Professor, State Organization Win Grant to Improve Pharmacy Practice

Money will fund workshop to develop ways to boost ambulatory care in state

Anastasia Jenkins

OXFORD, Miss. – Anastasia Jenkins, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Mississippi, recently accepted a grant from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation on behalf of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists. It’s part of efforts to advance and improve pharmacy practice and ambulatory care in Mississippi.

ASHP’s Ambulatory Care State Affiliate Workshop grant will support a workshop for pharmacy leaders to share ideas about how the state can improve the pharmacy care it provides. As part of the workshop, a representative from ASHP will present information to attendees about what is needed to develop an action plan and identify top areas of potential impact.

The grant is part of a project called the Pharmacy Advancement Initiative. PAI was started by ASHP to guide pharmacists across the country in how to improve the practice of pharmacy, particularly surrounding ambulatory care.

Jenkins, who also is president-elect of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists, said she is thrilled to have a member of ASHP help implement the project in the state.

“The opportunity to have someone invested in supporting us and sharing in our successes is fantastic, and we are so grateful to the ASHP Foundation for this opportunity,” Jenkins said.

Although the leader of this workshop has yet to be identified, ASHP will appoint someone who fits Mississippi’s needs and who has proven success in implementing a similar ambulatory care PAI in his or her state. That person will guide MSHP in implementing its initiative over the next year.

“The ASHP Foundation has been instrumental in helping to advance the practice of pharmacy nationally,” said Josh Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and co-chair with Jenkins of the MSHP task force that determined the workshop as the best course of action. “This grant will help us go even further in advancing pharmacy practice in Mississippi, especially in the ambulatory and community settings.”

The workshop, which will be held at the MSHP annual meeting next summer, also will focus on establishing practice sites and collaborative practice agreements, competency and credentialing, billing for services, and tracking and documenting clinical outcomes.

After the workshop, $2,000 from ASHP will go toward activities that promote pharmacy practice advancement in Mississippi. These activities will be determined by the ASHP presenter, the MSHP task force and workshop attendees.

Pharmacy Faculty Members Named ACCP Fellows

UM professors honored for history of exemplary service and achievement

Seena Haines

OXFORD, Miss. – Seena Haines and Kayla Stover, faculty members in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, were inducted as 2017 fellows of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy at the organization’s annual meeting last month in Phoenix.

The ACCP is devoted to the advancement of clinical pharmacy, which focuses on the science and practice of medication use. Fellowship in the ACCP honors those with a history of exemplary service and achievement in the pharmacy profession for at least 10 years.

“We are fortunate to have two great leaders in Seena and Kayla,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “They have done exceptional work for our school and the profession, and they are very deserving of this honor.”

Haines is chair and professor of pharmacy practice. Before joining the Ole Miss pharmacy school in 2016, she served in various roles at Palm Beach Atlantic University for 15 years, including being named senior associate dean for faculty.

She received a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from Florida International University before earning her Pharm.D. in 2000 and completing a special residency in ambulatory care at Nova Southeastern University.

Kayla Stover

“It is truly an honor to be inducted as a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy,” Haines said. “I greatly value the opportunity to have served the organization over the last decade in support of student and resident growth and development, clinical practice advancement and practice-based research.”

Stover was named an associate professor of pharmacy practice for the School of Pharmacy in 2015. She also serves as residency program director for PGY-2 Infectious Diseases, a residency program she herself completed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

A 2007 graduate of Ohio Northern University, Stover shares rounding duties on the Adult Infectious Diseases Consult team while fulfilling other administrative duties to the pharmacy school and UMMC.

“I feel like I have been looking up to fellows of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy for years,” Stover said. “I am honored to have been named to this special group.”

Attendees Participate in First UM Natural Products Training Lab Course

Pharmacy school sets next session for February

Students in the first course of the Natural Products Training Lab at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research learn about the capabilities of the lab’s instruments. UM photo by Sydney DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and its National Center for Natural Products Research conducted their first course recently in the Natural Products Training Lab, covering various aspects and techniques of botanical authentication.

