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The Universal Language of Care


embers of Lambda Kappa Sigma (LKS) service and professional fraternity recently volunteered

at Health Protection Education Services’ (HPES) free health clinic at the University City Public Library. They conducted glucose and blood pressure screenings, cholesterol checks, EKGs, and hearing and vision tests for underserved and uninsured patients. Fifth-year students Brooke Stanton, Grace Benanti, and Taylor Ashton and third-year student Shelby Meyers also compiled a multilingual pharmacy directory and introduced it at the clinic. According to HPES, participants in the screenings are primarily AfricanAmerican, Chinese, or Korean and 25 percent of the nonprofit’s clients are non-English speaking or have limited English proficiency.


The directory includes all of the pharmacies in the St. Louis metropolitan area and indicates those with multilingual pharmacists. It also includes the name of each pharmacy, the pharmacy’s address, normal hours of operation, and phone number. For each pharmacy, it lists the employees that can speak or understand a particular language, their position, and shift hours. For more on this story, go to

Spring 2014



2 4 ,




Sheila Haar Siegel



Julie Conway Colleen Krutewicz Contributing Writers

Stacy Austerman Brad Brown Blaire Leible Garwitz Vicki Hodder Stephanie Hoffmann Greg Katski Mary Ries



Nancy Busch Class Notes

Kristine Bryant

President, Alumni Association

Bill Reed ’67 Chairman, Board of Trustees


Jane Arnold President

John A. Pieper, Pharm.D. Vice President, Advancement

Brett T. Schott Director, Alumni Relations

Stephanie Hoffmann Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Communications


Beth Keserauskis

Script magazine is published three times a year for alumni, students, and friends of the College. Questions or comments may be addressed to Sheila Haar Siegel at


Relentless Resilience She doesn’t really tell anyone. Her STLCOP basketball coaches don’t even know about it (well, until now that is). Emily Nickels says she doesn’t let cystic fibrosis affect her life much. And once she makes up her mind, she doesn’t change it.

by sheila haar siegel

Taking it Further Professor John Beale’s discovery of four drug compounds—for which he has acquired the first international patent in the College’s history— may treat and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

by sheila haar siegel

At the Core To decrease readmission rates to hospitals, reduce costs, and improve care, pharmacists are making sure they are at the center of the health care team, helping patients transition from one health care setting to another.

by stacy austerman

Made in St. Louis A look at some of the drugs discovered in St. Louis, the researchers behind them, and the companies that developed and manufactured them.

by vicki hodder


Office of Advancement, 314.446.8394 or ST. LOUIS COLLEGE OF PHARMACY College Receptionist


Script Magazine


President’s Office


Deans’ Office


Admissions 314.446.8312

Financial Aid


Alumni Office


Public Relations


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W W W . S T L C O P. E D U / S C R I P T

D E PA R T M E N T S 2

News Briefs


On Campus: Places and Spaces


Faculty Profile: Shin-Yu Lee


Alumni Profile: Rebecca Lich ’07


Alumni News


Class Notes

News Briefs Marketing Honors

UMSL/August Jennewein

Joint Business Degrees The College has established a new collaborative program with the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) that will allow student pharmacists to work toward a graduate certificate in business administration or an Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at UMSL while still enrolled at the College. “This agreement with UMSL is an incredible opportunity for our students,” says President John A. Pieper, Pharm.D. “The UMSL College of Business Administration is a recognized leader in outstanding business education. By working together, we can give students an opportunity to expand their skills in business and management.” The College’s new curriculum will allow students to develop an elective track in areas such as pharmacy management. “The curriculum exposes students to business concepts,” says Ken Schafermeyer, Ph.D., professor of pharmacy administration. “The ability to go even more in-depth in these important topics at UMSL will serve students well.” After students graduate from the College, they will be able to continue classes at UMSL at their own pace in order to complete the graduate certificate or MBA. Graduate certificate courses include marketing, financial management, communications, and accounting. Some courses taken at the College will be transferrable into UMSL. Likewise, select courses taken at UMSL can be used to fulfill graduation requirements at the College. “As part of the College’s mission to prepare our students to positively impact patients and society, we recognize the importance and value a graduate certificate or MBA from UMSL provides,” Pieper says.



The Office of Marketing and Communications was recently honored with two awards from the Council for Advancement and Education (CASE) District VI. STLCOP received a silver award, in the category of Communications and Marketing Programs— Special Constituency Magazines — Research Magazines, for the fall 2012 issue of Script magazine. In addition, the College received a silver award, in the category of Integrated Advancement Programs—Web Sites—Complete Institutional Web Sites, for

Faculty Film Debut Brian Walter, associate professor of English and director of convocations, will present his documentary, Stay More: the World of Donald Harington, at the Arkansas Literary Festival on April 27. In the 2013 feature-length film, Walter interviews American author Donald Harington about the origins of Stay More, the fictional village in the Ozark Mountains where Harington’s novels are set. (The fictional town is based, somewhat, on Drakes Creek, Ark., where Harington spent summers as a child.) Harington shares his memories of the small town and talks about the loss of his hearing due to meningitis at the age of 12.

CASE is a leading resource for educational institutions and offers the premier awards program for marketing, communications, fundraising, and alumni relations activities of CASE members. District awards honor everything from annual reports to Web sites to special events. More than 200 colleges, schools, and universities are members of CASE District VI, whose eight-state region includes Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

“Because he’d lost his hearing, it couldn’t be a conventional Q and A,” Walter explains. “I wrote out questions beforehand, sent them to him, and he would get frustrated, even using the 3-by-5 cards he had been using for years to field questions in his class.” Walter has written several articles, reviews, and fiction about the author’s work and appears as an interviewer with tricky questions in the last chapter of Harington’s final novel, Enduring. Stay More: the World of Donald Harington took several years to complete and Harington died, in 2009, before it was completed (though he did get to see a trailer of the film). The first public screening of Stay More: the World of Donald Harington will take place on April 12 at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, Ark. Walter will also speak on the making of the documentary at the Books in Bloom Literary Festival in May.

News Briefs STLCOP Takes the Cake

Expanding Rotations

Around the Globe St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Mekelle University in Ethiopia have partnered to create an advanced pharmacy practice experience. Two sixth-year students, Bryan Bridgford and David Kim, were the first two STLCOP students to travel to Ethiopia for the new rotation. “We saw three to four cases of tuberculosis a day,” Bridgford says. “That’s not something you’d normally see here.” “The Mekelle University pharmacy program is pretty new, and faculty members there were looking for some assistance in establishing a Doctor of Pharmacy program,” says Goldie Peters, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Peters visited Ethiopia three times in the last year to help establish the partnership. “What impressed me the most was the attitude of compassion and sympathy by health care providers toward the patients,” Kim says. “I’m looking to start a career in community pharmacy after I graduate, and

it was a great lesson to learn and apply it to my future patients.” Students will have another opportunity to travel to Ethiopia early next year, and a faculty exchange program is also being considered. In the meantime, Peters is working with a team from Mekelle on the university’s curriculum assessment and feedback, especially on their experiential program. “We went through some of their curriculum and compared it with ours,” Peters says. “They’ve made some significant progress, but now we need to figure out how to keep going.”

A 4-foot-tall fiberglass birthday cake has arrived on the campus of St. Louis College of Pharmacy. The cake will be one of 250 displayed at iconic, quintessentially St. Louis locations to celebrate the city’s 250th birthday. “This year St. Louis College of Pharmacy marks 150 years of educating future pharmacy innovators,” says President John A. Pieper, Pharm.D. “What better way to celebrate our ses­quicentennial and the birthday of St. Louis than with a large cake for everyone to enjoy?” The location of 50 cakes was determined by popular vote. During the weeks of public voting, the College quickly moved from write-in candidate to the top of the leader board in the Innovation category, which celebrates the region’s trail­blazers who have made an indelible stamp on a local, national, and international level. After all the votes were counted, the College surpassed local icons like the Gateway Arch, Saint Louis Zoo, and Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. “The College’s unique position within the medical center will ensure this cake is seen by thousands every day,” Pieper says. “I’m look­ing forward to seeing the cake stand with us for such an important year in our history.” The cake was installed on campus March 17. As part of the cake’s interactive design, visitors will be able to learn about the rich history of the College, including how the College has been a pioneer in moving the profession of pharmacy forward for 150 years.



