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T R A N S L AT I N G R E S U LT S I N R E S E A R C H A N D P R A C T I C E The official magazine for the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

FALL 2015


Dean: James P. Kehrer Director of Advancement & Alumni Relations: Lori Shockey Editor: Sandra Pysklywyc Contributors: Amy Hewko Sean Townsend Designer: Curio Studio Photography: Alyssa Aco Christy Dean Jessica Fern Facette Sandra Pysklywyc Ryan Whitefield Front Cover Photo Credit: Christy Dean Back Cover Photo Credit: Jessica Fern Facette CONNECT WITH US: Website: pharm.ualberta.ca Email: phcomms@ualberta.ca Twitter: @UAlberta_Pharm Facebook: Pharmacy Alumni Association University of Alberta Editor’s note: UAlberta Pharmacy is published twice yearly. We’re thrilled to bring you this inaugural issue about ‘game-changers’. Our students, faculty and alumni continue to have significant impact in healthcare delivery, policy and research. We welcome your comments about this issue and suggestions for future story ideas. Also, if you’d prefer to receive this magazine electronically just send a note to phcomms@ualberta.ca.


to the inaugural issue of UAlberta Pharmacy, our exciting new magazine for alumni, donors and stakeholders. UAlberta Pharmacy is about telling our story. We want to share with you how we are improving the education of student pharmacists, and how we translate science and practice into results. It’s been a busy and exciting year for the faculty, full of many achievements and tremendous changes. Our researchers are making incredible contributions to basic and applied pharmaceutical sciences, advancing patient outcomes and creating innovative practice models. Several of our faculty members were recognized this year by their peers with national awards and large external grants. In and out of the classroom, our students continue to demonstrate excellence. This past spring, one of our students graduated with a perfect GPA and received the Alberta College of Pharmacists Gold Medal, as well as the Alberta Premier’s Silver Medal, which is given to the top academic student in the faculties of law, medicine & dentistry, or pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. The faculty itself received a wonderful accolade: we were ranked 31st in the world in pharmacy and pharmacology by QVS World University Rankings.

You can read more about the awards and accolades on pages 16 and 17, including details on our Outstanding Alumni award winners. I’m proud to say we have more than 5,000 alumni around the world who continue to influence the changing health-care field through their leadership in the areas of policy, practice and business. As you know, the profession of pharmacy is continuously evolving, and the Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) has become the new standard of education in pharmacy. Our faculty has proposed changes to the undergraduate curriculum to meet this new standard. Pending Government of Alberta approval, we anticipate offering an undergraduate PharmD degree starting in 2017. You can read more about that on page 17. That’s not the only change in the faculty. After seven wonderful years at the University of Alberta, I will be stepping down as dean at the end of June 2016, and so the search for a new dean is underway. We expect that this individual will be named by March 2016. I hope you enjoy this issue of UAlberta Pharmacy and reading our stories about our exceptional students, faculty members and staff. It is the ongoing support of individuals like you that enables us to continue offering one of the best pharmacy programs in North America. JAMES P. KEHRER DEAN


UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


2015 Fast Facts


Teaching with purpose


Small but mighty molecules


Passion for research

Profile: Candace Necyk, assistant clinical professor

Khaled Barakat is leading a University of Alberta ‘dream team’ in the battle against cancer

Travis Featherstone talks about balancing graduate studies, work and family life

10 ‘Cracking’ gluten intolerance

Researchers may have found a way to help people with celiac disease enjoy a wide variety of foods

12 Pharmacists play key role in improving patient health Study shows that pharmacists on primary care teams have a significant impact on patients

15 Mr. Pharmacy will cap off an amazing year of philanthropy for APSA

Highlights of APSA’s fundraising and community education initiatives

In this issue

16 News and notes

Awards and accolades from the past year

17 Charting a new course Faculty proposes PharmD

Photo Credit Ryan Whitefield

18 A love of the profession and a world of opportunities Scholarships have a tremendous impact on students

19 Alumni Weekend Recap Photo Essay

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015




23 MSc

35 PhD





Research grant dollars

New grants in 2015





UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015

Countries represented


234 Sites








Total amount of living Alumni The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is the only pharmacy school in Alberta and is ranked in the TOP 3 in Canada.

3,366 Total living in Alberta


37 PharmD

Preceptors are the “heart” of the pharmacy profession and make substantial contributions to the advancement of our students and the profession.




510 BSc


of our alumni are clinical pharmacists in Alberta registered through the Alberta College of Pharmacists.



