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Treating severe epilepsy Professor Tom Anchordoquy, PhD, is part of a groundbreaking clinical trial to treat patients with a debilitating form of epilepsy. In partnership with colleague Dan Abrams, MD, Anchordoquy has reformulated an epilepsy drug and repurposed a pump traditionally used in patients with pain disorders. Read more about how it works on page 2.

W here PharmDs take us From a professor who recently became president of the American Geriatrics Society to an alumnus who is combining pharmacy and technology, CU pharmacists are finding themselves at the cutting edge of an evolving field. Read about their journeys on pages 4-10.

In This Issue





Welcoming the Class of 2023 to campus

Inside the world of drug information


Former refugee meets health needs of Navajo Nation

Special Graduation Section

Remembering beloved professor Glenn Appelt, PhD


Congratulating our award-winning faculty and students

NEW FRONTIERS IN PHARMACY Today’s pharmacists may well find themselves in front of a computer, instead of behind a counter, as technology is opening new career paths in data management, informatics, and more. Pictured here: CU Pharmacy Student Ambassador Elizabeth Ko at work in the Pharmaceutical Care Learning Center on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.




elcome to the 2019-20 academic year at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Just a few months ago we awarded 168 degrees at our spring graduation ceremony, and already the halls are bustling with this year’s new P1 students from across the nation and around the globe. In my last message, I addressed some of the dramatic changes going on in the field of pharmacy. From pharmacogenetics to artificial intelligence, personalized medicine to technology advances – we are indeed entering an era of unprecedented change. Such change demands a different kind of pharmacy professional – clinical and research experts like the ones we’ve chosen to highlight in this edition of Perspectives. In the pages to follow, you’ll be introduced to a spring graduate serving the healthcare needs of the Navajo Nation; two alumni making breakthrough discoveries for a leading biotech company; and a beloved professor developing innovative treatment for epilepsy. And that’s just for starters. We think that after reading these stories, you’ll agree that the future of pharmacy is indeed in very good hands. Sincerely,

Ralph J. Altiere, PhD Dean, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

or patients with a severe form of epilepsy, it can be dangerous to drive, go to work or even walk to the mailbox alone. A fear of falling and blacking out prevents many patients with medically refractory epilepsy from living lives most people take for granted. “They can’t have a job, they can’t really live a normal life,” said Tom Anchordoquy, PhD, professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “These patients, before, had to always have someone with them because there was a fear of seizures.” On top of that, the drugs patients with the severe form of epilepsy take to manage their disorder — which are needed in high concentrations in the brain — are typically taken orally and then distributed throughout the entire body, resulting in problematic side effects. To help find a solution for this problem, Anchordoquy and his colleague, Dan Abrams, MD, the CEO of Cerebral Therapeutics, have reformulated an approved drug that treats epileptic seizures and repurposed a pump typically used in patients with pain disorders, creating an innovative, new treatment for the disorder. The new treatment method works like this: A pump filled with a concentrated epilepsy drug solution is placed in the abdomen, just below the skin, and drugs are distributed directly to the brain via a small tube that starts at the pump and ends in the brain. The pump can be refilled with drug solution via periodic injections, making a life-changing difference for patients. “They’re not new drugs, but no one has ever put them directly in the brain before,” Anchordoquy said. Abrams added that about 20,000 pumps are put into patients each year in the U.S. for different disorders: “Essentially what we’re doing is taking advantage of

their use for other diseases and modifying them to be used for brain infusion,” he said. Anchordoquy and Abrams are seeing the results of their work play out in real time as the pumps are currently part of a new clinical trial in Australia with the University of Melbourne. The trial, which started in 2016, is treating five patients at Melbourne’s St. Vincent’s Hospital. Clinical trial shows promising results So far, the trial is showing promising results, especially for a group of patients that is constantly at risk, according to Abrams, who frequently travels to Australia to monitor the trial. “The patients that we’re treating have pretty frequent risk of falls, pretty frequent

P r o f e s s o r To m A n c h o r d o q u y , P h D , h o l d s a p u m p that is being used to help treat patients with s eve re e p i l e p sy.

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risk of sudden death related to their epilepsy,” Abrams said. “It’s disabling them, not just once every few months. It’s disabling them at least multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day where they’re at risk of falling, blacking out, hitting their head.” Now, though, “they’re seeing 70 percent-plus improvement in their seizure rates and major improvements in quality of life,” Abrams said. “It’s a huge improvement. All of the patients have benefited.” For the patients, the technology has been life changing. “With this pump in, they can go off, and they’re commuting to work, and they’re living normal lives and they’re talking about having children and things they couldn’t have even dreamed of a couple years ago,” Anchordoquy said. The beginnings of the project — and what’s next The project was started in 2006, when Abrams approached Anchordoquy with the idea. It wasn’t long after that when they founded a company that

was unsuccessful due to the economic downturn in 2008-09. Subsequently, Abrams formed Cerebral Therapeutics, and the two began conducting experiments again. Working closely with Anchordoquy, they develop the formulations of the drugs that are placed into the pump. “Dan stayed with it and has reformed a new company, Cerebral Therapeutics and we’ve raised some money with venture capitalists,” Anchordoquy said. The first step of the clinical trial, Phase I, included working with the hospital in Australia to choose a select group of patients to receive treatment. For Anchordoquy and Abrams, Phase II of the clinical trial will take place in the U.S. with a larger number of patients. In preparation for the next step, the team is currently working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Anchordoquy said he anticipates Phase II will happen in the next year or two. “I’m glad the word is getting out,” he said. “This is really exciting and life-altering technology.”

A pump typically used for chronic pain patients is used to insert a reformulated drug directly into the brains of patients w i t h s eve re e p i l e p sy.

Welcome, Class of 2023!


fter barbecues, a baseball game and the 2019 White Coat Ceremony, CU Pharmacy has officially welcomed the Class of 2023 to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

The White Coat Ceremony, hosted on campus, brought together incoming students for the first time. After hearing welcoming remarks from Dean Ralph Altiere and getting “coated” by CU Pharmacy Associate Dean for Academic Affairs David Thompson, PhD, and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Brian Hemstreet, PharmD, students gathered with family to eat plenty of barbecue. Students also attended a Colorado Rockies game, where they had a chance to hang out with Dr. Hemstreet, alumni, faculty and staff. Check out a video of the ceremony on Facebook at bit.ly/PharmWhiteCoat19. Learn more about the PharmD program at http://bit.ly/CUPharmD.

Oath of the Professional Pharmacy Student for the Class of 2023: We, the PharmD students of the Class of 2023, pledge to: • Forge a relationship of trust and respect within our community by demonstrating empathy, without any form of judgement or discrimination • Uphold the highest professional standards and achieve optimal patient-centered care through lifelong education and adaptation to new innovations • Promote the development of the pharmacy profession by leading the ever-changing field of healthcare through community stewardship and the responsible use of current and future knowledge • Provide respectful, quality service in the best interest of each individual in our care • Established a high level of integrity, ethics, and moral principles to advocate for the advancement of pharmacy • Devote ourselves to the practice of pharmacy through outstanding leadership, honesty, and compassion, while maintaining our authenticity.