Places and Spaces There are buildings that have been renovated and added over the years on campus. But soon there will be buildings that completely transform STLCOP’s campus, culture, and stature. In March, the College broke ground on a new six-story, 213,000-square-foot academic and research building and library, located east of and in place of the current Cartwright Student Center. The building’s design will be a highly visible presence in St. Louis’ world-class biomedical research and patient care area. The building will house the School of Pharmacy and the four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy program. It will also include technologically advanced classrooms and an auditorium, teaching laboratories, small group study spaces, two floors of flexible wet and dry lab space, and a welcome center for prospective students and their families. The library will move to the new building and more than triple in size. The advanced resource library will contain the latest technological tools and research materials and will include space for group learning and individual study. The new facility will expand research labs with 30,000 square feet devoted to research space. The space will facilitate important research discoveries that advance patient care and treatments in hospitals, clinics, and communities around the world. The College has applied for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council with the intention of generating as small a carbon footprint as possible in constructing the building. In February 2013, the College’s Board of Trustees approved a campus master plan that called for a new academic and research building. The facility will support the College’s vision of being globally prominent in health care education, interprofessional patient-centered care, and collaborative research. Construction on the new building is scheduled for completion in June 2015. 4


Go to to get an inside look

On Campus



Student Profile text


Resilience by sheila haar siegel photos by jennifer silverberg

Like most parents, Sue Nickels took her daughter to the doctor for her regular checkups, expecting the brief bout of ear-piercing cries and pea-sized tears from the most recent installment of recommended vaccinations. Emily was two years old. Her mom was ready. Ready to scoop her up in her arms after the initial sting of the shots wore off. But she wasn’t prepared for what the doctor ultimately found.

Student Profile text

Emily had been losing weight and, as first-time parents, Mike and Sue Nickels were keeping a close eye on her trajectory—making sure she was growing and developing at the pace of a normal 2-year-old. Their family doctor (Emily’s second cousin) suggested some testing. Ironically, the physician’s specialty was also Emily’s diagnosis: cystic fibrosis. Her parents really didn’t know much about the disease. They didn’t know how to react. They just knew they wanted to make their little girl feel better. So they followed her doctor’s instructions, pumping Emily full of supplements with every meal to boost her nutrition and caloric intake (cystic fibrosis can cause malnourishment because the enzymes needed for digestion don’t reach the small intestine, preventing food from being absorbed). But, as it turned out, she didn’t need the supplements. An inherited disease, cystic fibrosis (CF) affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat, and digestive fluids. The fluids are normally thin and slippery. But in cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become unusually thick and sticky, plugging up tubes, ducts, and passageways,



Most people don’t even know Emily Nickels has cystic fibrosis. Her STLCOP basketball coaches don’t know either (well, until now that is). especially in the lungs and pancreas. But Emily’s pancreas was working fine. She is “pancreatic sufficient,” which occurs in only 10 percent of people with CF and means that her case is milder than most. She is able to digest her food and doesn’t need to ingest pancreatic enzyme supplements. “Yeah, they didn’t know that until I was in kindergarten,” Emily says, “My parents suspected I was pancreatic sufficient and convinced the doctors to perform additional tests to confirm it. So I don’t have the more severe type of cystic fibrosis, so far at least…knock on wood.” She still has to loosen the mucus in her lungs every day though, using an inflatable vest that vibrates at high frequency. Twice a day, she straps it on and hooks it up to a machine that pounds her chest for 45 minutes at a time. It’s an itchy treatment, but not terribly painful. “It just takes time,” Emily says. “My lungs are pretty good. When I want to go out and I have to do my medicine, it’s kind of annoying because I have to wake up early to do it. Other than that, it’s not awful. Some people have to do it three, four times a day.” She also inhales salt water (saline solution) through a nebulizer twice a day to help keep her airways open. But you’d never know it. In fact, during high school at Notre Dame in South St. Louis County, her teachers didn’t even know she had cystic fibrosis. She played softball, basketball, golf, and soccer, but none of her coaches had any inkling either until her soccer coach was called by a reporter from the St. Louis PostDispatch for an interview about Emily and other local scholar-athletes.

“I don’t really tell people,” Emily explains. “It really hasn’t impacted my life that much. Some kids are always hospitalized, and I’ve only gone to the hospital twice. And that was just because my mom wanted me to get extra medicine after my pulmonary function test went down from 93 percent func­tioning to 81. Otherwise, I’m pretty much in the normal range of breathing.” In grade school, Emily was involved in swimming, volleyball, and anything else her parents could think of. “Exercise is very important for people with CF,” says her father Mike, a civil engineer who has become an expert on the disease after asking laundry lists of questions at doctor visits over the years, and who is now working to find a cure as a board member of the Gateway Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “A good cardio workout is as effective as a treatment and is an important part of a CF patient’s daily health regimen.” Emily’s mom is a physical therapist and, to Emily, a 10-foot-tall person to look up to. “I’m so much like her,” Emily says. “I like hanging out with her, talking with her.” Neither of Emily’s parents have cystic fibrosis, but both carry the recessive gene that causes CF. Emily’s 11-year-old sister has also been diagnosed with the disease. Her 17-year-old brother does not have cystic fibrosis. Emily decided in the sixth grade that she wanted a career in the medical field. She knew she wanted to learn about medicine and how it affects her, and to see if she might be able to help others with cystic fibrosis. “Once I make up my mind, I don’t change it,” she says. Her relentlessness has paid off. Now a second-year student at the College, Emily is a 5’4” guard on the Eutectic

Student Profile

basketball team. Her STLCOP coaches don’t know about her cystic fibrosis either (well, until now, that is). She plays approximately 20 games a season from October through February and practices four days a week, for an hour and a half each session. Yet she never gets tired or out of breath. “I have too much adrenaline,” she says. “It’s just so exciting. By the very end of a game, my muscles are just dead, but I don’t think I’ve ever been short of breath with a sport.” She also runs to keep herself in top physical shape—for basketball and her health. During her senior year of high school, she won an Exercise for Life Athletic Scholarship, a national scholarship from the Boomer Esiason Foundation, for running 1.5 miles in 10 minutes. Only one female student and one male student nationwide received the $10,000 award, which went directly to cover tuition costs at STLCOP last year. Emily currently works as a pharmacy technician at Neel’s Pharmacy in Crestwood and, eventually, hopes to practice pharmacy in ambulatory care, working with patients who have CF. “My cystic fibrosis will probably make me more understanding of how medicine keeps you healthy,” she says. “For me, I don’t want to lose lung

function, because I won’t get it back. I want to keep on top of it and make sure I maintain it.” And as Emily knows better than most, improvements in treatments and care are increasing the average life span, every year, for children and adults with cystic fibrosis. In the 1950s, few children with the disease lived to attend elementary school. Today, the predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is in the early 40s. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s, and beyond. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug that may correct the underlying defective gene in four percent of people who have especially rare mutations of cystic fibrosis. Another drug, currently in

“I know most people die from cystic fibrosis when they’re 38...I have a rare form of the disease, so we’ll see. I’m like the test dummy.” phase III clinical trials, may help with the most common mutation, which affects 90 percent of CF patients. A second generation of similar, but more potent, medications is headed to phase I trials later this year. It’s early, but the results are encouraging. “I know most people die from cystic fibrosis when they’re 38,” Emily admits. “But there are some people who live to age 60, which is good. I have a rare form of the disease, so we’ll see. I’m like the test dummy. But long term… yeah, hopefully it’s good.”




