to FIP Education over the years, to now have the honor to lead FIPEd and work with my colleagues from around the world as we strive to deliver on our goals of providing value and impact on pharmacy education development globally,” Dean Altiere said. “The world has changed dramatically in the last six months and our responsibilities to meet the education needs of our communities could not be greater. I thank FIP leadership for their support over the years and my predecessors for building a strong FIPEd organization that affords us the opportunity to
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
achieve real impact on students’, pharmacists’ and pharmaceutical scientists’ education and training to meet critical needs of our local and global societies.” Professor Bill Charman, the immediate past Chair of the FIPEd Executive Committee, welcomed Dean Altiere’s appointment and said “having worked with Ralph for many years when he was President, Academic Section; Director of the UniTwin program; and a member of the FIPEd ExCo, I know his experience, insight and leadership skills position him so well to lead FIPEd through the next term of its ambitious development.” FIP is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, and is a non-governmental organization in official relations with the World Health Organization. With 151 member organizations, FIP represents four million pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy educators and more than 170 academic institutions globally. FIPEd brings together all of FIP’s education actions. This year FIPEd’s work includes an update on the global pharmacy workforce and research into pharmacy advanced practice.
It’s a really great honor to be recognized by my peers with my partner in crime, Ted Randolph. - JOHN CARPENTER John Carpenter, PhD
of pharmaceutical biotechnology, where, according to the journal, they have shared their expertise in proteins with the drug development industry, guided regulatory strategies, among many other accomplishments. When they started their work, it required on-the-job training — the kind of work that made Carpenter and Randolph pioneers in the industry. Their partnership — and respective areas of expertise — have allowed the team to tackle problems from two different perspectives, and pass on lessons to each other’s students. “I’m an engineer and John came more from a scientist point of view,” Randolph said, adding that engineering students would often have to answer pharmaceutical sciences questions, and vice versa. “We realized right away that each of us had expertise gaps that the other was able to fill.” A significant portion of their work has been centered on developing vaccines and helping improve drug products that most people recognize as household names.
Their work: When miracle drugs stop working “If you ever watch the evening news, you see them advertised as Humira, insulins, a lot of injectables and protein products,” Carpenter said. “There are literally hundreds of them now. And so, pharmaceutical biotechnology is working on how those products are developed, how they are stabilized, how they degrade, how you analyze them, how you process them, like freeze-drying.” For many patients, the drugs are essential to treat conditions such as arthritis and Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition that can cause life-threatening bleeding. As Carpenter put it: “They’re miracle drugs.”
But for some patients, the drugs eventually stop working. “The reason for that, a lot of times, is that the drug is acting like a vaccine in the body. The person literally has an immune response to the drug, and the drug is just cleared out by the body,” he said. “In a lot of cases, it’s because the protein has been clumped up into what are aggregates. They’re literally particles — you can actually see them, not with your eyeball, but with special instruments.” To the body, those particles look like a virus or bacteria. So just like it would with a virus or bacteria, the body jumps into action to clear them out. “The body is really attuned to looking for microbial or viral attacks,” Randolph said. “How does it recognize that it’s being attacked? The body looks for small particles, different from things it’s seen before, and viruses and bacteria are small particles coated with protein.” But when it comes to miracle protein drugs that patients rely on, that reaction leads to questions: What causes this, and how do you stop it? That’s where Carpenter and Randolph come in. As part of their decades of research, the duo has worked on answering the following questions: “what causes that, how do you control it, how do you properly analyze it, how do you get the Food and Drug Administration to pay attention to it?” Carpenter said. They know proteins are sensitive. “Since proteins are so sensitive, almost anything you do can cause particles, including how the pharmacist or the patient handles it at the end,” Carpenter said. “A lot of the ways they ship them cause mechanical stress and freeze thawing and that may cause particles.” Part of the team’s most recent work involves working with a hospital to determine how pharmacy handling of the product affects product quality.
Getting to the bottom of issues like this is high-stakes work. When miracle drugs stop working, the consequences can be debilitating for patients. It’s a reality Carpenter knows well. His niece, who lives with Crohn’s Disease, went through a cycle of successfully using a drug for a year or two — only for it to stop working. Eventually, she ran out of approved biologics, and went on high-dose prednisone, a treatment rife with side effects. About two years ago, a new biologic was approved, Carpenter said, and she’s been using it successfully since. “It really affects patients dramatically,” Randolph said. Because of Carpenter’s and Randolph’s work, the pharmaceutical industry is making changes, and implementing stronger analysis techniques for their products. “Part of our goal is to keep pushing the industry to use the best analytical methods and not just to check the final product, but to monitor the product along the way,” Carpenter said. “And so, now, there’s a lot more effort on making higher-quality products because of that kind of work.”
Working with vaccines For the research duo, working with vaccines is the opposite side of the coin, but it’s just as important. “In that particular case, we’re trying to create these immune responses,” Randolph said. “It turns out it’s almost as hard in both directions. We’re trying to get body to generate a protective response.” This includes making sure formulations are irritating enough to the body so that it defends itself. Current work in this area includes developing a vaccine for Ebola that can be used in warmer climates. As of now, the vaccine
Ted Randolph, PhD
for Ebola must be maintained at -60 degrees centigrade. “In the jungle, it doesn’t work,” Randolph said. But because of their advances, new formulations of the vaccine could be stable at 50 degrees centigrade. “You can take these vaccines without any refrigeration in these countries,” he said, adding that the impact on patients is tremendous. “The science is motivating by itself. As you are working on these things, you better hurry up.”
Transition to retirement for Carpenter With a clear impact in the field, Carpenter is beginning a gradual retirement. Randolph is continuing his work at CU Boulder. As Carpenter transitions, he still plans to share his knowledge with the field. The team is often invited to give talks and work as consultants for pharmaceutical companies. He is also still a journal editor, and in his spare time, he likes to fish. Randolph said it’s impressive to see the generation of students they taught continue to push the industry forward. “More or less, the students who came to our groups had to face questions from both sides during every single exam, suffered being able to answer engineering questions and vice versa,” Randolph said. “It made it a lot of work and their PhD theses much, much better. It’s why you see so many of these students are leading industrial groups around the world. It’s really a validation to see those students being so successful.” Carpenter’s and Randolph’s impact will remain significant for the industry. “It’s interesting and motivating: a lot of the work that John and I have done is very close to patients,” Randolph said. “Some types of research, if it really succeeds, might appear in something that might help patients.”
