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Friends of the National Library of Medicine

Friends of National Library of Medicine Annual Conference

Working with the National Library of Medicine and Research!America, the Friends of the National Library of Medicine will be holding its annual conference: “Consequential and Reproducible Clinical Research: Charting the Course for Continuous Improvement.”

The conference will discuss prevention of nonrepeatable research and inconsequential studies, highlight positive strategies to achieve trustworthy results, and significant quality improvement in clinical research studies.

The constructive and practical messages should benefit producers as well as users of clinical research discoveries. It features a variety of speakers including the School of Pharmacy’s Peter Doshi, PhD. The conference will take place June 14 to 17.


Ryan Harris Bulletin Board, Education, People, Research, University AdministrationApril 24, 20170 comments
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Regulatory Science Students at FDA

Regulatory Science Graduate Students Go Behind the Scenes at FDA

Nearly 40 graduate students from the MS in regulatory science program at the School of Pharmacy had an opportunity to visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in White Oak, Md., and met with top scientists in the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products (DCaRP) on March 28. Norman Stockbridge, MD, PhD, director of the Office of Drug Evaluation I in DCaRP; Michael Monteleone, MS, associate director for labeling in DCaRP; Edward Fromm, RPh, chief of project management staff in DCaRP; Thomas Papoian, PhD, supervisory pharmacologist in DCaRP; Senatore Fortunato, MD, medical officer in DCaRP; and Lori Wachter, RN, BSN, safety regulatory project manager in DCaRP, spent more than 90 minutes engaged in a panel discussion with students, answering questions about a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Drug safety assessment
  • New preclinical models
  • Labeling
  • Areas of dialogue between FDA and sponsors

Devi Kozeli, a current student in the MS in regulatory science program and senior regulatory health project manager and consumer safety officer at the FDA, organized the panel discussion. “I am thrilled that I was able to help my classmates gain a better understanding about how FDA teams represent the disciplines that we study in class. Scientists with backgrounds in clinical research, pharmacology/toxicology, post-marketing safety, labeling, and regulatory management all work together to review new drugs,” he said.

 Student Insights

Following the panel discussion, I had an opportunity to debrief with students and ask their thoughts about the experience. In addition to expressing their appreciation to the FDA for granting our program this unique opportunity, the students shared their thoughts about the aspects of the experience that they found most enjoyable.

“It was fascinating to learn how the FDA review process is a truly collaborative one that involves scientific exchange among numerous reviewers with different perspectives,” said Laura Murphy, MT, MPH, manager of pharmacovigilance at C.B. Fleet Company and recipient of the School’s Ellen H. Yankellow Scholarship. “A common theme that seemed present throughout the panel discussion was the application of basic science in problem solving. I particularly enjoyed how Dr. Papoian emphasized this concept, as there isn’t always a simple checklist that we can run through to solve these real-world problems.”

“I learned so much from this experience,” added Grishma Patel, MS, quality assurance specialist at Tishcon Corporation. “Safety and efficacy are topics that we discuss every day at work. While classes in the MS in Regulatory Science program address a wide range of approaches that we can use to evaluate efficacy and safety, it was wonderful to gain some additional understanding and learn that the tools currently available to measure safety are not necessarily the same tools that you would use to measure efficacy. Safety evaluation seems much more heuristic than the evaluation of efficacy.”

Keisha Hines-Harris, quality analyst specialist II at Leidos Biomedical and the National Cancer Institute, also noted, “I enjoyed listening to the individual perspectives of each reviewer, which sometimes differ from the general consensus, even though both share the common goal to protect the public health. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet my classmates, which is rare for programs based exclusively online.”

Learn More

Visit this webpage for more information about the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products at the FDA. More information about the MS in regulatory science program is available on the School of Pharmacy’s website.

By James Polli, PhD
Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics
School of Pharmacy

Clare BanksABAE, Collaboration, Education, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeApril 10, 20170 comments
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13th Annual Wing-a-Thon

Do you like chicken wings? Would you like to raise money at the same time? The 13th Annual Wing-a-Thon is a chicken wing eating contest that raises money for the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center!

Registration fee by April 16 (early/late):
UMB students or Kappa Psi Brothers: $10/$12
Others (ex. non-UMB students): $12/$15

Each team of five is asked to raise an additional $75 ($15 per person).