Taking it


Professor John Beale’s discovery of four drug compounds — for which he has acquired the first international patent in the College’s history—may treat and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. by sheila haar siegel photos by jennifer silverberg






The extremely powerful magnet inside a spectrometer helps Beale look at pathogenic brain peptides and potential drug molecules.

ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS John Beale’s graduate school professor said to him was that you have to develop a frustration tolerance if you’re going to do science because so many things just plain

might not work the first, second, third, fourth, or more

times. But that doesn’t mean the idea is wrong, he said. It means that maybe you just haven’t yet found the right set of conditions. What you have to do is deal with your frustration and press ahead.

We are in Beale’s office at the College, where he has been since 5 a.m. John M. Beale, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, is poised patiently over his computer— the one he uses to access a remote supercomputer, set up new experiments, and download data from experiments he is currently running. He’s already emailed several people who are involved in molecular modeling to make sure he’s dealing with the most up-to-date information. He’ll be meeting with one of his five student research assistants this afternoon to discuss pathogenic proteins. For the past year and a half he has been conducting “docking” experiments, screening a database of thousands of potential drug compounds to find out— literally—what will stick. A docking program takes each individual compound and tests its binding affinity to a receptor ; in this case, sortilin. The program then evaluates how well each compound docked and how tightly the compound bound, or stuck to, the receptor. It takes about 24 hours to screen 1,200 compounds on the supercomputer. Last year, Beale found four promising compounds out of the thousands he’d weeded through and, in December, he acquired an international patent—the first in the College’s history.



The patent is for four anti-dementia medications that bind to the compound sortilin, a receptor that prevents the elimination of a protein, called progranulin, from brain tissue. Progranulin is necessary for nerve health and it’s an anti-inflammatory agent in the brain. So, in various states of dementia, there isn’t enough progranulin. By blocking the sortilin receptor, progranulin levels increase. Beale hopes the potential drug compounds will treat and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. “Frontotemporal dementia is what we’re dealing with in regard to the sortilin compounds,” Beale explains. “It is actually a form of early onset dementia. It could happen in a 40-year-old, whereas Alzheimer’s tends to be more prevalent in people over the age of 60. Frontotemporal dementia can strike very early on.” Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. They occur in one out of three people aged 85 or older. As baby boomers age, the cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is expected to double by 2040. It’s already $157 to $215 billion

“T he computer may say that compounds should bind, but you still have to use the human element to assess those compounds.” a year. Needless to say, researchers are scrambling to find measures to delay or even prevent dementia. Beale began his research into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia five years ago. At first, he was involved in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy looking at peptide structures. Then he met Nigel Cairns, Ph.D., from the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine and Michael Gitcho, Ph.D., from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He soon realized how powerful structural bioinformatics approaches could be when combined with his colleagues’ work. Computational modeling has been used for years in researching antimicrobial agents and various psychotropic medications, but applying it to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is unique to Beale. He finds the series of compounds that the computer says should bind well, and Cairns and Gitcho then take the findings and test them in the lab. “The computer may say that compounds should bind, but you still have to use the

At a nuclear magnetic resonance lab at Washington University, Beale determines the three-dimensional structures of peptides and proteins before conducting “docking” experiments back at his STLCOP computer.

human element to assess those compounds,” Beale says. “You look at the model and figure out if it’s binding in the right place. And then you have to do the biological experiments to show whether or not that particular compound has the effect you’re looking for.” Sometimes the computer models haven’t shown what Beale and his research partners hoped or expected they would. Some of the first compounds weren’t very water soluble, so to get them into a system where the team could inject the compounds into mice proved challenging. They got around that problem by simply adding a TWEEN, which is an emulsifier and solubilizer, to help them get the compound into the bloodstream and tissues of the mice. Beale says some of the compounds just don’t turn out to be the right ones. You just have to keep chasing that elusive set of conditions.

“In a living system, things aren’t always the same,” Beale says. “There are a lot of factors that come into play when going from a computational model to what is actually tested and works in a living system. Maybe the compound doesn’t penetrate the blood brain barrier very well and, in that case, because it doesn’t get into the brain, it probably isn’t going to have the effect you’re looking for.” The team’s work continually moves back and forth between Beale’s computational modeling and the lab. Compounds found by Beale are tested in nerve cell cultures and mice and, if an active compound is discovered, then a chemical derivative is made of it and retested in the computer to find out if the compound is more or less of a receptor binding agent. If it’s more active, that one will be synthesized and tested. “So what you’re doing is driving yourself iteratively toward more and more active compounds, guided by what the computer says about how tightly they should bind, eventually leading to a determination of how active the compounds are in biological systems,” Beale says. A potential cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia as a result of Beale’s research will not be available anytime soon. Testing in

humans and possible drug development is a decade or more away. Beale and his collaborators have to determine the pharmacokinetics of the four compounds, how each one changes over time in a living system, how long each one lasts, what their biological half lives are, where they distribute in the body—and that all has to be done first in mice. From there, they will be able to narrow down the compounds to the one that their research has shown to be the best before presenting it to a pharmaceutical company that will hopefully latch onto it. But, as our conversation shifts to what his research will ultimately mean for patients, Beale reveals that his mother, now 83, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago. So far, she is still capable of conversation. She remembers her children’s names, but she sometimes forgets the names of her grandchildren. She has to ask who they are when she sees pictures of them. She lives in central Illinois, so Beale drives up to see her and calls her twice a week. He has become a resource for his dad and tries to help the entire family get a handle on her disease. “It’s tough,” Beale says. “I visit as often as possible, and I spend a lot of time talking with my brother and sister. We share information and try to be as supportive as we can be. That’s about all we can do.”

Beale finds the compounds that bind well and his research partners then test them in the lab. He understands the implications. Most people survive for four to eight years after they’re diagnosed, much of that time in a nursing home. Beale is now pushing even harder in the belief that the life of someone else’s mother might depend on the extent of his effort. “You’ve got to expect that when you do an experiment, probably the first few times you do it, it’s not going to work. You keep trying over and over again, and it just might work eventually.” He just keeps asking the right questions and is hoping to find the right answers.



Faculty Profile

Understanding patients, Inspiring students

shin-yu lee

ROLE @ STLCOP Assistant professor of pharmacy practice Specialty: ambulatory care DEGREES AND RESIDENCIES

Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Southern California PGY1 ambulatory care residency at the St. Louis County Department of Health and St. Louis College of Pharmacy St. Mary’s Internal Medicine Clinic in Richmond Heights, Mo. Lee has been caring for the indigent and homeless for the last six years, first as an intern in Long Beach, Calif., then at the St. Louis County Department of Health South County Clinic and at St. Mary’s (her site for the past two years). Many of her patients use the emergency room as a place for primary care. “My primary goal in clinical practice is to reduce that burden,” Lee says. “I discuss health promotion and disease prevention with my patients. Over time, I’ve come to realize it’s not just counseling patients about how to use their inhaler or an insulin pen. Sometimes what matters most is just being there to listen. As patients share personal struggles or vent about their frustrations, it builds trust and mutual respect, which is the foundation to having a successful conversation about their health.”