Pharmacy Careers :

From teacher to student to pharmacist Dr. Monica Zorman protects patients at Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Safety BY SARA KNUTH


onica Zorman was a high school teacher in Georgia when a student asked her what careers he could pursue in chemistry. It wasn’t the first time she was asked this question, and she knew pharmacy was a solid option for students interested in science. This time, though, she took a deeper look into the profession, looking for what the student would need to get started in the field. As she researched, she started to realize that pharmacy might make a good fit for her, too. With a background in chemistr y and business, Zorman saw all the ways she was already set up to study pharmac y. She liked what she saw so much that just two years later, she enrolled at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmac y and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Zorman graduated from CU Pharmacy in 2012, and now works as a Drug Information Pharmacist at Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Safety, a department within Denver Health, where her team provides contact center communication related to medical information and safety

reporting on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. It’s safe to say Zorman’s research into pharmacy at her teaching job had a big impact: The high school student who asked her about careers in chemistry graduated from a different school of pharmacy the same year. He currently works in a community pharmacy setting. “He was kind of an inspiration,” she said. “I’m still in touch with that student here and there.” For Zorman, exploration into career paths didn’t stop once she decided to study pharmacy. In fact, after she graduated, she began to realize that she wanted to take a nontraditional path again. Instead of pursuing pharmacy in a retail setting or at a hospital like many of her peers, she wanted to work more with medication safety. As part of her work with Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Safety, Zorman’s job is to provide patients and healthcare providers with information and data on medications. Working closely with pharmaceutical companies, Zorman creates standard response letters (SRLs) and frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on data from prospective clinical trials, retrospective analysis, case reports and occasionally the company’s internal data on

Monica Zorman, PharmD, is a Drug Information Pharmacist at Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Safety. Photo Provided by Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Safety



rowing up, Eric Hartsfield never thought he would go on to study pharmacy. In fact, he spent half of his life working in retail — a field he fell in love with and imagined sticking with. But even as his career took a different direction early on, Hartsfield had a deep connection to pharmacy. He came from generations of pharmacists: His mom has a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences and worked weekends as a pharmacist at Walgreens. His great-grandmother opened the first licensed pharmacy in Virginia, his grandfather continued the tradition by owning a pharmacy and his aunt is currently a pharmacist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Florida.


CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

It’s safe to say that Eric’s connection to pharmacy had roots. As his career interests eventually shifted away from retail, he was drawn to studying science, and not long after that, the family industry. In 2017, he had enough pre-requisites to enter the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy without a bachelor’s degree. By 2021, he will be a fourth-generation pharmacist and the first in his family to earn a PharmD. “You hear a lot of your friends and peers say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do what my family did,’” he said. “But continuing what my family does just felt like the right thing to do.” Photo courtesy of Eric Hartsfield.

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He was kind of an inspiration. I’m still in touch with that student here and there. - MONICA ZORMAN

file. These SRLs and FAQs are utilized by the drug information team while discussing clinical data with the healthcare providers. The letters are designed to provide balanced and unbiased responses, tailored to a specific unsolicited inquiry. On a daily basis, Zorman and her colleagues also monitor dozens of email inboxes and field phone calls about medications from patients and healthcare professionals. The drug

information team answers questions about pharmaceutical drugs, as well as over the counter medications. During these conversations, Zorman captures the patient’s experience, carefully listening for any potential adverse events. After the call, this information is provided to the pharmaceutical company, who then reports it to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If, for instance, a patient reveals that his appendix was removed in a conversation, Zorman will ask questions to find out if the appendix removal happened before or after he started taking a medication. “Then, we get a picture: could this drug possibly affect the appendix?” That’s our role, get as much information as we can,” she said. “We look at the whole picture to identify adverse reactions, some that are expected, others that are serious and unexpected.” If enough patients report issues with the appendix, starting after taking the medication, and these adverse reactions were not provided in the prescribing information (PI), the pharmaceutical company would then be required by the FDA to add that information to the drug information packet that comes with every prescription. The updated information is also sent to doctors. “The whole job we do is to find that

Even though he’s following a family tradition by pursuing pharmacy, he is taking a different approach to the field. Eric is particularly passionate about working in a hospital setting — a departure from the generations of community pharmacists in his family. Because he already had experience working in a retail setting and was seeking a different work environment, Hartsfield said he was eager to explore other ways he could study pharmacy. “When I got into school, I was really interested to keep my ear to the ground about what’s available outside of community pharmacy, not that I have a problem being there, I just knew that I already had that experience,” he said. “I lucked out and got an internship at a hospital. As a hospital intern, pharmacist, I get to do all kinds of cool stuff.”

Mo n ica Zo rma n , Ph a r mD, wor ks with a col l e a gu e at th e Rock y Mou nta in Pois on & Dr u g Safety. Photo Provid ed b y Ro c ky Mo un ta i n Po i s o n & D ru g S a f ety

side effect or adverse effect that was not identified in the trials,” Zorman said. “Clinical studies can have a small number of participants. Now you’ve opened it up to the whole entire world, and the population.” Years after her teaching job in Georgia, Zorman still has her eyes on influencing students thinking about pharmacy. She is currently looking for ways to involve early career pharmacists in drug information at Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Safety, potentially by

As part of his internship at the University of Colorado Hospital, his duties range from sterile compounding to helping pharmacists monitor antibiotics. “When you really start thinking outside of the box, you recognize that pharmacy is the concentration of drug knowledge — it’s not only what is the drug and what it’s used for. But it’s what is the drug, how does it work, how long does it stay in your system, how is it metabolized in your system, what are the dangers of that drug, can it be effectively used in a specific patient?” It’s a message he wants other students interested in pharmacy to consider. In his opinion, there’s more to pharmacy than most people think.

hosting rotations there in the future. Zorman said she hopes other students seeking nontraditional paths in pharmacy think about drug information as a career path. “(When I was a student), I didn’t really realize that there was a big area in drug information,” she said. “What I would like to see is more visibility in this area of work.” See how CU Pharmacy gives students hands-on experience in areas like this at bit.ly/CUPharmacyExperiential.

“Everything the doctors do is great and they’re really awesome at diagnosing, but they don’t get to spend half of the amount of time that we will spend learning about drugs and medication,” he said. “Because of that, we are really, really useful in a lot of areas that I think haven’t necessarily been gotten to yet.” See what hospital pharmacy means to Eric here: bit.ly/ExploreHospitalPharmacy.



Stanislava Manojlovic poses for a photo with her nephew, Maksim Mo r r i s , May 2 4 af te r t h e 2 0 1 9 Co m m e n ce m e nt Ce re m o ny. P h o to c o u r t e s y of Stanislava Manojlovic



tanislava Manojlovic’s dreams of becoming a pharmacist started when her mother was injured while tending to sheep in her home country of Serbia. Her family didn’t have any other access to medical care, and her mother’s ankle, cut by a leash, was starting to get infected.

So Manojlovic’s neighbor, a pharmacist, cared for her mother until she was healed. From that point on, Manojlovic dreamed of one day entering the field herself. She even used her grandparents’ old prescription bottles to play pretend pharmacist with her sister at home. But for a long time, that dream of actually becoming a pharmacist seemed out of reach. Manojlovic and her family were refugees in Serbia for eight years before moving to the U.S. When they finally moved, they lived as refugees for another six years. They only had $100 to their name and needed to learn the basics, from using a credit card to speaking English.