Celebrating the Class of 2020
our years ago, the Class of 2020 stepped onto campus for the first time as students during orientation week. After attending the White Coat Ceremony and celebrating with friends and family at the school’s annual barbecue, the class went on to make their mark as future health care leaders. Four years later, graduation celebrations look a bit different, as physical commencement ceremonies were canceled. But the students kept celebrations and traditions alive. Ryan Sutherlan, who led the class in reciting the oath during orientation week, was selected by the class as the student speaker for the school’s virtual commencement ceremony. The Class of 2020’s Oath of the Professional Pharmacy Student was written by the students during their first year.
Oath of the Professional Pharmacy Student
We, the PharmD Students of the Class of 2020, pledge to:
Establish a foundation of respect and trust with peers and patients by demonstrating professionalism in our community. Demonstrate confidence and expertise by utilizing the knowledge and skills obtained through continuing education. Promote the dynamic role of pharmacy by leading interprofessional collaboration to advance patient care. Serve our community selflessly with compassion and dedication. Embody the utmost level of integrity and demonstrate the highest ethical standards. Lead our profession with empathy, dignity and patience while devoting time to personal growth and lifelong learning. As a member of the class of 2020, I pledge to uphold the ideals and abide by the principles of this document.
DDP graduate plans to advance pharmacy at home and worldwide
eemat Srour, a spring 2020 CU Pharmacy graduate, has lived and worked all over the world. From earning a Master’s degree in France to working as a hospital pharmacist in Saudi Arabia, she has grown an international career with a major goal in mind: one day expanding the profession of pharmacy in Lebanon, her home country. When she decided it was time to advance her career even further by earning a Doctor of Pharmacy
(PharmD) degree, Srour chose the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ International-Trained PharmD (ITPD) program. The program, operated by CU Pharmacy’s Distance Degrees and Programs (DDP) Office, is designed to train licensed pharmacists around the world to enhance their patient-centered skills. When the program started in 2014, it became the first and only distance-based Accreditation Council
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)-accredited PharmD degree program with an international focus. Now that Srour is graduating, she intends to do what so many ITPD graduates have done before her: advance pharmacy at home and worldwide. But first, she’s going to take her training a step further. Her next stop is Houston, Texas, where she will train in a post graduate year one (PGY1) residency at Houston Methodist Hospital.
DOCTOR OF PHARMACY CANDIDATE SETS SIGHTS ON 'REFRESHING AND LEARNING CONSTANTLY' Francesca Gutierrez, active in her school's international exchange program, plans to work abroad
By Chris Casey
t’s not in Francesca Gutierrez’s nature to take the safe and predictable path. She loves the energy of big cities, thrives on meeting new people and exploring new places, and feeds off the excitement of emergency medicine where you “see a lot of variety – it keeps you on your toes.” So, needless to say, keeping a lid on her boundless enthusiasm during the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge. She sat in front of a computer to finish the final round of rotations toward her Doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, and faced the bittersweet prospect of a virtual commencement.
“It sucks,” Gutierrez candidly said of the canceled in-person graduation, which was being anticipated by her family members from the East and West coasts. “You put in so much work to get to this point. For some of us, we are the first doctors in our family, and our families have been very much looking forward to (attending the ceremony).” Like campuses across the globe this spring, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduation, as well as the main University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus event, took place via special virtual commencement ceremonies in late May.
Interest in global health In addition to working since 2017 as a pharmacy technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, Gutierrez, a native of Santiago, Chile, has been active in CU Pharmacy’s international student exchange program, which is operated through the student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association. “Being from Chile, I’ve been very interested in global health and how pharmacies work abroad,” she said. “After all my training, I want to move abroad, preferably Europe, and work as a pharmacist.” Through the international exchange program, Gutierrez has helped many exchange students set up shadowing visits in several different areas of pharmacy as well as get acquainted with their new
Read about Neemat’s journey, in her own words: I am a non-traditional pharmacy student born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. I attended Lebanese University, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, and I completed my Master’s degree in Strasbourg, France. I moved later to Saudi Arabia and worked as a hospital pharmacist. I joined the International-Trained PharmD program (ITPD) in the summer of 2015, and moved to Colorado in May 2019 to complete my advanced pharmacy practice experiences. Just before graduation, I presented an Honors research project with the school, and with that, I became the first DDP student to graduate with Honors!
surroundings. She loves snowboarding, having competed in winter sports at the University of Virginia as an undergraduate, so Gutierrez readily volunteers to tour students through the mountains. “You get to show them around Denver and Colorado,” she said. “It’s fun to meet new people.” First doctor in family Carving fresh tracks, whether on a mountain or in a career, is nothing new to Gutierrez. She is the first doctor in her family, which has shown a stronger leaning toward the financial services industry. “Anytime someone needed patching up in my family, I was the one helping, because my mom doesn’t like blood,” she said. “I liked medical TV shows, and I’ve always really liked chemistry as well, so I thought pharmacy would be a good mix between healthcare and chemistry.” She also likes how many career options exist under the pharmaceutical sciences umbrella – research and industry, community and retail, and hospitals and outpatient clinical work. Working weekend shifts in the pharmacy at St. Joseph’s solidified her passion. “I wanted to get my foot in and see if I liked working in the hospital or just liked the idea. I found out I really do enjoy it,” she said.
Francesca Gutierrez smiles for a photo during a snowboarding trip.
The coronavirus pandemic underscores healthcare workers’ significant societal value, pharmacists included. “It’s nice seeing pharmacists being valued more,” she said. “We approve all medications being dispensed, and we determine whether a drug is appropriate for a patient or if it interacts with other drugs.” While the end of her CU Anschutz career won’t be the family-filled exclamation she’d hoped for, Gutierrez will still celebrate. She looks back fondly at everything she experienced, pandemic included. “Everyone I’ve met has been really great. The faculty are so accessible and always made time when I had questions about anything,” she said. “It’s been a highly stressful time, but also a highly enjoyable time. I made some of my closest friends here. I’ve really enjoyed my time at CU.”
