Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) posts displayed by tag

Scholarship Awards Recognize Up-and-Coming Health Services Researchers

The Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted its Graduate Program Awards Presentation and Reception on Oct. 2 to present the Donald O. Fedder Memorial Fellowship, the Harris Zuckerman Scholarship Award, and the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Scholarship to eight exceptional students in its PhD in PHSR program. The event recognized students who received the awards in the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 academic years.

“These student awards were established by individuals or families who shared special relationships with the PhD in PHSR program at the School of Pharmacy,” said Francis Palumbo, PhD, JD, professor in PHSR and director of the program. “We present these awards to outstanding students each year as a way to share their legacies with future generations of health services researchers.”

Promoting Social Justice, Pharmacy Advocacy, and Public Health

Established by Michaeline Fedder in honor of her husband Donald Fedder, DrPH, MPH, BSP, FAPhA, a public health pharmacist and longtime faculty member at the School of Pharmacy who passed away in 2010, the Donald O. Fedder Memorial Fellowship supports the training and development of a graduate student whose work focuses on social justice, pharmacy advocacy, or public health. At the event, Elisabeth Oehrlein; Melissa Ross, PhD, who graduated from the PhD in PHSR program in May 2017; and O’Mareen Spence — the 2016, 2017, and 2018 recipients of the award, respectively — had an opportunity to share their journey in the program, as well as give an overview of their current research, with members of the audience.

“Since joining this program, my work engaging patients has shown me firsthand how the experience of receiving a serious or chronic diagnosis can affect patients,” said Oehrlein, who spoke about the parallels between her research in risk factors for stroke among patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and the research conducted by Fedder more than 20 years ago. “Working with claims data, it can be easy to forget that there is a real person behind every diagnosis code or outcome. So when you’re working with claims, please remember that every time you see a diagnosis code for stroke, atrial fibrillation, or any other disease area that you might work in, there is a real person behind that diagnosis whose life was forever changed as a result of it. That experience can be incredibly scary. I think remembering this can help us conduct the highest quality research.”

Becoming Clinician-Researchers

The Harris Zuckerman Scholarship Award was endowed by Ilene Harris, PharmD ’83, PhD, retired professor and chair of PHSR, to assist students interested in jointly pursuing Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and PhD degrees. Named in honor of her parents — Daniel Harris, MD, and Ann Harris — the scholarship provides support for the training, development, and advancement of graduate students in the PhD in PHSR program. Students Aida Kuzucan, PharmD ’15; Anna Hung, PharmD ’14; and Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, who also serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and  Science (PPS), were recognized at the event as the 2016, 2017, and 2018 recipients of the award, respectively.

Accepting the award, Mattingly spoke about his experience as a teenager and young adult watching his grandmother, whom he affectionately referred to as “mammaw,” cope with multiple chronic illnesses, particularly the expenses that she and his grandfather incurred as a result of the medications she was prescribed. Although Mattingly explained that his grandmother passed away during his first year in pharmacy school, he noted that he plans to use the funds from the scholarship award to help support his research and “help mammaws around the world.”

Realizing a Lifelong Dream

As the first student admitted to the PhD in PHSR program, Arthur (Artie) Schwartz demonstrated great interest in drug use and pharmaceutical marketing issues. After his death at an early age, his wife, Karen Schwartz, established the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Scholarship to provide funding for future students in the program based on academic standing and financial need. Students Jan Sieluk, MPharm, and Aakash Gandhi were celebrated as the 2016 and 2018 recipients of the scholarship, respectively.

“When I was a little kid, my father traveled to Denver and bought a huge map of the United States,” recalled Sieluk, a native of Poland whose current research focuses on the costs associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic condition that can result in serious lung disease in adults or liver disease at any age. “That map ended up over my bed. I looked at it every morning when I woke up and every night before I went to bed. I knew that I needed to be part of this country. After graduating from the Medical University of Warsaw, I reached out to C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR. I thank him for bringing me here, nominating me for this award, and helping to make my American dream come true. I will be forever indebted to him.”

