Pharmacy Faculty Create Podcast to Inspire Pharmacists

'PharmacyForward' features interviews with profession's leaders

Laurie Fleming (left), Josh Fleming and Stuart Haines record an installment of the ‘PharmacyForward’ podcast series the School of Pharmacy’s space at the UM Medical Center in Jackson. Photo courtesy Stuart Haines

OXFORD, Miss. – In the first few weeks of 2018, a small group of faculty from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy launched “PharmacyForward,” a podcast featuring interviews with experts and leaders about pharmacy practice, patient care and health care delivery in every setting.

The podcast, which has a tagline of “Transforming Knowledge into Action,” is dedicated to engaging and motivating pharmacists. The school’s Division of Pharmacy Professional Development produces the episodes, which are geared toward veterans and newcomers in the field.

The idea emerged from a statewide focus group of pharmacists who were looking for new ways to address professional development needs and unique educational programming, said Stuart T. Haines, professor of pharmacy practice and the division’s director.

“What emerged was a need to cover topics on practice management, how to advance our practices and how to interact with people,” Haines said. “Pharmacists have a lot of knowledge about diseases, but they don’t always know how to put that knowledge into practice.

“We want to tap into the insights from the movers and shakers in pharmacy today. With a podcast, we can reach any pharmacist in the world who wants to listen.”

In its debut series, three “PharmacyForward” episodes focus on relationship-building in different settings. Featured guests have created advanced practices in different regions of the country and have held leadership positions in organizations such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and American Pharmacists Association.

Featuring a variety of guests, one of the podcast’s main goals is to build a community of pharmacists that can work together and share their successes and struggles, said Josh Fleming, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice. 

“Listeners can expect to gain knowledge about many crucial pharmacy topics that will help them move ideas from thoughts into practice,” Fleming said. “Our hope is that listeners will pick up on tools, tips and suggestions from other pharmacists on how to advance their practice, no matter what stage of their career they’re in.”

Faculty won’t be the only ones working on the podcast. Second-year ambulatory care pharmacy residents and student pharmacists are also part of “PharmacyForward.”

“I hope that students and residents alike will benefit from hearing about real-world experiences from a variety of pharmacists with different specializations,” said Laurie Fleming, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice. “I believe that many of the topics will be helpful to them as they enter new practice settings, and I hope they’ll take the opportunity to discuss the podcasts with their preceptors.”

“PharmacyForward” sets its sights on giving listeners what they need to build advanced pharmacy practice areas, and Meagan Brown, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, sees the main goal in the podcast’s name.

“Our mission is to spread knowledge and ideas about people and places that are doing great work,” Brown said. “I hope listeners will be motivated to make improvements that continue to move the profession forward.”

Podcast episodes will be published once a month and are available at http://pharmacyfoward.podbean.com.

Community Health the Focus of 2018 Waller Lecture

Baltimore community advocate DeJuan Patterson joins lecturer Daniel Mullins for UM presentation

DeJuan Patterson

OXFORD, Miss. – C. Daniel Mullins, professor and chair of the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Department at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, will deliver the 2018 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

The lecture, “Patient-Centered Discovery,” at 11 a.m. Friday (Feb. 9) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, will focus on ways in which scientific and medical knowledge are translated into workable health solutions for patients. The School of Pharmacy and its Department of Pharmacy Administration are hosting the event, which is free and open to the public.

Mullins is director of the PATIENTS Program at the University of Maryland pharmacy school, which works to turn scientific research discoveries into practical information for health care providers to pass on to patients.

“Part of the program’s goals is to learn and teach about community health care, as well as about the health care system,” Mullins said. “This requires that we listen to patients and stakeholders, such as community leaders, who can help co-develop research and translate it into meaningful health care practice.”

This need for community leaders led Mullins to DeJuan Patterson, a community advocate in Baltimore and executive director of community development consulting firm The BeMore Group. Patterson’s work with underserved and minority populations focuses on ensuring that organizations working with members of a community engage them in socially responsible ways.

Patterson will co-present with Mullins at the lecture.

“DeJuan is an advocate for helping people live safe, healthy and holistic lives,” Mullins said. “He also understands how to engage people across generational and digital divides.”

Patterson was “intrigued and interested” in helping the PATIENTS Program with its meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians and other health care stakeholders throughout the research process.

“It’s important today, more than ever before, that people of color are actively involved in research and clinical trials,” Patterson said. “As the country grows more diverse, the issues that impact people of color are going to be paramount.”

Patterson’s role in the program is to help provide authentic community engagement and assessment, and to expand the program’s exposure. His experience has benefited the PATIENTS Program by changing the way the University of Maryland conducts research in communities, as well as the way communities perceive the university.