Lee decided that counseling patients was where she was going to focus her energy while a student during a six-week rotation at Los Angeles County General Hospital. There, she helped a patient with severe diabetes, with sugar levels in the 500s, bring down her levels by at least 100 points. “I thought ‘Wow, I can make a difference,’” Lee recalls. “It felt so tangible. Talking with patients and their families is one of the best parts of my day. I think pharmacists can help reduce emergency room visits and encourage




patients to take care of themselves before their medical condition worsens to the point of hospitalization.” Lee not only works with her patients to understand their treatment regimens, but also works with more than two dozen medical residents and several attending physicians. She takes a leadership role in helping physicians understand pharmacotherapy and when to prescribe certain medications. “Sometimes the best medicine is not affordable for our patients,” Lee says. “So when I make my recommendations, I not only have to think about what’s best for a patient physically but what medication the patient is likely to be able to afford and refill on a regular basis because he or she is dealing with a chronic issue. And it’s so important to educate student pharmacists to not only think about what medication is indicated for a medical problem, but to consider factors like medication costs, the risks versus the benefits of prescribing the medication, a patient’s level of self-care as well as health literacy, support at home, and other socioeconomic factors. Caring for patients is not always clear cut, but it is a thrilling challenge.” Lee regularly shares true patient stories with students in the classroom. By bringing real-world cases into lectures and discussion groups, she says, the lesson becomes more engaging. “You can teach students all you want, but if you don’t tell them why it’s important or why they should care, then why talk about the information?” Lee says. “It’s almost second nature that I will tell a story. My patients don’t know how famous they are.” The chance for one-on-one learning comes every five weeks as students join her on rotation at St. Mary’s or when she is a discussion group leader for her therapeutics course. Lee says she’s both there to teach and to learn. “It’s a two-way street. They


“My time as a clinical pharmacist is often spent focusing on one disease state and making a difference there. I get to know patients, their struggles, and how their struggles affect their therapy.”

sometimes think of answers that I would never have thought of,” she says. INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCER The Office of International Programs recently enlisted Lee to establish an advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) for STLCOP students at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Students will work in a hospital that was the first in China to implement a clinical pharmacy program. One of the many advantages of going on an international experiential rotation, Lee says, is seeing patients with disease states that are rare in the United States but more prevalent in other countries. She says it is also important for students to experience different treatment approaches for conditions that are more familiar to them. After just five weeks in China, Lee knows students will come back home with an increased understanding of the roles culture and heritage play in shaping patients’ perceptions and their openness to health care treatment options. STLCOP students will also assist Fudan University students with their required research projects—including whether ethnicity plays a role in how medication affects patients—by writing and interpreting data for publication in English-speaking academic journals. “This is why we’re always talking about interprofessional education at STLCOP,” Lee says. “As educators, need to have our students not only work with other health care providers, but people of different backgrounds and heritages.”

Shin-Yu Lee counsels indigent and homeless patients at her practice site in St. Louis and is working to create an APPE for STLCOP students in Shanghai, China.

Jennifer Silverberg

Faculty Profile



At the Core How Pharmacists are Improving Transitions of Care Story by Stacy Austerman Illustrations by Peter & Maria Hoey

Whether a person is moving from operating to recovery room, hospital to home, or home to skilled-care facility, each transition of care can become a complicated, intricate process. Pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and other health care team members may interact with patients at each transition, and new information, including tests, scans, lab results, and medication changes, may occur and needs to be shared. Each care transition requires every member of the health care team to correctly communicate and properly educate each other and the patient to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care. Yet, when breakdowns in care occur, a patient’s transition of care can be mishandled and a person’s health and well-being are at risk. In an effort to save lives and stop a sometimes endless cycle of readmission rates, pharmacists are searching for ways to improve transitions of care. As the critical link between health care systems and patients, they are medication managers who are transforming the spectrum of health care.

The Affordable Care Act Effect While transitions of care can take place in any health care setting, significant attention is currently focused on a patient’s transition of care from hospital to home or out­patient facility. An alarming number of patients, especially Medicare patients, are being readmitted to the hospital not long after they are released. On average, nearly 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who were discharged from the hospital were readmitted within 30 days of their release, and 34 percent were readmitted within 90 days. “The elderly are the most common population to be readmitted into the hospital,” says Tricia Berry ’94/’95, Pharm.D., interim senior associate dean of pharmacy, interim chair of the pharmacy practice department, and professor of pharmacy practice. She and Terry Seaton, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy practice, along with other College faculty, have proposed researching transitions of care models, especially those that focus on pharmacists’ roles in improving care. “Also, patients with certain medical conditions are more likely to have recurring hospitalizations,” Berry says. Currently, the staggeringly high rate of readmissions is costing the United States health care system about $25 billion annually. In an effort to improve readmission rates, especially in Medicare and Medicaid patients, the federal government added a provision to the Affordable Care Act. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program requires the Centers for Medicare and

Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce payments to acute care inpatient prospective payment system hospitals with excess readmissions. Beginning in October 2012, hospitals whose readmission of patients within 30 days of release were higher than the national average saw withholdings of reimbursements from CMS. “The penalties from the federal government are costing some health systems millions of dollars,” Seaton explains. “They have started searching for ways to avoid the penalties by improving transitions of care.”

Nearly 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who are discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days of their release.

The Critical Link In order to improve transitions of care, the causes for the high number of readmission rates must be identified. According to the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits health care systems nationwide, three types of breakdowns occur when a patient is discharged from the hospital: communication, patient education, and accountability. “While a patient is in a hospital, it’s a routine process for members of a care team to communicate issues, but we have not had that same mindset when it comes to a patient’s discharge,” Seaton says. “We need to rethink our paradigm of communication. We’re usually talking with patients who may not be the best communicators because of their environmental situation. They may still be sick and possibly overwhelmed or scared. We may try to communicate instead with a caregiver, but not every patient has one.”



The staggeringly high rate of readmissions is costing the United States health care system about $25 billion each year.



To Berry, a key breakdown in communication comes from inadequate information available to long-term providers in the outpatient setting. “If information, especially information about a patient’s medication regimen, isn’t properly communicated to the patient’s primary care physician or community pharmacist, a mistake could occur that sends the patient spiraling back into the hospital. The community pharmacist needs to be aware of any medication changes, so they can update the patient’s medication records and help him or her understand what the medication regimen should be.” Amy Drew, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, agrees with Berry’s assessment. “Picture yourself as a patient in the hospital. You’ve been seen for a recent illness, and your entire medication list can change dramatically. You’re given a sheet of paper that says which medications to start, continue, and stop. That’s assuming it is the most current piece of paper because that is what the patient will rely on.” Drew, who works at Mercy Clinic Family Medicine, a physician-based clinic, often follows up with patients on medication reconciliation and adherence. “When I call a patient to review his medications, I’m using that same sheet of paper. As I go through it, the patient may just read off the paper. But what he really needs to do is go through his medication bottles and tell me what he’s actually taking and why he’s taking it. If that isn’t happening, it is potential for serious breakdowns and health risks.”

Just as proper communication with a patient is important, so is patient education and health literacy. “Not enough time is spent educating patients,” Seaton says. “It can be a lengthy and costly process, especially when patients have unique educational needs. That is why pharmacists are key, especially in the medication reconciliation process. Patients enter and leave the hospital with complex medication histories and medical problems and need the expertise of pharmacists.”

“A patient told me he started taking a new cholesterol medication. He didn’t know why, especially since he didn’t have a cholesterol problem. What he didn’t understand was that the medication doesn’t just treat high cholesterol.” Jamie Pitlick, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, further explains the critical role of pharmacists. Pitlick, who works at Mercy JFK Clinic, a hospital-based clinic that serves patients who are uninsured or covered by Medicare and Medicaid, has seen firsthand the adverse effects caused when patients don’t understand the medications they are prescribed. “I work with a low socioeconomic and low health literacy population,” she explains. “Many times a practitioner makes a medication decision, and the patient is told about the decision, but she may not understand it. When I make follow-up calls with patients, they may tell me they were prescribed something, but they

don’t know why. My role is to help them understand, so they can get proper treatment and get better.” “In a number of conversations I’ve recently had,” Drew says, “patients share that they don’t understand why they are or are not taking a certain medication. For instance, a patient told me he started taking a new cholesterol medication. He didn’t know why, especially since he didn’t have a cholesterol problem. What he didn’t understand was that the medication doesn’t just treat high cholesterol. There may be additive benefits for him outside of lowering cholesterol. Pharmacists are in a great position because we have the understanding not only about the drug, but why it is the best choice for the patient. We can provide that linkage for the patient, which can make the difference between them taking it or not taking it.” Finally, accountability for both practitioners and patients need to be improved. “Prior to the recent implementation of CMS penalties, accountability for patient safety and quality really focused on inpatient care,” Berry says. “But with the new regulations, you see the accountability shifting. The primary care provider is no longer the one who is solely responsible for what’s happening in the outpatient environment. Now the hospital also has an interest in outpatient care. We’re seeing the formation of accountable care organizations to bring together multiple providers across a health system, so they can work and communicate more successfully.”