Heading to the Big Apple With a one-year general pharmacy residency on the horizon, Gutierrez looks forward to immersing herself in another metropolitan area – this time New York City. On July 1, she begins residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. Francesca Gutierrez (far left) smiles for a photo during an advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE).
Recently, I matched into a PGY1 pharmacy residency at Houston Methodist Hospital, and I am looking forward to further advancing my career next year. My goal is to integrate my passion for critical care, emergency medicine and infectious disease with my aspiration to advance the pharmacy profession in my home country and worldwide through direct patient care, precepting, furthering the
pharmacy literature, and expanding pharmaceutical services. Outside of pharmacy, I love spending my time with my daughter and son hiking and adventuring. We also enjoy exploring the Asian restaurants in Denver, being outdoors, and traveling. Learn more about PharmD pathways offered through the Distance Degrees and Programs Office by visiting https://bit.ly/2RSEaQM.
Graduating ITPD student Neemat Srour www.ucdenver.edu/pharmacy
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Jocelyn A. Amico
Andrew Bekins Anderson
Teketel A. Atamo
Eugene Masao Burbige
Emily A. Cai
Nedra Nkiru Chijioke
Bea Da Silva
Gerrit C. de Haas
Hannah Teresa Edlin
Trevor Joseph Fields
Austin David Freeman
Brandon Jack Fritz
Armen Karo Fstkchian
Isaiah P. Garcia
Yocelyn Garnica Luis
Luke Thomas Grizzell
Veronica Maritza Hernandez Ramos
Ashley D. Horodyski
Erika L. Kunz
Catherine Michelle Laird
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Maria-Grazia Piedrahita Foruria
Nebiyu Merdekios Madalcho
University of Colorado Doctor of Pharmacy Class of 2020
Nicola Rae Louise Maude
Zane E. Miller
David John Mottonen
Laura K. Mullen
Andrea Joyce Nolte
Kevin Joseph Noonan
Sang Jin Park
Zachary Thomas Paschall
Ashley Denae Poletti
Owen K. Proctor
Jessica B. Quintana
Andrea Leigh Rathbun
Tyler J. Reed
Kristin Nicole Ridgely
Lionel Sielatchom Noubissie
Rodrigo Espinueva Sison, Jr.
Erin Marie Smith
John Young Song
Iana Zara Stein
Rudolph Carl Stotz, II
Marci Rae Stovall Brown
Jennifer Wang Tomlinson
Nicholas Marshall Tomlinson
Lauren N. Warren
Megan R. Williams
Diana Pey-dih Wu
Ella Nikita Basuil Yambao
Recipients of the Degree Doctor of Pharmacy 2020 Redwan Kedir Abdo Jocelyn A. Amico* Andrew Bekins Anderson Rho Chi Teketel A. Atamo Evan Arthur Atchley* Mackenzie Marie Betancur Trevor R. Beutel* Rho Chi Sarah Rivard Biondi Ellen Brossart* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Eugene Masao Burbige* with honors Emily A. Cai* Rho Chi Brooke A. Caswell Phi Lambda Sigma Nedra Nkiru Chijioke Phi Lambda Sigma Danielle Rene Clark Sean Matthew Cordova Kyle Christopher Coronato* Brooke Nicole Curry* with honors Beatriz F. Da Silva* Rho Chi Gerrit C. de Haas Sara Dellinger* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Kelsey Faye Dickinson Paulina Do with honors Hannah Teresa Edlin* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Samantha Edison Eshelman* Kyle John Evans Megan Brynna Korff Fetters* Phi Lambda Sigma Trevor J. Fields Maria Grazia Piedrahita Foruria Chazmin AmBree'L Franklin Austin Freeman* Brandon Jack Fritz Armen Karo Fstkchian* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Isaiah Paul Garcia Gregory C. Gardner Katelyn Nicole Gardner Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Yocelyn Garnica Luis* Tracey M. Garone Dmitriy Gekker Andreah Laci Gibson Jessica Lynn Gonsewski Phi Lambda Sigma Meagan Nicole Greckel Luke Thomas Grizzell Francesca Shaheen Gutierrez Tabor Phi Lambda Sigma Kristen Nicole Haeger-Overstreet* Rho Chi Rikki Marie Hanifin* Jennifer Lynne Hardy* Rho Chi, with honors Yen Kim Haviland Rho Chi Veronica Maritza Hernandez Ramos Phi Lambda Sigma Sommer Branning Hindman* Crystal Bui Ho with honors Tommy Ho* Jessica Holguin Ashley Danielle Horodyski
Matthew Ryan Ireland* Melanie Jakobs* Rho Chi Mallory Anne Junker* Rho Chi Elizabeth Christine Keil* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Janet N. Kim Jeanne Kim Susie Kim* Phi Lambda Sigma Susan Lorraine Kresge Phi Lambda Sigma Bethany Ann Kummer Erika L. Kunz Allison Marie Kwiecinski Kenny La Erika Lai* Rho Chi Catherine Michelle Laird Kayle Kay LeBlanc* Dianna Lenzen Jonathan Paul Lieu Michelle S. Lin Clare Marie Livingston* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Jenay Olivia Locke Courtney Marie Looker* Rho Chi Danielle Marie Lucero* Rho Chi Shayna Renee Lunsted Rho Chi Michelle Luu Nebiyu Merdekios Madalcho Benjamin E. Marenco James Martin Dario Dean Martinez Phi Lambda Sigma Nicola Rae Louise Maude Phi Lambda Sigma Maxwell S. McDade Rachel Anne McHugh* Kari Elizabeth Mellott Rho Chi Zane E. Miller Kenny K. Mo David John Mottonen Amanda Marie Mueller Phi Lambda Sigma Amina Mujkic Laura Katherine Mullen Laura Nahsim Shivani Nayak* Rho Chi Nichol YNhi Hoang Ngo* Ann Quy Nguyen Andrea Joyce Nolte* Kevin Joseph Noonan* Kenneth Todd Orr Andrea Rae Ortmann Jennifer Nicole Oswald Grant R. Padovich* Christopher Ellis Parcaut Sang Jin Park Zachary Thomas Paschall Nashel M. Patel Phi Lambda Sigma Lance Patrick Patterson
*Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes AssessmentÂŽ Top performer