According to 2015 QS World University Rankings by subject, the University of Alberta was ranked 31st in the world for pharmacy and pharmacology.


– WITH –



Amy Hewko | photo by Christy Dean

Candace Necyk (BSc Pharm ’08, MSc ’13) has always known she belongs at the front of the class. “Teaching is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she says. “As I was learning myself, I always thought of ways that would be helpful to teach something back to students.” This passion brought her back to the University of Alberta a mere three years after receiving her undergraduate degree. She joined the faculty in 2011 as a practice skills lab facilitator and guest lecturer; shortly after, she seized the opportunity to teach a drug use process pharmacy class while the regular professor was on maternity leave. Mentoring students on rotation had given her a taste of the profession, and Necyk was thrilled at the opportunity to help budding pharmacists develop their skills. Today Necyk is a clinical assistant professor, teaching pharmacy skill labs, psychiatry and endocrine, and her passion is evident. She received the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science’s 2014 Award of Merit for her dedication to teaching. Her strength comes from her belief that effective lessons are relatable and practical, but Necyk is also intimately familiar with the educational needs of a student. She is currently working toward a PhD in mental health and completed a master’s degree in natural health product safety shortly after becoming a professor. Her students like her approach. “Professor Necyk does a fantastic job of bridging research and practice, and has a ‘real world’ aspect to every lecture that makes it clear how we will be able to use this knowledge as future pharmacists,” says Scott Wakeham, fourth-year pharmacy student and former community education director of the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association. “She makes an effort to get to know the class, and you

can tell that she cares about your goals and your future.” Necyk’s impact on Wakeham—and many other students on campus—extends beyond the classroom. The two worked on a video targeted at U of A students that aims to help start conversations and reduce the stigma associated with mental health. “She shares my passion for mental health and really empowered me to try and make a change with how it is viewed and talked about,” he says.

With the markings of a successful career ahead of her, Necyk is just happy to follow her calling. “Student engagement is a wonderful aspect of teaching. Watching them get excited and weaving their way through pharmacy school. Seeing what they might be interested in and where they see their career going,” she says with a smile. “It’s rewarding watching that whole process, and talking to them and helping them with it. I love all of that.”  UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015



UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015



Sandra Pysklywyc | photo by Christy Dean

FOR THE LAST YEAR, KHALED BARAKAT (PHD ‘12) HAS BEEN MULLING OVER HOW TO DEVELOP A LESS INVASIVE AND MORE ECONOMICAL AND EFFICIENT WAY TO TREAT CANCER. BASED ON CONVERSATIONS WITH HIS MENTORS, LORNE TYRRELL AND MICHAEL HOUGHTON, AND AN EXCITING NEW RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP, BARAKAT’S VISION IS COMING CLOSER TO REALITY. Barakat, a research assistant professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, is leading a “dream team” in the battle against cancer—and he’s using small molecules and a supercomputer to do it. Thanks to a $5.4-million partnership between the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, Barakat will lead almost a dozen of the world’s greatest minds in oncology, virology, immunology, chemistry, dentistry and pharmaceutical sciences, taking the next step in changing how cancer patients are treated. Recent developments in cancer immunotherapy have shown tremendous promise by triggering the immune system to recognize tumours as “foreign agents” and destroy them. “Malignant tumours are very smart; they deactivate the T cells, a very important »

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


part of the immune system, that normally circulate in the blood, detect bad cells and then destroy them,” says Barakat. “Our team is developing small molecules to replace the antibodies currently used in immunotherapy, which target specific proteins on the surface of T cells called immune checkpoints,” he says. Side-effects of drug treatment using antibodies include the potential for overactivation of the immune system, which sometimes results in the immune system attacking the organs and cells of the patient. But Barakat’s small-molecule treatment, called the Immune Checkpoint Program, will stimulate the T cells into naturally attacking the tumours by targeted specific binding sites on T cells with less risk of side-effects for the patient, partly because the molecules are in the body for less time. The Alberta Cancer Foundation believes in the potential of this team and is investing $2.4 million into their research. “This partnership with the University of Alberta and Li Ka Shing Institute will allow researchers to look at novel ways of treating cancer, where they target the immune system rather than the tumour itself,” says Myka Osinchuk, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. “Immunotherapy has been described as a breakthrough for this disease, so we are pleased to make this investment on behalf of our donors and are excited about its potential on Albertans facing cancer.”