“I am very pleased with how the first training lab course went,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “This will be a great resource moving forward, and I’m looking forward to many more courses in the future.”

Over the three-day course, participants from industry and academia at and outside the university learned basic techniques for analyzing natural products using instruments that perform chromatography, microscopy and taxonomy. The course also offered solutions to problems related to authentication and quality issues in real workplaces, while providing practical tools that participants can apply to their own analytical processes.

“The program was definitely an eye-opener for me,” said Pei Cee Lim, a visiting scholar at the university. “It showed the importance that different expertise is needed to work together.”

The training center includes five laboratories and occupies 3,000 square feet that can be used to teach best practices in natural products and botanical dietary supplements. It is a collaboration between Ole Miss researchers and Waters Corp., with Waters provided several cutting-edge analytical systems and software. These include three liquid chromatography/mass spectrometer systems, as well as an accelerated supercritical fluid extraction system, each designed for various applications.

“The course is organized very well,” said Aihua Liu of Genysis Labs. “Trainers are very knowledgeable, patient and teach very well, too.”

The next course is scheduled for Feb. 12-16, 2018, and registration is available at Both three- and five-day courses will be offered.

Pharmacy Students Partner with McLean Institute to Make a Difference

CEED initiative allows participants to broaden their education while helping communities

Anna Katherine Burress

OXFORD, Miss. – Many pharmacy students are attracted to the profession because of a desire to help people and to build healthier communities. At the University of Mississippi, several pharmacy students have partnered with the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement over the last three years to get a head start on their goals.

Brittany Byrd, a third-professional-year student from Minneapolis, Minnesota; Kate Sackett, another PY3 from Canadian Lakes, Michigan; and Anna Katherine Burress, a sophomore in the early-entry pharmacy program from Water Valley, have participated in the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, initiative.

“We have been able to recruit outstanding UM students, like this group from the School of Pharmacy, who desire to participate with other university students and community partners in critically thinking about solutions to some of the state’s challenges,” said Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute and a UM professor of sociology.

With financial support from the McLean Institute’s Hearin grant, students work to build community partnerships to promote entrepreneurship and economic development.

“I decided to attend Ole Miss specifically for the great early-entry pharmacy program that it offers,” said Sackett, who chose pharmacy as her career path because of her passion for patient care and improving communities’ overall health. “The CEED program gave me the opportunity to meet with local Mississippi community leaders to collaborate and develop ideas to help improve their communities’ knowledge of health care, chronic diseases and medication management.”

Sackett was the first CEED student to work directly with the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center in Charleston. Through a summer internship under the direction of Dr. Catherine Woodyard Moring, Sackett was part of the assessment and planning team for the opening of the state-of-the-art health center.

Brittany Byrd

She completed her CEED work in 2016, but it has been carried on by a team of CEED students, including Audrey Dayan, a 2017 Ole Miss graduate with a degree in psychology, of Oxford. Dayan is a CEED innovation scholar who worked closely with Moring and the Charleston K-12 schools to help collect data on school health councils. The data were collected in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education.

Sackett plans to complete her pharmacy education and specialize in pediatric care to help improve the health of future generations.

Byrd was part of the CEED planning team that conducted the inaugural Entrepreneurial Learning Center in Charleston this summer. However, instead of working this summer in Charleston, Byrd, a member of the Mississippi National Guard, was deployed to South Carolina for three months during a training exercise.

Two fellow students, Austin Carroll, a senior biochemistry major from Madison and a CEED innovation scholar, and Robert Patterson, a graduate student in health promotion from Como and a CEED innovation fellow, picked up the project and worked with nearly 20 youth at the Charleston Day Club, which is a part of the National Charleston Day Organization.

J.R. Love, McLean Institute project manager of CEED, and other students in the program supported Carroll and Patterson on a rotating system.