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mimi Thi Pham Carlo Pica Ashley Denae Poletti Marissa Zoratti Powell Rho Chi, with honors Owen K. Proctor Jessica Beata Quintana Kristine Renee Quon Shannon Cascade Ramsden* Andrea Leigh Rathbun Tyler Justin Reed Rho Chi Mary Elizabeth Reilly* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Kristin Nicole Ridgely* Kelli Marie Rourke* Phi Lambda Sigma Jamie J. Sanchez Sean Sadao Sasaki Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Areen Issa Sawaged Steven Mathew Shaffer* Elizabeth Jane Shields* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Anup Shrestha* Phi Lambda Sigma Lionel Kevin Sielatchom Noubissie* Rho Chi Bianca Diana Sisman Rodrigo Espinueva Sison, Jr. Erin Marie Smith John Song Iana Zara Stein Rudolph Carl Stotz, II* Rho Chi Marci Rae Stovall Brown Phi Lambda Sigma Ryan James Sutherlan* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Anushka Tandon* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma Mimi K. Thai Phi Lambda Sigma Kimlien Than Christy L. Thiel* Rho Chi Daniel N. Thiel* Eric Tobin Jennifer Wang Tomlinson Phi Lambda Sigma Nicholas Marshall Tomlinson* Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma, with honors
Cecile Thao My Tran Victoria Truong Morgan Renae Tucker* Phi Lambda Sigma Megan Elizabeth Vickery Jamie Vitale Kimberly My Vu Lauren Nicole Warren Lauren Wells Phi Lambda Sigma Megan Gloria Westmoreland Jhani Williams Megan Rose Williams Phi Lambda Sigma Jackson Walker Wood* Diana Peydih Wu* Ella Nikita Basuil Yambao Ye Zhao* Rho Chi Jessica Marie Zuber
Recipients of the Degree Doctor of Pharmacy
Oath of a Pharmacist
Distance Degrees and Programs August 2019
Virajbhai Bhanubhai Patel Rodney Richmond Tracy Shugar Yelena Vol
“I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow:
Marian Adel Ayad Nadeen Ayad Colleen Michele Colegrove Misgana Cheffena Gebreslassie Suzanne Marie Gulka Natasha Iyer Ifeyinwa Ukamaka Okeke Simon Salman Rasho Sherry Farid Sobhy Neemat Srour Rho Chi, with honors Brian Eugene Wilson
Susan Arlene Davis Jennifer Susan Robynn Godsell Samantha Mary John Rho Chi Thomas M. Jordan Subir Singh Mann Okwuchi Cecilia Obialor
• I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns. • I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients. • I will respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me. • I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.
Recipients of the Graduate Certificate in Integrative Health and Medicine
• I will hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical and legal conduct.
Trang Thi Nguyen Melanie Niehus Jenelle Tittelfitz
Katarina Cornakova Erica Henston Hung Thanh Le
• I will embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care. • I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.
Recipients of the Degree Doctor of Philosophy August 2019 Angela Czaja Uma Fogueri
December 2019 Hadi Ali
Misgana Cheffena Gebreslassie
Okwuchi Cecilia Obialor
I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.” Adopted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy House of Delegates, July 2007 and approved by the American Pharmacists Association.
Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research Pharmaceutical Sciences Pharmaceutical Sciences
Jennifer Susan Robynn Godsell
Ifeyinwa Ukamaka Okeke
Suzanne Marie Gulka
Simon Salman Rasho
Samantha Mary John
Sherry Farid Sobhy
Thomas M. Jordan
Hung Thanh Le
Trang Thi Nguyen
Brian Eugene Wilson
MEGAN WILLIAMS’ PASSION FOR PEDIATRIC PHARMACY STARTED WITH HER NEPHEW
Mega n Willia m s , a m em ber of th e C l a s s of 2 0 2 0 , s e con d f rom l ef t, p os es fo r a ph oto af ter a cceptin g th e Jo h n Dice Memor ia l Sch ol a rs h ip f rom th e Pediatric Ph a rm a cy As s o ciatio n . Th e oth e r recip ie nt of th e s ch ol a rs h ip is Je s s Ogbu rn , a s tu dent at th e Un ivers ity of Ke ntu cky Sch ool of Ph a r m a cy.
BY SAR A KNUTH
egan Williams was about to begin pharmac y school when her 5-year-old nephew was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor that starts in the lower back part of the brain.
Williams, a member of the Class of 2020, already knew she wanted to become a pharmacist, but watching a team of professionals care for her nephew was inspiring . “I saw him go through radiation and chemo and there was a lot of support from people at the pediatric hospital in Omaha, where he was being treated,” she said. “And I want to be able to give that back to other patients.” Nearly five years later, Williams’ nephew, now 10, is in remission and healthy. Now that she’s graduating from CU Pharmac y, Williams is on her way to giving patients the same type of care other health professionals gave to her nephew. She matched to a Post Graduate year one (PGY-1) residenc y at Primar y Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Throughout pharmac y school, Williams’ passion for pediatric pharmac y has resulted in several opportunities. At the end of her third year, Williams was one of two students
Grad u ate Me g a n Wi l l i ams
in the U.S. to be awarded the John Dice Memorial Student Scholarship by the Pediatric Pharmac y Association (PPAG). To qualif y for the scholarship, Williams had to demonstrate a proven interest in pediatric pharmac y and show that she has a record of being involved in programs and volunteer efforts that focus on the well-being of children. Williams was the fourth consecutive CU Pharmac y student to be awarded the scholarship. She also ser ved as president of the organization CU-PediatRx, a student chapter of the PPAG dedicated to improving medication therapy in children through promotion of safe and effective medication use. Williams’ commitment to pediatric pharmac y started early, with an internship at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Just before she began at CU Pharmac y, when she still lived in her home state of Nebraska, she drove to Colorado for an inter view at the hospital. “If I could pick a dream job for an internship, it would be this,” she said. “And I was the only one who, number one, wasn’t in pharmac y school and didn’t live here. So I was terrified.” It all worked out, though : “I ended up getting the job, and they worked with me when I was moving here,” Williams said. Her connection to Children’s Hospital lasted through pharmac y school. In her P4 year, she had elective advanced pharmac y practice experience (APPE) rotations at the hospital, including one in general medicine and surger y and another in outpatient hematolog y/oncolog y.
