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Convocation

School of Pharmacy Celebrates the Class of 2017 at Convocation

Family, friends, faculty, preceptors, and staff looked on with pride as the newest Doctors of Pharmacy from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy walked across the stage to receive their doctoral hoods at the School’s annual convocation ceremony held at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel on May 19.

In her opening remarks, Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School, highlighted some of the numerous accomplishments that the Class of 2017 has achieved over the past four years. She commended the graduates for their ambition, leadership, and camaraderie, and encouraged them to follow the examples set by the School’s Founding Pharmapreneurs – including individuals such as George Avery Bunting, valedictorian of the Class of 1899, founder of Noxzema, CoverGirl Cosmetics, and the Noxell Corporation; and Alpheus P. Sharp, Class of 1842, and Louis Dohme, Class of 1857, co-founders of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. – and use their passion and enthusiasm to help advance the pharmacy profession and impact patient care in a visible, sustainable manner.
“Our Founding Pharmapreneurs dared, dreamed, and never backed down from the challenges and obstacles that they encountered along the way,” she said. “They did not take the easy route. Instead, they took an idea, a concept, or a vision, and turned it into reality. As new practitioners, you have amazing opportunities in front of you to be critical thinkers, and to solve the perennial, long-term problems that face health care, research, and society today. Follow the examples set by our Founding Pharmapreneurs who chose to be innovators and creators. Challenge the status quo approach to health care in this country.”

Sharing Advice for the Ages

Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, chief pharmacy officer for the United States Public Health Services, was chosen by the Class of 2017 as the keynote speaker for convocation in honor of her extraordinary dedication to improving pharmacy services across the federal government and her leadership of pharmacy programs and professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In her speech, Schweitzer passed down words of professional advice and guidance that she has received throughout her career.

“You are coming into the pharmacy profession at a time when health care is rapidly changing in response to trends in health care payment reform, improving quality outcomes, and increasing patient empowerment,” she said. “Although it is exciting to know that each of you are going to be part of this transformation, you must be mindful that with this esteemed degree also comes responsibility and expectations. The School of Pharmacy has prepared you to be leaders, innovators, and lifelong learners. You are true professionals now, and well-respected members of society. Use your influence to make positive changes within your profession and your communities.”

Joining a Respected Health Care Profession

Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS); and Fengtian Xue, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC); with assistance from Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in PPS and associate dean for student affairs, joined Eddington in presenting graduates with their doctoral hoods to signify their completion of the highest professional degree in pharmacy.

“Donning the traditional olive colored pharmacy hood represents the fact that you have entered a caring profession that depends upon your proper use of scientific and clinical knowledge,” said Eddington. “You must care for your patients with compassion as well as intelligence. You will be trusted by patients – do not underestimate the importance of that trust, nor treat it lightly. You will have an impact on peoples’ lives.”

Celebrating All Graduates

Fifteen students graduating from the School’s PhD in pharmaceutical health services research (PHSR) and PhD in PSC programs received their hoods during the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Graduate School ceremony on May 18. The MS in regulatory science program also hosted its second convocation in Pharmacy Hall on May 18 to celebrate its more than 30 graduates.

“The MS in regulatory science program allowed me to build a foundational knowledge of the laws, regulations, and good manufacturing processes mandated by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and its international counterparts,” said Aicha Moutanni, laboratory research specialist at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and member of the program’s Class of 2017. “I loved every minute of learning, and never shied away from any challenge that the program presented. I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to Dr. James Polli for his excellent leadership and guidance, and for making regulatory science a reality for my career.”

The School’s MS in pharmacometrics program also celebrated its fourth graduating class, which included 10 students.

Following the School’s morning convocation ceremony, graduates assembled in the afternoon for a Universitywide graduation ceremony at the Royal Farms Arena, where William P. Magee, Jr., DDS, MD, chief executive officer and co-founder of Operation Smile, delivered the keynote address.

To view more photos and video from this momentous occasion, please visit the School of Pharmacy’s Facebook page.