The partnership with the Alberta Cancer Foundation led the Li Ka Shing Institute of Applied Virology to contribute $3 million to the project as well. “Dr. Lorne Tyrrell and I are very pleased that the Alberta Cancer Foundation has seen the great potential of the Immune Checkpoint Program and has decided to become a coinvestor with the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute to deliver these much-needed medicines to the many cancer and chronic viral illness sufferers in Alberta, Canada and globally,” said Michael Houghton, professor and director of the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute. “The Immune Checkpoint Program was initiated within the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute in 2014 with Dr. Khaled Barakat as the principal investigator.” Houghton and Tyrrell, both world leaders in virology, will be part of Barakat’s dream team on this project. Also part of the dream team is one of the world’s fastest computers. “Using the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, our team is able to simulate Immune Checkpoint in their physiological environment and mimic their dynamic behaviour in human cells,” says Barakat. “It also allows us to visualize and identify hotspots on these proteins that can be targeted with small molecules, and hence rationally design small molecules that can reactivate T cells.” What’s different about this research is not only that these small molecules are being

used to reignite the body’s natural fight against tumours, but also that this treatment can be applied to many types of cancer. “The concept has been proven by antibodies in many cancer types including advanced melanoma, one of the hardest cancers to treat,” notes Barakat. “Our small molecules could be compared to a ‘magic drug’ that can be used against many types of cancer.” As a potential therapy for cancer treatment, the small-molecule scenario has another important factor to consider: its cost. “Its development will result in being cheaper to make, hopefully causing the price for these drugs to be more affordable to many patients and health-care systems,” says Barakat. The team plans to have a “lead structure”— an almost-ready drug that needs only small tweaking and optimization—in place by the end of the second year of the project. At that point, they will be seeking a pharmaceutical partner to develop this lead structure into a drug for human trials by 2020. “Our idea is to build upon these successes, but to provide a new way of doing it, a way that is cheaper and in the meantime can reduce side-effects,” says Barakat. “We are working together from a number of disciplines at the U of A to come up with what we hope are better outcomes for cancer patients and those who suffer from chronic illness in Alberta and around the world.” 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA RESEARCH TEAM KHALED BARAKAT, Research Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences MICHAEL HOUGHTON, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology and Li Ka Shing Professor of Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry


UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015

LORNE TYRRELL (BSc ‘64, MD ‘68), Director, Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry MARY HITT, Associate Professor, Experimental Oncology, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry FREDERICK WEST, Associate Chair (Research), Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

SHOKROLLAH ELAHI, Assistant Professor, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

ARNO SIRAKI, Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

MICHAEL SMYLIE, Professor, Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

AVIAD LEVIN, AIHS Postdoctoral Fellow, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

JOHN WALKER, Assistant Professor, Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry


Sandra Pysklywyc

As an undergraduate student, Travis Featherstone (BSc Pharm ‘09) made juggling school and extracurricular activities an art form. While completing his degree, Featherstone also played hockey for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, winning two national titles in 2006 and 2008. Keeping up with the demands of hockey and the full-time pharmacy program was no easy task, but Featherstone found a way to make it all work. “Since junior high, it’s always been a balancing act between competitive hockey, school and all the other extra activities,” he says. Featherstone became interested in the profession after serving as a caregiver for his grandmother, who was having challenges with her medication. “My grandmother was a big part of my life growing up and when she was having difficulties, it was tough for me that I was not able to assist her. I realized I wanted to know more about medications and how they interacted, as well as delivery of medications, and I saw it as an opportunity to really help others,” he says. In second year, after being challenged by Scot Simpson, his professor and now graduate supervisor, Featherstone and several of his classmates decided to take on a summer research project and he found himself very interested in the research side of things. Featherstone currently works with Pharmacare, an Alberta-based health-service company that supports over 4000 patients daily and specializes in the delivery of clinical services to clients through an integrated health team. His work on both the clinical and the operations side includes being involved in transition projects, operational system development, management of pharmacies and business analysis. Given his history of multitasking and his

passion for research, it’s no surprise that Featherstone returned to the University of Alberta to pursue graduate studies. However, this time around, Featherstone is balancing a full-time job, his graduate work and the demands of a young family. Featherstone, who’s in his last year of his master’s degree, has the September 2016 deadline in his sights. He’s examining how to identify seniors with unrecognized diabetes and how that condition is best managed. “I’m looking at the opportunity for pharmacist intervention in senior facilities for people with diabetes. Specifically, whether or not we can use a simple questionnaire to help identify those who may have diabetes but don’t know that they do and what programs are currently in place utilizing pharmacists as the primary monitoring practitioner.” According to Simpson, Featherstone “has always been interested in research.” Simpson admires Featherstone’s ability to balance things and “his incredible sense of the bigger picture of where this research fits in, how to ask questions appropriately and design analyses to evaluate that.” “I’m very fortunate to have strong family support and understanding from my friends,” Featherstone said. “And the professional mentorship I’ve received from both Scot Simpson and Cheryl Sadowski, as well as other faculty, have been amazing and critical to realizing opportunities.”

