Dean's Message

Dean's Message, December 2017
Dear College of Pharmacy Faculty, Staff and Students, and our Alumni and Friends,
These final days of December are a good time for reflection on the year, and without question, 2017 was an exceptional year for the College of Pharmacy. 
We celebrated the one-year birthday of our new home, the UNMC Center for Drug Discovery - Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education.  In this first year, the building has been transformative for the College and our mission.  One example of the transformation this building has allowed us to make has been our digital learning initiative.  As part of this initiative, we have gone "paperless." - no more printed handouts or slides.  We provided all pharmacy students a new iPad Pro this fall.  Now, students take notes and tests on their new iPad. The tablets have, for example, pharmacotherapy books and wellness apps on them that are selected and continuously reviewed and updated by a committee of faculty, staff and students.  This link will take you to a recent conversation about our digital learning initiative.  View video on YouTube 
I must take a moment here to thank all of the donors who made this building possible.  It was built entirely with private funds.  Each gift is testament to your belief in what we do.  We are grateful, and will work every day to honor your trust. 
Nationally and internationally, we are regarded as a preeminent college of pharmacy.  The following are just two of the many accomplishments in 2017 by our faculty and our students, which support this well-earned reputation. 
     Our faculty received $10 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, achieving a ranking of #11 among all 140 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the US.  We rank #4 in terms of NIH research funding per faculty member. 
     Our graduating class of 2017 continued a now 32 year run of scoring above the national average on the national pharmacy licensing examination.  Additionally, the class of 2017 scored a first-time pass rate on the boards of 95%. 
Dedication and commitment to excellence.  These characteristics define our faculty, staff and students:  dedicated to the advancing the profession of pharmacy and to the mission of the College of Pharmacy, and committed to achieving excellence in everything we do.
     Thank You - to the faculty of the COP.  I am continually impressed by your dedication to providing our students the best pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education anywhere, and your commitment to the discovery and application of new knowledge to advance our profession.
     Thank You - to the staff of the COP.  You are vital to everything we do.
     Thank You - to the students of the COP.  You are fine individuals, and the pharmacy profession will be in good hands.  It is a special pleasure, and indeed an honor, for me to be a member of this world class community of faculty, staff and students. 
All of us at the College of Pharmacy are well aware of the legacy of academic and professional excellence established by our alumni.  We are committed and motivated to honor, preserve and advance that legacy.  The College of Pharmacy has approximately 450 volunteer preceptors across Nebraska.  Many of these preceptors are our alumni and all are our friends.  This network of preceptors is what allows us to be a 500-mile campus, and to provide our students the ability to complete their pharmacy practice experiences in Omaha to Kearney to Broken Bow and to Scottsbluff. 
Thank You - to our alumni and friends. The College of Pharmacy would be a much lesser institution without your support.
I want to extend my personal and deep gratitude to the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the UNMC College of Pharmacy.  Warmest wishes for Christmas and the New Year to you all.  May the warmth and joy of this holiday season stay with you throughout 2018.
Courtney V. Fletcher, Pharm.D.
Dean and Professor
Fall Honors Convocation

Dr. Dobesh with P4 class President, Patricia Burch
The 2017 Annual College of Pharmacy Fall Honors Convocation was held on October 19.  Over $600,000 in scholarships and other leadership awards and prizes were presented.  Dr. Ally Dering-Anderson, Chair of the Scholarship, Honors and Financial Aid Committee, presided at the Convocation. 

The Distinguished Teacher of the Year was presented by Class of 2018 President, Patricia Burch, to Dr. Paul Dobesh, Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice.  Dr. Dobesh, a five-time recipient of the distinguished teacher of the year award, was selected because he inspires his students and pushes them to succeed in all their endeavors, both inside and outside the classroom.
Comments received from students include:
Dr. Dobesh invested a lot of time and energy in teaching us, not just to be tested over material but for a thorough understanding. He had confidence in us all that we could work through tough cases and be able to reproduce information while still have an overall understanding of the concepts. He was always available to his students who had questions or needed further clarification of a topic. He was very well organized and set us up for success!
Dobesh made me excited to become a pharmacist.
Dr. Dobesh not only invested his time in helping me understand certain concepts within the classroom, but also cared for my well being outside of the classroom.
Dr. Dobesh truly motivated me to learn material. His organizational skills in the coordination of the cardiology module are exceptional. His ability to simplify complex material while teaching, without sacrificing detail, was crucial in my understanding of the topics for which he was responsible. The cases he devised for lab were rigorous but were the catalyst for beginning to develop a clinically efficient thought process. Most of all, it was obviously clear the passion that he holds for teaching students and seeing them succeed that made him one of the obvious choices for teacher of the year.
The Distinguished Teaching Award has been presented annually since 1994 to a College of Pharmacy faculty member to recognize his or her excellence in teaching and dedication to student learning.  Each spring, the Student Advisory Committee, a committee consisting of student leaders from the College of Pharmacy, requests nominations from the student body.  The nominators must include an explanation as to why they believe the nominee should be a candidate to receive the Award.  Once all nominations have been received, the Student Advisory Committee meets to consider all nominations.
Congratulations to the scholarship/award recipients and to Dr. Dobesh!
Faculty News

Dr. Mahato co-authors new pharmaceutical text

Ram Mahato, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences, is co-author of a new textbook, Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery, third edition.