Palumbo, accompanied by each student’s mentor, presented the recipients with their awards.

“Our department is humbled by the generous support of the Fedder, Harris, and Schwartz families, whose gifts help to alleviate the financial challenges that our students must often overcome in the pursuit of their education,” Palumbo said. “The students recognized today have demonstrated remarkable drive and dedication in both their studies and research and are truly deserving of these distinguished awards. We look forward to all that they are sure to accomplish as they leave our program prepared to enter the dynamic field of health services research.”

Malissa Carroll

 

  
Malissa Carroll Education, People, UMB NewsNovember 1, 20170 comments
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Dean Delivers State of the School of Pharmacy Address

On Sept. 11, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and officials from across the University of Maryland, Baltimore gathered in Pharmacy Hall to listen as Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, delivered her State of the School of Pharmacy Address. The address, which Eddington also presented at the Universities at Shady Grove on Sept. 6, highlighted the school’s recent accomplishments and advancements in its strategic plan areas of pharmacy education, research, practice, community engagement, and pharmapreneurship.

“Great institutions are committed to their strategic plans, and the School of Pharmacy is no exception,” Eddington said. “The latest iteration of our five-year strategic plan was implemented in 2016 and sets forth lofty goals to achieve before its conclusion in 2021. This year’s State of the School of Pharmacy Address provides an opportunity for us to reflect on those goals that we have already realized while offering a glimpse into the future at new initiatives on which we will embark in the years to come.”

Celebrating a milestone year

Eddington began her address with a recap of the School’s recent 175th anniversary celebration, which began in January 2016 and featured events attended by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the school. The 18-month celebration not only reflected on the school’s history but also highlighted its ambitions for the future, culminating in a once-in-a-lifetime event that honored nine of the school’s most extraordinary alumni as its Founding Pharmapreneurs and heralded the next era of innovation at the School – an era of pharmapreneurism.

“Our goal is to emulate and follow the example set by our nine founding pharmapreneurs, and offer our faculty, students, and staff every opportunity to be innovators of their own,” Eddington said. “Following their lead, the school will move in a direction in the years to come that no other pharmacy school in the country has conceived of – the creation of programs and initiatives focused on pharmapreneurism.”

Advancing academics

Speaking about the School’s leadership in the area of education, Eddington explained that the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program remains the largest academic program at the school, receiving an average of 1,000 applications for each class of 160 students. She also noted that the School’s two doctoral programs – the PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and the PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) – continue to attract the best and brightest students, commending the PhD in PSC program’s participation in the Meyerhoff Graduate Fellowship Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which aims to increase diversity among students pursuing doctoral degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Eight graduate students currently enrolled in the program are Meyerhoff fellows.

Showcasing the expansion of the school’s academic catalog, Eddington highlighted its three online master’s degree programs – the MS in Regulatory Science, MS in Pharmacometrics, and MS in Palliative Care. Led by Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice (PPS) and executive director for advanced postgraduate education in palliative care at the school, the MS in Palliative Care launched in the spring of 2017 and has enrolled 80 students, including 14 physicians, 25 nurses, 11 pharmacists, six social workers, and two veterinarians. “The diverse careers held by students in the MS in Palliative Care program illustrate the truly interprofessional nature of this field and further support the demand for advanced knowledge in the field,” she said.

Breaking new ground in research

Shifting the focus to research, Eddington spotlighted the school’s integrative approach to drug discovery and development, innovative patient care, and medication outcomes and their economic impact. She reported that faculty, postdoctoral fellows, pharmacy residents, and graduate students at the school were awarded more than $28.1 million in grants and contracts during Fiscal Year 2017 – a 5 percent increase when compared to Fiscal Year 2016.