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
She also had an inpatient APPE at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. Like the rest of her classmates, Williams felt the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic as she was finishing her final semester. “I was on my elective outpatient hematolog y/oncolog y rotation at Children’s when the precautions began, including the shelter-in-place orders,” she said. “ Thankfully, I was able to continue that rotation remotely and focused on patient chart review, topic discussions, and projects like a journal club presentation that could all be completed at home. I would check-in with my precepting pharmacist daily over the phone. I was still able to learn so much remotely, but did miss out on some great aspects of being in the clinic like patient and family counseling and daily interprofessional interaction.” Still, the situation taught her larger lessons about being a healthcare provider. “As a future healthcare provider, I think it just makes it clear that thing s can change in a moment and it’s important to be adaptable to what will be best for your patients, your healthcare facility, and the community,” Williams said. She saw firsthand how the hospital adapted. “ Thankfully, COVID-19 has not made a large direct impact in the pediatric population, but it has made big changes that are helpful to the community,” she said. “I know at Children’s Hospital Colorado, they have
taken on labor and deliver y so that there are more beds available in adult hospitals. Many of the pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are working remotely to promote social distancing as possible. The facility is canceling elective procedures to limit the amount of beds that are used during this time. Knowing what each person can do to help and following through on it, no matter how small it seems, really can make a difference.” The pandemic might also impact Williams personally. For Williams, pediatric pharmac y has led to friendships so strong that two other members of the CU-PediatRx, CU Pharmac y classmates Laura Mullen and Jocelyn Amico, will be in her wedding in June 2020 — as long as large gathering s are allowed to take place. As she moves for ward with her goal of becoming a pediatric pharmacist, Williams said she wanted to thank CU Pharmac y faculty member Dr. Allison Blackmer and Dr. Jennifer Hamner, the manager of professional development and the residenc y program director at Children’s Hospital Colorado, for their g uidance in her career so far. From her family’s perspective, pediatric pharmac y will make a big difference for other children. “Ever yone in our family was impacted by my nephew’s illness, so they think it’s really great I ’ll be able to help out other children in similar situations or other chronic disease states,” she said.
Grad u ate s Je n ni fer and Ni c hol as Toml i nson s m il e fo r a p hoto wi th thei r d aughter, Ri o.
M ARRIED PHARMACY STUDENTS GROW FAMILY AND CAREERS TOGETHER IN SCHOOL
BY SARA KNUTH
ennifer and Nicholas Tomlinson were both emergency medical technicians in Georgia when they decided it was time for a career change. The couple, married since 2015, found that as they worked on ambulances, they saw impacts on patients when they didn’t take their medications. Studying pharmacy seemed like a natural fit, and they had already followed the same career path as each other for seven years. So, together, they enrolled at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to begin pursuing a new career. Four years later, the CU Pharmacy students are still meeting milestones together. Not only are they graduating with their Class of 2020 classmates, but the couple also welcomed a baby girl, Rio, to their family on Jan. 14, 2020. Throughout pharmacy school, the couple continued their tradition of growing their healthcare careers together.
During their final year in school, both students earned student leadership roles with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Nicholas served as a member of the Pharmacy Student Forum Executive Committee, and Jennifer was the student representative on the Council on Public Policy for the 2019-2020 term. As part of Nicholas’s role with the organization, he worked with other members to represent student pharmacists, helped provide professional development resources and advocated for pharmacy as a profession.
Jennifer was the student voice of the Council on Public Policy, which recommends professional policies related to laws and regulations that have a bearing on pharmacy practice. This year, she joined with the council to lobby Colorado senators and House representatives to increase funding for pharmacy residency programs, continue $340 billion in funding for hospitals and decrease healthcare costs for patients, among other policies that are supported by ASHP and the Colorado Pharmacists Society. “I absolutely loved my experience on the Council on Public Policy,” Jennifer said. “I felt so honored to be a voice of the constituents of Aurora and of pharmacy students across the country. I felt the weight of my words as I gave my 30-second pitches, along with other Colorado pharmacists, to the professionals who work for Senate and House representatives.” For Nicholas, getting involved in the organization meant pushing for the advancement of pharmacy, saying it’s a benefit for pharmacy students to get involved in the profession early. “Having worked with ASHP and my fellow Executive Committee members, I believe we have created a more informed student body across the country by taking into account their needs,” he said. “We have used surveys and restructured student-led advisory groups to work on and complete projects that benefit ASHP's student members and make ASHP their professional home.” As part of his position, he was also the Executive Committee Advisor to the Advancement of Pharmacy Practice Advisory Group, one of five of ASHP’s studentled advisory groups. “I know that all the students, including myself, with working on these projects are proud to be on the forefront of our profession, creating a bright future for all pharmacists,” he said.
Growing their family during a pandemic
As the couple’s careers grew during pharmacy school, so did their family. Their daughter, Rio, arrived at the beginning of their final semester at CU Pharmacy — and during the coronavirus pandemic. “She could not have arrived at a more opportune time,” Jennifer said. “She has since brought so much joy to us, our families, and friends, because with the social distancing orders, we try our best to dress her up and send her many quirky pictures to everyone to bring a little joy to their day.” During the coronavirus pandemic, both students experienced the impacts in health settings first-hand. During Nicholas' community advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE), he encountered a customer who tested positive for the virus. This encounter was prior to the implementation of the stay-at-home order, so he was concerned about bringing the virus home to the family. Luckily, he worked mainly in a separate room. Jennifer was on her health-system APPE at a local hospital when the epidemic became a pandemic. She saw
and rounded with the medical team that provided care for the first Covid-19 positive patient at that hospital. Their daughter made a world of difference for their family and friends. “One of our friends thanked us for sending just one picture to him via text, because he had been working in a retail pharmacy setting, wearing a mask for 13 hours a day, and felt sad that he could not return to his wife each night because she, too, was working on the front lines and had to live away from him,” Jennifer said. “He thanked us and told us how the one picture made his week. Therefore, it may not be much, but we try to bring some laughs and joy to our friends who are working tirelessly during this pandemic so that we all may have a better tomorrow.”