PharmD Class of 2017 Awards and Prizes

  • Preceptors of the Year: Laura A. Hatfield, PharmD, BCPS; Julie Caler, PharmD; Katy Pincus, PharmD, BCPS; and Todd P. Yori, PharmD
  • Andrew G. DuMez Award for Superior Proficiency in Pharmacy: Felicia Elaine Bartlett
  • Terry Paul Crovo Award in Pharmacy Practice for Performance and Promise to Uphold the Highest Standards of the Profession: Molly Amanda Rincavage and Dhakrit Rungkitwattanakul
  • Lambda Kappa Sigma, Epsilon Alumnae Chapter-Cole Award for Proficiency in Pharmacy Administration: Yoon Duk Hong
  • William Simon Memorial Prize for Superior Work in the Field of Medicinal Chemistry, Practical and Analytical Chemistry: Thao Thu Vo
  • Wagner Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Prize for Meritorious Academic Achievement in Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence: Christine Anne McCulley
  • John F. Wannenwetsch Memorial Prize for Exceptional Performance and Promise in the Practice of Community Pharmacy: Songe Baek
  • Conrad L. Wich Prize for Exceptional Work in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy: Willy Wen-Hao Li
  • S. Williams Practical Pharmacy Prize to the Student Having the Highest General Average in Basic and Applied Pharmaceutics: Huy Chan Truong
  • Universities at Shady Grove Academic and Community Excellence Award: Monica Victoria Tong
  • Maryland Pharmaceutical Society Award: Sidonie Josiane Sokoudj Takougang
  • Maryland Society of Health-System Pharmacy Award: Ha Khanh Phan
  • Maryland Pharmacists Association Award: Elissa Edda Joy Lechtenstein
  • Maryland-ASCP Award: Joshua Yian-Lung Chou
  • Alfred Abramson Entrepreneurship Award: David Kewui Tran
  • S. Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award: Huan Nhan Tran
  • Mylan Excellence in Pharmacy Award: Judith Sewha Kim
  • TEVA Outstanding Student Award: Kyle Slavin
  • Leadership Awards: Brandon James Biggs, Ryan James Button, Joshua Yian-Lung Chou, Amy Rose Kruger Howard, Elissa Edda Joy Lechtenstein, Monica Victoria Tong, David Kewui Tran, and Huan Nhan Tran
  
Malissa Carroll Bulletin Board, Education, On the Move, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAMay 22, 20170 comments
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Stroke Study

Biogen Acquires Drug Candidate Invented by Marc Simard

Biogen has completed an asset purchase of Remedy Pharmaceuticals’ Phase 3 candidate, CIRARA (intravenous glyburide). The target indication for CIRARA is large hemispheric infarction (LHI), a severe form of ischemic stroke where brain swelling (cerebral edema) often leads to a disproportionately large share of stroke-related morbidity and morality. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted CIRARA Orphan Drug Designation for severe cerebral edema in patients with acute ischemic stroke. The FDA has also granted CIRARA Fast Track designation.

Each year, approximately 1.7 million ischemic strokes occur across the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and approximately 15 percent of these are LHI strokes. In preclinical studies, CIRARA has been shown to block SUR1-TRPM4 channels that mediate stroke-related brain swelling. Clinical proof-of-concept studies have demonstrated the potential of CIRARA to reduce brain swelling, disability, and the risk of death in patients with LHI.

“Building on our leading position in multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and Alzheimer’s disease research, we see a compelling opportunity in stroke where we can leverage our core expertise in neuroscience to make a major difference in patient care. CIRARA represents a potential breakthrough stroke treatment that accelerates our efforts to build a portfolio of new therapies for neurologic diseases,” said Michael Ehlers, MD, PhD, executive vice president, research and development at Biogen. “We believe the data supporting the potential of CIRARA are compelling and that CIRARA can be a first-in-class therapy that gives physicians the ability to meaningfully improve patient outcomes in an area where effective treatments have been few and far between.”

This transaction complements Biogen’s broader efforts to build a portfolio of best-in-class treatments for acute ischemic stroke and further strengthen its leadership in neuroscience. Biogen currently is conducting a Phase 2b study to determine whether its monoclonal antibody natalizumab can help patients with acute ischemic stroke improve functional outcomes by limiting brain inflammation in the post-stoke period. If successful, natalizumab and CIRARA will provide new approaches to treating different populations of stroke patients.