In addition to highlighting several faculty members who recently received or renewed multimillion-dollar grants with leading funding agencies such as the National Institues of Health and the National Science Foundation, Eddington presented a number of pioneering research initiatives in which the school is involved, including its participation in the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and a new partnership with the University of California, San Francisco to accelerate the pace of innovation in pediatric drug and device development.

She also explained how interdisciplinary efforts spanning the school’s three departments are helping to combat drug addiction across the nation, including efforts by researchers in PSC to develop a new opioid compound with no abuse liability, work by faculty in PPS to establish criteria for analyzing data from the state’s prescription drug monitoring program to help identify potentially harmful drug interactions and inappropriate prescribing, and initiatives led by researchers in PHSR to help shape state and federal policy surrounding prescription drug abuse and medication quality in long-term care and mental health.

“Nowhere is our focus as a comprehensive school of pharmacy more evident than in our approach to addiction,” she said. “This impressive body of work encompassing our education, research, practice, and community mission areas focuses on one of our nation’s top public health crises and demonstrates our commitment to playing a major role in curbing the dangerous trends of opioid addiction.”

Leading the pharmacy profession

In the area of practice, Eddington reported that faculty in PPS provided care for nearly 23,000 patients across Maryland in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, hospital units, and community pharmacies. She spotlighted the recent launch of the Applied Therapeutics, Research, and Instruction at the University of Maryland (ATRIUM) Cardiology Collaborative and congratulated Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, professor in PPS and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation, on being named the inaugural population health fellow with the University of Maryland Medical System, which helped pave the path for the school to partner with the medical system through a contract with its Quality Care Network to provide pharmacy services and case management support to about 125,000 patients.

Partnering with the local community

Underscoring the school’s commitment to engaging with the local community, Eddington spoke about how members of the Patient-Centered Involvement in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Treatments (PATIENTS) program, which empowers patients to ask questions about their health care concerns and actively participate in studies to answer those questions, hosted or participated in 350 community events throughout West Baltimore, reaching 1,500 patients and community members. She also applauded the work of the school’s numerous student organizations, which organized more than 70 events for members of the greater Baltimore community, noting that several of those initiatives were part of national campaigns, including the National Script Your Future Challenge, or recognized with national awards, such as the school’s American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists student chapter receiving the organization’s 2016 Student Chapter of the Year Award.

Major charitable giving events also were spotlighted during the presentation, including the success of the school’s inaugural online Giving Day and the creation of new scholarships as a result of endowments made by the family of Felix A. Khin-Maung-Gyi, BSP ’83, PharmD, MBA, who founded and served as chair of Chesapeake Research Review before his death in 2014, and Ellen H. Yankellow, BSP ’73, PharmD ’96, president and chief executive officer of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services.

Looking toward the future

To conclude her address, Eddington offered a look into the future at the School of Pharmacy – a future made even brighter with the recent launch of its new initiative in pharmapreneurism.

“As we move into our next 175 years, the School of Pharmacy remains committed to providing our faculty, students, and staff with the tools and resources they need to solve the perennial, long-term problems facing health care, research, and society,” Eddington said. “Exclusive to the School of Pharmacy, pharmapreneurism formalizes this commitment, allowing us to focus on building innovative pharmapreneurial programs that can be incorporated into every facet of the school.”

  
Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, Research, UMB NewsSeptember 26, 20170 comments
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School of Pharmacy Welcomes Students

To help prepare incoming students for the academic year, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted new student orientation Sept. 6 for members of its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Class of 2021 as well as first-year graduate students in its PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) programs.

Activities in the PharmD program began Aug. 16, introducing students to the school and setting expectations for the next four years. Students in the PSC program had the opportunity to attend presentations that showcased the wide range of research conducted in the department, and students in the PHSR program attended informative sessions that outlined expectations for coursework, teaching assistant roles, and research rotations.

Watch this video to see highlights from this exciting time.