“I chose to attend Ole Miss because of my interest in having a career in pharmacy and knowing I will have the support of my family living in Mississippi,” Byrd said. “I knew always wanted to help others, and I thought that a career in pharmacy would offer the ability to have direct access to the community while achieving this goal.”

The CEED program has proven indispensable to Byrd’s academic success, she said.

“I have been fortunate as a CEED innovation fellow to interact with many business owners and community leaders across the state,” she said. “One skill I have learned while in CEED is the ability to establish networks to attain common goals.

“My intent is to continue working with community partners as I finish my education in pharmacy, and be able to use those skills to further assist the public in many ways.”

Burress plans to continue the work set forth by her peers in the CEED program. Health care is a major factor in economic development in Mississippi and around the United States.

“Being a part of CEED has been an eye-opening experience for me,” Burress said. “CEED has allowed me to see real-world issues and how we, as students, can positively impact local markets now and into the future in Mississippi.

Kate Sackett of Canadian Lakes, Michigan. Submitted photo

“CEED has helped me meet other students from other fields of study. I am grateful to be working closely with them because I believe it will help me grow personally and prepare me for my future career.”

Burress said she hopes to complete her Doctor of Pharmacy and be making a difference in a community within 10 years.

“I would like to be working in a hospital setting somewhere in Mississippi,” she said. “In my spare time, I hope to be an active member of my community, and I would like to be a part of the mission trips, as a pharmacist, that my church offers so that I can serve others.”

Goals of the CEED initiative provide valuable experience and opportunities for pharmacy students, said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

“Many of the pharmacy school’s community health initiatives involve supporting underserved regions like the Mississippi Delta, so these collaborations with the city of Charleston are incredibly exciting,” Allen said. “It’s gratifying to see our students carrying out our mission of improving the lives of others.”

For more information on CEED, contact the McLean Institute at or 662-915-2052.

Pharmacy Student Group Named Most Improved Chapter of the Year

Organization honored by National Community Pharmacists Association at annual convention

UM pharmacy Dean David D. Allen (left) and members of the Ole Miss chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association celebrate being named the Most Improved Chapter of the Year at the 2017 NCPA Convention. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s student chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association was recognized as the Most Improved Chapter of the Year at the NCPA Convention in Orlando earlier this month.

“Our chapter is devoted to promoting independent pharmacy in Mississippi,” said fourth-year student Lily Van, of Honolulu. “It is an avenue of pharmacy that some people forget about, but it is such a vital part of our communities.”

Ole Miss has an active chapter, often hosting events that allow students to learn more about careers in independent pharmacy. Many of its members participate in business plan competitions while also taking advantage of travel opportunities for conventions and special events.

“We work closely with the Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association, and over the past few years, we have also participated in the NCPA Congressional Fly-In in Washington, D.C.,” Van said. “It’s a great experience that not many chapters participate in, and sending students to D.C. allows us to actively advocate for our profession on the Hill.”

Some members, including Van, also are active in the national organization as representatives on the Student Leadership Council, a selective group of student leaders from across the nation chosen to represent NCPA.

“It’s great to see our students involved in national organizations like NCPA,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “The firsthand experiences they have speaking with community pharmacists and visiting Capitol Hill will prepare them well for future endeavors, and I’m excited to see what this group will continue to accomplish.”

Even with its award in hand, the chapter’s work is far from done.

“Now that we have won Most Improved Chapter of the Year, I feel like the work is just starting,” Van said. “I would love for us to continue to be more active in advocacy and community outreach, because that is truly what the profession is about: serving the community.

“I hope that we will win Overall Chapter of the Year, but our main priority is to continue to advocate for community pharmacy.”

Pharmacy Student Juggles Studies, Job and Leadership

Joanna Wu squeezes classwork in while working at her family's restaurant

Joanna Wu

OXFORD, Miss. ­– There’s no doubt that a student’s life is busy. Between class, studying and sleeping, sometimes the hours in a day can get away. But for students with jobs, family responsibilities and extracurricular activities, time management can be especially tricky.