“I never believed I could do pharmacy in the U.S.,” Manojlovic said. “I never thought it was something that would be possible for me.” That all changed during the spring 2019 commencement ceremony May 24 on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, where Manojlovic earned her PharmD. Manojlovic, the first person in her family to obtain a college degree, surpassed her own expectations when she earned her doctor of pharmacy degree from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “I can’t wrap my mind around it,” she said. “It’s surreal.” Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Manojlovic moved to Croatia when

she was 3 years old. But starting in March 1991, the Yugoslav Wars left her without a home to go back to. When the war was over, her family moved to Serbia, where they lived for eight years as refugees. Her life left her with little opportunity to pursue higher education: It wasn’t possible for her family to move to Belgrade, the closest major city, to take classes. “I always wanted to be a pharmacist,” she said. “But in Serbia, I couldn’t even think of that.” Her parents tried three times to move to the U.S. before finally getting approval. After they moved, Manojlovic knew she wanted to pursue higher education. So she applied to CU Boulder, and in 2012, earned her biology degree. Even after earning her degree, though, a career in pharmacy seemed impossible. “I was lost for a long time,” she said. “I didn’t believe it would happen.” But with her dream in the back of her mind, Manojlovic started from scratch, taking classes to become a pharmacy technician. Seven years after earning her first degree, Manojlovic overcame her doubts. Now, she is sure about her career, especially because of her ability to empathize with patients. After graduation, Manojlovic accepted a position as a staff pharmacist in the outpatient pharmacy at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona, a part of the Navajo population. The new position will give her several training opportunities, including inpatient pharmacy. All of the pharmacists run clinics within the hospital, working with patients who have diabetes, anticoagulation, hypertension, smoking cessation and pediatrics. In pharmacy school, her dream was to work with underserved

I’ve always wanted to work with underserved patient population, and I got so lucky to have my career head in that direction right away. I feel so blessed with this job opportunity. - S TA N I S L AVA M A N O J L O V I C

populations. Now, she will be serving the Native American community. “There is a lack of empathy and understanding in today’s medical world towards those who don’t speak English or are illiterate, and/or do not have strong financial background,” she said. “What I considered to be a disadvantage for most of my life (being a refugee, losing my home and my country, English as a second language) I consider advantages now because of my ability to form that bond and sincerely understand and emphasize with those in need.” She added: “I’ve always wanted to work with underserved patient population, and I got so lucky to have my career head in that direction right away,” she said. “I feel so blessed with this job opportunity. God is Great!”

See what it’s like to work in clinical pharmacy here: bit.ly/ ClinicalPharmacyResidency.



tarting out in pharmacy school, it’s common for students to begin thinking about where they might fit into the wide world of pharmacy. One student might be looking for a summer internship in their hometown. Another could be nervous about turning down one pharmacy job for another. Yet another might be


CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

thinking about how they can prepare for a career in hospital pharmacy. For Laurie Sein, the career services manager at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, there’s a solution to each of those all too common

dilemmas that come up as students make their way through school. Sein’s job is to help students navigate careers in pharmacy, offering services ranging from CV writing and interviewing assistance to connecting their curiosities with co-curricular and

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Dr. Dean Marucci (‘18) visits the campus a year after graduation. Photo: Jaron Bryant



ince he was a teen, computers and pharmacy have fascinated Dean Marucci, PharmD, a 2018 graduate of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Thanks to a pivotal P4 rotation, he has found a job that blends both interests perfectly. For the past year, Marucci has worked in Colorado for Tabula Rasa HealthCare, headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey. The 10-year-old company provides patient-specific, data-driven technology and solutions that enable healthcare organizations to optimize medication regimens to improve patient outcomes, reduce hospitalizations, lower healthcare costs and manage risk. Medication risk management is Tabula Rasa’s leading offering. As a P4, Marucci completed a six-week-long rotation at Tabula Rasa’s headquarters, working with its informatics and pharmacogenomics teams. “I loved every moment of it,” he recalls. Marucci’s type of work, while not the norm for

CU Pharmacy graduates, is becoming more common as technology plays a bigger role in the field of pharmacy, according to Katy Trinkley, PharmD, associate professor of clinical pharmacy. “We are going to see increasingly more people go down similar paths as Dean did,” she predicts. Megan Thompson, PharmD, director of experiential programs, agrees. “I am finding that more and more students are interested in combining their pharmacy knowledge and tech skills, and finding jobs that will support it,” she says. “Our pharmacy students are thinking very creatively about improving patient safety, drug monitoring, and medication management. Tabula Rasa and other companies like it are really providing a platform for pharmacy students to share these innovative ideas.” Marucci’s route to a PharmD began when he was 13 or 14 years old and a family friend explained his work as the pharmacy director at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood. “I thought (the job) was cool,” Marucci recalls. Computers fascinated him, too. In high school, Marucci was on the web development team and learned to code. In college, he started fixing computers for friends and building his own. Since CU Pharmacy does not require a bachelor’s degree for admission, Marucci completed his pharmacy prerequisites at the University of Colorado and then received a bachelor’s degree in medical science during his first year at CU Pharmacy. He explored different types of pharmacy during his first two years of school, but didn’t find the right fit. Then, in his third year, came pharmacogenomics with Christina Aquilante, PharmD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and pharmacy informatics with Dr. Trinkley. “That was a game-changer,” he remembers. But he still wasn’t sure what came next. A classmate suggested he speak with Dr. Thompson about P4 rotations that mixed technology and pharmacy. Marucci was the first student to ask about such an opportunity, she recalls, and she had no immediate matches. At a national pharmacy meeting a few weeks later, Thompson met people from Tabula Rasa, who enthusiastically agreed to her request to host a rotation for a student with IT experience.

extracurricular activities that will and strengthen their skills while in pharmacy school. She even assisted Dr. Stanislava Manojlovic in finding her new career as the staff pharmacist with the outpatient pharmacy at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona, a part of the Navajo population. Sein, who has 11 years of experience in coaching students

“Dean was the first student I had met with who said he was interested in this field, and this was the first company that said yes to taking students,” Thompson says. “Dean had the right attitude, right personality and the technical skills to do something like this. In short, I knew he would be a good representative of the school.” Tabula Rasa remains among CU Pharmacy’s 1,300 rotation sites worldwide and Dr. Thompson hopes to match students to the company in the future. The rotation went well and the company offered Marucci a job just before graduation. Marucci works from Colorado for Tabula Rasa. He is an informatics support specialist and works in business development for one of the company’s products called NiaRx, a cloud-based software program that provides electronic health records (EHR) training and patient-case simulation for pharmacy students. The education he received at CU Pharmacy, especially in pharmacogenomics, set him apart from other schools’ pharmacy graduates, Marucci believes. “I couldn’t have done it without CU Pharmacy. I am building on the foundation they gave me,” he says. The school, especially Dean Ralph Altiere, PhD, recognizes that technology is playing a bigger role in healthcare and students must be trained accordingly. “When our graduates enter the workforce, they need different skills compared to past graduates,” Trinkley says. They must understand the capabilities of technology and how they work with them, whether it is a pill-dispensing kiosk, an EHR, or Watson Health, IBM’s powerful artificial intelligence tool for solving health challenges. Equally important, Trinkley says, graduates must know how to think creatively, show empathy and communicate skillfully – things that machines cannot do. “Dr. Altiere sees that and is making sure our students are prepared for that,” Trinkley says.

on their employability skills, helps students explore careers, plan for short-term and long-term goals, prepare for residency options and more. She even helps guide alumni through job searches, helping pharmacists consider available options as they develop — or change — their careers. “I spend time talking with students about their skills, things they’ve done in the past, what their strengths are, what their Story continued on page 8