Biogen plans to continue the development and commercialization of CIRARA. Under the terms of the agreement, Remedy will share in the cost of development for the target indication for CIRARA in LHI stroke. Biogen will make an upfront payment of $120 million to Remedy and may also pay additional milestone payments and royalties.

About Remedy Pharmaceuticals

Remedy Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a privately held, clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing and bringing life-saving treatments to people affected by acute central nervous system disease and injuries.

About Biogen

Through cutting-edge science and medicine, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Founded in 1978, Biogen is a pioneer in biotechnology, and today the company has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis; has introduced the first and only approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy; and is at the forefront of neurology research for conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Biogen also manufactures and commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics.

  
Clare BanksClinical Care, Collaboration, On the Move, Research, Technology, UMB News, University AdministrationMay 16, 20170 comments
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Nalini Negi

Three Named SSWR Fellows

Three members of the School of Social Work faculty have been named Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) fellows.

Fellows

  • Melissa Bellin, MSW, PhD, associate professor
  • Charlotte Bright, MSW, PhD, associate professor
  • Nalini Negi, MSW, PhD, associate professor

SSWR fellows are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the society — to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable, and just society.

The SSWR fellowship has been established by the society to honor and to recognize current SSWR members for their individual accomplishments, leadership, and contribution to SSWR as a scientific society. It is anticipated that SSWR fellows will serve as role models and mentors for individuals pursuing careers in social work research and will continue to actively advance the mission of SSWR.

  
Matt Conn Education, On the Move, People, UMB NewsJanuary 18, 20170 comments
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Susan McKechnie

On the Move – Susan McKechnie

Susan McKechnie has been promoted to assistant vice president and University controller in recognition of her contributions, span of control, and comparable positions at other Universities.

McKechnie is responsible for payroll, accounts payable, student accounting, travel administration, working fund, capital equipment inventory, general accounting, and financial reporting. Additionally, McKechnie will be an integral member of the team implementing a new financial system by the end of FY 2018.

Congratulations, Susan!

  
Clare BanksBulletin Board, On the Move, People, University AdministrationDecember 8, 20160 comments
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School of Medicine

Kate Wasserman Wins ZERO TO THREE Fellowship

Baltimore resident Kate Wasserman, MSW, has been selected for a prestigious 18-month ZERO TO THREE Fellowship.

Founded in 1981, the ZERO TO THREE Fellowship Program brings together multidisciplinary, cross-sector leaders who work across the country and around the world to positively impact the lives of infants and young children through research, practice, advocacy, and policy.

“Kate has an impressive background in mental health treatment for young children and brings a unique perspective to the team,” said Matthew Melmed, ZERO TO THREE executive director. “She will help us transform and advance programs, systems and policies that help give all children a strong start in life.”

Wasserman is lead clinician at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine’s Center for Infant Study and HealthySteps Site Director. She provides outpatient mental health treatment for young children, infancy through age 6, and their families with emotional and behavioral concerns due to maternal-infant attachment issues, intimate partner violence and other family traumas, and postpartum depression. With HealthySteps, she provides infant mental health services within the Family Medicine program.

Wasserman is also lead trainer for the Race to the Top and Project LAUNCH workforce developmental programs, training primary care providers, mental health consultants, and home visitors on a range of infant mental health competencies, including trauma, early childhood development, attachment, parent-child interaction, and other topics within the field of early childhood mental health. She is also a National Trainer of the Fussy Baby Network.

Wasserman has a master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where she focused on maternal and child mental health, and is a licensed mental health provider within the state of Maryland. She previously served as the family support counselor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane Clinic. During her time at Hopkins, Wasserman founded the clinic’s Working Group on Intimate Partner Violence, an interdisciplinary team of staff, residents, and medical students working to promote and improve training around intimate partner violence within the clinic. Additionally, she is a member of the Governor’s Family Violence Council as well as the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee.

Wasserman is joined by 14 other fellows. This extraordinary group represents 12 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Australia, and Turkey. The fellows reflect the broad diversity of the infant-family field and demonstrate a diversity of fields including infant and early childhood development, infant mental health, early care, education and human services, child maltreatment, psychology, and more.

About ZERO TO THREE

ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/ZEROTOTHREE or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.

  
Kate Wasserman Global & Community Engagement, On the Move, People, UMB NewsNovember 30, 20160 comments
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