For Joanna Wu, a second-year student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, all this ­– and more ­– is reality. Wu not only has to focus on the demands of classes, but she also helps her parents at their restaurant, Ming’s Kitchen, in Oxford.

“It has been challenging trying to balance work and study,” she said. “There are always interruptions, like answering phones and taking orders when I try to study at the restaurant. There isn’t any downtime to focus on my studies.

“Sometimes, I would have to stay up throughout the night to finish assignments or study for tests.”

A typical day for Wu consists of class in the morning, finding time for a quick lunch and getting some homework done in the library or student center before she heads back to the restaurant.

“While I am there, I try to get some studying done and help out when it’s busy,” Wu said. “When it’s really busy, I don’t have time to do anything besides help take dine-in and take-out orders and help inside the kitchen. There are days when I even have to help cook a few simple orders.

“By the time I come back to it, I’ve already forgotten where I stopped. By the time it slows down, it is usually time to go home. After getting home, I try to study a little bit more before going to bed, which is normally around midnight or even later.”

She doesn’t complain, though, because she’s doing what she needs to do to help her family.

Wu was born in New York after her parents immigrated to the state from China. Her mom, Lisa, didn’t finish college because she was pregnant with Joanna, while her dad, De Ming, only finished junior high because he was going to school during China’s Cultural Revolution.

This makes Wu the first in her family to receive a degree. However, she is determined not to be the last, as her younger brother, Jeffrey Wu, is an Ole Miss freshman.

“I often help him with homework, especially proofreading written assignments,” Joanna Wu said. “Since he’s a freshman, there is a lot of things he has to adjust to. I make sure he is completing assignments on time.”

Wu also has two cousins who came from Hong Kong in June to live with her family in Oxford. She commits time to their schoolwork as well, helping them with English or answering homework questions.

As if classes and work weren’t enough to keep her busy, Wu became a School of Pharmacy ambassador last year to be more involved.

“By becoming a leader, I can represent my class and the school,” Wu said. “I wanted to get to know more students and professors, have more interactions and build strong relationships.

“I’ve experienced what it is like to be in the early-entry program, and I feel like it will really benefit the students to have someone who did the program as their mentor.”

Her hard work in and out of the classroom doesn’t go unnoticed.

“My family and Joanna’s family have been friends since she was young, especially since my daughter was in the same grade as Joanna,” said Robert Doerksen, associate professor of medicinal chemistry. “Knowing a pharmacy professor for all these years helped to interest her in the pharmacy profession.

“It’s great to have Joanna as a student pharmacist in my medicinal chemistry class, always in the front row and attentive.”

Though her schedule may be busy, Wu is learning how to successfully accomplish it all.

“My communication skills have improved over the past two years,” Wu said. “Trying to change my time management skills is hard and challenging, but I tend to get more done under pressure. Balancing study and work is not as difficult as it was before.”

UM Student Named Independent Pharmacies Grant Recipient

Hoby Mullins honored with financial support from national trade group

Hoby Mullins

OXFORD, Miss. – Hoby Mullins, a first-year student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has received a $1,000 grant from the 2017 EPIC Pharmacies student grant program.

Mullins’ accolade marks the fourth consecutive year a student from the UM School of Pharmacy has received the grant from EPIC Pharmacies. Jasmine Turner, who graduated in May, was named an honoree for 2015 and 2016.

EPIC Pharmacies is a national group of more than 1,400 independent pharmacies that annually provides grants to pharmacy students who plan to practice in independent pharmacy after graduation.

“I was very excited when I found out that I would receive the award,” Mullins said. “It is such a blessing to be able to receive money to help pay my tuition.” 

Mullins, of Roxie, plans to pursue his Pharm.D. and hopes to form lifelong friendships with his colleagues. The award also puts him closer to his long-term goal of operating his own pharmacy.

“This is very exciting for Hoby, and I’m proud of his hard work,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he will accomplish during his time at the School of Pharmacy and in his career.”