Transforming the Spectrum of Care Several transitions of care models are being implemented across health systems nationwide to reduce readmission rates and improve the quality of patient care. Many involve the critical role of the pharmacist as the health care professional who links the patient from hospital discharge to outpatient recovery and who can best educate patients on medication adherence. Berry and Seaton have partnered with several health care and research institutions to create a transition of care model to improve readmission rates and overall patient care. At the center of the model are pharmacists, both in the hospital and in the community. “The most important feature of our research is to connect the hospital pharmacist and the community pharmacist,” Seaton says. “Right now, those two entities don’t communicate at the time of transition of care from the hospital to home and vice versa.” He continues, “When a patient is admitted to the hospital from home, the community pharmacist has this wealth of drug information about the patient that doesn’t get shared with the hospital pharmacist. It’s really the initial medication reconciliation. Our second most important feature is patient education and empowerment. Both in the hospital and also in a repetitive sequence in the outpatient setting there would be education focusing on different aspects of care.”

Connecting hospital pharmacists with community pharmacists is key to a successful transition in care for patients.



Berry and Seaton’s model includes a unique aspect for improving communication. “Many hospitals are shifting to electronic records,” Berry says. “However, they are not connected across health care systems yet. So an electronic health record, while visible at the hospital, may not be viewable at the physician’s office or the pharmacy. We are proposing the use of a platform that would connect those systems, so inpatient and outpatient providers can communicate. This platform is critical in helping community pharmacists be better informed and provide the best possible support to their patients.”

“We’re in the position to catch and correct medication errors with the primary purpose of improving patient care and the quality of care for patients.” Berry and Seaton are collaborating with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Walgreens, and the Missouri Pharmacy Association and its Missouri Pharmacists Care Network. “This way, any pharmacist in Missouri could participate,” Berry says. “Both retail and independent pharmacies could take part in the education and training.” In addition, Essence and Aetna health insurance companies joined the collaboration to provide data analysis of health care costs. Both are confident that their model can elevate the role of the pharmacist in patient care and



improve readmission rates. “We are talking about a systematic change,” Berry says. “We are transforming patient care.” Drew and Pitlick are also collaborating on a transitions of care model. As pharmacists through Mercy health system, they are working together to research and analyze readmission rates connected to their respective clinics. “Jamie and I both practice in ambulatory care clinical pharmacies,” Drew says. “We’re in the position to catch and correct medication errors with the primary purpose of improving patient care and the quality of care for patients.” Both pharmacists took a proactive approach to being involved in collaborative efforts. “We saw an important role we could play on our health care teams,” Pitlick says. “We took the initiative and created these roles in our respective clinics. I learned a resident physician at my clinic was beginning a scholarly project on ways she could improve the way patients are cared for. She mentioned transitions of care, and I asked her what I could add. Together we agreed on what she and I would focus on when we counseled patients at the clinic.” “I was in a unique position where I had an inpatient clinical pharmacist as the counterpart to my outpatient role,” Drew says. “When that person left and the position hadn’t been filled, we noticed that those patients who were in the hospital were missing out on the benefits of having an inpatient pharmacist who could counsel or talk to them about medications they were being

St. Louis College of Pharmacy faculty are creating models for transitions of care that improve communication and analyze readmissions rates.

prescribed at discharge. Since I work in the same health system as the physicians and patients, I realized I could step into that medication management role. I could speak to patients on the phone or talk to them in the office when they come for their follow-up appointment. I speak to them about any medication changes or questions or concerns they may have, and then I forward that information to the physicians before their appointments.” Together Drew and Pitlick are evaluating results from both of their clinics. “We are analyzing our readmission rates within 30 days and 60 days prior to when we started our collaboration,” Pitlick says. “Then we’ll evaluate readmission rates from a few months into the collaboration. We’ll also look at how many patients were contacted and how many discrepancies were found.” “We’re using readmission rates as one of the drives to show the importance of pharmacists’ involvement,” Drew says. Both pharmacists agree they have seen positive results from acting as liaisons between patient and physician. “I was working with a patient who recently started on two types of insulin in the hospital,” Pitlick says. “She was on a very small dose, so one packet of medication lasted more than one month. About a month after being discharged from the hospital the patient came to the clinic with blood sugars in the 300s and 400s, and the week before her sugars were in the upper 100s. The providers were brainstorming on reasons why the sugars changed so

quickly, and they asked me to speak with the patient.” Pitlick spoke with the patient, asking her what medications she was currently taking, when she used them, and where she stored them. “She was storing all of her medications on her kitchen table, and since most medications only last for 28 days at room temp­erature, her insulin lost its ability to work. She came back the next week to clinic and her blood sugars were back down to the upper 100s. This is not only a great example of how talking with patients and helping them to under­stand their medications helps but also how pharmacists can work alongside medical providers to help in the problem solving.”

The Best Team Member Models for transitions of care are constantly evolving, and new data is being developed each day to offer solutions to avoid patient re-hospitalizations. “The role of pharmacists in these new health care models is as medication managers,” Seaton says. “There are standards for medication management, and pharmacists need to be recognized for providing a consistent and dependable level of care.” There is a growing opportunity for recognition through transition of care improvement models. “The future of health care is team-based care,” Seaton says. “Pharmacists have to be a part of the team because they are the most qualified team members to manage drug therapy. If a pharmacist isn’t integrated within a health system in some way, now is the time to do it.”



Celebrex may well be the most famous drug discovered in St. Louis, a blockbuster medicine that relieves arthritis symptoms and pain without causing stomach ulcers. Celebrex works by selectively inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is involved in causing pain and inflammation where there is trauma or arthritis. But the drug allows another type of COX enzyme—called COX-1—to continue its everyday role of helping protect the stomach. Aspirin and other older nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs block both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which may increase the likelihood of stomach irritation.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval for Prezista in 2006 to help treat people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Effective against resistant strains of the virus, Prezista blocks an HIV enzyme to help prevent it from reproducing.

Not only did the makers of Listerine come up with a treatment for halitosis— they let people know that’s what they had. Dr. Joseph Lawrence and chemist Jordan Wheat Lambert created Listerine as a disinfectant for surgery in St. Louis in 1879, naming it after an English antiseptic surgery pioneer, Sir Joseph Lister. But Lambert soon realized his product’s effectiveness as a mouthwash. In an advertising campaign still noted today, Lambert Pharmacal Company promoted Listerine during the 1910s as a cure for a condition it dubbed “halitosis” (according to the online Gale Virtual Reference Library). Consumers turned to Listerine to cure this newly coined hygienic problem, making the mouthwash a household champion against bad breath.

People afflicted by the incurable lung disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) may find their best hope of survival in a new St. Louis biotechnology company. The start-up—Antegrin Therapeutics LLC—was founded by Saint Louis University researchers David Griggs and Peter Ruminski to turn their molecular discovery into a lifesaving medical treatment for IPF sufferers who typically live just three to five years following diagnosis. Ruminski and Griggs are scientific advisors in Antegrin Therapeutics’ effort to develop an inhaled IPF medicine based on their patented discovery of molecules that block proteins which cause another protein—called Transforming Growth Factor (TGF) beta— to go into overdrive and create dangerous amounts of scar tissue in the lungs. The goal is to bring TGF beta activity back to normal, halting the disease’s progression. Antegrin Therapeutics is conducting preclinical tests of the patented molecules now, and researchers hope to begin clinical testing by 2016.