Event Details

April 24
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
SMC Campus Center, Elm Rooms A&B


Laetitia N'DriCommunity Service, ContestsApril 6, 20170 comments
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Wear Red Day

Million Hearts Month: Celebrating Five Heart Healthy Years

Every February, students, faculty, and staff across the School of Pharmacy wear their hearts on their sleeves and come together in support of American Heart Month and the Million Hearts Initiative — a five-year national campaign launched in 2011, with the goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes in the United States. Throughout the month, the School’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Operation Heart committee hosts a series of heart-related events dedicated to the initiative and promotion of heart health across the School and local Baltimore area. Within the last five years, our committee has:

  • Provided blood pressure screenings to more than 600
  • Educated more than 5,000 patients about how to keep their hearts healthy
  • Reached more than 60,000 people through public and media relations

With the Million Hearts Initiative coming to an end, our committee decided to leverage this year’s events to celebrate our past dedication to the initiative, as well as the beginning of a new era of promoting heart health. We held seven events to celebrate our final Million Hearts Month.

Wear Red Day

To kick off this year’s campaign, approximately 60 student pharmacists, faculty, and staff congregated in the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium in Pharmacy Hall for an annual “Wear Red Day” photo to show our support for National Wear Red Day. The event also featured a photo booth in which participants could sign the pledge to keep their hearts healthy and pose with their heart-shaped pledges.

Aspirin Day

In collaboration with APhA-ASP’s Operation Diabetes and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists student chapter, Operation Heart visited Mt. Clare Apartments in West Baltimore to provide educational presentations about safe aspirin use and healthy low-sugar and low-sodium meals.

 Blood Pressure Training Session

A blood pressure training session led by the School’s cardiology pharmacy practice faculty was held to help prepare student pharmacists to provide cardiovascular screening and education for patients in the community. Faculty delivered presentations that featured general hypertension and blood pressure information. Later, students split into groups to participate in a quiz competition that tested their knowledge.

 Roses for Hearts

Operation Heart sold red roses to faculty, staff, and students on Valentine’s Day, raising more than $150 to donate to the American Heart Association and the School’s APhA-ASP chapter.


Our committee held its annual interprofessional dodgeball tournament to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Students from the School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine participated in an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. More than 55 students attended, raising $210 for the American Heart Association.

Heart Gala and Mr. & Ms. Heart Pageant

New this year, Operation Heart hosted its inaugural Heart Gala to celebrate the School’s dedication to the Million Hearts Initiative. More than 60 guests attended in their red attire and enjoyed dinner as well as entertainment, including heart-related trivia and the first Mr. and Ms. Heart Pageant. Participants competed for the crown and were judged by the School’s cardiology pharmacy practice faculty on their “hearty” attire and heart knowledge.

Charm of a Million Hearts Health Fair

To end this year’s month-long campaign, Operation Heart once again hosted its annual interdisciplinary health fair at Lexington Market, where students offered blood pressure screenings, HIV/Hepatitis C screenings, oral cancer screenings, health education, cooking demonstrations, and dental screenings to members of the local community. Committee members were even interviewed by two news stations during the event. We provided more than 250 patients with services and collaborated with more than 30 school-based and community organizations to make the fair a success.

My co-chair, second-year student pharmacist Teny Joseph, and I are immensely proud of the dedication and commitment shown by all of our committee members and project coordinators this year. It is because of them that we were able to have such a great impact in our community. To that end, we would like to give a special thank-you to the following individuals who helped us organize this year’s events:

  • Carly Cheng, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Saniya Chaudhry, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Elodie Tendoh, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Pasang Sherpa, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Jennifer Miller, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Charlie Summerlin, Second-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Jennifer Joo, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Gao Xin, First-Year Student Pharmacist
  • Xinqi Liu, First-Year Student Pharmacist

Although it is a bittersweet to close the door on the Million Hearts Initiative, I am excited for what the future holds for Operation Heart and the American Heart Association’s new initiative: Rise Above Heart Failure.

Meryam GharbiABAE, Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, USGAMarch 23, 20170 comments
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Advocacy Day

Advocating for Interprofessional Education in Annapolis

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Inside SOP, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.

As a faculty member at the School of Pharmacy and co-director of the Center for Interprofessional Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), I was thrilled to travel to Annapolis with Jay A. Perman, MD, president of UMB, and student representatives from the schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work to participate in the state’s inaugural Interprofessional Education (IPE) Advocacy Day on Feb. 21. While students from across the University have historically traveled to Annapolis at different times during the legislative session to advocate on behalf of their professions, this special day provided an opportunity for us to bring all of the professions together to advocate for an interdisciplinary team-based approach to health care.

Delivering a Unified Message

The day began with a message from President Perman about the importance of team-based, interprofessional care in improving patient outcomes. He challenged students to become advocates for this new model of care and shed light on its importance, not only to the legislators with whom they would be speaking that day, but also to other health care professionals and practitioners with whom they might interact throughout their studies and careers. The students were buzzing. You could truly feel the energy surrounding IPE permeate the room.