Alumna Chosen for Pharmacy Organization’s National Committee

Kelley is first UM graduate to serve in role, will develop programming for post-graduate students

Jordan Kelley

OXFORD, Miss. – Jordan Kelley, a 2017 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is the first Ole Miss alumna to become a member at large of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s National Resident Advisory Committee.

During the 2017-18 cycle, she will develop programming and services for post-graduate pharmacy students. Kelley, who earned her Pharm.D. from UM in May, is a post-graduate student in a pharmacy residency program at the University of Kentucky.

The ACCP’s National Resident Advisory Committee provides opportunities for post-graduate pharmacy residents to refine their leadership skills, interact with colleagues at a national level and build relationships with leading clinical pharmacists.

This membership also will help position Kelley for future leadership roles within the organization.

“Working with a national pharmacy organization has been a goal of mine since my second year of pharmacy school,” Kelley said. “There is so much to be gained from working with people from different areas and collaborating with other professionals.”

Kelley’s next goal is to present at a national pharmacy organization meeting, which she hopes to accomplish next year.

“Jordan is one of the best young learners I have had the pleasure of working with in the past several years,” said Daniel Riche, UM associate professor of pharmacy practice. “She has demonstrated an impressive commitment to the profession of pharmacy and will thrive as a clinical pharmacist after her residency training.”

Kelley said she feels that the Ole Miss pharmacy school gave her valuable opportunities to become involved with national pharmacy organizations and encouraged her to attend national conferences. Attending several in her second year of pharmacy school changed her outlook on her career.

“I changed my belief from thinking that your career starts when you graduate to realizing that your career starts when you start taking the initiative to make a difference,” Kelley said.

“The UM School of Pharmacy offered opportunities for leadership and helped me grow, but what really prepared me was witnessing the involvement that my professors had within these organizations.”

UM Cancer Institute Researchers Receive International Recognition

Team honored for work revealing bacterial role in echinacea's immune-boosting power

Nirmal Pugh (left), Colin Jackson and David Pasco gather in Pasco’s lab in the National Center for Natural Products Research on the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus. Jackson, an associate professor of biology, worked with Pasco and Pugh on their study of the role of bacteria in echinacea’s immune-enhancing properties. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For two decades, David Pasco has pursued the discovery of plants that can enhance a person’s immune system.

Pasco, a pharmacognosist, is a longtime researcher and associate director of the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research and director of the Drug Discovery Core at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute.

This week, the work of Pasco and his lab was recognized in Basel, Switzerland, when a paper published in September 2016 was named the Most Innovative Paper published that year in Planta Medica, the journal of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research.

The paper delves into the bacteria – think probiotics – in echinacea that cause it to enhance a person’s immune system. For years, scientists have pointed to other components of the plant as the workhorse in improving immune function.

“For over 30 years, scientists researching the immune enhancing properties of plants have thought that the active ingredients were plant-derived polysaccharides,” Pasco said “This paper shows that it’s the bacteria living inside the plants.”

For the study, Pasco and his colleagues extracted the bacteria found within several kinds of echinacea and let them grow on cell-culture plates. They then measured the bacteria’s ability to stimulate macrophages, a type of cell that helps protect against infections.

“We found that in echinacea, and in many other plants used for immune enhancement, that components of the bacteria that live within these plants naturally are the main thing that would enhance immune functions,” he said.

Work on this paper proved his point: It’s the bacteria, not the host plant’s compounds, that enhance the immune system. That means scientists can measure how effective a supplement derived from a plant will be by counting the bacteria in each sample. The more bacteria, the stronger the immune-enhancing properties.

The amount of bacteria accounted for half of the extract’s activity. Pasco and his colleagues found that some groups of bacteria, called proteobacteria, had more activity than others. This means that it’s not only how many bacteria an Echinacea plant contains, but also which kinds.