“I learned through my partnership with the PATIENTS Program that anyone involved in community-based work has to be involved in ensuring community cohesion,” Patterson said. “It’s imperative that community members understand and be a part of their own health care.”

C. Daniel Mullins

Another goal of the PATIENTS Program is to provide opportunities for students and pharmacy practitioners to be more involved in patient-centered research so they can actively contribute to an evolving body of knowledge Mullins said.

“Science alone doesn’t cure disease or improve quality of life,” he said. “We need to adopt and adapt evidence-based approaches to health care, which is best achieved with authentic patient and stakeholder engagement.”

The Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture series was established in 2004 to recognize the former director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ contributions to the field of pharmaceutics and the School of Pharmacy. Each year, a department within the school hosts a lecturer selected for their contributions to the host department’s discipline.

“We are honored to have Daniel Mullins deliver the Waller Lecture,” said John Bentley, chair of the pharmacy administration department. “He’s made significant contributions to our discipline with his pharmacoeconomics research and work on understanding how to engage patients and other stakeholders in the research process.

“We’re also excited to have DeJuan Patterson join Dr. Mullins. Mr. Patterson’s commitment to his community is evident and his passion is inspiring.”

University Wins NSF Award for Electron Microscope

State-of-the-art instrument will be among the nation's most advanced

Members of several UM departments collaborated to secure a new field-emission scanning electron microscope that will benefit multiple disciplines. The team includes (from left) Vijayasankar Raman, Brenda Hutton-Prager, Soumyajit Majumdar, Jennifer Gifford and Kevin Lewellyn. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – A collaborative effort by researchers from multiple schools and departments earned the University of Mississippi a $346,641 Major Research Instrumentation award from the National Science Foundation for the acquisition of a new field-emission scanning electron microscope.

The state-of-the-art microscope will enhance research capabilities for the School of Pharmacy, the School of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts. Expected to arrive in October, the instrument will be housed in the School of Pharmacy, a convenient location for many of the departments involved.

“It was a great accomplishment by the whole group,” said Soumyajit Majumdar, principal investigator for the award, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery and the School of Pharmacy’s associate dean for research and graduate programs. “Getting extramural funding is a challenge, and this is even more exciting because it is a universitywide achievement.

“The microscope is going to exponentially improve the capabilities and visibility of the university, and will positively impact the training and education of our graduate and undergraduate students.”

Scanning electron microscopes focus beams of electrons onto an object’s surface to create images with high magnification and resolution. The instruments can be used to assemble microchips, conduct genetic testing and test new medicines.

This will be the most advanced electron microscope at Ole Miss, replacing the existing device that has supported research programs over the past 17 years.

Vijayasankar Raman, a research scientist in the National Center for Natural Products Research, serves as a co-principal investigator for the grant along with Brenda Hutton-Prager, assistant professor of chemical engineering, Jennifer Gifford, assistant professor of geology and geological engineering, and Amala Dass, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Raman has overseen UM’s existing scanning electron microscope facility since 2011.

“This award will be a game changer in the research outcomes and publications from UM,” Raman said. “The acquisition of a modern SEM puts UM on par with top-notch universities in the U.S. and around the world.”

Traditional researchers won’t be the only ones to enjoy the microscope. With 10 UM departments involved in its proposal, at least 14 existing undergraduate and graduate courses will use the instrument, allowing more than 500 students to access the microscope for their own research purposes.

The university also plans to involve neighboring institutions, high school and community college students, and K-12 students and teachers through outreach programs.

Funds for the microscope are provided by grant number 1726880 from the National Science Foundation.

Pharmacy Alumni Match Medications with Need at Dispensary of Hope

Work benefits thousands of needy patients nationally each year

Dispensary of Hope employees sort medicines at Integral Care Pharmacy. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy alumni Hillary Blackburn and Edward Woo know that everyone needs a little help now and then. That’s why they work with Dispensary of Hope to provide necessary medications to patients who may not be able otherwise to afford them.

Based in Nashville, Dispensary of Hope is a charitable medication distributor that connects supplies of unused medications to pharmacies and clinics serving low-income and uninsured patients across the nation. Blackburn and Woo both found their staff roles after volunteering with the company and are among the 24 team members working directly for Dispensary of Hope.

“Working in community pharmacy for nearly 10 years, I have seen many patients that were in need of medications due to chronic or acute medical conditions, but unable to afford them,” Woo said.

Woo, who earned his Pharm.D. in 2007, added that providing patients with necessary medications regardless of income is an ongoing concern.

“I wanted to help solve this issue by ensuring that the uninsured population had better access to medications,” Woo said. “Once I saw the unique way Dispensary of Hope met this population’s needs, I knew it was the place for me.”