 

 

  
Malissa Carroll Education, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 12, 20170 comments
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Buterbaugh

Retired Professor’s Gift Honors SOP’s Class of 1999

Gary G. Buterbaugh, PhD, retired professor from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has committed a gift of $58,000 to the School to establish a new fund in honor of the Class of 1999 for which he served as faculty advisor. The newly created Class of 1999 Award will assist fourth-year student pharmacists with travel to national or state conferences and students who are facing a hardship situation that could interfere with their ongoing pharmacy education.

“Gifts from faculty play an essential role in helping the School of Pharmacy continue to lead pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement across the state of Maryland and beyond,” says Ken Boyden, JD, EdD, associate dean for the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at the School. “The new fund established by Dr. Buterbaugh is unique in that it will not only offer students an opportunity to broaden their education outside of the classroom, but also help to alleviate the financial burden students often face as a result of an unexpected hardship. We thank him for his generosity and are tremendously grateful for his continued support.”

Remembering His Students

Buterbaugh received his doctorate from the University of Iowa School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He joined the School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in 1969. In the 1990s, he played a crucial role in transforming the School’s three-year Bachelor of Science in pharmacy program into the four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program that faculty, staff, and students recognize today. Although Buterbaugh retired as a professor after more than 40 years of service to the School in 2011, he continues to reflect on his time at the School and his interactions with students. Those interactions motivated him to make a gift to the School.

“I have many memories of my years at the School of Pharmacy,” says Buterbaugh, “But, my most memorable interactions are those that I shared with the students. Although the students of every class had an ineffable impact on me, I remember the Class of 1999 with a special fondness, as it was my good fortune to serve as their faculty advisor. The members of that class demonstrated an exceptionally caring attitude and educational tenacity that blended with their individual integrity, which epitomized and served as a tribute to pharmacy practice. It was my privilege to interact closely with that class, and I am pleased to establish the Class of 1999 Award.”

Making Memories Outside the Classroom

The lectures, exams, and abilities labs in which students participate at the School provide a strong foundation for their future practice in the pharmacy profession. However, Buterbaugh notes that it is also important for students to have opportunities to make friends, interact with students of other disciplines, and socialize with classmates. As part of these “outside the classroom” activities, some students choose to participate in a national or state pharmacy conference or other professional programming. Buterbaugh designated a portion of the Class of 1999 Award to assist with travel expenses for fourth-year student pharmacists to attend a national or state professional pharmacy conference.

“Both the students who attend professional conferences and the School can benefit from this aspect of my gift,” he says. “Not only do professional meetings provide an opportunity for students to expand their professional network with other men and women who share a common goal of practicing and delivering quality health care, but these students can also share the experience and knowledge that they gained from their involvement in these professional meetings with others at the School. A student at a conference can actively promote the School and its good works.”

Helping Others Through Hardships

Over the more than 40 years that he was part of the School of Pharmacy faculty, Buterbaugh also encountered many students who faced an unexpected hardship situation, which threatened to derail their education.

“In my experience, awards are often bestowed on a person as a result of some ‘distinction,’ such as academic excellence,” says Buterbaugh. “However, every student enrolled in the School of Pharmacy has the distinction of being a person with inimitable life experiences. There are times when a student will encounter an unexpected event that might temporarily interfere with his or her ongoing education. That event must be acknowledged, and any financial burden associated with such an experience eased. A portion of the Class of 1999 Award is delegated to such an event.”

Leaving an Enduring Legacy

Endowed gifts, such as the Class of 1999 Award established by Buterbaugh, benefit the School, its students, and programs in perpetuity.

“When a person is admitted to the School of Pharmacy as a student, he or she becomes part of a family – the SOP family,” says Buterbaugh. “Everyone who is part of that family (e.g., faculty, staff, students, and alumni) is responsible for that individual’s education and edification. I was blessed with the privilege of interacting with SOP students for many years, and those interactions substantiate my conviction that, although the education of every student must be rigorous and demanding, it should also be unique, fun, memorable, and establish lifelong learning.”

He adds, “It is my hope that this fund will contribute to the School’s responsibility of educating future generations of pharmacy practitioners and help students make the most of their educational experience at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.”