Once students were equipped with important information about IPE, they separated into smaller teams, with three or four students in each group, and spent the day visiting with senators and delegates from across the state to garner their support for pilot projects to help test and demonstrate the effectiveness of the team-based care model. They also discussed how innovative strategies for bundled reimbursement could better facilitate the implementation of team-based care. In addition to myself, third-year student pharmacists Pamela Younes, Bahareh Ghorashi, and Eli Inscoe represented the School of Pharmacy during the event.

Inspiring Change in Health Care

While Pamela, Bahareh, and Eli joined other interprofessional teams to meet with representatives, I was joined by medical student Deepanjali Jain and nursing student Elizabeth Beeson. We met with Delegates Tawanna Gaines, Christopher West, Marice Morales, and Charles Sydnor III, who each supported the inclusion of IPE in health care. I felt proud to hear Deepanjali and Elizabeth share personal experiences from their education that demonstrated the tremendous impact that team-based care can make in patients’ treatment. It was incredibly inspiring.

Students also had an opportunity to attend the daily legislative session, where they were formally introduced to members of the legislature and received a round of applause. It was a momentous day of advocacy, with both the students and legislators gaining knowledge and insight into this new model of health care.


Heather Congdon Clinical Care, EducationMarch 7, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month McLean

Pharmacy’s McLean Honored For Audiovisual Rescue

When William McLean was asked to go to the President’s Conference Room to offer advice on upgrading the audiovisual service there, he thought nothing about it. Problem-solving is all in a day’s work for McLean, who for nearly 10 years has been multimedia manager at the School of Pharmacy.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, listened to McLean’s suggestions for several moments on Feb. 9, then changed the subject, letting McLean know he had been chosen as UMB’s Employee of the Month for February.

“I understand there was a big crisis in the pharmacy school,” Perman said, “and the vendor that you’d been using couldn’t handle the problem and you saved the day.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” McLean humbly responded. “I just did my job.”

“More than your job,” emphasized Perman, who gave McLean a letter, plaque, and assurances that an extra $250 would be in his next paycheck. After Perman left the room, a smiling McLean told three School of Pharmacy colleagues, “Well, that was unexpected.”

Picking up the Pieces

When asked, he explained in detail the “big crisis” Perman had alluded to. In the summer of 2016, the School of Pharmacy was upgrading its $3 million audiovisual (AV) system and had contracted with a company to take out all the old analog technology and replace it with full digital technology before the fall semester.

“The project went out to bid and we don’t have a lot of control over that,” said McLean, who as multimedia manager handles AV systems for the school, which has a satellite campus and does a lot of videoconferencing, recording of lectures, and interactive applications. Awarded the upgrading project in May, the contractor didn’t begin until the end of June and by late July had only completed the demolition, leaving the 45 to 50 lines running throughout Pharmacy Hall that carry AV signals — content, video, audio, control — still not working.

“Classes start mid-August. So it quickly became apparent, due to the fact I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I knew they weren’t going to be able to get this done,” McLean said of the company, which had the contract terminated with the lines still not functioning.

He learned the day before students returned that the integrated system wasn’t working. “It was interesting,” said McLean, not one to get flustered easily.

Beginning the PharmD classes the next day without audiovisual services was not an option. The school’s satellite campus, the Universities at Shady Grove, is fully dependent on distance-learning technology. Had the classes started in Baltimore and not at Shady Grove in Rockville, there would have been an equity issue. So McLean and his three-person team — Jerry Adney, Erich Gercke, and Brian Hall — jumped in with both feet.

Past Experience

Fortunately, they were not strangers to such disasters. A flood in 2011 almost took out the AV control room at the school. A ruptured pipe in 2015 flooded the north end of Pharmacy Hall, taking out AV service to several of the main lecture halls.

“We had disaster carts we had developed for the old [analog] system,” McLean recalled. “Modifying them, I had to come up with a way to do videoconferencing and recording of lectures in the rooms without an integrated system so I built a series of videoconferencing carts and mediasite recording carts that I then tied into the existing systems in the rooms to get us up and running.”

After some long days and sleepless nights, the crisis passed, with the next-in-line bidder coming aboard to help with the task, which is ongoing.

‘School Is Indebted’

“Bill was up to the challenge and fashioned an improvised AV infrastructure to allow the delivery of PharmD courses, keeping the curriculum on track at both the Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses,” said Tim Munn, assistant dean for information technology, and Shannon Tucker, MS, assistant dean for instructional design and technology, in nominating McLean.