Blackburn, a 2011 Pharm.D. graduate, shares Woo’s sentiments. Her time as an intern with the pharmacy department of the Health Resources and Services Administration in Washington, D.C., gave her insight into the importance of medication access for the uninsured.

Hillary Blackburn

“My visits to the clinics and hospitals that utilize Dispensary of Hope give me a glimpse into the lives of those positively affected by the service,” Blackburn said. “Seeing their faces and hearing their stories show me I chose the right profession because it allows me to serve others and to help make a difference.”

As director of Dispensary of Hope’s pharmaceutical services since November 2015, Blackburn provides expertise to clinical pharmacists and consults with pharmacy leaders across the nation about affordable medication access. She helps Dispensary of Hope partner with safety net clinics, charitable pharmacies and many of the nation’s health care systems.

The network continues to grow through word-of-mouth, conference attendance and email introductions. The distributor has more than 145 access sites across 28 states.

Woo leads the charge on data analytics for organizational operations as director of pharmaceutical operations. This role utilizes both Woo’s pharmacy degree and his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, also from Ole Miss.

“My dual degrees are a perfect combination for this role,” Woo said. “I use my analytical and problem-solving skills that I learned in electrical engineering for data analytics and technical implementation of software within Dispensary of Hope.

“With my pharmacy degree, I can understand medications, their uses and be able to help make decisions on formulary medications for medication dispensaries.”

With Blackburn and Woo’s help, Dispensary of Hope serves more than 40,000 patients each quarter. It filled 744,731 monthlong prescriptions in fiscal year 2017 and has no plans to slow down.

Edward Woo

“We hope to make a meaningful impact on the health and lives of the most vulnerable through access to medication,” Blackburn said. “With a goal of 260 sites by 2020 and over 1,000 sites in the next decade, our vision is to serve over a million of the sickest Americans who lack coverage with a consistent supply of medication.”

 

This work not only benefits those who need medications but has allowed Blackburn and Woo to learn more about themselves, their leadership abilities and the work it takes to help others.

“Before Dispensary of Hope, I did not realize that the need for medications for the uninsured was so great in our nation,” Woo said. “Through this work, I’ve learned that the health of our nation depends on getting the processes right. This may take time, but it can’t be rushed.”

Pharmacy School Begins Cooperation with University of Chile

Agreement focuses on student exchange and collaborative research

David Allen (left), UM pharmacy dean, meets with Pablo Caviedes, director of the Center for Clinical Research and Studies at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Chile’s Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences to collaborate on graduate education and research.

Although details of the collaborations are yet to be finalized, the agreement will initially focus on research collaborations and graduate and post-doctoral student exchanges between the School of Pharmacy and the University of Chile’s Santiago campus.

Potential collaborations could include training on the School of Pharmacy’s state-of-the-art nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy instruments, sharing of the synthetic facilities and natural product resources, and select graduate level courses offered through the departments of BioMolecular Sciences and Pharmacy Administration, said Soumyajit Majumdar, associate dean for research and graduate programs at Ole Miss.

“This collaboration will tremendously benefit graduate students, research scientists and faculty from both institutions by exposing them to different technologies, culture and ways of thinking,” Majumdar said.

Since the formal agreement includes the entire university, other schools could benefit as well.

“This agreement will open up exciting opportunities for students and for faculty research,” said Blair McElroy, the university’s interim senior international officer and director of study abroad. “We anticipate hosting Chilean students in labs on campus, fostering intercultural exchange in the teaching and learning environment at UM and helping to expand the horizons of UM students who study in Chile.”

Pablo Caviedes, director of the Center for Clinical Research and Studies at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine, was instrumental in establishing the partnership. He hopes the agreememt will set a foundation for a long-term cooperation between the two institutions, including a dual degree program and a robust cooperation between his university and the National Center for Natural Products Research.

“NCNPR has enormous expertise and infrastructure in the study of new molecules derived from natural sources,” Caviedes said. “Chile, due mainly to its geographical isolation, possesses a vast and unique flora, which represents a source for a largely unexplored number of novel compounds.”

David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy, hopes the agreement will allow members of each institution to learn from each other.

“This kind of agreement not only contributes to the depth of our research, but promotes a better relationship with our scientific partners around the world,” Allen said.

“Science is the main tool available to humanity in the search for the truth and the advancement of knowledge for the better of mankind,” Caviedes said. “Such an undertaking necessitates the joint efforts of researchers around the globe. We hope our efforts under this new program will further this goal.”

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 http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr.

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.”

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 http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/nptl/. Both three- and five-day courses will be offered.