  
Malissa Carroll Bulletin Board, Education, People, UMB NewsJune 30, 20170 comments
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Pharmacy Hosts Welcome Day for Incoming Students

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted its annual New Student Welcome Day for members of its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Class of 2021 on June 9. With activities designed to introduce new students to the curriculum and set expectations for their first year as student pharmacists, this event offered students the opportunity to meet one another for the first time, while learning more about the School.

“I want to congratulate each of you for achieving entrance into one of the top 10 ranked schools of pharmacy in the country,” said Andrew Coop, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School. “As students at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, you will receive a world class, comprehensive education spanning the fields of biochemistry and medicinal chemistry to observational-based studies and direct patient care. Understand that the curriculum is rigorous and you will be challenged from the first day, but do not lose sight of the big picture – that we are training you to be our peers, to replace us, and to do better than us.”

pharmacy welcome day

Incoming students work on scavenger hunt.

Embarking on a New Path

In addition to providing important information about financial aid and upcoming coursework, as well as sizing students for their white coats, which they will don for the first time during the School’s annual White Coat Ceremony in September, New Student Welcome Day introduced students to a pioneering new initiative at the School – pharmapreneurism. Trademarked by the School earlier this year, pharmapreneurism describes the School’s commitment to supporting and best positioning both faculty and students to achieve their career aspirations and address the nation’s health care, research, policy, and societal needs.

William “Lafon” Jones, a second-year student pharmacist and representative for the School’s Student Government Association (SGA), spoke about how students could begin to embrace their pharmapreneurial spirit by attending the student organization fair held during New Student Welcome Day to learn more about how to get involved with the School and local community. “There are many opportunities at the School of Pharmacy that will allow you to position yourself as a leader. However, it is important to remember that being a leader can come not only from the positions that you hold, but also simply by being yourself and taking the initiative when the opportunity presents itself,” he said.

Preparing for the First Semester

Following a fun-filled scavenger hunt across the School, students from the School’s satellite campus at the Universities at Shady Grove returned to their campus to meet with faculty and learn more about student life at Shady Grove, while students on the Baltimore campus attended additional presentations that highlighted life in Baltimore.

The School of Pharmacy looks forward to welcoming back the Class of 2021 in August for New Student Orientation. To see more highlights from New Student Welcome Day, view the video below.

  
Malissa Carroll Education, UMB News, University LifeJune 19, 20170 comments
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Annual-Research-Day

Annual Research Day

Come and explore the range of research that goes on at the School of Pharmacy and ask tomorrow’s scholars, clinicians, and entrepreneurs to explain their projects to you – your next collaborator could be in the room.

School of Pharmacy residents, postdoctoral fellows, and PharmD and PhD students will give poster presentations on their research projects at 1 p.m. in the Yankellow Grand Atrium and the Balch Gallery, followed by podium presentations at 3 p.m. in Room N111. All faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to attend.

  
Erin Merino Education, ResearchMarch 27, 20170 comments
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yankellow and molofsky

Pharmacy Hosts Reception for Scholarship Donors and Recipients

The School of Pharmacy held its first reception for scholarship donors and recipients on Jan. 19. Hosted by the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, the reception provided a forum for scholarship donors to meet the students who have benefited from their gifts and offered students an opportunity to express their gratitude to the donors.

“It is an honor to bring together some of our School’s most dedicated supporters and top students to show our appreciation for the continued commitment demonstrated by our scholarship donors to help ensure the success of our students,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, who welcomed attendees to the event. “The scholarships to which you have contributed help the School attract students with high academic promise and alleviate some of the financial burden that our students often shoulder. Scholarships are a critical component of recruiting a diverse student population, and remain a philanthropic priority for the School.”