For those alumni who might be considering graduate studies, Simpson, who is also the associate dean, Research and Graduate Studies says, “the limit of grad studies is your own imagination. The first step for this journey is to connect with a supervisor in your area of interest. After that it’s a matter of crafting your program full-time or part-time, whatever works best for you.” “You have to be willing to expect a two- to four-year process and have an interest in evidence-based medicine and the process of research, “ says Featherstone. “The faculty is very supportive and has a breadth and depth of knowledge that makes this an opportunity and the time involved makes it favourable to return and study.” If you’re interested in graduate studies in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, visit our website – pharm.ualberta.ca/programs/graduate. 

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015




UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015

Sandra Pysklywyc |

photos by

Christy Dean

University of Alberta researchers may have found a way to help people with celiac disease enjoy the wide variety of foods they normally have to shun. Hoon Sunwoo (PhD ‘98), an associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and colleague Jeong Sim, a retired professor from the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, have developed a natural supplement from the yolks of chicken eggs that prevents the absorption of gliadin, a component of gluten that people with celiac disease have difficulty digesting. “This supplement binds with gluten in the stomach and helps to neutralize it, therefore providing defence to the small intestine, limiting the damage gliadin causes,” said Sunwoo. “It is our hope that this supplement will improve the quality of life for those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance.” According to the Canadian Celiac Association, one in 133 people in Canada are affected by celiac disease, a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. Those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance suffer from symptoms including anemia, headaches, bloating and fatigue. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley among other foods, is a common binding agent used to increase the elasticity of food. Sunwoo became interested in the disease after learning his friend and his friend’s family suffered from it. “I wanted to learn more about why some people cannot tolerate gluten and if there was a way to reduce the symptoms,” he said. “With gluten present in so much of our food, I wanted to find a way to improve the quality of life for my friend, his family and others.” The research may prove to be welcome news for celiac patients in Canada and around the world. The next step is an efficacy trial, slated to happen within the next year. Following that, the supplement could be available within three years. Sunwoo and Sim have

partnered with IGY Inc. (Canada) and Vetanda Group (U.K.) through an agreement with TEC Edmonton to bring the supplement to market. “This collaboration gives us the opportunity to change the lives of those suffering with a debilitating autoimmune condition,” said Vetanda Group communications director Claire Perry. “Our groundbreaking new health product has the potential to offer more dietary freedom and, overall, a much better quality of life for glutenintolerant individuals. The product could be available to celiac sufferers in Canada within three years, paving the way for testing and product approval in the United States and Europe.” TEC Edmonton, a partnership of the U of A and Edmonton Economic Development that helps commercialize research from the university, is proud to be a part of the collaboration. “The University of Alberta is home to world-class researchers in the fields of immunology, biotechnology and food science,” said Jay Kumar, vice-president of technology management at TEC Edmonton. “The investment by Vetanda, based in England, demonstrates that the world is watching.” Parts of the research were also supported by grants from Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education. Sunwoo also credits the U of A for being an integral part of his work’s success. “The University of Alberta is an incredible place to do research. Our lab in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is top-notch, and I am pleased to have the support and funding to continue to work towards improving the quality of life for those who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance.” 

It is our hope that this supplement will improve the quality of life for those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015



UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


klywyc Sandra Pys risty Dean o by Ch


HIS MOST RECENT STUDY, Pharmacists on primary care teams: Effect on antihypertensive medication management in patients with Type 2 diabetes, published in the May/June issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, found that having pharmacists on primary care teams had a significant impact on the treatment of blood pressure in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The study was part of a larger research project published in Diabetes Care in 2011. The main study, which was a randomized control trial, examined blood pressure control in people with Type 2 diabetes as a measurable, clinically important outcome. Results of the main study showed that the addition of pharmacists to primary care teams produced substantial improvements in the health of patients with Type 2 diabetes. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, there are 10 million people in Canada living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, with more than 20 Canadians being newly diagnosed with the disease every hour of every day. Simpson wanted to delve further and “pinpoint what specifically pharmacists did to improve patient health. “Our goal with this sub-study was to deconstruct the interventions being used