“Bill’s creativity and leadership of the School’s AV group ensured that coursework continued on schedule eliminating any need to consider alternate facilities, compressed course schedules, or an extended semester. The school is indebted to his leadership and technical skills during this trying time.”

McLean said he was honored to be Employee of the Month.

“In a position like mine you tend to hear all the bad things and you don’t very often hear the good things, so it’s just very nice,” he said. “Your story isn’t long enough to thank everyone, but I would like to thank my group for all the hard work they do and making me look good. I’d like to thank Tim and Shannon for nominating me and, of course, Dean Eddington and Bill Cooper [senior associate dean for administration and finance] for agreeing to finance the upgrade and to support our advanced programs.”

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 15, 20170 comments
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Dispensing Medication

PharmTechX Program Advances Training for Community Pharmacists

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Inside SOP, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.

The School of Pharmacy launched its PharmTechX program in 2014 to teach existing pharmacy technicians the skills needed to take their careers to the next level. Courses are taught by experienced pharmacist educators from the School, and is a collaboration between the School, the University of Maryland Medical Center, the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group, MedStar Health, and Walgreens Pharmacy.

Advancing Careers for Pharmacy Technicians

Designed for technicians who have been in practice for at least three years, PharmTechX is an online, ACPE-accredited program that includes three separate certificates to allow technicians to tailor their course of study to fit their individual career goals.

  • Certificate I: Released in June 2014, “Leadership and Patient Care” is the program’s core certificate that introduces technicians to patient management and describes their role in the patient care process. The leadership component encourages the exploration and expansion of human resources and team management skills to help technicians achieve managerial roles in their pharmacies. Students must complete Certificate I before continuing to Certificate II or Certificate III.
  • Certificate II: Titled “Excellence in Health-System Pharmacy,” Certificate II focuses on inpatient pharmacy. It is ideal for technicians who work in hospitals or other specialized pharmacies, and covers topics such as critical issues in pediatric pharmacy, infectious diseases, complex cardiac patients, oncology, and technology and information systems.
  • Certificate III: “Community Pharmacy Practice and Management,”  the newly launched Certificate III, focuses on outpatient pharmacy. It is ideal for technicians who work in community pharmacies, and covers topics such as outpatient management, non-sterile compounding and calculations, medication therapy management, vaccinations, and point-of-care testing.

Bringing Our Expertise to Community Pharmacists

Just released this year, Certificate III: Community Pharmacy Practice and Management provides 15 hours of ACPE-accredited continuing education, and will prepare technicians to take on advanced operational and clinical roles in the outpatient setting. Building on the knowledge and skills from Certificate I, technicians will learn the basics of outpatient pharmacy management and will apply the steps of process improvement and project management to the incorporation of new clinical services, including:

  • Medication therapy management
  • Vaccination screening and administration
  • Point-of-care testing

Technicians will identify their role in these services to ensure the successful implementation and execution of these programs, while continuing to grow as leaders and managers through the customer service and human resource management modules. Non-sterile compounding and associated regulations, as well as the advanced calculations necessary to prepare the prescribed dose will also be addressed.

Once enrolled in the program’s interactive, online learning platform, technicians will gain immediate access to all of the course materials and be able to complete the modules at their own pace. If you or someone you know is currently working as a pharmacy technician in an outpatient setting and ready to advance not only your career, but also the field of community pharmacy, visit the PharmTechX program website for more information and to enroll.

Malissa Carroll Education, For B'moreFebruary 2, 20170 comments
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Giving Day - School of Pharmacy

School of Pharmacy Hosts First-Ever Giving Day

To help commemorate the end of its 175th anniversary, the School of Pharmacy hosted its first-ever online Giving Day on Jan. 27. Giving Day leveraged the power of social media to bring together faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends for an unprecedented, 24-hour philanthropic event to help generate gifts for the School’s annual fund and ensure its continued ability to provide quality pharmacy education, research, and service to residents across the state of Maryland and beyond. More than 180 donors made gifts to the School on the designated day, raising more than $30,000 and exceeding the day’s goal of reaching 175 donors.

“The success of the School of Pharmacy’s first-ever online Giving Day was truly the ‘icing on the cake’ for our 175th anniversary celebration,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School. “The School has achieved many remarkable triumphs throughout its storied history, and it is exciting to imagine all that we are sure accomplish over the next 175 years with the continued support of our dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends whose generous gifts made possible the success of this event.”