Supporting Students’ Education

Ninety-seven percent of eligible students qualify to receive financial aid or scholarship assistance at the School of Pharmacy, which offers more than 90 scholarships for students in its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and other graduate programs. One of the most recent scholarship endowments received by the School comes from Ellen H. Yankellow, PharmD ’96, BSP ’73, President and Chief Executive Officer of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services and a member of the School’s Board of Visitors, who attended the evening reception. “As a leader in the field of institutional pharmacy services, I feel a great responsibility to help support the industry. One of the ways that I demonstrate my commitment is through my ongoing support of the School of Pharmacy,” she says.

During the reception, Yankellow had an opportunity to meet Laura Murphy, MT, MPH, manager of pharmacovigilance at C.B. Fleet Company in Lynchburg, Va. Murphy is the first graduate student to benefit from her scholarship.

“It was a real honor to commit the School’s first fully endowed scholarship in 2016,” says Yankellow. “The scholarship reception was my first opportunity to meet and talk with current students who might be able to benefit from both the fellowship and scholarship that I have established at the School. It was especially meaningful to meet my scholar, Laura Murphy. She’s a lovely young woman who has already accomplished a great deal and is now able to broaden her formal education in the area of regulatory science.”

“I am incredibly appreciative of Dr. Yankellow and the generosity that she has demonstrated to the School of Pharmacy,” adds Murphy, who is currently enrolled in the School’s MS in regulatory science program. “As a working professional, I have long believed in the value of continuous growth and development. The scholarship that I was awarded has allowed me to focus on my academic goals and personal growth without worrying about my finances. The lessons that I’m learning in the MS in regulatory science program will not only help advance my career, but also better equip me to aid in the professional development of my colleagues.”

Bringing Alumni Donors Together

Also in attendance at the reception was Jill Molofsky, BSP ’81, vice president and co-owner of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, who established the Jill Molofsky Student Leadership Endowment at the School.

“The education that I received from the School of Pharmacy not only helped me launch my career, but truly transformed me into the professional that I am today,” she says. “I believe it is crucial that I pay forward the success that I have experienced to help ensure that the next generation of pharmacists has the knowledge and tools necessary to continue advancing the pharmacy profession for years to come. Attending the scholarship reception gave me the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the talented students who have benefited from my support. They are incredibly bright individuals, and I left the event knowing that the future of our profession is in great hands.”

In addition to providing the School with the chance to thank its donors for their generous contributions, the reception highlighted the strength of the School’s alumni donor community, instilling within current students the importance of giving back to the individuals and organizations that have supported them. “While speaking with fellow alumni during the reception, I was thrilled to see how many of them share my fervent hope that those students who are provided a full year of tuition assistance will be able to focus less on managing finances and more on their personal academic goals and professional development,” says Yankellow.

For information about how you can establish or support scholarships at the School of Pharmacy, please contact Ken Boyden, JD, EdD, associate dean for the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, at (410) 706-3816 or kboyden@rx.umaryland.edu.

  
Malissa Carroll Education, People, UMB NewsFebruary 21, 20170 comments
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Regulatory Science Competition

Talent Competition Highlights Student Innovation in Regulatory Science

Imagine being the caregiver for a family member who has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as cancer. You review the labels for the medications prescribed to your family member and notice that one of the chemotherapy drugs has the word “cytotoxic” printed next to its name. You are not familiar with this word, but it appears in the same font size and color as the other information on the label, so you do not give it a second thought. According to Caitlyn Singam, a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park and winner of the fifth annual “America’s Got Regulatory Science Talent” competition hosted by the University of Maryland’s Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy on Jan. 27, what you do not know in this instance truly can hurt you.

“Hazardous drugs are becoming an increasingly large part of modern medicine,” said Singam. “However, the labels for these medications do not clearly convey the hazards associated with improper handling. If you do not know what the word ‘cytotoxic’ means, how can a drug manufacturer expect you to take the proper precautions to protect yourself when handling those medicines? Although this may seem like a minor oversight, it has the potential to cause a significant amount of damage.”

A Universal Problem

A hazardous drug is any drug that contains chemicals such as carcinogens or other toxic agents known to pose a danger to human health. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a list of more than 200 hazardous drugs currently available on the market, including medications used to treat cancer, some antiviral drugs, hormone agents, and bioengineered drugs. While in-depth information about the steps that individuals can take to protect themselves when handling these drugs is available in the drugs’ package insert, there is no visible warning on the packaging or label that clearly alerts individuals about the potential danger associated with the drugs.

“This problem is not limited to patients and their caregivers,” added Singam, who noted that nearly eight million health care workers might experience exposures to hazardous drugs in their workplaces. “There is an entire chain of personnel who come into contact with hazardous drugs, from the people who manufacture the drugs to the people who dispose of the drugs’ packaging. Many of these individuals, such as the drivers who transport the medications from the manufacturer to pharmacies or other health care facilities, may not have any knowledge about hazardous pharmaceuticals and the risks that they pose.”

An Awarding-Winning Idea

To help individuals quickly identify hazardous drugs, Singam proposed implementing a universal labeling system that leverages components often found on other warning labels, such as the inverted triangle shape and bold yellow and red coloring. This label would appear directly on the medication’s packaging and trigger those individuals handling the medication to refer to the package insert for more information about important safety precautions to follow when handling the drug.

“The icon will be clearly visible on the label,” emphasized Singam. “It will stand out against the background and will be distinguishable from other markings on the packaging. In addition, because it will use icons instead of words, it will be universally understandable. You will not need to speak a specific language to understand that the medication poses a danger. The design will clearly indicate that you are at risk.”

She concluded, “By adding these labels to all hazardous drugs, we can make handling these medications safer for everyone.”

Judges Ross Marklein, PhD, staff fellow at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Paul Shapiro, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School of Pharmacy; and Lisa Jones, PhD, assistant professor in PSC, agreed with Singam, awarding her first place and the chance to meet with staff at the FDA to further discuss her proposal.

“This topic is one of my personal passions, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to present my idea to judges from both the FDA and the School of Pharmacy,” said Singam, whose mother, Aki Singam, received her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the School in 2001. “My parents were both surprised and proud that I took the initiative to develop this project and bring it to fruition. I hope that the School will continue to offer this competition and allow more students the opportunity to challenge themselves and further explore their own interests.”

A Bright Future for Regulatory Science

Five teams competed in the talent competition this year, with second place awarded to the Biomarker Boys – a team of six student pharmacists who developed a new form that, once implemented, would help streamline communication between the FDA and drug sponsors during the approval process for biomarkers as surrogate endpoints in the Accelerated Approval Pathway. The form would also help improve access to relevant information for the health care professionals responsible for making decisions about drugs approved through the pathway.

“Our team was very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this year’s competition,” said Fahim Faruque, third-year student pharmacist and team captain for the Biomarker Boys. “Before we began this project, I truly knew very little about biomarkers and the field of regulatory science. I have learned so much throughout this process and am excited to continue learning and taking steps to improve our idea for potential implementation in the future.”

New Generation Regulation – a team of four third-year student pharmacists – also presented their proposal advocating for the role of observational studies in the regulatory process, while Mycrobe – a team of two second-year medical students from the University of Maryland School of Medicine – presented their project to establish regulatory standards for the determination of commensalism in the vaginal microbiome and the Dreamers – a team of two third-year student pharmacists – detailed their plan to maximize patient safety by integrating virtual reality technology into pharmacy practice.

“When we established this competition five years ago, our goal was to provide more students with an opportunity to get involved and learn about regulatory science,” says James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics at the School and co-principal investigator for M-CERSI. “Not only have we accomplished that goal, but the student teams continue to astonish our judges with the tremendous effort that they put into their presentations, making for a very fun competition each year. The quality of the presentations delivered by our student pharmacists and biomedical students underscores the value that these future health care professionals will bring to regulatory agencies, including the FDA.”

  
Malissa Carroll Education, Research, Technology, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 6, 20170 comments
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