Made in St. Louis

Washington University School of Medicine faculty member and STLCOP alumnus Irving Boime and his laboratory team created a long-lasting hormone in 1988 that powers an in-vitro fertilization drug called Elonva. Boime ’64 added a short chain of amino acids to a naturally occurring hormone to develop the drug while working for what was then the university’s pharmacology department. Currently sold by Merck & Co. in Europe and other overseas countries, Elonva replaces daily injections aimed at stimulating egg production with a single weekly shot. The drug is awaiting U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval.

By Vicki Hodder

Drug discoveries involve years of research, clinical trials, and development. Yet at their core, drug discoveries start with one not-so-simple idea—doing something that hasn’t been done before. While some drug discoveries are just getting off the ground, a number 22


Xeljanz, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment that helps reduce joint pain and swelling.

Inspra is used to treat high blood pressure. Pfizer Inc.’s research laboratories in St. Louis played a significant role in the development of this drug and the four others attached below. The Fortune 500 pharmaceuticals firm provided support— ranging from preclinical development to the clinical development or launch—in making available the following treatments for both common and rare ailments.

Elelyso, an injectable drug that treats Gaucher disease, a genetic disorder that causes fatty substances to accumulate in major organs.

Genotropin, a man-made copy of the natural growth hormone used to treat growth disorders.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus vaccine Former Saint Louis University Associate Professor Thomas Chambers invented a vaccine that helps prevent infection by the Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus. Spread by mosquitos that live in some parts of Asia, JE is described by the World Health Organization as one of the most important viral brain inflammation conditions in the region. The JE virus vaccine is in use in Thailand and Australia, and awaiting approval in other countries.

Somavert, which treats an uncommon disorder called acromegaly caused by too much growth hormone.

Deramaxx Dogs with osteoarthritis benefited from the discovery of the coxib drugs, which were later modified to apply to canines. This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug— sold as a flavored, chewable tablet—helps relieve arthritic pain and inflammation as well as postoperative pain in dogs.

Dynastat Another COX-2 inhibitor is Dynastat, a water soluble and injectable drug used in Europe to ease short-term, severe pain following operations. It’s what is called a “prodrug,” which means it is converted by the body’s enzymes into the drug valdecoxib. Valdecoxib was initially sold under the name “Bextra” in the United States but was withdrawn from the market in 2005 due to concern over the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as serious skin reactions. Neither valdecoxib nor its prodrug, Dynastat, is used in the United States.

of drugs that are already relied upon by people throughout the world got their start in the Gateway City. Take a look at some of the local drug discoveries that are helping people at home and abroad cope with everyday challenges ranging from arthritis to HIV. SCRIPT MAGAZINE



d e d n u o r the


was one of the most peaceful,

the world, as well as a Croatian

poignant moments of her life. A

captain, on the sea voyage. After her

catamaran she had been sailing on for five

five-day catamaran adventure, she

days docked on an island. She joined the

traveled 791 miles from Dubrovnik,

boat’s crew for a sea kayaking paddle,

Croatia, to Prague, Czech Republic,

bobbing through the water and into the

and set out to explore even further.

sunset. With a glass of wine in one hand, and a paddle in the other, Rebecca Lich ’07

of rural Jefferson County, Mo., has an

watched the sun’s rays of light streak

undying, undeniable desire to see the

across the clear blue water and bounce off

world, learn about different cultures,

barrier islands in the distance. A faraway

and create new experiences. As a senior

storm dropped blankets of mist, and a

clinical account executive for the WellPoint

break in the clouds welcomed a rainbow.

account at Express Scripts, Lich is driven

Lich was on a cruise of the Adriatic



Lich, who grew up among the hills

in her personal and professional life.

Sea along the barrier islands of Croatia

It is what led her to be named to

and left much of the rest of the trip

St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 under 30”

to happenstance. She had joined a

list in 2013 for her accomplishments

handful of other tourists from around

in business and the community.

Steve Hartman


sk i by Greg Kat

Alumni Profile 15 PLACES BEFORE 30 Here a few of the places in Lich’s travel log: tell one of my patients when to take her medication,” she explains. As much as Lich is interested in learning, she is just as interested in teaching others. In her spare time, she volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and has had a “little sister” for three years. She takes her “sister” to places like the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Zoo on a monthly basis. “I’m just trying to be a positive role model,” she says. One field trip, in particular, with her “sister” sticks out in her mind. In fact, it was

“We went indoor rock climbing, and

on the two-week

we were encouraging and challenging

sabbatical in

each other to climb higher,” she

Croatia and

remembers. “Afterward, my sister

Prague when she

thanked me for taking her and said,

first learned of

‘Thank you for believing in me.’ I

the honor. Lich,

got a little teary-eyed—even though

who had already

it was just about rock climbing.”

been to Europe on three separate

-W  orcester, Massachusetts; PGY1 residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical School -G  ermany, Switzerland, France, Austria, and Italy; Backpacking trip -R  ome, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast in Italy; Italian vacation - I stanbul, Cappadocia and Pamukkale; vacation to Turkey -P  rague and Croatia; vacation

Lich is enrolled in the professional Louis. She is an adjunct pharmacy

friends, decided it was time for a

practice faculty member at STLCOP

soul-searching solo excursion. “Just

and is a member of the St. Louis

one time I wanted to go by myself,”

College of Pharmacy Alumni Association

she says. “I think it’s important to push

board of directors. Lich got involved

yourself outside of your comfort zone.

with the College’s Alumni Association while still a student at STLCOP. She

celebrate my 30th birthday, and I

served as president of the Student

thought island hopping in Croatia

Alumni Association for a year, and

would be pretty epic,” Lich says.

now chairs the association’s Young

And it was this adventurous spirit

-C  herokee, North Carolina; acute care rotation at Public Health and Human Services

MBA at the University of Missouri-St.

occasions with family members and

“I wanted an epic vacation to

- Baltimore, Maryland; acute care rotation at MedStar Harbor Hospital

Alumni Committee. She also ran

that led Lich to a hospital in Baltimore

cross country at STLCOP. Lich says

and an Indian reservation in Cherokee,

the experiences she had in college

N.C., for sixth-year rotations and to

and the people she met opened her

a PGY1 residency at the University

up to new possibilities. “Through

of Massachusetts Medical School.

college, I became more extroverted

Lich says her experience in Cherokee

and wanted to travel,” she says.

was eye-opening. As a student

And she’s already planning her

pharmacist, she worked with a

next trip. “I’d like to go to Australia

number of patients who couldn’t read,

and New Zealand,” she says. “But

write, or speak English. “I literally

I’ll probably end up in Europe

had to draw a sun and a moon to

again. I can’t get enough.” Rebecca Lich ’07 was named to the St. Business S C RLouis IPT M A G A Z I N EJournal’s 25 “30 under 30” list.

Alumni News Leah LaRue '10

David Frye '68

Armon Crawford '63

Young Alumnus Award Leah LaRue is employed by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals where she is the manager in the medical advocacy department. She is responsible for developing and implementing portfolio-wide alliance strategy, acting as a key contact in managing external relationships, implementing safe use initiatives of Mallinckrodt products, developing and executing medical congress strategy, and tracking and managing expenses to budget. (At press time, LaRue had accepted a new position with Millennium Laboratories as associate director of clinical affairs). LaRue is passionate about patient safety and has led several educational initiatives to address the safe use of opioid pain medications, including issues surrounding misuse, abuse, and diversion. In 2013, she was named the Industry Pain Educator of the Year by the American Society of Pain Educators and PAINWeek. LaRue also earned certification as a project management professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute in recognition of her demonstrated competence in leading project teams, and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University.