ofessor Sc ‘01), pr (M n o s p the H. Sim ears, Scot ciences at y S l e a in c n ti t u s e a c on arma Over the p acy and Ph harmacists m p r f a o h P le o f r o ulty g the ts with in the Fac een studyin b s a h , h of patien ta lt r a e e h lb A e f th o ct on University their impa d n a s m a re te primary ca betes. Type 2 dia

and understand exactly what it was that the pharmacists did to have a positive effect on patient health,” says Simpson. Patients in the intervention group were counselled directly by two pharmacists, who worked with the patients’ physicians as part of primary care teams at several clinics within Edmonton’s Southside Primary Care Network. Control group patients did not see a primary care team pharmacist during the study. At the end of the study, 42 per cent of the intervention group patients had at least one change to their blood pressure drugs compared to 26 per cent of the control group patients. “Based on the data, we found that patients who had a change in blood pressure drugs were twice as likely to have an improvement in their blood pressure compared to those who didn’t have a change in blood pressure drugs,” says Simpson. Simpson’s findings support the importance of interprofessional health collaboration in treating patients. “Adding pharmacists to the team to review medications, identify drug-related problems and manage the treatment has a positive effect on blood pressure levels of patients with Type 2 diabetes,” says Simpson. “The pharmacists involved in the study

had very collaborative discussions with the physicians about the patients’ medications and proposed drug treatment options,” he says. “It was from these discussions that the pharmacists were able to suggest alternative medicines or changes in dosage that contributed to lowering the patient’s blood pressure.” In fact, there was one patient who had difficulty in achieving blood pressure targets because of reflex tachycardia, which is increased heart rate in response to a lower blood pressure. “The pharmacist was able to recommend switching from one drug to another and was able to help the patient achieve better blood pressure control without adverse effects,” explains Simpson. Alberta’s pharmacists currently have the broadest scope of practice in North America. While this study was conducted prior to Alberta pharmacists having authorized prescribing authority (APA), the pharmacological knowledge pharmacists bring to the team is critical, says Simpson. “Pharmacists use their training to review the patient’s medication history and work with physicians to find the best solutions for patients.” 

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


&SheAlley Tuchscherer Q with m ‘92)

(BSc Phar

Shelley Tuchscherer was one of the two pharmacists that took part in Scot Simpson’s study. She is an alumna of the U of A and shares her experience in that study and her love of pharmacy and diabetes education below. How has your education at the U of A prepared you for your career? U of A provided a solid knowledge base and practical experience for my career in pharmacy. What can I say… the U of A has an excellent pharmacy program! What did taking part in the research study mean to you in terms of increasing your confidence level, skills, and future career prospects? What is it like working as part of a PCN team? The study led me to where I am today. It allowed me to apply my knowledge and skills as a diabetes educator by working one-on-one with patients and gain invaluable experience. It also gave me more confidence in working collaboratively with physicians. Working as part of the PCN team is simply amazing. By working together and consulting with various health-care disciplines (i.e. nurses, dieticians, exercise specialists, mental health clinicians and general practioners), we all gain a broader knowledge and respect for the complex management involved in caring for patients with diabetes. It’s a win-win relationship for both the patient and our team. How does having authorized prescribing ability (APA) impact your ability to work with patients? Authorized prescribing ability has had a huge impact on the patient care that I provide at the PCN. It allows me to not only assess and develop the best possible care plan, but the ability to initiate new therapy and monitor accordingly. Now, there is no time lag involved


UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015

for patients to follow up with their doctors to start the new therapy, or confusion as to what should be started. I’m very fortunate to have great working relationships and the trust of the physicians in our PCN. These relationships were built up over time and have been a wonderful opportunity to collaborate in order to provide the very best patient care. What are you doing now? Currently, I work at the Primary Care Network (PCN) in Sherwood Park as a pharmacist/certified diabetes educator. I also work occasional shifts at a community pharmacy to help maintain my broader pharmacy knowledge and skills. What’s your favourite part of your job? My favorite part is the amount of time that I get to spend with patients! Our initial intake appointment is one-and-a-half hours, giving sufficient time to listen to their concerns and come up with realistic solutions. The strong relationship that you develop over the course of several visits has a positive impact on the progress of the patient, and can be incredibly rewarding. I think that I often get more excited than the patient when their numbers start to improve, and they feel better. Did you always want to be a pharmacist? Actually, sorry to say, but no (haha). I initially looked at becoming a physiotherapist, but missed their application deadline. I’m glad I did though, I’m really enjoying what I do now. Where do you see the profession in 10 or 20 years? I see more pharmacists specializing in specific areas of practice, and fully prescribing in these areas. Do you have any advice for current pharmacy students? Make the most out of all of your rotations… this is your biggest chance to improve your existing knowledge and determine what area of pharmacy you’d like to pursue. 