Meeting the Challenge

The School of Pharmacy held its online Giving Day from 12 a.m. on Jan. 27, to 12 a.m. on Jan. 28. The event was marked by several challenges designed to increase the impact of the donations received. The hallmark challenge for the event was the 175 Donor Challenge. If the School received gifts from 175 different donors before the end of the day, the challenger – an anonymous alumnus – agreed to donate an additional $10,000 to the School. In the end, the School received gifts from more than 180 donors.

“Although the School of Pharmacy has made significant  impacts on pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement on both the national and international level, we are a surprisingly small community, and we knew that reaching 175 donors for this event might be somewhat challenging,” says Greer Griffith, assistant director for alumni giving at the School. “I was thrilled to see that we exceeded the goal of our hallmark challenge. The continued investment of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends proves that the future is bright at the School of Pharmacy and ensures that we have the resources needed to continue setting the standard in pharmacy education.”

Leveraging Social Media

Giving Day also featured three bonus challenges made possible by pledges from Andrew Phan, PharmD ’13, pharmacist in the Investigational Drug Services Pharmacy at the University of Maryland Medical Center and president of the School’s Alumni Association; Nicole Brandt, PharmD ’97, MBA, BCPP, CGP, FASCP, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and executive director of the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the School; and Andrew Coop, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School. Phan agreed to donate $1,000 to the School if 25 alumni from the Classes of 2006-2016 made gifts during Giving Day, while Brandt and Coop each pledged $1,000 to be added to a randomly selected donation made between 11 a.m. and 1p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., respectively.

All three challenges were met, with gifts from Abigail Strawberry, BSP ’93, and Cathy Chang, PharmD ’13, selected to receive the $1,000 pledges from Brandt and Coop.

“Showing my support for the School of Pharmacy by making a gift on Giving Day was important to me,” says Jackie Tran, PharmD ’13, clinical pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “I truly enjoyed the time that I spent at the School and would not be the person that I am today were it not for the education that it afforded me. By paying it forward with my donation, I’m also helping to ensure that current and future students – including my sister, who is currently a third-year student pharmacist at the School – have access to the highest quality pharmacy education and best resources as they progress through their studies.”

Another crucial component to the success of the event was the use of social media ambassadors who volunteered their time to share messages about Giving Day on their Facebook and Twitter pages, helping to extend the reach of the event and increase the number of individuals who were able to participate. In addition to pledging $1,000 for the Young Alumni Challenge, Phan was the School’s most dynamic social media ambassador, generating 97 clicks from the messages that he shared on social media and raising an additional $2,400 for the School. Jennifer Abernathy, PharmD ’13, pharmacy manager for Harris Teeter, generated 61 clicks from the messages that she shared on social media.

If you or someone you know was unable to participate in Giving Day, but would still like to make a gift to the School, please donate online.

Malissa Carroll Education, People, UMB NewsFebruary 2, 20170 comments
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cardinal health

Pharmacy Receives Cardinal Health Grant, Joins Collaborative

Faculty in the Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have received a multiyear, $150,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation’s E3 Grant Program to help improve health outcomes for high-risk patients, while reducing health care costs. The grant, which targets patients with chronic illnesses and a history of frequent hospital readmissions, will support a new School of Pharmacy initiative titled “Patient-Activated Medication Safety (PAMS),” which will offer patients a personalized, interprofessional intervention following their discharge from the hospital.

This one-on-one engagement with patients and their family members will encourage proactive medication safety measures to help patients maintain or improve their health and reduce patients’ need for costly hospital readmissions. The School of Pharmacy is one of 13 organizations nationwide – and the only school of pharmacy – to receive this multiyear grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation and will join other grantees in a learning collaborative facilitated by the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management (AIMM). The collaborative is designed to help the organizations share their learning and more quickly implement evidence-based practices.

“Since 2008, the Cardinal Health Foundation has invested $8.6 million in hundreds of health care organizations through the E3 Grant Program,” says Dianne Radigan, vice president of community relations at Cardinal Health. “We support a wide array of patient safety work, but the focus is always on accelerating the rate of change with two goals: improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs. On behalf of Cardinal Health, we are pleased to support the work of the School of Pharmacy on this important initiative.”

Improving Outcomes for Vulnerable Patients

Transitions in care refers to patients’ movement through the health care system as their condition and care needs change. Examples include patients leaving the emergency department to return home or being transferred from an inpatient unit to a skilled nursing facility. During these transitions, patients are often prescribed new medications or have existing medications modified, placing them – particularly those who are taking multiple medications – at risk for experiencing an adverse drug event, such as an accidental overdose or allergic reaction.