Black Heritage Distinguished Alumnus Award After graduating from College, David Frye earned a master’s degree in health management from Webster University. Frye was then accepted into medical school but decided to pursue his other passion, music, instead. Frye practiced pharmacy by day, working as a pharmacy manager at Walmart for 18 years. At night, he was a singer in an R&B and soul group known as the Montclairs. He toured and sang with the group for 15 years. At Walgreens, he managed several stores, supervised the medication inventory management, and was responsible for prescription dispensing training. He has also served on the STLCOP Alumni Association board of directors and is a member of the American Management Association.

Black Heritage Distinguished Alumnus Award

Christopher Herndon '97/'98 Outstanding Achievement Award Along with being an associate professor at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) School of Pharmacy, Christopher Herndon runs the chronic pain service at Scott Air Force Base and the interdisciplinary pain service within the Saint Louis University (SLU) family medicine residency program in Belleville, Ill. At these sites, he precepts pharmacy and medical students and residents who are on pain and palliative care rotations. He is also the principal investigator on the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence for Pain Education collaboration between SIUE and SLU. Herndon also serves on the board of directors of the Midwest Pain Society; scientific planning and clinical practice guidelines committees for American Pain Society; and is a past chair of the section advisory group on pain and palliative care for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. He is the 2006 recipient of the Pain Champion Award from the Alliance of State Pain Initiatives; the 2012 recipient of the Academic Pain Educator of the Year Award from the American Society of Pain Educators; and the 2012 recipient of the Teaching Distinction Award from SIUE. 26


Distinguished Alumni Awardees

Gregory Boyer '76 Distinguished Service to the Profession Award Gregory Boyer is employed by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). His current position is assistant executive director and director of professional degree program accreditation. Prior to his work within ACPE, Boyer held positions in pharmacoeconomic outcomes research within the pharmaceutical industry. Boyer received his Master of Business Administration degree from Eastern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Boyer is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association, Illinois Pharmacists Association, Association of Professional and Specialized Accreditors, and the Chicago Accreditors Association.

Armon Crawford practiced as a clinical pharmacist for the Missouri Department of Mental Health for 22 years. Crawford was responsible for monitoring patient response, counseling patients, and recommending treatment plans. During his time at the department of mental health, he also served as a preceptor for STLCOP students. Crawford currently serves on the board of Gitana Productions, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing a global vision of music, dance, and drama to the community. He spends his free time as a percussionist for various musical groups, including Unity Art Emsemble, Inc., Free ’N Concert, and Nurse Ratched & The 3rd Rail with Bob Kozlowski ’88 and Tom Fuehne ’86.

Alicia Forinash '00/'01 Distinguished Service to the Community Award As an associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Alicia Forinash practices at St. Mary’s Health Center in the maternal-fetal care clinic. She also serves as residency director of a PGY2 ambulatory care residency at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and St. Mary’s Health Center. Forinash is active in the Women’s Health PRN for American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), and she is also a member of the Ambulatory Care and Education and Training PRNs in ACCP. She is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy women’s faculty SIG, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Organization of Teratology Information Specialists and was elected a fellow of ACCP. In 2013, she received the Healthcare Professional Educator of the Year award from the Saint Louis University Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health Physician Residency program. She also serves on the editorial board for the Annals of Pharmacotherapy and Journal of Developing Drugs and is a peer reviewer in women’s health for more than 10 pharmacy and medical journals.

Save the Date NOVEMBER 8-11 Save the date for a weekend celebrating the College’s 150th year and history.


reunion gatherings

November 8, For class years ending in “4” and “9”

stlcop c.a.r.e.s.

Look for events and information at

(community service day)

November 8, Various locations

black tie gala

November 10, Chase Park Plaza

sesquicentennial convocation November 11, Chase Park Plaza Interested in helping us create a Reunion night or birthday bash for your class or city? Contact Stephanie Hoffmann at 314.446.8419 or

Step up for



Because you believe in your alma mater.

Because you want to help bring alumni, students, the community, and STLCOP together.

Visit to let us know you’re interested.

Or suggest a friend who wants to step up for STLCOP.

Join the board of directors of the Alumni Association. You’ll be joining a diverse group of fellow alumni who are advocates of the association and the College. You’ll be involved in College and Alumni Association events and work for the best interests of all STLCOP graduates. So join us for two years. Or more. After two years, you can choose to serve up to two additional terms. Either way, we’d love to have you! SCRIPT MAGAZINE


guess who’s coming to dinner, Feb. 1 Alumni, students, and friends came together in February at The Cheshire for the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner event to celebrate African-American culture and honor this year’s Distinguished Black Heritage Alumni Awardees. David Frye ’68 and Armon Crawford ’63 were recognized for their contributions to the profession, their communities, and the College. Robert Salter ’70 and Jonathon Anderson ’11, members of the African-American Alumni and Student Committee, emceed the event, which

included a performance by Nurse Ratched and the 3rd Rail (a band formed by Armon and fellow alumni Tom Fuehne ’86 and Bob Kozlowski ’88). Beyond Measure Dance Theatre also performed traditional African dances and taught the audience some new dance moves. To join the African-American Alumni and Student Committee, contact Stephanie Hoffmann, director of alumni relations, at or 314.446.8419. Check out photos of the event at

Photography by Sid Hastings

“I have fond memories of participating on the first cheerleading squad in 1993-94. As a first-year student, my participation on the cheerleading squad built the foundation for many friendships throughout my STLCOP career. Many of these friendships still flourish today!” - Janene Verrant ’98/’99

Student Center Farewell Party The Cartwright Student Center is officially in the demolition stages—making way for our new state-of-the-art academic and research building and library! Built in 1987, the center was dedicated on Sept. 28, 2001 in memory of Sarah Ellen Cartwright by her son Victor I ’47 and his wife, Fae. On that day, Victor is quoted as having told an audience of about 500 students, faculty, staff and alumni “She knew work, and she made many sacrifices to keep me in school...She gave me the

desire to excel.” Board of Trustee Chairman Mike Collins, President Thomas F. Patton and Matthew Clark ’06 and Chrissi Glastetter ’04/’05 also participated in the dedication ceremony. On Saturday, Feb. 22, 27 years after its doors were opened, the Cartwright Student Center hosted it final basketball games in the Pillbox and a homecoming event in the Carlisle rooms. Students, alumni, and current and former faculty and staff came out to share their memories—and wrote them on a fun graffiti wall. Photography by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

To see more event photos like the ASHP mid-year meeting, Blues Game, and Gold Alumni Holiday party, visit us on Facebook at STLCOPalumni.

