Spring Honors Convocation

The Holland Performing Arts Center was the venue for the 20 18 Scholastic Honors Convocation on May 4. Fifty-four seniors were vested with their doctoral hoods and took the Pharmacist's Oath. Senior recognition awards and the 2018 Preceptor, Faculty Preceptor and Site of the Year Awards were also presented at the Convocation. Spring Commencement was held at the Baxter Arena May 5.

Class of 2018

Eric Bierle,Omaha
Noah Broekemier, Central City
Terrence Brown, Bellevue
Patricia Burch, St. Louis, MO
                with distinction
Samantha Calkins, Norfolk
David Cordwin,Papillion
                with high distinction
Yanjun Duan,Chongqing, China
                with distinction
Cody Duncan,Sioux Falls, SD
                with distinction
Jenna Engel,David City
Spencer Evans,Firth
                with distinction
Samantha Folken,Hudson, IA
                with high distinction
Paige Frauendorfer, Humphrey
                with distinction
Chao Fu,Shanxi, China
Megan Gardner, Hamburg, IA
Elizabeth Grigsby, Omaha
Cassie Gruidel, Omaha
Kristen Guiliano,Omaha
                with distinction
Austin Hansen,Ponca
Katelin Hiemer, Lincoln
Alyssa Howard, Papillion
                with distinction
Thomas Johnson, Spirit Lake, IA
Anna Kokrda, Lincoln
Xi Lan, Beijing, China
Sarah Lant,Elkhorn
Cynthia Liu, Omaha
Emily McCarville,Omaha
Nathan Most, Giltner
                with distinction
Crysta Naylor, Saint Paul
Shannon Neal, Omaha
Maggie Nelson, Sioux Falls, SD
Alex Neukirch, Lincoln
Lauren Olberding, Stuart
Freddy Orellana, Fremont
Allan Osiemo, Toronto, Canada
Sunggyun Park, Seoul, Korea
Angela Pelster, Elgin
Aaron Plugge, Omaha
Lauren Pohren, Omaha
                with high distinction
Syra Ruhl, Ralston
Andrew Sankey, Lincoln
Kelsey Schroder, West Point
Kate Sieps, Lincoln
Aaron Stirewalt, Bellevue
Logan Sudbeck, Hadar
Zhijia Tang, Shanghai, China
                with distinction
Benjamin Webster, Artesia, NM
Kylie Williams, Broken Bow
                with distinction
Colton Wilson, Bloomfield
Kevin Wintz, Hartington
                with distinction
Kaitlyn Wittrock, Omaha
Randee Wright, Plainview
Jingjiang Wu, Yunnan, China
                with high distinction
Julie Wurdemann, Cortland
Yuning Zhang, Shenyang, China
                with distinction

P4 Class President, Patricia Burch (left), Matthew Anderson and Dr. Fletcher
Preceptors of the Year

The College of Pharmacy Class of 2018 named Matthew Anderson, Pharm.D., '16, Preceptor of the Year. Faculty Preceptor of the Year was presented to Jessica Downes, Pharm.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, who also accepted the Site of the Year award on behalf of One World Community Health Center.

Dr. Anderson's practice site is Holcomb Pharmacy, a community pharmacy, in Broken Bow, NE.

Students praised Dr. Anderson for providing an individualized rotation to meet the student's needs and prioritizing training to ensure the student was getting the most out of the experience. Students learned a great deal about pharmacy but also to be compassionate by putting the needs of the patient first. As one student explained, "Dr. Anderson just exemplifies what it means to provide excellent patient care."

Dr. Downes was awarded the Faculty Preceptor of the Year award. Dr. Downes practices at OneWorld Community Health Center where the focus is on ambulatory care.

One nomination summed up the experience, "Dr. Downes seamlessly integrates students into her practice, teaching students to manage patients with complex cases and socioeconomic roadblocks to care. She also devotes time to helping students understand multiple primary care topics and the nuisances of clinical application. Throughout the rotation, she provides helpful feedback and opportunities for self-reflection that allow students to grow and mature into their role as a pharmacist."