“Taking steps to ensure medication safety for patients with chronic conditions, particularly during transitions in care, impacts not only the health of the patient, but also the health system, insurers, and the community,” says Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, FAPhA, professor in PPS and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation at the School, who will lead clinical implementation for the grant. “Our pharmacists are excited to help guide patients and their families as part of this unique experience to become collaborators in their health care with nurse practitioners, social workers, legal professionals, other pharmacists, and hospital staff.”

The launch of this study builds on research conducted by Ebere Onukwugha, MS, PhD, associate professor in PHSR, which showed that patients can provide actionable input that health care professionals can use to design patient-centered transitional care plans following their discharge from the hospital. Onukwugha will lead data collection and evaluation for the grant. “We want our patients to actively participate in developing discharge plans that support safe medication use and improved outcomes. We also estimate that the savings from reduced hospital readmissions and hospital stays will exceed $1 million over the three-year grant period,” she says.

Building on Past Successes

To help reduce hospital readmissions and encourage patients to take an active role in their health care, the School will offer PAMS to high-risk Medicare/Medicaid patients with chronic illnesses discharged from Prince George’s Hospital Center. PAMS is an adaptation of the School of Pharmacy’s Maryland P3 Program, a pharmacist-delivered comprehensive medication management program for patients with chronic diseases. Following the P3 model, pharmacists and other members of the health care team will work with patients after discharge to develop a customized care plan that incorporates patient preferences for follow-up care, such as an in-person visit to the clinic or speaking with a pharmacist online using telehealth technologies.

The services will be offered through an interprofessional clinic housed on the hospital’s campus with support from the School of Pharmacy’s e-Health Center, which will provide telephonic and telehealth services to patients. “Patients participating in PAMS will become active collaborators in their care, expressing their preferences for the type of visit and services that will work best for their unique circumstances. This initiative not only reinforces the importance of the patient and family as key partners in care, but also provides a renewed appreciation of the value that medications, when used appropriately, can have in promoting positive patient outcomes,” says Rodriguez de Bittner.

Patient services supported by the grant are expected to begin in Spring 2017.

About the Cardinal Health Foundation

The Cardinal Health Foundation supports local, national, and international programs that improve health care efficiency, effectiveness, and excellence and the overall wellness of the communities where Cardinal Health’s (NYSE:CAH) nearly 37,000 employees live and work. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage community service among its employees and works through international agencies to donate much-needed medical supplies and funding to those who need them in times of disaster; because Cardinal Health is #AllInForGood. To learn more, visit and visit the Facebook page at

About the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management

The Alliance for Integrated Medication Management (AIMM) is a nonprofit organization working to support widespread adoption of team-based medication management services into the care of high-risk, high-cost patients suffering from multiple chronic health conditions. AIMM partners with health care providers, schools of pharmacy, payers, and other stakeholders to drive change in our health care system from the ground up by creating accountability for patient safety and health, improving quality of care, and championing new payment models to coordinate care for high-risk and complex patients who can benefit from a comprehensive medication management approach.

Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, UMB NewsJanuary 26, 20170 comments
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Cold and Flu Season

Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Inside SOP, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.

The holidays might be over, but cold and flu season is just reaching its peak. While many of the ailments often associated with the winter months usually aren’t serious for healthy adults, their symptoms can leave people feeling miserable and cause them to miss time with family, work, and school. For children and older adults, the risk for developing complications from these illnesses is much higher. In fact, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year.

However, there are steps that all individuals can take to reduce their risk of becoming sick during winter. Below, Tim Rocafort, PharmD, BCACP, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the School of Pharmacy, answers some frequently asked questions about the common cold and flu, and offers advice to help people stay healthy.

Are people more likely to become sick in the winter?

Health care professionals continue to debate the reasons why people seem more likely to become sick in the winter. Recent studies have shown that some viruses responsible for the common cold and flu peak during this time because they are able to replicate easier. Combine this knowledge with the fact that our immune systems are also less efficient at protecting us against certain viruses during the colder months of the year and we have the perfect environment to facilitate the spread of those illnesses. In addition, people often stay indoors as the temperatures outside drop, which further facilitates the transmission of a host of illnesses.

What are some of the most common illnesses associated with the winter months?

The most common illnesses associated with the winter months are the common cold and flu.

What are some indicators that a person might be too sick to go to work or school?

Experiencing symptoms that appear to get progressively worse or last longer than three days are good indicators that a person should remain at home to limit the spread of the illness to others. In addition, if a person experiences any of the hallmark symptoms associated with the flu, including fever, muscle and body aches, fatigue, and even nausea and vomiting, he/she should stay home and seek care from a health care provider.