Career change pays off
When it came to changing careers, Jennifer said, the couple looked at pharmacy as a change of pace from the demands of working on ambulances. “After several years, we both decided we wanted to see the other side of health care,” she said. “We were used to seeing patients in their most dire need.” Jennifer said she was drawn to CU Pharmacy because of the school’s experienced faculty and engagement with policy decisions. Additionally, Nicholas said the school’s strong emphasis on clinical pharmacy was a factor in his decision. On top of that, there was this: “We decided to go where we could go together,” Nicholas said. Next year, they will continue their journey together. Jennifer, who earned a scholarship with the Health Profession Scholarship Program (HPSP) in the U.S. Air Force, served as Lieutenant during pharmacy school. In April, they were waiting for Jennifer's orders from the Air Force to determine where they will move next. She will be a Captain working within clinical and outpatient pharmacies on base. The couple said Nicholas made the difficult decision to postpone residency training in order to have a flexible work schedule that optimizes his family time with Jennifer and their new baby. He is excited to be able to spend more time with his growing family, especially during these uncertain times.
Gra du ates Jen n ifer a n d Nich ol a s Toml in s on welco m ed th e ir da u ghte r, Rio, to th eir fa mil y in th eir f in a l s eme s ter at C U Ph a r ma cy.
In co m in g s t u d ent Al eta Yushkevi c h smi l es d ur i ng an inte r v iew w it h CU Phar mac y. She has pl anned to at te n d t h e s c hool si nce hi gh sc hool .
INCOMING STUDENT HAS BEEN PREPARING SINCE HIGH SCHOOL TO ATTEND CU PHARMACY BY SARA KNUTH
hen Aleta Yushkevich was still in high school, she knew which career path she wanted to take — and exactly where she wanted to go to school — not only for her undergraduate education, but also for a health profession education. A native of Denver, she spent four years as a CU Boulder student preparing to enroll at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. With a biochemistry degree in hand, Yushkevich will move forward with her goal and join CU Pharmacy’s newest group of students, the Class of 2024, this fall. She was so prepared to come to CU Pharmacy that she chose the school’s early decision application process last summer that assured her spot in the class almost a year ahead of time. “I chose the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy because it’s always been somewhere I’ve wanted to go,” she said. So how did she come to her decision so early? That’s where CU Pharmacy’s Outreach and Engagement team comes in.
The team, which works with high school and college students to explore careers in pharmacy, offers advising and outreach for students across the country. An important part of their engagement involves working with students who are members of HOSA – Future Health Professionals, a primarily high school-level organization for individuals who are interested in health careers. The Outreach and Engagement team is largely responsible for spearheading the development of the national Pharmacy Science Competitive Event, the first pharmacy-focused competitive event among many offered by HOSA. The team has always interacted with thousands of HOSA students on a local and national scale annually, shedding light on the wide variety of pharmacy career options available to students, from hospital settings to community pharmacies to drug information offices and beyond. However, the process of developing the Pharmacy Science Competitive Event has allowed them to engage even further with young people who have chosen pharmacy as their future career. Yushkevich’s early focus on pharmacy and her membership in HOSA spurred her to participate in the first pilot of the Pharmacy Science Competitive Event. Originally, the event was offered only in Colorado. As the Outreach and Engagement team navigated the procedure to test the event at a local level, the goal was to petition for its incorporation at the national level. As a result, Yushkevich holds the honor being among the first students to place in the competition in the first ever occurrence of the event. Early successes were bolstered by students like Yushkevich who were willing to participate in the pilots. This ultimately lead to the first offering of the officially sanctioned Pharmacy Science Competitive event at the 2019 HOSA International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, with nearly 100 student participants from across the county. Prior to deciding on pharmacy, Yushkevich had a general idea that she wanted to enter the medical field. But her interactions with the outreach team ultimately cemented her passion for pharmacy. “They really helped guide me to make the decision to come to pharmacy school,” she said. “They also really motivated me and inspired me to want to pursue this career.” While a student at CU Boulder, she got even more engaged with CU Pharmacy. As a college junior, Yushkevich participated in CU Pharmacy’s PharmD To Be program, which
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
is currently undergoing significant structural changes to increase access and flexibility. Its goal is to help students explore the profession of pharmacy and enhancing their application to CU Pharmacy through a variety of activities, including unique shadowing and learning experiences at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “I was on campus about once a month for nine months, so I got to experience a lot of the campus life, and meet with some of the students and the faculty, and better understand what CU Pharmacy is about,” she said. “It was a really good experience to help me want to choose to come to this school.” In addition, Yushkevich worked part-time at CU Boulder’s on-campus pharmacy, The Apothecary. This allowed her to interact with other like-minded undergraduate students who were interested in pharmacy, as well as current CU Pharmacy students who work there to complete rotations — a major part of the school’s curriculum. “I think most college students do keep up with a job while they’re in school, but it’s very rare for a college student to have a job in exactly what they want to do,” she said. “So being able to have that experience was amazing.” Dr. Catherine Jarvis, PharmD, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Engagement and leader of the Outreach and Engagement team, said it has been a pleasure to work with Yushkevich. “She has accomplished so much through her amazing hard work and determination, but she also realized huge benefits by identifying a career early, which allowed her to access many opportunities to set herself up for tremendous success,” she said. “Her energy, positivity and enthusiasm are infectious and the bonds she formed with other PharmD To Be students, many of whom are also entering pharmacy school this fall, will last a lifetime. CU Pharmacy couldn’t be more proud to have her as a new student at our school and a future member of the pharmacy profession.” Now, Yushkevich will take her experience and pursue a dream she’s had since high school. She said multiple experiences along the way influenced her decision to attend pharmacy school. “At my job, every single day, I realize this is what I want to do and what I want to continue doing,” she said. “It’s just more the fact that every single experience I’ve had so far has been so positive that it’s just motivated me more and more and more to continue this career.”