Career Services Manager Laurie Sein



Pharmacy Careers : Pharmac y career fair on behalf of Genentech, and another career i n i n d u s tr y w a s s o o n l a un c h e d . Sierra Hennon finds a fit in industry When Sierra Hennon attended the fair — and met Henderson — it was the beginning of a pharmacy career path that would lead to a prestigious industr y fellowship and, eventually, to her current ro le a s a me d ica l science director at Genentech. “I wandered throug h the f a i r , a n d m e t K e v i n ,” s h e s a i d . “ We i n s t a n t l y h i t i t o f f .” As a pharmac y student, Hennon wa s a lready th in king outside the box , working closely with CU Pharmacy faculty to determine which



nce CU Pharmac y alumnus Kevin Henderson graduated and became established in his career in the pharmaceutical industry, he made a goal: “I swore that I was going to get the word out about industry.” I t ’ s a promise he kept. A handful of years after he completed p ha rma c y s c h o o l , h e at t en d e d a C U

Pharmacy career fair and met Sierra (Hill) Hennon, then a student interested in pursuing a career in industry. No w, j u s t t h r e e y e a r s l a t e r, Hennon works at the same company as Henderson: Genentech, a biotechnolog y company dedicated to discovering and developing medicines for people with life-threatening diseases. Henderson (Cla ss of 2011), a medical science liaison director, is based in Denver and leads a national team of drug information professionals. Hennon (Class of 2016), who is based in San Francisco, works as a medical science director specializing in neurolog ical rare diseases. Hender s on’s path to pharmac y With a background in business, Ke vin Henderson spent a portion of his career in manag ement consu lting , working with c omp an ies s u c h a s K a i s e r Pe r m a n e n t e a n d Price waterhouseCo op ers . Already working in the business side of healthcare, he went to pharmacy school to gain skills that would impact patients.

“I was in the business of health care,” he said, adding : “I g ot into the career for prag matic reasons.” It w a s n’t l o n g b e f o r e h e r e alized something : “I loved h o w y o u c a n i m p a c t p a t i e n t s .” Now, in add ition to h is business knowle d g e, he sa id , “I have skills that help people in real life.” The medical science liaisons who work under Henderson are responsible for providing drug information — from working with hea lthcare providers to answer questions about medicine and dosing to connecting researchers to funding. They specialize in hematolog y, a branch of medicine focused on diseases related to blood. E i g ht y e a r s a f t e r g r a d ua ti n g , Henderson is on a mission to g et the word out about opportunities available in industry — especially to CU Pharmac y students. He works closely with the school to talk with students about industr y positions. It’s that t yp e of outreach that le d h im to me et Hennon : Ab out four years ag o, he attended a CU

pharmacy career might make a good fit. At the career fair, everything clicked. “I realized it was a great opportunity and a great fit for a different career progression (than clinical or commun it y pharmac y),” she sa id. Af ter Hennon met Henderson, she app l ie d — and wa s ac c epte d — to the Rutg ers Pharmaceutica l Industry Fellowship Program, where she worke d at G enente ch to pro vide scientific support for a drug in late-stag e clinical development. No w, t hr e e y e a r s a f t e r g r a d u a t i n g f r o m C U P h a r m a c y, Hennon is based in San Francisco a n d w o r k s i n G e n e n t e c h’s n e u rolog ical rare diseases division. As part of her current role with th e c omp a ny, s h e i s re qu ire d to have de ep therap eutic knowle d g e of Hunting ton’s Disease, including working in medical affairs, participating in advocacy events and conferences and meeting patients to educate them on the disease molecule and learn what it’s like to have the disease. Getting the word out about pharmacy “I love pharmac y,” Henderson sa id . “ You can do so much with a P h a r mD — i t ’s s o v e r s a t i l e .” He n n o n h a s h e l p e d s h i n e a s i m i l a r l i g ht o n th e p r o f e s s i o n . L ess than a year af ter she atten d e d th e C U Pha rma c y ca re er fair, Hennon came back to campus to participate in the same career fair that helped launch her current career. “Being on the other side of the ta b l e s h ow s h ow c o mm i tte d th e prog ram is to g rowth and professiona l de velopment,” she sa id . “I finished pharmac y school, and less than a year later, I was on the other s i d e to inter vi e w ca n d i date s .” R e a d m o r e a b o u t H e n n o n’s journey to pharmacy here : http://bit.ly/2lDU8kv.

Story continued from page 7

values are,” she said. “I can talk individually with students, I talk to students about those things in group settings and I hold events so they can talk to practitioners.” As part of her role with CU Pharmacy, Sein also hosts a Career Exploration and Preceptor Fair and a Hire CU Pharmacy Interview Day. Both events bring students and


CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

alumni face-to-face with potential future employers. In the career services office, there’s advice for every CU pharmacist.

To learn more about Sein’s services, contact her at laurie.sein@cuanschutz.edu. Check out more information about Career Services at bit.ly/SeinCareerServices

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C U Ph a rm ac y professor Sunny Li nneb ur, Phar mD



hen Dr. Sunny Linnebur was still a student, she never dreamed the rest of her career would focus on geriatric care. “It was kind of a surprise to me,” said Linnebur, a professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “And it was because I really lacked exposure to the older adult patient population.” Now, with a well-established career in the field, she has a 6,000-member platform to use to help spread awareness about geriatrics — and help healthcare professionals of several disciplines find a professional home within the field. Linnebur was recently named the president of the American Geriatrics Society, an international organization focused on improving the health, independence and quality of life of older people. She is the first female pharmacist and only the fourth non-physician to hold the position in 75 years. She officially took over as president during the society’s Annual Scientific Meeting hosted at the beginning of May in Portland, Oregon. There, Linnebur completed her first task as president: leading the annual meeting and giving a total of eight speeches and introductions. CU Pharmacy faculty Dr. Scott Pearson and CU students Anushka

Tandon, Hailee Griffin and Amanda Mueller also traveled to Portland to present at the event. As part of her other duties with the AGS, Linnebur will represent the society at events, serve on the organization’s program committee and review the work of the organization, from committee activities to publications. The AGS, for instance, is responsible for publishing the AGS Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. At the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, Linnebur teaches courses in geriatrics and works as a clinical pharmacy specialist in the University of Colorado Hospital Seniors Clinic, a primary care site for patients older than 75. “I rea l ly can’t ima g ine do ing anything else,” she said. “I love my job.” When she was still training as a pharmacist, Linnebur said she became interested in geriatrics during her first-year residency at the Denver VA Hospital. “That’s when I realized I really liked working with older adults. I found that their medical illnesses were so complex and that they needed a lot of help with their medications. Working with older veterans was very rewarding,” she said. “And then I completed a second year of residency in ambulatory care where I really tried to focus on the care of older adults as much as I could.” Now that she teaches courses in geriatrics, Linnebur said she’s found that exposing students to the career path earlier makes them more likely to consider pursing it in the future. It’s important work: The field is currently experiencing a shortage of practitioners as more Baby Boomers start turning 65. In addition, research shows more than 40% of older Americans, a 300% increase over two decades, take 5 or more medications—putting them at significant increased risk for an adverse drug event. “I think pharmacy students are more open to a career path in geriatrics because they are able to see that there’s such a great need to take care of older adults, and it’s a good place for pharmacists to be involved,” she said. “Geriatrics has embraced team-based approaches to care. And that’s evident when you look at the teams that are in practice today. Because of medication-related concerns, they almost always include a pharmacist.” That same team-based approach to geriatrics is one of the factors that make interprofessional organizations like AGS so strong, Linnebur said. “When you look at an organization being an interprofessional organization, outreaching to the whole team, it’s going to be a stronger organization,” she said. “The educational activities are going to be stronger, the networking activities are going to be stronger, and the advocacy efforts will be stronger.” A s s h e b e g i n s h e r r o l e a s

president of the AGS, Linnebur said one of her goals is to also increase the membership numbers for healthcare professionals in other disciplines. “Within some disciplines, like social work and physical therapy, practitioners that primarily work with older adults may not have a professional home,” Linnebur said. “I want to engage these other practitioners or professionals to view AGS as their professional home.” L i nn e b ur a l s o e x p r e s s e d a p p r e c i a tion for her CU Pharmac y colleag ues. “Because I’ll be president for the next year and then chair of the board, that means that my clinic partners (Danielle Fixen and Scott Pearson) will need to help cover clinic a little bit more when I’m traveling and going to meetings,” Linnebur said. “And Connie Valdez, who is my teaching partner, has to cover class while I’m gone. I just really want to thank all of my colleagues for their support.” See how undergraduate students are working with CU Pharmacy professors like Dr. Sunny Linnebur to gain experience in the dynamic field of pharmacy: bit.ly/UndergradPharm.