What over-the-counter medicines are available to help manage cold symptoms?

There are a myriad of over-the-counter medicines to help individuals manage cold symptoms. I recommend that patients only use those medicines that are specific to the symptoms they are experiencing at the time, such as a cough or congestion. There are numerous medications that have been designed to treat several symptoms at the same time, but those medications are often more expensive and you might not be experiencing all of the symptoms that they address. Always be sure to read the medication labels carefully before purchasing, or ask a pharmacist to help guide you in selecting the best one for your symptoms.

Can over-the-counter medications or other treatments speed an individual’s recovery from a cold?

Some medications promise to shorten the duration of a cold if patients take them within a certain time frame after the onset of symptoms. However, it truly is a combination of rest, good nutrition, and proper medications that will help individuals recover as quickly as possible from a cold.

How can individuals tell whether they have a normal cold or a more serious illness, such as the flu?

The common cold will include symptoms such as coughing, runny or stuffy nose, and congestion. On the other hand, symptoms associated with the flu – while often similar to the common cold – will include fever, chills, muscle or body aches, fatigue, and headache.

What is the flu vaccine? How effective is it, and who should receive it?

The flu vaccine is an immunization that nearly all individuals ages 6 months and older should receive each year to help protect against the flu. There are different types of flu vaccines that individuals can receive depending on their age, existing medical conditions, and allergies. Although it is not 100 percent effective against preventing the flu, it is a great source of protection when combined with other healthy habits.

Are there any side effects associated with the flu vaccine?

There are no serious side-effects associated with the flu vaccine. Some people who receive the vaccine may experience some initial redness or pain at the site of injection, but that is just a temporary reaction.

What additional steps can people take to avoid becoming sick in the winter?

Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs that cause the cold and flu. In addition, it is very important that patients take care of themselves and allow adequate time to recover – whether through rest and/or treatment – when they feel ill. These measures will not only help patients get better sooner, but also prevent others from getting sick.

What other advice can you offer to individuals who want to stay healthy this winter?

To help keep you and your family healthy during the winter months, I recommend that you bundle up as the temperatures drop, regularly wash your hands – regardless of whether you are sick or not – and lessen your interaction with others who might potentially be sick, as you are more likely to contract their illness during this time of the year.

Malissa CarrollABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAJanuary 19, 20170 comments
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Come Tutor High School Kids at Pharmacy Hall

Love to teach? Want to make a difference? Come tutor with us each Saturday as we try to make a difference in Baltimore-area youth! Membership and participation in ABAE is completely free. Just show up and start teaching!


Please contact Jonathan Tran, if you are interested or have any questions.

Jonathan Tran ABAE, Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAJanuary 19, 20170 comments
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Pharmacy Joins National Institute for Biopharmaceuticals Manufacturing

The School of Pharmacy will be a pivotal partner in a new national institute to advance leadership in pharmaceutical manufacturing across the United States. Announced by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in December, the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) will focus on bringing safe drugs to market faster and developing workforce training.

“The School of Pharmacy is thrilled to join this collaborative effort and partner with leading academic, government, nonprofit, and private organizations across the country to accelerate innovation and tackle the problems currently facing biopharmaceutical manufacturers,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy and executive director of University Regional Partnerships at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “Our faculty and students strive to improve the health and well-being of society by aiding in the discovery, development, and use of medicines, and we understand that innovations in biopharmaceutical manufacturing will provide more patients with access to the most beneficial therapies to treat their illnesses. I thank everyone who helped bring NIIMBL to fruition, and look forward to seeing the tremendous advancements its members will surely achieve.”

Pioneering Pharmaceuticals

While most medications are produced using traditional chemical manufacturing processes, biopharmaceuticals are made with living cells and can be complex to manufacture on a large scale. Because biopharmaceuticals often succeed where traditional drug treatments have failed, the demand for these prescription drugs – which include vaccines, medications for cancer and autoimmune diseases, as well as emerging drugs for cell and gene therapies – has increased exponentially in recent years.

NIIMBL is the 11th institute established by Manufacturing USA, and jointly includes the School of Pharmacy at UMB and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Stephen Hoag, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and director of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Facility at the School of Pharmacy, and William Bentley, PhD, MEng, the Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair in Engineering for the A. James Clark School of Engineering at UMCP, will serve as co-principal investigators for the University of Maryland.