Mr. Pharmacy will cap off a year of amazing philanthropy for APSA The Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association (APSA) is known on campus and in the community for their leadership and fundraising initiatives. Every year, the students raise money and awareness for a number of causes and health issues. Their planned activities during Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) are so extensive, it’s a wonder they have time to sleep, never mind study. The 2015 edition of PAM saw the students in the community hosting diabetes and blood pressure clinics at City Hall, the Legislature and West Edmonton Mall. APSA also presented faculty and interprofessional symposiums and seminars, served lunch at Ronald McDonald House and took some time

to socialize with alumni and the professional community. The City of Edmonton lit the High Level Bridge in blue and gold (APSA colours) to highlight PAM and the students’ efforts. In April, the students developed an inspirational YouTube video to highlight the importance of mental health. The video has been viewed nearly 10,000 times and continues to be a shining example of studentled public service. And throughout the year, APSA members supported their events with gusto. From Run for the Cure to Mr. Pharmacy, students were committed to raising money for research. In 2015, they raised $3150 for Juvenile Diabetes Research, over $17,000 for Run for the Cure in support of breast cancer research, collected 365 pairs of jeans for the Youth Empowerment & Support Services and

over $33,000 for Movember Canada through the Mr. Pharmacy competition, just to name a few of their efforts. This year’s edition of Mr. Pharmacy, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Myer Horowitz Theatre, promises to be bigger and better than ever. Participants will take part in a number of competitions including talent, empathy and a beachwear segment with the aim of becoming Mr. Pharmacy 2015. There’s also a silent auction and wine and cheese reception with all funds raised heading to Movember Canada in support of prostate cancer research and men’s health awareness. Alumni are welcome to attend. For more information or to purchase tickets contact Aliaks Savin at aliaksan@ualberta.ca 

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


NEWS & NOTES Our faculty, staff, students and alumni continue be recognized locally, nationally and internationally for their leadership and contribution to pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. The following pages are snapshot of awards and


The Outstanding Pharmacy Alumnus Award celebrates accomplished alumni and recognizes the outstanding contributions to the profession, community, society at large, or to the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award winners were: Rosemary A. Bacovsky (BSc ’74, BSc Pharm ’77, MPharm ’85, MHSA ’97) Shirley Heschuk (BSc Pharm ’64, MSc ’67) Please watch for our next issue where we will profile these two amazing alumnae.


Candace Necyk (BSc Pharm ’08, MSc ’13) clinical assistant professor, was presented with the Faculty’s Award of Merit for Teaching in June (see page 5 for story).

Cheryl Cox (MBA ’91) experiential education coordinator was honoured in May 2015 with CPhA International Leadership Award at the Canadian Pharmacists Conference in Ottawa. According to CPhA, “Innovation, strategic thinking and the ability to develop strong and lasting personal relationships have made Cheryl Cox a leader in international experiential education. Cheryl became involved in international pharmacy education in 1997 as part of the Faculty’s exchange agreement with Toho University in Japan. Since then, her prominent leadership role advocating for international clinical placements has led to exchanges in the United States, Trinidad, Australia, Singapore, France, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Mexico and Egypt.


UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015

Michael Doschak, associate professor, was recently elected to the Board of Scientific Advisors with the Controlled Release Society (CRS) for a three-year term. He also received a 2015 “Innovation... Makes Sense” patent award from TEC Edmonton. Doschak was recognized for his achievements in commercialization of bone-targeting peptide hormone biologic drugs and diagnostic imaging tracers. Cheryl Sadowski, associate professor, received a recognition program award from the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists. This program “recognizes collaboration across professions and disciplines.” Drew Price, instrumentation coordinator, (BSc ’10) was presented with the Faculty’s Award of Merit in June in recognition of his significant contributions through service.

(l-r) Ubaka Ogbogu and Mark McCutcheon, president of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations

Ubaka Ogbogu (LLM ’05), assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, with a cross appointment in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, at the University of Alberta, is the recipient of this year’s Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) Distinguished Academic Early Career Award. This award recognizes academic staff members who, at an early stage of their careers, through their research and/or other scholarly, creative or professional activities have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community beyond the university. Sharon Mitchell, clinical associate professor, received the 2015 Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada National Award for Excellence in Education at the Annual Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences (CSPS) Conference in May 2015.