"This textbook is written for teaching professional pharmacy (Pharm.D.), as well as graduate students interested in learning more about pharmaceutics and nanomedicines," Dr. Mahato said. "It elucidates the basic principles of pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, dosage form design, and drug delivery -- including emerging new biotechnology-based treatment modalities."  Read more
Dr. Hopkins creates key compound in kidney disease breakthrough

Corey Hopkins, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical science at the UNMC College of Pharmacy, is the lead medicinal chemist and co-author on a Dec. 7 study in "Science" describing a potential new approach to preventing death in essential kidney cells.

Researchers found that a new compound, which originated in Dr. Hopkins' lab in the UNMC Center for Drug Discovery, not only stopped the loss of these cells, but also restored kidney function, in animal models.   Read more
Dr. Liewer newly elected member to HOPA Board

The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) released the results of the 2018-2019 Board of Directors election.  Susanne Liewer, Pharm.D., BCOP, FHOPA, Clinical Associate Professor in the department of Pharmacy Practice, and Pharmacy Coordinator in Stem Cell Transplant at Nebraska Medicine, was named the President-Elect.   Dr. Liewer will begin serving her term in April 2018 at the conclusion of the 14th HOPA Annual Conference in Denver, CO.

Congratulation to Dr. Liewer!
From left: fourth-year Pharm.D. students Lauren Pohren, Kristen Guiliano and David Cordwin.
Student News

Pharmacy students show they've got game

We laugh off game shows, but they are tougher than they look. They require quick thinking, cool under pressure and a base of knowledge that runs both broad and deep. They can even require quick reflexes.

It's no surprise that academic health sciences educators often use game show-type contests to test students -- and no surprise that the UNMC College of Pharmacy often does well.

Fourth-year Pharm.D. students David Cordwin, Kristen Guiliano and Lauren Pohren recently made the national semifinals in the game show-style American College of Clinical Pharmacy Challenge.  Read more

UNMC PSGP student received fellowship

William Payne, a third-year PSGP student in the lab of Dr. Aaron Mohs, was chosen as a recipient for a two-year Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American (PhRMA) Foundation Pre Doctoral Fellowship in Pharmaceutics. This is an extremely competitive external fellowship and is a tremendous honor to receive. Earlier this year, Will received a Blue Waters Fellowship, published two 1st-author manuscripts, was selected to give an oral presentation at a Gordon Conference, and now this Fellowship. Congratulations on your continued success!
Students give back

"Rags to Riches", a foundation created by P3 Nate Suck, was established to give immunizations to homeless people in the Omaha community.  Nate solicited the initial funding from businesses in Lincoln and in his home town to pay for the vaccines and supplies.  Flu shots were provided by UNMC Pharmacy Students, through the Operation Immunization Program, at the Siena-Francis Homeless Shelter.

Participants included Kelsie PostAlly Dering-AndersonGreg GuiSpencer MooreAlyx Folkers, John Ridgway, Kimberly Battreall, Hunter Severin, Krissa Lewandowski, Leslie Chudomelka, Anita Brown, Chao Wang, Yan Jin, Nate Suck and F eiyang Ding.
Phi Lambda Sigma welcomes new members

Phi Lambda Sigma is a Pharmacy Leadership society with a purpose of encouragement, recognition, and promotion of leadership in pharmacy, with special attention given to the development of leadership qualities.

On November 13, 2017 Phi Lambda Sigma inducted 17 new members into the organization.  Those members included: Cassie Gruidel, Anita Brown, Jessica Chekal, Brandon Heuermann, Krissa Lewandowski, Molly Miller, Spencer Moore, Logan Smolla, Amy Venteicher, Anthony Donovan, Ku'ulei Hose, Diana Palandri, Kelsie Post, Andrew Stoecklein, Brittany Trausch, Megan Vandergriend, and faculty member Dr. Daren Knoell.

The current President - Byron Korf, Vice President - Nick Miesbach, Secretary - Miranda Hopper, Treasurer - Stefanie Kellogg, and advisor - Dr. Charles Krobot, conducted the ceremony during a dinner at Spezia restaurant. We congratulate all of our new members and welcome them into Phi Lambda Sigma Beta Xi Chapter."
Nebraska Pharmacy Foundation Scholarships

Annually, the  Nebraska Pharmacists Association (NPA), thanks to generous donations from NPA members, awards scholarships to students at Creighton School of Pharmacy and UNMC College of Pharmacy.

Two P2 students were awarded scholarships.  Madeline Blaha received the Cora Mae Brigss scholarship and  Marysa Wilson received the Rex Higley scholarship.   Read more
Welcome Renee Kaszynski

We would like to welcome Renee Kaszynski to the College of Pharmacy team.  Renee joined the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences on December 1 as an Office Associate II.   Renee comes to us from the cardiology department at UNMC.

Four things about Renee:
  • She is an Omaha native.
  • Learned sign language before she learned to speak as her grandfather was deaf.
  • She's an animal lover and lives with two rescue cats named Smudge and Chloe.
  • She LOVES ping pong.

Welcome to Renee!

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