Alumni Angle :
CU Pharmacy Alumni Association announces new board members BY JARON BRYANT
In the 11 years I have been with the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, I have observed many budding professionals enter our doors as students and walk the commencement stage in the glow of their accomplishment. Each graduation year has been memorable and the year 2020 will stand out for the
Harold Okocha, Class of 2012 Harold is a PharmD graduate from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, and received his MBA Harold Okocha from Arkansas State University. He received his CPM certification from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). Harold is involved in clinical pharmacology services. His experience as a community leader along with his national and international involvement in various pharmacy organizations provides him global exposure and an understanding of various cultures. “With my multifaceted cultural experience and competency, as well as over 20 years of managerial experience in the business and pharmaceutical sectors, I believe that I can provide a specialized skill set and perspective to the board of directors. I bring a unique ability to understand individuals from various backgrounds and integrate various viewpoints toward a common outcome. I have mentored and empowered future professionals in the community and I hope to continue to have such a positive impact while serving on the Board of Directors” says Harold.
remarkable courage under fire exhibited by this year’s graduates and the rest of the student body, along with our alumni, faculty and staff. Now that we embark on yet another journey and shepherd in a new group of alumni, it gives me pause to think what lies ahead. The leadership of our Pharmacy Alumni Association board of directors is here to help
navigate through that journey and it gives me profound pleasure to introduce the newest members of the board. Each brings a track record of commitment to pharmacy, giving their time to the School as preceptors. Join me in congratulating them by posting a message on our social media channels.
Deborah Gallegos, Class of 2010 Deborah (Debbie) is currently the Director of Pharmacy for Colorado Plains Medical Center in Fort Morgan, Colorado. As a clinical pharmacist and administrator directing pharmacy and lab departments, Debbie is interested in advancing pharmacy services and patient safety in rural settings. She has worked to achieve her BCPS and CPPS to advance her knowledge in working with the care teams in all departments. “I believe with my 10 years of pharmacy service and rural practice setting, I could offer many qualities to the school and students as a member of the alumni board; as well as continuing to learn from the school myself, ” Debbie states.
Bryan Killam, Class of 2006 Bryan is semi-retired, last working as a pharmacist with the University of Colorado, Anschutz Outpatient Pharmacy. His goal for serving on the board is to assist in community program participation. “I feel it is imperative that our profession continue to advance an effective volunteer management system that supports the objective of engaging alumni in meaningful volunteer opportunities and serving as a source for alumni talent and resources for students, faculty, and staff,” Bryan expresses. Bryan Killam
Andrew Maurer, Class of 2010 Andrew presently holds the position of Pharmacy Operations Supervisor/ Environment, Health, and Safety Lead Coordinator at the Ra-223 Nuclear Pharmacy for Cardinal Health. He hopes to draw from his networking and social strategy experience to engage alumni. “My position as a nuclear pharmacist has allowed me to collaborate with many stakeholders and pharmacists across the United States, exposing me to many different perspectives and ways of thinking. I look forward to collaborating and connecting with fellow CU alumni,” Andrew says. Andrew Maurer
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS Professor TY KISER, PHARMD, is the recipient of the CU Anschutz President’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Professor JOHN CARPENTER, PHD, was awarded the school’s Innovation in Science Award.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs DAVID THOMPSON, PHD, was recognized with the CU Anschutz Chancellor’s Teaching Recognition Award.
Alumnus JIM SAJBEL, RPH, was recognized as CU Pharmacy’s Distinguished Coloradan. The honor is the school’s most prestigious award and is bestowed annually by the faculty to individuals who have excelled in their own professional careers and who have provided exceptional support to the profession of pharmacy.
Alumna SANDRA LEAL, PHARMD, was recognized with CU Pharmacy’s Excellence in Pharmacy Award. Leal, the CEO of the health care company SinfoníaRx, is the president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association.
Professor SUNNY LINNEBUR, PHARMD, was named the CU Pharmacy Faculty Member of Distinction.
Assistant Professor VANESSA PHELAN, PHD, received the Doctoral Mentoring Award from the CU Anschutz Graduate School.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LAURA SABA, PHD, received the Faculty Excellence in Mentoring/ Advising Award from the Colorado School of Public Health.
The CU Pharmacy Ambulatory Care Post Graduate-Year 2 residency, led by Professor and Department of Clinical Pharmacy Vice Chair JOE SASEEN, PHARMD, won two 2019 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Residency Excellence Awards. THE AMBULATORY CARE PROGRAM won the organization’s overall Program Award.
Additionally, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JOEL MARRS, PHARMD, was presented with the ASHP Preceptor Award for his contributions to the residency program.
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
DR. SASEEN was awarded the Daniel B. Smith Practice Excellence Award by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The award recognizes pharmacy practitioners in any practice setting who have distinguished themselves in the profession through outstanding performance and achievements.
Assistant Professor SARA WETTERGREEN, PHARMD, was recognized by APhA with the Distinguished New Practitioner Award. The award recognizes new practitioners within their first five years of practice who have demonstrated distinctive achievements in mentorship, service and commitment to the profession of pharmacy.
Associate Professor SARAH ANDERSON, PHARMD, (CLASS OF 2007) was awarded Fellow of ASHP. This recognition is awarded to pharmacists who have excelled in pharmacy practice and distinguished themselves through service and contributions to ASHP. With the award, Anderson joins an elite group of 957 pharmacists nationwide.
CU Pharmacy alumnus and benefactor HENRY STRAUSS (CLASS OF 1951) and his wife, Joan, were among the top honorees at the annual CU Anschutz Benefactor Recognition Dinner. The Strauss family, namesakes of the Strauss Health Sciences Library on campus, are passionate about integrative medicine. Their contributions to the Florence G. StraussLeonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection ensure students have access to learn about the field.
S U M M E R / FA L L 2 0 1 9
LIFELONG LEARNING As a top tier Pharmacy School, our students consistently outperform other schools by winning national competitions and surpassing national licensing pass rates, faculty are lauded nationally with education and clinical awards, and the school is recognized as #11 in NIH-funded research. We continue to push the boundaries of innovation with new degrees and online programs. From entry level PharmD to advanced certifications, CU Pharmacy develops offerings that address a changing marketplace and provide lifelong learning. WHERE IT ALL STARTS: THE PHARMD PROGRAM The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program is a four-year professional program that prepares individuals for a variety of careers within the pharmacy profession. A Doctor of Pharmacy degree is the only degree that prepares students to become practicing licensed pharmacists in the U.S.
ONLINE & INTERNATIONAL: IPHARMD iPharmD is CU Pharmacy’s trademarked brand for a growing number of online offerings. At the center of this program are two flagship degrees tailored to the needs of two distinct audiences. The North American Trained PharmD (NTPD) program is a flexible online Doctor of Pharmacy program for working pharmacists who are licensed in the United States or Canada. Many of our NTPD students are pharmacists who hold a master’s degree but want to advance their career with a PharmD degree. Hear how the NTPD program helped Irene Croswell earn her PharmD while working as a fulltime pharmacist: bit.ly/IreneCroswell.
Listen to how the ITPD program allowed Solomon Hailu to develop his clinical skills while working as pharmacist in Ethiopia: bit.ly/SolomonHailu
DIVERSE RESEARCH TRACKS: PHD PROGRAM Our three distinct PhD tracks, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toxicology, and Pharmaceutical Outcomes, train professionals to tackle some of today’s most critical healthcare concerns, like getting new drugs to market, identifying toxins, and managing medication costs. Check out CU Pharmacy’s research in action here with Dr. Dan Labarbera: bit.ly/PersonalCancerTreatment.
Hear why CU Pharmacy is a first choice for Pharm D students: bit.ly/WhyIChoseCUPharmacy
The International-Trained PharmD (ITPD) degree is an entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy program for licensed pharmacists from around the globe who want to enhance their patient-centered skills with this advanced degree.
ADVANCE & EXCEL: MASTER OF SCIENCE PROGRAMS Master of Science in Clinical Pharmacy, is a flexible master’s program for pharmacists worldwide who want to advance their practice toward patient-centered pharmacy care. The Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences trains students in the latest advances in pharmaceutical sciences, with approaches and techniques necessary for the development of new drugs. Both degrees are new additions that welcomed their first students this fall.
CAREER-BUILDING EDUCATION: CERTIFICATES PHARMACOGENOMICS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM This practice-based, interactive program provides pharmacists and other health care providers with an understanding of how genetic factors influence drug disposition, response, and adverse effects. Knowledge gained from this program will enhance participants’ ability to apply genetic information to clinical practice. Learn more about the certificate and continuing education at CU Pharmacy here: bit.ly/Continuing EducationatCUPharmacy. INTEGRATIVE HEALTH AND MEDICINE CERTIFICATE Integrative Health And Medicine (IHM) combines conventional western medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as herbal medicines, acupuncture, massage, yoga, and stress reduction techniques. The demand and use of CAMs is projected to rise and will be an important regimen in the treatment of human disease by conventional health professionals. Read more about the first round of IHM graduates here: bit.ly/RoleofIHM.
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SHARE YOUR STORY The team behind Pharmacy Perspectives is always looking for ways to tell the story of the CU Pharmacy community. Have news to share? Visit bit.ly/ShareYourNewsWithUs or contact Writer and Content Specialist Sara Knuth at sara. email@example.com to keep us updated! University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences C238 12850 E. Montview Boulevard / Aurora, CO 80045 SOP.firstname.lastname@example.org / 303.724.4618
LIFELONG LEARNING CONTINUING EDUCATION CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS
Medical Cannabis Education for Health Care Providers The Certificate in Medical Cannabis Education for Health Care Providers provides participants with a deep understanding of the role that medical cannabis may — or may not — have in patient care. This eight-week, interprofessional, online, interactive and evidence-based continuing education course is taught by international experts in the field.
Integrative Health and Medicine CU Pharmacy’s Graduate Certificate in Integrative Health and Medicine (IHM) addresses the need for training health care professionals in the safe and effective use of alternative medicine. The program focuses on pharmacognosy; medicinal drugs obtained from plants or other natural sources, and pharmacology. At the root of it all, graduates can apply knowledge of IHM modalities in a variety of settings, positively impacting patients.
Pharmacogenomics The practice-based, interactive Pharmacogenomics Certificate Program provides pharmacists and other health care providers with an understanding of how genetic factors influence drug disposition, response, and adverse effects. Knowledge gained from this eight-week online program will enhance participants’ ability to apply genetic information to clinical practice. * Each of these certificates offers 20 hours of continuing education credit for pharmacists, nurses and physicians. APhA Immunization, Cardiovascular Disease Risk Management, and Medication Therapy Management programs also available in 100% online format. For more information about continuing education certificate programs and other continuing education programs offered by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, visit UCDenver.edu/pharmacy/continuingeducation
*Graduate Certificates are academicbased. Students receive University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus credits each semester, nine credits total, for the entire program.
For more information about how you can continue advancing your career, visit ucdenver.edu/pharmacy.
CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
HELP SUPPORT CU PHARMACY CU Pharmacy is dedicated to providing world-class education to pharmacists in a wide range of settings, from hospitals to drug information offices to community drug stores. Like all of the alumni who came before them, our students are preparing to become the professionals patients rely on. By helping support our students, you are helping launch careers and ensuring CU pharmacists are well-prepared to take the profession into the future. To support CU Pharmacy students with a gift, visit bit.ly/SupportCUPharmacy.
Pharmacy Perspectives, the magazine of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, tells the stories o...
Published on May 20, 2020
Pharmacy Perspectives, the magazine of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, tells the stories o...