Zaid Alma-ayah, Osama Elshenawy and Lockhart Jamieson were presented with the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) Graduate Studentship Award.

Cox photo credit John Evely Photography. Ogbogu photo credit Michael Kennedy. Olaosebikan/Dacko photo credit Tulle & Tweed Photography

accolades from the past year.


(l-r) Scot. H. Simpson, associate dean, Hoda Soleymani Abyaneh and James P. Kehrer, dean

Hoda Soleymani Abyaneh received a University of Alberta Graduate Student Teaching Award in March 2015


The preceptor awards recognize the contributions of over 600 individuals in Alberta who assist in the development of future pharmacists.

(l-r) Oksana Dacko and Morenike Olaosebikan

COMMUNITY PRECEPTORS OF THE YEAR Morenike Olaosebikan (BSc Pharm ’09) Shoppers Drug Mart #381, nominated by student Oksana Dacko (BSc ’11, BSc Pharm ’15) for Pharm 426. Trish Molberg, IDA McKenzie Lake Pharmacy, nominated by student Kevin Zapf for Pharm 305. INSTITUTIONAL PRECEPTORS OF THE YEAR Peter Macek, (BSc Pharm ’95) Edmonton Remand Centre, nominated by Natalia Szynkarczuk (BSc Pharm ’15) for Pharm 428. Victoria Fong (BSc ’07, BSc Pharm ’12) Cross Cancer Institute, nominated by student Miranda Hall for Pharm 315. For a complete list of preceptors that are making a difference in our students’ lives, visit pharm.ualberta.ca/preceptors. Do you have news to share? Let us know by emailing us at phcomms@ualberta.ca

Faculty proposes PharmD by

Sandra Pysklywyc


haped by a vision of excellence and innovation in pharmacy education and research through learning, discovery and citizenship, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has proposed to implement the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program in 2017. After extensive consultations with stakeholders, the comprehensive plan to introduce the new curriculum is currently pending Government of Alberta approval. “The PharmD is the new standard for pharmacy education in North America,” says James Kehrer, dean of the faculty. “In Canada, the educational outcomes and accreditation requirements for the PharmD were established by the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada and the Canadian Council for the Accreditation of Pharmacy programs, respectively.” Half of the pharmacy schools in Canada have implemented the degree at present, with the remaining schools aiming for 2017–19. “The goal of our PharmD program is to encourage our graduates to be future leaders and lifelong learners,” says Kehrer. “Our curriculum development team has worked very hard to ensure we are continuing to prepare our graduates to provide quality and safe patient-centred care in Alberta’s dynamic health-care environment, and in diverse settings across Canada’s health-care system.” This change, if approved, will affect prospective students applying for admission in 2017. The new program will require two years of pre-professional studies and the experiential education component will be increased from 22 to 40 weeks. Students in the BSc in Pharmacy program will have the option to enter the PharmD program once it’s implemented, or continue with their BSc. Both options permit graduation at the same time. And, beginning in January 2016, the faculty will offer the part-time PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists. This program is designed to upgrade the skills of practicing pharmacists and offers scheduling flexibility and online learning. “Alberta is an exciting place, both to study and practice pharmacy,” says Kehrer. “We look forward to providing new and currents students—as well as our alumni and the broader pharmacist community—with opportunities to experience a wide range of practice settings to foster their patient care skills, develop critical thinking and evidence-based decision making, and stay current on new practices and innovative learning that will enhance their ability to serve patients.” Visit our website pharm.ualberta.ca/programs for all the details.

UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


A love of the profession and a world of opportunities Student awards ease the financial stress of pursuing educational dreams by

Sandra Pysklywyc

A gift will have an immediate and direct impact on the lives of our students, researchers and faculty. There are number of opportunities available. If you would like to make a contribution, please contact: Lori Shockey Director, Advancement & Alumni Relations Tel: 780.492.8084 Email: lori.shockey@ualberta.ca 2-35G, Medical Sciences University of Alberta 8613 - 114 Street Edmonton AB T6G 2H1