CU Pharmacy students Amanda Mueller, left, Hailee Griffin, center, and Anushka Tandon pose for a photo at the American Geriatrics Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

CU Pharmacy professor Sunny Linnebur, PharmD, far right, walks with colleagues at the University of Colorado Hospital Seniors Clinic.



Our Experts :

Hypnosis: a tool to help achieve lifestyle changes



A s s o c i a t e P r o f e s s o r C o n n i e Va l d e z , P h a r m D

or some, the word hypnosis can conjure up images of a stage performer dangling a watch in front of a participant’s face. But for many healthcare clinicians, the reality is far removed from that myth: clinical hypnosis is a tool that helps take patients to a deeper state of mind to change behaviors, assist in therapy and help make lasting health changes. Dr. Connie Valdez is an associate professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a practicing pharmacist. She turned to the therapy technique when she saw that patients at her clinical practice sites had trouble sticking with health goals. “Even though they make personal goals, sometimes they have trouble meeting those goals, and a lot of it has to do with behavior,” she said. “So I thought hypnosis might be something interesting to have as part of my toolbox for some of these patients who struggle.” Valdez, a pharmacist at Sheridan Health Services and Denver Indian Health and Family Services, is the first and only pharmacist to become a member of American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) where she is pursuing a certification in clinical hypnosis. ASCH, which promotes hypnosis as a clinical application, only provides training in the therapy to licensed healthcare providers who have a masters or doctorate degree. When she decided to begin the certificate program, Valdez’s membership had to be approved by the organization’s board of directors. She has completed the didactic portion of the certification program and is currently completing the clinical practice portion. She will receive her certification in April 2021 and plans to integrate it into her current clinical practice settings. “When I applied, they never had a pharmacist apply,” she said. “Most of the people in this are physicians, dentists, social workers, therapists, nurses.” Clinical hypnosis, a highly relaxed state of mind, is an “altered state of awareness, perception of consciousness that is used by licensed and trained doctors or masters prepared individuals for treating a psychological or physical


problem,” according to ASCH. It works by taking patients through guided relaxation and concentration, accessing other parts of the brain. “People are awake during the whole process,” Valdez said. “They can talk to you, interact and answer questions. But you have them at a deep level of relaxation. So a lot of it is getting them to process things on their own to make those changes.” For Valdez, the therapy is one of many tools she plans to add to existing treatment methods. In her clinics, she treats patients with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. She does work ranging from adjusting medications specific to patients and helping with lifestyle changes to performing pulmonary function tests. She said the therapy is used along with traditional treatment methods and in situations when other treatment methods aren’t as effective. Valdez, who is just beginning to use clinical hypnosis, said everyone she’s applied the therapy on so far — from patients who want to quit smoking, lose weight or change dietary behaviors to a boy who was hit by a baseball and was afraid to catch — has been successful. She recommends recording the sessions, especially for patients who need daily reinforcement with behavior changes. If patients find they need the therapy to be modified, they can visit Valdez to re-record the session. “To date, most everyone that I’ve practiced clinical hypnosis on has been successful,” she said. “Has it resulted in a full, 100 percent quitting in everyone? No. But it’s gone to improvement.” s t uDd re. nCt oant nhi ee rVap rl da cetzi cweosr iktse ,wSi thhe rai d a n Health Services, in 2018.

CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences



etting started in a research career can often boil down to building a reputation as a hard-worker, maintaining strong relationships and having a lifelong love for science. That’s one of the messages experts shared during a career development session at the CU Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences annual retreat in Breckenridge. During the session, scientists shared their journeys to top leadership positions. “I think we’re all here because we’ve always loved science,” said Dorothy Colagiovanni, PhD, (Class of ‘94) the vice president of product development at Next Frontier Biosciences. As students and early career researchers use their love of science to advance their careers, panelists offered the following advice: Start building your reputation as a hard worker now. “Nothing will serve you more than the relationships you build here,” said David Kroll, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of Master’s and Certificate Programs. Get published. Colagiovanni, who hires scientists as part of her role with Next Frontier Biosciences, recommended getting published at least once in graduate school. “When I hire scientists, I want to look at where they came from,” she said. “What’s their degree? What did they do in graduate school? Have they published?” Get on LinkedIn — and keep networking. Panelist Julie Milder, PhD, a medical science liaison for Greenwich Biosciences said aspiring medical science liaisons regularly ask her if she would be willing to discuss her career path. “I always say yes,” she said. “I think most of us would be happy to have those conversations.” Get started by connecting with CU Pharmacy on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/school/cupharmacy. Use CU Pharmacy’s professors as resources. “Every single faculty member here has had to get through an interview process where there were 70, 80, 120 applications,” Kroll said. “The faculty here are at the top of their game and their respective areas, and they also have networks of their own.” To learn more about CU Pharmacy’s research programs, visit bit.ly/PhDPrograms.

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Commencement 2019


he University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences conferred a total of 168 degrees during the 2019 commencement ceremony, hosted May 25 on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, according to a final count. The ceremony was a chance for faculty to share a few final words of advice with the Class of 2019. Dr. Robert Scheinman, who was awarded the Chancellor’s Teaching Recognition Award for 2019 and spoke during commencement, emphasized the importance of connecting with patients through stories. “Stories define us: who we are, who we’d like to become, the path, the meaning of our lives,” he said. “By putting effort into this, you will become part of their story and they will become part of yours … Stories, connection — your words have more power than you could possibly imagine. Learn how to use them.” Dr. Ty K i s er, th e re c ip i ent o f th e Pre s i d ent ’s Excellence in Teaching Award, told the crowd of graduates to think of themselves as “a fancy new antibiotic.” “Today, you are FDA-approved — you are available on the market. Like all new antibiotics, you are put through years of vigorous testing,” he said, adding it will take time to prove themselves to other healthcare providers and patients, but he encouraged them to keep trying.