Dr. Downes also accepted the Site of the Year award on behalf of OneWorld Community Health Center.

Comments praising the site included:

"OneWorld Community Health Center is an awesome place to learn about providing care to an underserved patient population as a part of a patient-care centered team where pharmacy services are well-integrated and pharmacists are greatly valued. Throughout my rotation, I was able to directly care for patients, offer recommendations to other providers, and learn more about medication assistance programs and the critical role that federally qualified health centers play in covering gaps in health care. Dr. Downes and Dr. Foster are integral to providing care to the patients, and both preceptors include students seamlessly into their practices. The other health care providers value the input of the students and seek out opportunities for the students to learn by asking them to assist with patient cases and inquiring about drug information. OneWorld felt like one big family, and they were happy to bring the students on rotation into the fold."

Congratulations to Drs. Anderson and Downes and OneWorld Community Health Center.
College of Pharmacy Dean Search Underway

As by now most of you have heard, Dean Courtney Fletcher has announced his intent to step down from his role as Dean of the College of Pharmacy (COP), effective fall 2018. At that time, Dr. Fletcher will remain on the COP faculty and continue his research work.
Under Dr. Fletcher's leadership the past ten years, the COP has grown exponentially. 2016 saw the opening of the new UNMC Center for Drug Discovery and Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education. Far from the only accomplishment under Dr. Fletcher's leadership, the COP has also:
  • Realized a 99.5 percent increase in NIH funding and currently ranks number 11 out of the more than 145 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the U.S. in terms of NIH research funding
  • Achieved a rank of number 4 out of all colleges and schools of pharmacy in the U.S. in NIH research funding per FTE faculty; the UNMC COP has been in the top 10 in this measure for the past nine years
  • Averaged almost 99 percent of pharmacy students passing the licensure exam on their first attempt over the past five years; one of the highest pass rates in the country
  • Increased annual grant submissions by 162 percent, annual publications by 53 percent, and annual invention notifications by 93 percent
  • Become the first college of pharmacy in the U.S. to develop an affiliation with the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) for the Pharm.D. program and the first to graduate a CSC student
  • Been the first UNMC college to move to launch a digital education initiative to transform the classroom experience by providing all students with iPads
Chancellor Jeffrey Gold has established a search committee chaired by Kyle Meyer, Dean, UNMC College of Allied Health Professions, to begin the process of searching for the next dean of the COP. The UNMC search committee is being assisted by the search firm, Witt / Kieffer. Consultants Jeff Schroetlin and Joyce De Leo were on the UNMC campus May 14-15 to hear from COP faculty and staff, as well as other stakeholders. They will develop a position description and announcement and over the next several weeks to engage in the process of national recruitment.
We appreciate our vast alumni network and invite your participation in the search process. Please feel free to share information about the search with your colleagues. In addition, we invite your nominations. Names of potential candidates may be forwarded to a joint email account at Witt / Kieffer specifically established for the UNMC COP dean search at UNMCPharmacy@wittkieffer.com  or Witt / Kieffer consultants Jeff Schroetlin (630-575-6972) and Joyce De Leo (630-575-6177) may be contacted directly.
Faculty News

Vennerstrom shares UNMC memories

Jonathan Vennerstrom, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, celebrated 30 years with UNMC and was recognized at the Annual Faculty Meeting on April 24.

UNMC has been a great place to be for the last 30 years. I have been blessed with so many good colleagues and friends here. Even though the College of Pharmacy is small, we get along well, we don't take ourselves too seriously and we enjoy working together. Chancellor Maurer even built an ice rink right outside the backdoor of the College of Pharmacy; there are not many places where you can lace up your ice skates and walk down the hall to the ice rink for a mid-day workout!   Read more
Krobot to retire

Charles Krobot, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, will be retiring from the College effective July 1 and has been granted emeritus status.