UAlberta Pharmacy: Fall 2015


or fourth-year pharmacy student Dan Burton (BSc Hons ‘12), the road to completing his education has been a long one. With an undergraduate degree in science already behind his name, Burton has been in university for the past nine years and he’s been paying for this investment in his future mostly on his own. But with initial plans to enter medical school and use pharmacy as a “stepping stone”, Burton had a profound moment with a patient that altered the course of his studies. “At the end of my first-year community rotation, I truly fell in love with the profession,” he says. “Throughout my rotation I had a patient with a laundry list of problems and I worked with her to figure out a plan and help her garner the supports necessary to improve her quality of life,” said Burton. “On my last day of my rotation I provided her with our plan of what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. “It was at that point she broke down and began to cry. She told me she was so happy I had taken the time to work with her but she was very upset that I would have to now leave the pharmacy in order to pursue the rest of my education.” It was that patient interaction that sealed the deal, says Burton. Making an impact in a patient’s life in year one was phenomenal, but he thought, “can you imagine what kind of an impact I could make with three more years of knowledge?” Now heading into his final year of studies, Burton has taken his conjecture and made it an academic reality, as an active member

of both the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association (APSA) and Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI), serving in a number of leadership roles. He is currently serving as vice-president of professional affairs on the CAPSI national council. Recently, Burton was awarded the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) Centennial Leadership Award at their annual conference for his promotion of the profession of pharmacy and academic standing and, this fall, he will receive the Alberta Pharmacists’ Centennial Leadership Award. This monetary award will provide Burton with assistance to complete his last year of studies and is presented to a student “who shows demonstrated leadership in the community and commitment to the pharmacy profession”. “In a program like pharmacy, many students enter the program because they want to help people and try to make a difference in the world,” says Burton. “The debt load may be high, but we love our program and our profession and for many of us, it is really a small price to pay in order to pursue our passion.” Burton is honoured to receive this award and notes that it will “make a tremendous difference in my future.” “Now, I can concentrate on achieving the goals I want because I have the desire, not because of the size of my bank account. With this award, I will put the money to good use and continue to strive to be the best pharmacist I can be.” 



aculty brunch, student-led tours and Bone-trek took place on Sept. 26, 2015. There were plenty of memories, smiles and laughs shared as alumni got together to celebrate the proud tradition of the U of A pharmacy family.

(L-R) Student Brooklyn Boehme and Ed Bruns (BSc Pharm ‘60) start the alumni tours on a happy note.

Ken Hill (BSc Pharm ‘55) displays a bottle of ethanol in the compounding lab.

Photo credits: Jessica Fern Facette and Alyssa Aco

(L-R) Bob Sprague (BSc Pharm ‘85), Bob Wilson (BSc Pharm ‘85), Margaret Wing (BSc Pharm ‘85), Bruce Winston (BSc Pharm ‘85) and Stephanie Wilson reminisce over class yearbooks.

(L-R) Richard Elaschuk (BSc Pharm ‘75), Byron Bergh (BSc Pharm ‘75), Janet McCaig (BSc Pharm ‘75), Marlain Wong (BSc Pharm ‘75) and Bonnie Titford (BSc Pharm ‘75).

SAVE THE DATE - next year’s Alumni Weekend is Sept 22-25, 2016.

Alumni, stay connected to the faculty through the Pharmacy Alumni Association The Pharmacy Alumni Association (PAA) is committed to: • fostering relationship building between pharmacists and student pharmacists within the professional pharmacy community in Alberta; • continuing connections with the University of Alberta, and with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; • promoting the interests and welfare of both student pharmacists and alumni; • providing networking, educational and social opportunities for PAA members; • inspiring interest in the University and the Faculty from PAA members; and • assisting PAA members in raising funds and awareness to activities and events. Pharmacy Alumni Association Members: Sheena Neilson, BSc Pharm ‘06 Karen Smilski, BSc Pharm ‘80 Kit Poon, BSc Pharm ‘04 Aileen Jang, BSc Pharm ‘83 Jessica Prych, BSc Pharm ‘14 Student Representative Alyssa Schmode Faculty Representative Lori Shockey Office of Alumni Relations Elise Hetu If you want to learn more about the PAA or get involved with events, contact lori.shockey@ualberta.ca or connect with us on Facebook Pharmacy Alumni Association University of Alberta or Twitter @UAlberta_Pharm

Canada Post indicia Please return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2-35H MSB, University of Alberta 8613 -114 Street Edmonton AB T6G 2H7 Email: phcomms@ualberta.ca Website: pharm.ualberta.ca

Mail recipient info

“Connecting with the students invigorates me and revitalizes my passion for the profession.” - Karen Smilski, BSc Pharm ‘80, mentor

Give the gift of time… become a mentor! Share your knowledge with current students as they transition from academic to professional life. For more information visit the mentor section on our alumni page pharm.ualberta.ca/alumni-and-giving or email lori.shockey@ualberta.ca.

Profile for Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

UAlberta Pharmacy  

The official magazine of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta.

UAlberta Pharmacy  

The official magazine of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta.