University Researchers Discover Key Ingredient for Skin Care Line

Products include UM's patented aloe vera extract

David Pasco (left) and Nirmal Pugh have studied the chemistry of aloe for many years. Their work led to the discovery of aloeride, an immune-enhancing extract patented by the university. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Scientists at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research spend much of their time working to discover new pharmaceutical products, botanical dietary supplements and agrichemicals. Once in a while, however, discoveries made at the center benefit something a little more cosmetic.

Among other things, ongoing NCNPR research on botanicals led to the launch of a skin care line called Sustainable Youth brand products, owned by Woodcliff Skincare Solutions Inc. The key ingredient is Alasta brand aloe product, a patent-pending ingredient that includes aloeride, an immune-enhancing extract patented by the university.

“Aloeride’s activity is predominantly derived from aloe’s bacteria,” said Nirmal Pugh, principal scientist at NCNPR who worked on the discovery of aloeride with other Ole Miss researchers. “As with all plants occurring in a natural state, aloe has communities of bacteria.

“Aloe’s beneficial bacteria produce immune-enhancing components that we concentrated to create the aloeride that Woodcliff uses in Alasta.”

At the time of the discovery, Pugh was working as a graduate student with David Pasco, now the associate director of the UM natural products center.

Pasco, who has studied the properties of aloe for more than 20 years, observed that the active components in aloeride were beneficial for skin health. That information was used to guide clinical studies and product development for aloeride.

Sustainable Youth brand products contain a compound discovered and patented by researchers at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research. Photo courtesy Woodcliff Skincare Solutions Inc.

Once NCNPR published the team’s findings, a cosmetics industry executive approached the center about licensing the extract. After licensing aloeride, cosmetic expert formulators combined it with other ingredients to create Alasta brand aloe product, which can be applied topically.

“This kind of discovery is indicative of the commercial and medical potential of natural products, and is just one example of the impact of NCNPR’s research,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy.

Alasta brand aloe product is at the center of all Sustainable Youth brand products, said Mary Coon, a brand development consultant with Woodcliff.

“The Sustainable Youth collection includes five innovative, clean, anti-aging skin care products, all made with organic and natural ingredients purposefully selected for their ability to enhance Alasta’s properties for healthy-looking skin.”

University officials are “thrilled” to see the product line on the market, said Allyson Best, UM director of technology management.

“We appreciate Woodcliff’s commitment to transforming this UM discovery into a commercialized product,” Best said. “This is another great example of maximizing the impact of our research enterprise.”

The internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research was founded in 1995 to research, develop and commercialize potentially useful natural products. Based at the UM School of Pharmacy, NCNPR collaborates with academia, government and the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to create natural products that can be used to improve human health and agriculture as crops, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and agrochemicals.

For more information on research programs at the center, visit

Using an exclusive selection of proprietary technologies, Sustainable Youth from Woodcliff Skincare Solutions has developed a collection of topical anti-aging formulas that offer a unique, differentiated experience. Each product features the clinically-proven Alasta active complex, rich antioxidants and a natural preservative alternative, resulting in a 99.7 percent organic proprietary formulation with synergistic effects.

For more information on Sustainable Youth brand products, go to

Universities Take on Health Care Challenges on Many Fronts

UM faculty and students work to improve wellness, daily life for all Mississippians

Students at the UM Medical Center’s School of Dentistry provide free dental care to students from a Jackson elementary school. Photo courtesy UMMC

OXFORD, Miss. – It is no secret that many Mississippians face health challenges, but the University of Mississippi and the state’s other public universities are attacking these challenges on many fronts.

Universities treat patients, train the next generation of health care providers and conduct research that will help prevent disease and improve outcomes. While Mississippi’s health issues cannot be solved overnight, progress is being made every day.

Most of the UM health care outreach is housed at the Medical Center in Jackson, the state’s only academic medical center. UMMC encompasses seven health sciences schools: medicine, nursing, health related professions, dentistry, graduate studies, population health and the clinical component of the School of Pharmacy.

The health care enterprise includes the state’s only Level I trauma center, its only children’s hospital and the state’s only organ and bone marrow transplant programs.

The Jackson Heart Study, which UMMC leads along with Jackson State University and Tougaloo College, is the country’s largest long-term study focusing on cardiovascular disease risk in African-Americans.

The Medical Center’s Center for Telehealth is a national leader in providing high-quality health care, especially for rural Mississippi areas with little access to both primary and specialty care. UMMC’s education, research and health care missions share the objectives of improving the health of the state’s population and eliminating health disparities.

The UM School of Pharmacy is ranked 14th in the nation for external research funding. Four research centers contribute to the school’s research mission: the Center for Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management, the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and the largest of the four, the National Center for Natural Products Research.

The NCNPR is the nation’s only university-based research program devoted to the discovery and development of natural product-derived pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals to benefit human health and contribute to disease therapies. The School of Pharmacy is also actively involved with Community-Based Research Programs that demonstrate pharmacists’ positive impact on public health by integrating medication therapy management services into the underserved Mississippi Delta.

Also working toward improving the health of the state’s population and eliminating health disparities is Jackson State University’s School of Public Health, the state’s only School of Public Health.

Research scientist Vijayasankar Raman works in the UM Natural Products Training Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

The school is focused on disease prevention to help curb soaring medical costs associated with treating worsening health conditions. Research possibilities are expected to be enormous as the new school examines, for example, why life expectancy for black Mississippians is less than that of Caucasians.

Mississippi University for Women’s Department of Health and Kinesiology serves approximately 300 students and offers a Master of Public Health degree, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health Education, and a B.S. in Kinesiology.

The kinesiology degree includes options in exercise science, physical education, and pre-physical therapy. The department also houses a pre-occupational therapy program and minors in exercise science and public health education.

The department strives to promote healthy living with an emphasis on physical activity, sport and exercise. Graduates are prepared to work as practitioners in schools, communities, worksites, health care settings and government agencies.

MUW is making an impact in the community and beyond through outreach and service activities. Nursing students and faculty provided 311,374 hours of service to 121,948 clients last year.

The university’s Passport to Wellness, funded by Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, encourages better health through diet and exercise. In the last year, the program held 19 events and served approximately 1,500 participants. The inaugural Imagine. Inspire. Challenge Symposium last year, focusing on heart disease in underserved communities, drew more than 500 participants.

The MUW Culinary Arts Institute’s Project CHEW, or Cook Healthy, Eat Well, trailer offers tips regarding healthy cooking techniques and recipe modifications. Healthy eating samples were provided to about 2,700 patrons at 25 events.

The College of Nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi recently was awarded a $1.2 million grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration that will be used to provide specialized training for students in the Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs.

The Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant will enable the college to distribute traineeship funds for students who plan to work in underserved areas after completing the advanced programs.

The grant will provide longitudinal immersion clinical practice experiences in primary care and behavioral health care facilities. The grant is focused on students already certified in one of these specialties and who are seeking a second certification, along with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

The two-year grant is the first of its kind obtained by the USM College of Nursing. The grant proposal stemmed from an identified need in Mississippi: to produce advanced-practice nurses prepared at the highest degree level who are dually certified for health care providers delivering holistic care.

Dr. Loretta Jackson works with medical students at the UM Medical Center. Photo courtesy UMMC

Some of these nurses may treat influenza patients, but scientists at Mississippi State University want to make getting the flu something of the past. To eradicate risk, scientists must find a way to stay at least one step ahead of virus mutations, so MSU students and faculty are collaborating with global research teams to peer into the future and develop new defenses against flu’s mounting threat.

Powered with a major grant from the National Institutes of Health and led by MSU’s Henry Wan, researchers are helping accelerate expensive, time-consuming analysis conducted by thousands of scientists at more than 130 influenza centers in 106 countries. The goal of the team is to help prevent, diagnose and treat pandemic flus and other illnesses.

The Mississippi State team’s “machine learning” and “big data” process takes the analysis out of research labs and instead uses computational methods to discover critical changes or mutations among viruses more quickly. This information is entered into a computerized model that determines the best vaccines for combating new and existing strains.

The model also translates data into mathematical formulas that generate maps and provide an in-depth look at flu viruses over time and in different populations. This kind of mapping helps track how viruses mutate and how they spread, leading to greater understanding and discoveries, such as the fact that one particular virus vaccine has been updated more than 29 times since 1968.

The MSU Extension 4-H Program, in partnership with the UM Medical Center and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute, are developing the next generation of health care professionals through the Junior Master Wellness Volunteers program. The program is a community health education and volunteer leader that partners with students in various disciplines such as the allied health courses, family and consumer science courses and individually focused clubs or organizations for training and delivery of health messages into the community. 

Junior Master Wellness volunteers are teens focused on wellness and dedicated to serving their community. Anyone between ages 15 and 18 with an interest in leadership, advocacy, extending knowledge, serving as role models and volunteering aimed at improving health literacy and healthy lifestyle choices may enroll for training as a volunteer.

The county extension agent maintains an engaged role with teachers and students providing community service opportunities and programmatic oversight. Recruitment is also sought for a health competition event conducted annually at 4-H State Congress. 

Pharmacy Professor Named AAPS Fellow

S. Narasimha Murthy has been active in organization for more than a decade

S. Narasimha Murthy

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy pharmaceutics professor S. Narasimha Murthy has been elected as a fellow of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, one of the highest honors given to its members.

At its annual conference Nov. 12 in San Diego, AAPS honored eight recipients, including Murthy, who have demonstrated a sustained level of professional excellence in fields related to its mission.

Murthy conducts research to develop noninvasive technologies for the treatment of chronic disorders. He also founded a nonprofit research organization in his home country of India to foster research that addresses unmet medical needs.

“I was humbled and honored by the recognition because it is one of the highest organizational recognitions,” Murthy said. “AAPS has had a huge influence on many facets of my career.

“It helped me connect with collaborators and pharmaceutical companies. AAPS programs have helped me to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field of drug delivery.”

Murthy has served as member of AAPS since 2005. He is actively involved in the association’s dermatopharmaceutics focus group, including having previously served as the group’s chair while organizing webinars, symposiums and workshop for AAPS meetings.

He is also a member of the editorial advisory boards of several scientific journals.

Murthy routinely assists graduate students with travel vouchers to attend AAPS meetings and present their work. The school presented 93 posters at this year’s conference, and one of Murthy’s graduate students, Purnendu Sharma, earned AAPS’s 2017 Graduate Student Award for a poster he presented.

“I am so pleased to see both Dr. Murthy and Purnendu earn these recognitions,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Dr. Murthy’s work at the school and his commitment to get our students involved in AAPS is invaluable, and both honors point to the strength of our pharmaceutics and drug delivery department.”

Natural Products Center to Collaborate with Beijing Hospital

NCNPR scientists will help with chemistry-related analysis of traditional Chinese medicines

Ikhlas Khan (center), director of the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, meets with officials from Beijing 302 Hospital to sign a memorandum of understanding setting up formal collaborations between the groups. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and Beijing 302 Hospital of China have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the quality of traditional Chinese medicine.

The Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine Beijing, located at the hospital, analyzes traditional medicines taken by hospital patients and screens for any contaminants that may have contributed to a patient’s condition. As per the agreement, NCNPR will use its technology and expertise to help with the chemistry-related needs of this analysis.

“This certainly plays to the strength of our program at NCNPR,” said Ikhlas Khan, the center’s director. “Our experience analyzing complex natural products will allow us to look at the quality of the products used in Chinese medicine.”

Jia-bo Wang, associate director of the hospital’s Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine, said he is excited to work with NCNPR on the quality control of herbal medicines, new drug development from traditional Chinese medicines and safety assessments, specifically with herb-induced liver injuries.

“We expect many opportunities for collaborative research between us, and have every reason to be hopeful for the future,” Wang said. 

This most recent research collaboration comes just after NCNPR signed an agreement in August with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia that gave the UM center research connections on every inhabited continent. Since 2000, more than 200 visiting scholars have come to NCNPR as part of these research exchanges.

The internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research was founded in 1995 to research, develop and commercialize potentially useful natural products. Based at the UM School of Pharmacy, NCNPR collaborates with academia, government and the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to create natural products that can be used to improve human health and agriculture as crops, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and agrochemicals.

For more information, visit

Pharmacy Student Receives National Scholarship

Alexandria Gochenauer hopes to someday work in veterinary or educational setting

Alexandria Gochenauer

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Community Pharmacy Association recognized University of Mississippi third-year student pharmacist Alexandria Gochenauer with a Presidential Scholarship during its annual convention’s awards ceremony last month.

The $2,000 award will go toward Gochenauer’s academic endeavors, as the organization selects scholarship honorees based on academic achievement, leadership qualities and an interest in independent pharmacy. The NCPA represents the employees of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies across the country, which dispense nearly half the nation’s retail prescription medicines.

“In addition to being excited, I felt extremely honored and grateful to be a recipient of the NCPA Foundation’s Presidential Scholarship,” Gochenauer said.

Along with the Presidential Scholarship, Gochenauer also was recognized as Outstanding Student Chapter Member at the convention. Both accolades come as no surprise to Erin Holmes, the group’s adviser and associate professor of pharmacy administration.

“I cannot imagine a student more deserving of receiving the NCPA Foundation’s Presidential Scholarship for academic and leadership excellence than Alex,” Holmes said. “Alex is very motivated, has always been a self-starter, has a strong work ethic and has a profound attention to detail.

“She played a pivotal role in starting the nation’s first American College of Veterinary Pharmacists chapter here at Ole Miss and played a significant leadership role as vice president of our NCPA chapter. I am extremely proud of all Alex has accomplished, and look forward to her future contributions to our profession.”

A native of Republic, Missouri, Gochenauer hopes to complete a veterinary pharmacy residency after graduation. She aspires not only to help animals, but others interested in the field as well.

Representatives of McKesson Corp. present UM pharmacy student Alexandria Gochenauer (second from left) with a Presidential Scholarship at the National Community Pharmacy Association’s annual meeting. Submitted photo

“I would love to work at a veterinary college in the future, running the pharmacy as well as teaching the veterinary students pharmacology,” Gochenauer said. “I am also interested in compounding and may eventually try to open my own independent compounding pharmacy.”

Gochenauer plans to use the scholarship to help advance her career and her goals.

“Being a recipient of this scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to network with others who can share their experiences and knowledge,” Gochenauer said. “This is an essential step toward my dream of obtaining a veterinary pharmacy residency.

“In addition, this is an amazing accomplishment, and I believe that future employers will recognize the hard work I have put into my education and career.”

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.”