Graduation :

Y E VA K H AVA S O VA : Д О Р У П А З M E A N S ‘ P H A R M A C I S T ’ I N B U H K O R I B Y




eva Khavasova walks in two worlds. In May, she received her PharmD degree from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Khavasova also is a wife, the mother of two young boys, and a Bukharian Jew. She knows of only a handful of women in her community who have pursued higher education. Bukharian Jews inhabited Central Asia for at least 2,000 years. The name comes from the Emirate of Bukhara, which existed from 1795 to 1920 in what today is Uzbekistan, Khavasova’s birthplace. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, most Bukharian Jews moved to the United States or Israel. Khavasova’s parents joined the exodus in 1993. The family first lived in New York, and then moved to Colorado in 1997

when Yeva was 6. The Denver area has a sizeable Bukharian Jewish population. “We have a very, very strict, super-tight community,” she recalls. “I went to a small Jewish high school. I was going to school, coming home and participating in few extracurricular activities.” American teens saw her as different. “But I knew I didn’t want to let my parents down,” she says. The idea of being a pharmacist was planted when she was 10 and her mother’s parents moved to Colorado. Khavasova was their translator and helped them understand how to take their medications. In high school, she volunteered at a Russian community pharmacy. Fluent in Russian and English and semi-fluent in Hebrew and Bukhori (a dialect of the Tajiki language), Khavasova enjoyed helping customers with their needs and questions. “I really began to understand what pharmacy was all about. It was like a light bulb going off. I could totally see myself here,” she says. Love stepped in. Khavasova, now 27, met her husband, Ariel Aminov, 36, at synagogue. He is a Bukharian Jew from Tajikistan. They were married in January 2013. “My parents were not excited about me getting married,” Khavasova recalls. They were concerned that she would become pregnant and not finish her undergraduate degree. But the newlyweds had agreed that Khavasova should pursue her dreams and explained this to both sets of parents. Aminov “was 100 percent on board” with her plans, she says. In the Bukharian Jewish tradition, Khavasova would have hosted lavish Shabbat dinners each week, cooked her husband a fresh meal every day, and immediately had children. Some people in her community were “shocked at how nontraditional we Gra du atin g ph a rm a cy s tu dent Yeva Kh ava s ova po s es fo r a ph oto w ith h u s ba n d Ariel Am in ov a n d ch ildren , Ah ro n , lef t, a n d E zra , right. Ph oto provided by Yeva Kh ava s ova .


CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

I really began to understand what pharmacy was all about. It was like a light bulb going off. I could totally see myself here. - Y E VA K H AVA S O VA

were,” she says. After a couple of years of marriage, they decided it was time to start a family, although this meant that Khavasova was pregnant when she interviewed at CU Pharmacy. Her first child, Ahron, now 4, was born the day she received her acceptance email. Ezra was born two years later, two weeks after her P3 exams. “During my interview at the pharmacy school, they mentioned that they were family friendly and offered many resources such as listening to lectures online, daycare on campus (there is a waitlist), and an in-office advisor to best help and support students during the four years,” Khavasova says. However, she found that classes or exams sometimes conflicted with important religious holidays – not just the holidays themselves but the days-long preparations that went with them. “That was a big challenge and the school did work with me,” Khavasova says. She was able to move her exams. And there were the challenges that face every working parent. For example, her childcare provider quit two weeks before Khavasova’s final exams during her first semester of school. A friend filled in for four weeks. Working with her preceptors, Khavasova was able to adjust her work schedule so she could pick up her sons from daycare. Aminov, despite owning and

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running his barbershop full-time, took on many responsibilities and Khavasova’s mother was her ultimate cheerleader, never letting her stumble along the path. Both Khavasova’s and Aminov’s parents stepped in at times to provide additional support. After graduation, Khavasova is looking at a few career options. She might return to the pharmacy where she volunteered in high school. She also has been offered a position in a soon-to-open Russian compounding pharmacy. She says her goal is to eventually be in an ambulatory-care-like setting to help patients manage multiple diseases. Khavasova still remembers her grandmother and her rabbi talking to her parents about attending pharmacy school and getting married. “She can do this,” her grandmother said. And she has.

Grad u at ing p h ar mac y stud ent Yeva K h avas ova poses for a photo wit h hus b a n d Ar i el Ami nov and c h il d re n, Ez ra, lef t , and Ahron, r i ght. Photo p rov id e d by Yeva K hava s ova.

Watch more about how CU Pharmacy’s grads have pursued careers in compounding here: bit.ly/ CompoundingCareer.

Stefanos Aivazidis: Going Far for PhD


magine you’ve applied to a PhD program and you find out that you have one shot at an in-person interview with the director. It’s tomorrow morning and eight hours from your home. If you are Stefanos Aivazidis, you get on a bus at 10 p.m. in Serres, Greece, and travel all night to Athens to meet Vasillis Vasiliou, PhD, then director of the doctoral toxicology program at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Stefanos arrived with an hour to spare, exhausted. “I couldn’t sleep on the bus, I was so nervous,” he recalls. Stefanos (he prefers going by his first name) was accepted and joined the CU Pharmacy PhD toxicology program in 2014. He received his PhD at May’s graduation. At CU Pharmacy, Stefanos worked in the lab of James Roede, PhD, the toxicology program’s associate director, trying to identify possible mechanisms involved in protein aggregation and toxicity in Down Syndrome models. Stefanos has begun postdoctoral work at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in the laboratory of Joseph R. Mazzuli, PhD, as assistant professor of neurology. Stefanos will study protein aggregation and clearance mechanisms in neurons derived from skin cells of patients with neurodegeneration disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, through induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs) transformation. Stefanos joins his wife, Zacharoula Kopelia, in Chicago. The couple met while taking the Graduate Record Examination in Greece and married last September

in Chicago. Zacharoula, a structural engineer, earned a master’s degree at Columbia University while Stefanos was in Colorado. “I’m really glad I went to CU,” Stefanos says. “Not only are the professors excellent and always there to help, but the students in the program are really close, which is not common. We hang out together and help each other. That’s what I like.” Check out more stories about the Class of 2019 in the Perspectives Graduation edition at bit.ly/Classof19Stories.

Stefanos Aivazidis, who graduated with a PhD, smiles for a photo with his wife Zacharoula Kopelia.



Graduation :

D R . G L E N N A P P E L T ’ S L E G A C Y O F G E N E R O S I T Y L I V E S O N W I T H N E W S C H O L A R S H I P I N H I S N A M E B Y




f the late Dr. Glenn Appelt knew his wife and daughter would establish a scholarship in his name at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, he would have been proud to see a new generation of students have the opportunity to study pharmacy, says his wife of 30 years, Jennifer Appelt. “Glenn would have also been so honored to be remembered,” she said. “He was very modest and never sought the limelight.” Dr. Appelt, an alumnus and former professor at CU Pharmacy, passed away in 2013 and is the namesake for one of the school’s newest endowed scholarships. A talented athlete in all sports, Appelt had the chance as a high school junior to join the St. Louis Cardinals as first baseman. Instead, he chose pharmacy. His legacy at the school spans three decades, and he’s

remembered as a kind and dedicated professional who built a pharmacy career out of a love for teaching and research. Appelt, who received his PhD from CU Pharmacy in 1963, worked for the CU School of Pharmacy for 30 years on the Boulder campus. Jennifer and her daughter, Christy Ann Allen Watkins, established the Glenn D. Appelt Scholarship this year as a way to continue his legacy of helping and caring for students. The scholarship is awarded to a student with ties to Colorado’s San Luis Valley, the region where Appelt conducted much of his research. CU Pharmacy student Chelsea Vallejos was the first recipient of the new award. She accepted it in May 2019. “Chelsea is just lovely,” Jennifer said. “She embodies all the characteristics of a kind and caring professional; she’s a role model. I could not be more excited for her to be our first Appelt scholar.” Students come first During his time with CU Pharmacy, Appelt taught courses in pharmacology and carried out extensive research. Dr. Appelt’s many academic accomplishments include co-writing the textbook “Therapeutic Pharmacology” with his wife Jennifer, a former English professor at CU Boulder. The duo also co-authored the regional best-selling herb book “Nature’s Medicine Chest.” He also wrote hundreds of scientific and academic monographs and articles, served in leadership positions for professional organizations and received dozens of awards throughout his career. His work in the San Luis Valley was the first of its kind. Jennifer said he was the first to publish research on medicinal plants from the region. Appelt did so much work there that he became part of the community and culture, even appearing once on CNN to discuss his herbal research Fo rm er CU Ph a rm a cy Profes s o r Glen n D. Appelt, PhD, R Ph


CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

in the region. “The final proofs of our textbook were done at the Coneyos River Ranch in the San Luis Valley,” she said. He also cared deeply about his students, seeing his role as an educator and mentor as a top priority. Dr. David Kroll, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of CU Pharmacy’s Masters and Certificate Programs, took over Appelt’s role as a pharmacology professor when he retired from the school and moved to Alabama. He got to know the Appelt family when they came back to visit Colorado, which was often as they also had a home in Estes Park. “He was always a role model for me because as we were trying to build the research enterprise at the school, he still thought teaching was the most important thing we did,” Kroll said. “He viewed teaching as a noble, venerable endeavor.” That stayed with him for years after he left CU Pharmacy. After 30 years at the school, Dr. Appelt and his wife relocated to Gulf Shores in 1992 to build their dream home in Fort Morgan, Alabama. Not long after that, teaching called him back to classrooms of the University of South Alabama, Mobile and as a consultant pharmacist at Mobile Infirmary. He also served the community of Fort Morgan as a volunteer fireman and spent much of his spare time fishing with the rest of the firemen. “He never really did retire,” Jennifer said.

Dr. G l e n n A p p e l t s m i l e s fo r a p h ot o w i t h h i s d a u g h t e r, C h r i s t y A n n A l l e n Wa t k i n s .

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Erin Terrio’s Legacy of Determination Lives On Through Posthumous CU Pharmacy Degree By Sara Knuth Fo r m e r C U P h a r m a c y P ro f e s s o r Glenn D. Appelt and his wife, Jennifer Appelt, smile for a photo during their Colorado days. After retiring, the Appelts often traveled to Estes Park, where they had a second home.

A lasting impact Colleagues who worked with Appelt during his time with CU remember him as warm and kind. Dr. David Thompson, the associate dean for academic affairs, began working with the established pharmacology professor after Thompson arrived at CU as a research fellow. He remembers Glenn and Jennifer as kind, interesting and experienced — the type of people you’d like to be around. Thompson said the scholarship is an “enduring remembrance of a fine man and academician.” Jennifer, who splits her time between her daughter’s current city of Nashville and the home she shared with her husband on the beach in Alabama, said Appelt was always dedicated to CU. After CU Boulder’s football team won a National Championship in 1990, he got a stained glass window with the CU Buffs logo installed permanently in their Alabama beach home. Jennifer said it’s still there today. With the new scholarship, Appelt’s legacy will live on in a new generation of pharmacy students, too. “The scholarship represents his loyalty to the CU School of Pharmacy,” Jennifer said, adding that her husband’s teaching career at CU Pharmacy was defined by “research, love for students and a love for CU.


Terrio wears a graduation cap and gown.

s the fall 2016 semester wrapped up, Erin Terrio prepared for finals the same way as any other student. “She was in the middle of finals, and she was doing all the crazy stuff you do during finals week: staying up all night and studying and studying,” said her sister and roommate, Jennifer Terrio, who is a student at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. “Until the very last second, she was trying to get through all of her finals.” Terrio was halfway through her second year with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and almost done with finals when she died of complications from cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes lung infections and makes it harder to breathe because of thick, sticky mucus that clogs the airways. The school of pharmacy honored Terrio with a posthumous PharmD degree at the 2019 commencement ceremony at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Her parents accepted the degree on her behalf. Beverly Brunson, the school’s director of student services, said Terrio’s determination to complete her coursework as her condition worsened is a major reason the school decided to award her with a posthumous degree. The rare honor marks the first time the school has awarded an honorary degree to a student in the 25 years Brunson has been with the campus. “She had this disease, and it didn’t stop her from pursuing her PharmD — she still wanted it,” Brunson said. “Some people might just give up and say, ‘I’m sick and I can’t do this.’ She really pursued this.” Jennifer Terrio remembers her sister as determined, creative and introverted. She practiced karate as a child, played softball and golf and designed her own T-shirts. She was always on top of her studies, she said, and when she decided she wanted to do something, she did it. Jennifer Terrio said her sister wanted to study pharmacy likely because she wanted to improve people’s lives through medicine in a way that didn’t put her own health at risk. Because mucus clogs the airways of people living with cystic fibrosis and can trap bacteria, it’s essential to minimize contact with germs. More than two years later, Terrio’s impact lives on at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

This year, a student who has overcome a disease or illness was awarded a scholarship created by Terrio’s parents, James and Heidi Terrio, as a way to honor their daughter. The first recipient of the Erin Terrio Memorial Scholarship was student Elizabeth Ko. Terrio’s impact was especially evident at a memorial hosted on campus at the Richard D. Krugman Conference Hall. Cecilia Romero, program assistant in the Office of Student Services, said she remembers ordering 300 chairs ahead of the ceremony. All of those seats filled up quickly, she said, and people ended up standing along the walls to honor her. “There were that many people,” she said. For her sister, her legacy will live on in her own career. Jennifer Terrio said her sister encouraged her to study dentistry. As she wraps up her third year at the school, she has her sights set on becoming an orthodontist, making her a doctor, like both of her parents. A running joke in the family was that all of the Terrios would, one day, become doctors. When their mom heard the news that her daughter would receive a PharmD degree, Jennifer Terrio said, she told her this: “We really will all be doctors.”

Erin Terrio’s parents, James and Heidi, accept a posthumous CU Pharmacy degree on their daughter’s behalf during the Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremony.



Alumni Angle :

Come spend time with us

I consider it a privilege to celebrate the accomplishments of


our alumni and hear

Pharmacy is always making plans to spend time with our vast network of alumni across the country.

In 2019, Dean Ralph Altiere visited with alumni in Hawaii, Seattle and Chicago — and there are still more exciting events to come.

their incredible stories. I’m always in awe of the vast spectrum of experiences Alumna Diana MadokoroNguyen and guest Eddie Madokoro smile for a photo at a recent alumni event in Long Beach, California.

Mark your calendar now and plan to join your classmates, colleagues and friends at these upcoming events:

encountered. It really helps me put things in perspective. - J A R O N B R YA N T

Monday, Dec. 9, 2019: 2019 CU Pharmacy Alumni and Friends Reception at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists Mid-Year Conference in Las Vegas Saturday, March 28, 2020: Washington, D.C. Alumni & Friends Gathering Saturday, July 18 or Sunday, July 19, 2020: Long Beach Alumni & Friends Gathering Alumni are always needed as co-hosts, sponsors, and volunteers for several activities. If you’re looking for ways to be involved with the school, or for more information about these events, contact Alumni Communications Manager Jaron Bryant for more information by email at sop.alumni@cuanschutz.edu or by phone at (303) 724-0415.

S o m e o f C U P h a r m a c y ’s A r i z o n a a l u m n i j o i n D e a n R a l p h A l t i e re a n d A s s o c i a t e D e a n L a u ra B o rg e l t a t a re c e n t d i n n e r.

Alumni Communications Manager Jaron Bryant

Members of the Class of 1969 gather on the CU Anschutz Medical C a m p u s fo r a t o u r i n S e pt e m b e r.


CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

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In June, Assistant Dean for Clinical and Professional Affairs Gina Moore, PharmD, took over as president of the Colorado Pharmacists Society during the organization’s annual meeting, hosted in Black Hawk, Colorado.

Pharmacist category of the NextGeneration Pharmacy Awards, a national honor sponsored by Pharmacy Times and Parata Systems. In addition to her faculty position at CU Pharmacy, Anderson works as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the Gipson Eastside Family Health Center, the oldest community health clinic west of the Mississippi.

“I’m very excited to be involved and have the honor of being selected as president and advocating for our profession,” she said. “I’m also hoping to create opportunities for our students to get involved and making sure our profession is as healthy as it can be.”

Assistant Professor Rhianna Fink, PharmD, was a finalist was a finalist in the Patient Care Provider category of the Next Gen Pharmacy Awards. In addition to her role with CU Pharmacy, she works as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Clinica Family Health Services. As part of her role, she provides pharmacy services at the Pecos and Westminster clinics.

Sandra Leal, PharmD, a CU Pharmacy graduate, was named president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association at the beginning of June.

Nashel Patel, a fourth-year PharmD student, was nominated in the Future Pharmacist category of the NextGen Pharmacy Awards. Upon graduating, Patel’s goal is to work as a pharmacist in an industry position.

She will begin her three-year leadership term as the APhA president March 15, 2021, after the 2021 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Los Angeles. Leal said she’s happy with the results, adding it was an honor to run for the seat

Assistant professor Morgan Payne, PharmD, collected the Distinguished Young Pharmacist of 2019 Award from the Colorado Pharmacists Society. She was also recognized with an award from the CU Pharmacy Affinity Corps, formerly known as the Speakers’ Bureau, for all of her contributions in promoting the school. against accomplished pharmacists. “I’ve been a member for pretty much my entire career,” she said. “APhA has been a really supportive professional organization.”

Associate Professor Sarah Anderson, PharmD, (Class of 2007) won the Pharmacist of the Year Award at the Colorado Pharmacists Society annual meeting. Anderson also won in the Health-System



Center for Substance Abuse Prevention : overdoses in Colorado since mid-2017. A common misconception is that opioid overdoses only impact people who use heroin or others using illicit drugs. However, many people are prescribed opioids by their doctors to manage pain, which can cause accidental overdoses if used incorrectly or mixed with other medications or alcohol. People might be at risk even if they have a prescription and might only be taking opioids for a few days – which is why it’s critical for consumers to purchase naloxone and know how to use it.

D r . R o b Va l u c k , t h e e x e c u t i v e d i r e c t o r o f t h e C o l o r a d o C o n s o r t i u m f o r P r e s c r i p t i o n Drug Abuse Prevention poses for a photo with state officials at the Colorado State Capitol during the naloxone campaign kick-off.

Battling the opioid abuse crisis in Colorado State announces first Naloxone Awareness Month B Y M I C H A E L DAV I D S O N


he Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention has a simple but important message for all Coloradans: Bring naloxone home. The message is straightforward, but it packs an important punch. In Colorado in 2018, an opioid overdose occurred every 16 hours – many of which could have been prevented by administering naloxone, an easy-to-use medication available without a prescription to anyone at most pharmacies across the state. State leaders recognize the scope of the crisis and the importance of naloxone. Gov. Jared Polis has declared August to be Colorado Naloxone Awareness Month. The proclamation recognizes that “prescription opioid misuse and abuse is a public health crisis in Colorado, with long-term health consequences, including addiction, overdose, and death, and has a profound impact on


Colorado families and communities.” The governor’s proclamation emphasizes that Coloradans should learn about and obtain naloxone. So does U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who recommends that any person exposed to opioids either through prescriptions, illicit drug use or via a friend or loved one using the drugs should know how to use naloxone and keep it within reach. Ending opioid overdose deaths is an urgent issue in Colorado – in 2018, 543 people died from overdoses that involved prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone or illegally obtained opioids such as heroin and fentanyl. “We’re following the Surgeon General’s lead by encouraging Coloradans to understand how important it is to know what naloxone is, how to use it, how to purchase it, and to keep it in your home, car or on your person so it’s available when needed,” said Robert Valuck, PhD, RPh, executive director of the

CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and a professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. “The bottom line is: If you have opioids in your home, you should also have naloxone. If someone you know or love is taking opioids, be sure to tell them about naloxone.” When administered at the moment of an opioid overdose, naloxone blocks opioid receptors in the body, effectively reversing the impact of the overdose and saving the person’s life – thereby allowing time to call 911 to receive medical assistance. Available as a nasal spray or injectable, naloxone is portable, affordable and easy to administer. Although naloxone (also known by the brand names Narcan and Evzio) requires a prescription, a standing order issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment allows any Colorado resident to purchase the drug at a pharmacy simply by requesting it. Naloxone has been used to reverse more than 1,122 opioid

“The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis for Colorado. We’ve lost far too many of our fellow citizens,” Sen. Brittany Pettersen and Rep. Chris Kennedy, the chair and vice-chair of the General Assembly’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee, said in a joint statement. “Many overdose deaths occur at home by people who might not realize they’re at risk, and naloxone could have saved their lives. People should know if they or a loved one take an opioid medication, they should have naloxone, just to stay safe.” Throughout the summer and fall, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention is running paid advertisements throughout Colorado with the “Bring Naloxone Home” message, encouraging residents to visit their pharmacy, ask about naloxone and purchase it. In addition, many of the Consortium’s partners across the state will be holding events throughout the month to generate awareness of the issue in communities across all regions of Colorado. “We’ve recently experienced a slight decrease in drug overdoses in Colorado, which is an encouraging sign,” said Valuck. “However, we still lost 543 people to opioid overdoses in 2018, which is a significant number of people to lose to something that is so preventable. Our goal is to continue that downward trend by getting naloxone into the hands and homes of as many Coloradans as possible.” For more information, including a video about how to use naloxone, visit www.bringnaloxonehome.org.

S U M M E R / FA L L 2 0 1 9

 IFELONG L 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.

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. knuth@cuanschutz.edu to keep us updated! University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences C238 12850 E. Montview Boulevard / Aurora, CO 80045 SOP.communications@cuanschutz.edu / 303.724.4618

SKAGGS STUDENTS WIN ACCP PHARMACY CHALLENGE After challenging pharmacy schools from across the nation, three University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students won the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s Clinical Pharmacy Challenge in New York. The winners are Kyle Coronato, Armen Fstkchian and Mary Reilly. The ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge is a team-based competition hosted at the ACCP’s annual meeting. The students, who are all in their fourth year at CU Pharmacy, competed in multiple preliminary rounds of virtual competition leading up to the live competition — a chance to show off their clinical pharmacy knowledge at a national conference. As part of the live event, the students competed in a lightning round of competition, finished a clinical case and answered Jeopardy-style questions. Heading into the challenge, the competitors were prepared. Coronato said he went back to review facts. “It’s pushing us to remember as much as we can,” Fstkchian said, adding that he found himself holding onto every detail he learned on rotations. “It’s a nice motivational factor for me.” Reilly added: “It’s a great review for the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination).” The students said they appreciate the support from their CU Pharmacy ACCP faculty advisors, Associate Professor Joel Marrs, PharmD, and Associate Professor Toby Trujillo, PharmD.


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.

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Pharmacy Perspectives - Fall/Winter 2019  

Pharmacy Perspectives, the magazine of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, tells the stories o...

Pharmacy Perspectives - Fall/Winter 2019  

Pharmacy Perspectives, the magazine of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, tells the stories o...