Nirmal Pugh (left), a senior scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research, accepts the award for Most Innovative Paper of 2016 from Planta Medica in Basel, Switzerland, on Monday (Sept. 4). Submitted photo

“We identified all the bacteria that were in each sample that could contribute to this kind of activity,” he said. “The bottom line of the paper was if we added up the contribution to macrophage activation of all the different bacteria we found within the plant, we could predict how much activity an extract from the plant would have.

“That pretty much tells you the activity must be coming from the bacteria.”

“This award speaks to David’s perseverance,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “New ideas always get more scrutiny, but David and his team worked hard to prove what they believed in. This finding opens up roads to explore the interworking of medicinal plants and microbes.”

For now, Pasco is holding back his excitement on the journal publication and the resulting award. Nirmal D.C. Pugh, NCNPR senior scientist, who worked on this research with Pasco since he was a graduate student, traveled to Switzerland to accept the award.

Pasco wants more. He wants to see his work with another immune-enhancing natural product, the blue-green algae Spirulina, used to help cancer patients.

The supplement, which contains the same but higher levels of one of these bacterial components, could improve the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors, which are effective for about 30 percent of patients who use them.

“When we can demonstrate that this extract has a powerful impact on chemo patients or enhances the effectiveness of checkpoint inhibitors, then I’ll get excited,” he said.

Checkpoint inhibitors work by telling a person’s immune system that a cell, such as a cancer cell, is foreign and should be attacked.

The product is extracted from Spirulina and has been licensed to a company that is marketing it as a dietary and food supplement ingredient. Experiments in mice show it can reduce tumor load, the number of cancer cells in the body, by 75 percent. UM is seeking development partners for the product in the pharmaceutical or adjuvant therapy markets.

“The idea that bacteria present in the environment can be beneficial to humans is increasingly being recognized,” said Dr. John Ruckdeschel, Cancer Institute director. “That we may, in turn, exploit these beneficial aspects to enhance therapy for cancer is an exciting next step.”

The extract already has been tested in humans and successfully boosted several aspects of the immune system. Since chemotherapy and radiation therapy tend to deplete the immune system, having a natural product that boosts it could help patients’ successfully complete treatment.

To learn more about the team’s research, read the paper at


State Organization Awards Three UM Pharmacy Professors

Professional society honors innovation and service

Jamie Wagner

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi professors from the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice were honored at the annual Mississippi Society for Health-System Pharmacists meeting.

Laurie Fleming, clinical associate professor at the pharmacy school, was the Health-System Pharmacist of the Year Award winner, chosen for her outstanding service, collaboration and significant contributions to the profession.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized among some of the most impactful health system pharmacists in Mississippi,” Fleming said.

“Many of the past awardees have been mentors to me and have helped advance my career. This award motivates me to continue growing professionally so I can mentor other young pharmacists.”

Fleming has served MSHP in many capacities, including as past president and association manager. She directs the school’s Community Pharmacy Residency Program and won the Community Pharmacy Residency

Laurie Fleming

Excellence in Precepting Award from the American Pharmacists Association earlier this year.


Jamie Wagner, clinical assistant professor, won the Outstanding Young Health-System Pharmacist of the Year award, which honors exceptional service to a health care team, pharmacy or community by a practitioner with five years or fewer experience in health systems pharmacy practice.

“I am very excited to receive this award,” Wagner said. “It is truly an honor to be recognized for my efforts within the health system, and I hope this award continues to bolster the relationship between the medical center and the School of Pharmacy.”

Wagner will serve as chair of MSHP’s Education and Practice Committee in the upcoming term.

The Nutrition Support Service team at Mississippi Baptist Health System won the Innovative Health-System Pharmacy Practice Award. Clinical associate professor Phil Ayers leads the team.

Phil Ayers

This award honored the Nutrition Support Service’s new processes that guarantee the continuous delivery of nutrition support products for patients, a method that improved patient safety, eliminated waste and made significant contributions to the nutrition support community.

“I am proud to know and serve alongside these three exemplary pharmacists,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “We are fortunate to have such committed and service-minded faculty members on our team.”