College Connections
An Electronic newsletter from the College of Pharmacy

November 4, 2020
Greetings from the Dean
We have officially entered the fall season, although the weekend snow in most of Nebraska made the land scape look more like December or January. To say the least, this academic year is unique and challenging after 11 weeks since the start of the semester. Not only have we been dealing with COVID-19, but we also participated in a virtual accreditation site visit conducted by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Our preliminary report confirms what we already knew. We have a great college of pharmacy and we continued to tell this story throughout the accreditation visit.
We have outstanding students and faculty that are represented by our major outcome benchmarks of NAPLEX pass rates and PCOA scores. Over the past 34 years, 20 of those have resulted in 100% first time pass rates by our graduates including this year. We have never finished below the national average. Our PCOA (Pharmacy Curriculum Outcome Assessment) scores have been in the top five nationally for the past 3 years. On top of this, our faculty rank 7th in research funding per FTE compared to over 140 pharmacy schools.

Many other exciting things have taken place in the college. Please take a moment to read about these events and more happening during the past 3 months in our college. I hope you are as proud of our college as I am.
Faculty News
Drs. Shaffer & Prescott bring home NPA honors
The UNMC College of Pharmacy swept the NPA's two headline awards at the annual meeting of the Nebraska Pharmacists Association. The honors were announced virtually Tuesday, August 4th. A formal presentation likely will follow at a later date.

Dr. Chris Shaffer, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Science, was awarded the 2020 Bowl of Hygeia.

Dr. Drew Prescott, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Science, was honored with the Pharmacists Mutual Distinguished Young Pharmacist award.
New Faculty
Piero Bianco, PhD joined the College of Pharmacy on September 1, 2020 as a Research Associate Professor. His work focuses on DNA research and he is the first person to film a DNA motor protein “unzipping” a double-strand of bacterial DNA.
Recent Faculty Publications
Wei X., Zhao G., Wang X., Gautam N., Jia Z., Zhao Z., Kong D., Zhang F., Kumar S., Sun Y., Chen N., Wang X., Yang L., Ren R., Thiele G.M., Bronich T.K., O'Dell J.R., Alnouti Y., Wang D.
Nanomed. Nanotechnol. Biol. Med. 2020 29:

Liu J., Neely M., Lipman J., Sime F., Roberts J.A., Kiel P.J., Avedissian S.N., Rhodes N.J., Scheetz M.H.
Clin. Pharmacokinet. 2020 59:8 (1027-1036)

Cirrincione L.R., Senneker T., Scarsi K., Tseng A.
Expert Opin. Drug Metab. Toxicol. 2020 16:7 (565-582)

Dyavar S.R., Potts L.F., Beck G., Dyavar Shetty B.L., Lawson B., Podany A.T., Fletcher C.V., Amara R.R., Papa S.M.
[Article in Press] Genes Brain Behav. 2020 
Student News
White Coat Ceremony 2020
The annual White Coat Ceremony took place on August 21 at the Michael F. Sorrell Events Center. We were fortunate to have an in-person event for the incoming class, though modifications were made to ensure social distancing. Friends, family and faculty were invited to watch via livestream.
Fifty-nine students took the pledge of professionalism and received their  professional white laboratory jackets, provided by friends of the College of Pharmacy and the University of Nebraska Foundation.
Dean Keith Olsen welcomed the students. Kristen Cook, Pharm.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, delivered the keynote presentation on "Change: The New Normal" and Matt Mallisee, P4, shared his reflections as a pharmacy student.
UNMC Team Makes Quarter Finals in ACCP Competition
P4 students Andrew Flint, Sara Voisard, and Traver Pettijohn comprised the UNMC team which competed in the 2020 ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge. The challenge, which is part of the ACCP Annual Meeting, tests clinical pharmacy knowledge through case based problem solving and trivia over many different pharmacotherapy topics.

The UNMC team, mentored by Dr. Kristen Cook, made it to the Top 8 teams to compete out of over 100 teams from different Colleges of Pharmacy across the country.
College of Pharmacy Spotlight
In this new feature of College Connections, we will highlight a college alumni, student, and/or faculty member. We begin with Class of 1986 alumnus Ramadas 'Balu' Balsaubramanian.
  • Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (2014) - BCGP
  • Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (2019) - BCACP
 Certificates of Achievements
  • Medication Therapy Management (2014)
  • Pharmacist & Patient-Centered Diabetes Care (2015)
  • Pharmacy-based Immunizations (2016)
  • Point of Care Services (2016, UNMC, Omaha, NE)
  • Treating of Patients Safely (TOPS) award – CMC-Pineville
  • Star of the Southern Sky Award
  • Key Employee Award
  •  Quality Beacon Award for Patient Safety and Efficiency
  • Key Engagement Award
  • Honored with FASCP designation (2020)
What is your favorite memory from pharmacy school?
Too many to count!
  • Unforgettable Rho Chi meetings and friendships.
  • Attending the lectures from excellent faculty members—Drs. Ted Roche, Sid Stohs, Wally Murray, Harry Rosenburg, Walid-Al-Turk, Clarence Ueda, Dave Newton, Ahim Mitra, John Modrak, Dick Gourley, Bruce Clayton, Brad Wolf, Jeff Alexander, and many many mentors.
  • Reading in the Library at UNMC until 2300 hrs (almost daily until they turned the lights off).

Describe your career path since you graduated.
  • 1986 July 3rd: I became a Citizen of USA in Omaha, NE!
  • 1986-87: Fellowship in Clinical Drug Research and Drug Development at UNC, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 1987-90: Clinical Trials Specialist, Burroughs Wellcome Company, Research Triangle Park, NC
  • 1991-99: I pursued Acute Care Clinical Pharmacy Practice as a Clinical Pharmacist at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC
  • 1999-2014: Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Center Clinical Leader, Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville, Charlotte, NC—Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Wingate University School of Pharmacy and University of North Carolina, School of pharmacy.
  • 2014: “Retired” from the Acute Care Pharmacy Practice and pursued Ambulatory Care and Geriatric Pharmacy Practice.
  • Serving as a Consultant Pharmacist in Long-Term Care Facilities in North Carolina and South Carolina
  •  Serving American Society of Consultant Pharmacists—Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee member, just recently updated the 2020   Antimicrobial Tool for Long Term care facilities
  • Volunteering in a Community Free Clinic in Condord, NC as a clinical pharmacist – empowering persons with diabetes, hypertension, CHF, COPD to manage their chronic conditions.

Advice to future pharmacists
Keep learning and networking life-long. Serve as a humble servant of all the persons with chronic conditions feel great and rewarded- that is an immeasurable feeling. God Bless and Go Big Red!
Interested in becoming a Preceptor? Contact Dr. Amy Pick for more information!