Dr. Krobot was supposed to have stepped down previously, but, "we twisted his arm," to come back, Dr. Fletcher said. He is an UNMC alumnus, served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs within the College of Pharmacy for 11 years, Interim Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice for one year, and has marked 45 years as a pharmacist.

His years of practice prepared him for teaching Legal and Ethical Principles courses and Aseptic Technique to over a thousand students in the professional program.
Study explores interaction of HIV drugs, contraception

Kim Scarsi, Pharm.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, studies the pharmacokinetics of how antiretrovirals -- which keep HIV at bay -- interact with contraceptives.

She's found that in many cases the drugs that fight HIV often make contraceptive less potent... Read more.

Yee ACCP awardee

Gary Yee, Pharm.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Pharmacy Practice, has been  selected as the recipient of the ACCP Robert M. Elenbaas Service Award.

The Robert M. Elenbaas Service Award recognizes an American College of Clinical Pharmacy member who has made outstanding contributions to ACCP that are well above and beyond the usual devotion of time and energy.

Dr. Yee will receive a travel award and be recognized at the 2018 ACCP Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy in Seattle Washington in October.   Congratulations, Dr. Yee!
Promotion and Tenure

Effective July 1, three faculty members will be receiving promotion and/or tenure.  An academic promotion is not a given, but rather a well-earned recognition of academic accomplishments.  Tenure, is the most significant commitment the University can make to a faculty member.  

Dr. Kimberlee Thompson will be promoted from adjunct instructor to adjunct assistant professor;  Dr. Nagsen Gautam, will be promoted from research instructor to research assistant professor; and Dr. Aaron Mohs will be promoted from assistant professor to associate professor and will be awarded tenure.
Student News

NPA Welcomes Students on Rotation

Anita Brown , UNMC Pharm.D. Candidate, and Nathan Suck, UNMC Pharm.D. Candidate, join the Nebraska Pharmacists Association for their first rotation of their 4th year of pharmacy school.
They will have a busy month attending meetings, helping with convention preparations, and writing an article for the Nebraska Mortar & Pestle.
PSGP Graduate

Mohtadin Hashemi graduated from the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program on May 5.  His thesis was entitled " Molecular Mechanism of Early Amyloid Self-assembly Revealed by Computational Modeling."  Dr. Yuri Lyubchenko was his academic adviser.

Mohtadin will be working as a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Lyuchenko's lab.

Congratulations, Dr. Hashemi.
Sleightholm receives NCI fellowship

Richard "Lee" Sleightholm has been notified by the National Cancer Institute that his F31 Fellowship application has been selected for funding. The NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31) Award supports promising doctoral candidates who will perform dissertation research and training for a PhD degree in a scientific health-related field relevant to the mission of the NCI during the tenure of the award. 
Lee is the first student in Dr. David Oupicky's lab to receive an NIH predoctoral fellowship. In addition to Dr. Oupicky's guidance in developing drug delivery systems, Lee is supported in his scientific training by a highly interdisciplinary supervisory committee composed of Drs. Sarah Thayer, MD/PhD (Chief of Surgical Oncology and renowned cancer researcher), Tony Hollingsworth, PhD (internationally recognized pancreatic cancer researcher), and DJ Murry, PharmD (expert clinical pharmacologist specializing in pharmacokinetics). 
This is a tremendous and well-deserved success for Lee and an acknowledgment of his potential as a future clinician scientist. 

"I am humbled and honored by the receipt of this fellowship. This award is not just a reflection of me as an individual but rather is a testament to the amazing researchers, teachers, students, and training environment here at UNMC. It is the combined efforts of everyone at UNMC including both employees and patients, who are willing to go out of their way to help guide and train the next generation of medical healthcare professionals and researchers, that make accomplishments like this possible."
China Pharmaceutical University Students Complete Research Training at UNMC

Three China Pharmaceutical University (CPU) students completed a four-month research training program at UNMC. They are the second cohort of undergraduate students to come to UNMC for this program, which matches them with researchers in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department. They presented their research at a ceremony on May 11.  Read more.

UNMC College of Pharmacy | unmc.edu/pharmacy