“Attempting to study the night before a therapeutics exam while a friend regaled us with her stories from the previous weekend!” - Taylor Bradshaw ’10

“I officially became a Kappa Psi brother in the student center, which had a huge influence on my years at STLCOP. There were also many late nights studying for exams with friends, although I probably would have been better off in the library!” -Anastasia Armbruster ’09

Class Notes 1960s David Darden ’60 was recently certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners as a registered medical examiner and has completed the required training and testing for truck and bus drivers to perform physical qualification examinations for commercial motor vehicle drivers. 1970s Gary Maxwell ’76 is recovering at home from prostate surgery. He is a relief pharmacist at Walmart in Kennett, Mo., where he and wife, Carol, reside. 1980s Starlin Haydon-Greatting ’81 has been invited to serve as a member of the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Endocrine Steering Com-

mittee for the Endocrine Measures endorsement/ maintenance project. She is the first pharmacist to be appointed to the committee. The goal of the project is to evaluate newly submitted measures undergoing maintenance review against NQF’s standard measure evaluation criteria and make recommendations for endorsement. Paul Milligan ’81 was the senior clinical lead for the BJC Health Care Preventable Harm Initiative to reduce severe hypoglycemia. The initiative received the 2013 American Society of Health-System Pharmacy Excellence in Medication Use Safety award. 2000s Ryan Adams ’01/’02 and his wife, Lindsay, welcomed their second child, Hudson

Sean, on Sept. 12, 2013. He weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and measured 19 ½ inches. He joins big brother, Harrison, who is 4. Ryan is a staff pharmacist at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill. The family resides in Bourbonnais, Ill. Kevin Macias ’03 and his wife, Jenny, welcomed their third child, Alex Joseph, on March 26, 2013. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and measured 20 inches. Alex joins big brothers, Jack, who is 8, and Drew, who is 7. Kevin is a senior research investigator for Bristol-Myers Squibb. The family resides in Hillsborough, N.J. Heather (Meislahn) Goeckner ’06 and her husband, Nathan, welcomed their fourth child, Kylee Elizabeth, on Oct. 22, 2013. She weighed 7 pounds,

Geronsin Receives Community Leadership Award Chris Geronsin ’77 received the third annual Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award by Cardinal Health. The award, which honors a retail independent pharmacist who promotes the ideals of community pharmacy, was created in honor of Tampa, Fla., independent pharmacist Ken Wurster, who passed away in 2008. Wurster was highly regarded for his commitment to serving his customers, epitomizing the role of a pharmacist who took responsibility for the wellness of his community. Geronsin is the owner of Beverly Hills Pharmacy in St. Louis. He serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Pharmacy Association,



Cardinal Health National Advisory Board, and as president of the Regional Cardinal Health Advisory Board. He also serves as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer for St. Louis College of Pharmacy and has provided a wide array of volunteer and support services to the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging and the St. Louis chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In honor of Geronsin’s commitment to community service, Cardinal Health will donate $10,000 to St. Louis College of Pharmacy in honor of his daughter, Rachel Geronsin ’13.




Class Notes Alumna Receives Residency Award

8 ounces, and measured 19 inches. She joins big brothers, Wyatt, who is 5, Bryce, who is 2, and big sister, Aubrey, who is 4. Heather is employed by Walmart in Carlinville, Ill. The family lives in Worden, Ill. Jenni Mueller ’06 and Matthew Clifton ’08 recently announced their engagement. Jenni is a pharmacy manager at CVS/pharmacy. Matthew is the lead pharmacist for Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. They plan to be married on Dec. 13. The couple lives in Charleston, Ill.

Jane M. Pruemer ’80, Pharm.D., has been named the recipient of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Research and Education Foundation’s 2013 Pharmacy Residency Excellence Preceptor Award. The award recognizes a pharmacy residency preceptor who has excelled in the training of pharmacy residents. It also seeks to foster innovations in pharmacy residency training. Pruemer is a clinical professor of pharmacy at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati and an oncology clinical pharmacy specialist at the University Hospital and the Barrett Cancer Center at UC Health. “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the ASHP Foundation for this award,” Pruemer says. “I am reminded of all those who mentored and trained me, as well as those whom I have mentored and trained. When I think of all the lives of the patients whom we have touched, I am sincerely amazed.” Pruemer was the founding program director for an ASHP-accredited specialty residency in oncology pharmacy practice at the University Hospital. She currently serves as the residency program director for the PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Residency at the University Hospital at UC Health. Her practice includes ambulatory oncology, palliative care, and sickle cell anemia services, and she runs a smoking cessation program at the Barrett Cancer Center.

Jonathan Street ’08 and his wife, Laura, celebrated their first wedding anniversary on March 9, 2013. Jonathan has been the emergency room pharmacist at SSM DePaul Health Center for 10 years and, in 2011, started his own company, Off the Street Photography. The couple lives in St. Peters, Mo. Britney (Burchard) Mushill ’09 and her husband, Brad, welcomed their first child, Eliana Malin, on Oct. 8, 2013. She weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and measured 20 inches. Britney is employed by Schnucks. The family resides in Edwardsville, Ill. 2010s Shannon (Schroeder) Holt ’10 and her husband, Adam, welcomed their first child, Morgan Elaine, on Oct. 22, 2013. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and measured 20 inches. Shannon is a pharmacist at Mercy Hospital in Washington, Mo. The family lives in Beaufort, Mo.




Tell your STLCOP friends and classmates about the latest news in your life.

Enjoy reading about your classmates in Class Notes? Share some news about your work projects, new jobs or promotions, marriages or children, awards, vacations, or hobbies. You also may send an e-mail to, or submit news online at



Class Notes In Memoriam Robert E. Reuter ‘41 died Feb. 2, 2014 in Freeburg, Ill.

George Urban ’63 died Nov. 27, 2013, in Port Barrington, Ill.

Robert L. Heape ’50 died Dec. 14, 2013 in DuQuoin, Ill.

James F. Dedera ’65 died Nov. 26, 2013, in Granite City, Ill.

Jack M. Zeibig ’52 died Jan. 5, 2014, in St. Louis.

James C. Thomas ’68 died Oct. 22, 2013, in Mt. Vernon, Ill.

Wanda E. (Burns) Blakeley ’53 died Oct. 1, 2013, in Harrisburg, Ill. Erwin F. Batha ’55 died Dec. 18, 2013, in Boerne, Texas.

Thomas A. Burnett ’80 died Jan. 16 in Bourbon, Mo. Louis J. Metz ’81 died Jan. 23 in Monett, Mo.


Celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary with a 12-day British Isles cruise!

Leonard J. Kaemmerer ’57 died Jan. 19, in Florissant, Mo.

Michelle M.L. (Corso) Ericson ’85 died Jan. 20 in Crystal Lake, Ill.

Aug. 27-Sept. 8, 2014

Thomas V. Boettger ’63 died Dec. 22, 2013, in Peoria, Ill.

Larry S. Parke ’90 died Jan. 3 in Port Charlotte, Fla.

For more information, visit

SPEAK UP Tell your STLCOP friends and classmates about the latest news in your life. Submit to: Alumni Office • St. Louis College of Pharmacy 4588 Parkview Place • St. Louis, MO 63110 •


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Alumni Travel Program 2014

LOOKING BACK In May 1931, St. Louis College of Pharmacy held an essay contest for students, asking them to write about “Why I am Studying Pharmacy.” Paul Blumenthal ’32 and Dorothy Fitch ’32 were the big winners, selected from among 100 submissions. In her essay, Fitch says “There are many positions one may achieve if they pursue the study besides owning a drug store or working in one. Examples of such are hospital work, drug examiners, positions in the various drug houses, etc….I believe it is a wonderful opportunity for young men and women to develop a better character, to meet better educated people, to raise their own standard of living and thus to make better citizens and that after all, that is our greatest aim in life…I have been greatly impressed and thrilled with a desire to learn more of such interesting work that means so much to people (life and death depending upon the druggist) and I am hoping I shall make a success in my attempt to attain knowledge through the help of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.” Almost 83 years later, the goals of STLCOP students haven’t veered much from Dorothy and Paul sentiments. Just ask Harvey Blumenthal, M.D. ’60. He recently found the 1931 clipping announcing his father, Paul, as one of the contest winners. Harvey and his wife, Sandra, have sponsored the Paul ’32 and Edythe Blumenthal Memorial Scholarship for years. He recently received a note of thanks from the 2013 scholarship recipient, Lindsay Bell. Her words expressed many of the same thoughts and ideas. Well said, STLCOP students.

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Save the date for this year’s Golf Classic Sunday, June 1 at Tapawingo National Golf Club for a noon shotgun start. Find details, support the tournament with a sponsorship, and register your foursome today at

SCRIPT Spring 2014  

St. Louis College of Pharmacy Alumni Magazine Spring 2014 Issue

SCRIPT Spring 2014  

St. Louis College of Pharmacy Alumni Magazine Spring 2014 Issue