“A critical part of NIIMBL’s mission is to develop and implement manufacturing innovations that can be applied to current and future biopharmaceutical products,” says Hoag. “Many of these innovations will require the creation of entirely new delivery systems, including the development of a formulation, downstream processing, and advanced characterization of the protein molecules in the product. Thanks to the expertise and cutting-edge resources available through our Bio- and Nano-technology Center, Mass Spectrometry Center, and industrial pharmaceutics lab, the School of Pharmacy is perfectly positioned to address this crucial area of need.”

Addressing Important Obstacles

NIIMBL will be operated by a team of more than 150 companies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and state governments under a newly formed nonprofit. Some of the additional academic institutions with which the University of Maryland will partner through this initiative include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Massachusetts, Purdue University, Clemson University, and Johns Hopkins University.

The School of Pharmacy will work with UMCP and other NIIMBL partners to compete for grants and contracts aimed at helping the pharmaceutical industry address current biopharmaceutical manufacturing challenges, such as reducing the amount of time needed for products to reach the market, confronting the challenge of emerging manufacturing markets, and developing new strategies to address the unique manufacturing needs of novel biopharmaceutical products. The School will also have opportunities to collaborate with other NIIMBL partners to propose ideas for new projects, as well as develop new methodologies that will provide the data necessary to establish industry standards related to analytics for biologic and biosimilar drug products.

Additional faculty members from the School of Pharmacy who will be collaborating with Hoag on this initiative include Maureen Kane, PhD, associate professor in PSC and executive director of the School’s Mass Spectrometry Center; James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics in PSC; Patrick Wintrode, PhD, associate professor in PSC; and Bruce Yu, PhD, professor in PSC and director of the Bio- and Nano-technology Center.

“Researchers at the School of Pharmacy have long been involved in regulatory science, and have collaborated with a number of federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration,” adds Hoag. “Our experience truly lends itself to working with industry partners, the government, and other academic institutions to address the complex issues surrounding the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals.”

Improving the Job Market

In addition to bringing more safe drugs to market faster and developing workforce training for a field that currently boasts a negative unemployment rate – more jobs are available than there are qualified workers – NIIMBL will help ensure that the nation can rapidly scale up manufacturing of these advanced treatments to respond to pandemics and other biological threats, as well as reduce drug shortages that can result from quality control issues in manufacturing. The expected total investment from all NIIMBL stakeholders totals $250 million, including $70 million of federal investment.

“In communities from coast to coast, the Manufacturing USA network is breaking down silos between the U.S. private sector and academia to take industry-relevant technologies from lab to market,” said Pritzker, who visit the University of Delaware in December to announce the launch of NIIMBL. “This institute will serve as a resource to help spread the risks and share the benefits of developing and gaining approval for innovative processes across the biopharmaceutical industry. The innovations created here will make it easier for industry to scale up production and provide the most groundbreaking new therapies to more patients sooner.”

NIIMBL will officially launch on March 1.

Malissa CarrollABAE, Bulletin Board, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB NewsJanuary 18, 20170 comments
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CERSI Conference

CERSI Conference Explores Methods to Measure Protein Aggregation

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy welcomed researchers from across academia, government, and industry to Pharmacy Hall in December for “Protein Aggregation Measurement in Biotherapeutics: Established and Emerging Techniques,” a daylong conference sponsored by the University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI) and the Bio- and Nano-technology Center at the School of Pharmacy.

Led by Bruce Yu, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and director of the Bio- and Nano-technology Center, the conference explored both established and emerging technologies to detect and measure protein aggregation in biologic drug products.

“The organizers of this conference have assembled presentations that represent the diverse perspectives of experts from academic institutions, regulatory agencies, and pharmaceutical companies across the nation,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, in her welcoming remarks to attendees. “As separate entities, it can be difficult to move scientific concepts for new drugs and improved drug delivery systems into the hands of those who need them most – our patients. However, if we work together and harness our collective ingenuity, I am confident that we will find that we have the knowledge, skills, and ability to make a significant and real impact on the treatment of a host of chronic diseases.”

Pioneering Advances in Biotechnology

Unlike most medications that are developed through chemical syntheses, biologics are made with living cells. These drugs – which include vaccines, medications for cancer and autoimmune diseases, as well as emerging drugs for cell and gene therapies – represent the cutting-edge of biomedical research and often succeed where traditional drug treatments have failed. However, when the proteins that make up some biologic drugs aggregate, or clump together, the safety and efficacy of those drugs can be severely compromised.

The first step in addressing protein aggregation in biologic products is to detect when aggregation has occurred. To kick off the conference, Yu delivered a brief presentation that spotlighted an emerging method currently under investigation in his laboratory to noninvasively detect protein aggregation using water proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). He outlined several experiments that his team had conducted examining the transverse relaxation rate of water protons in NMR and discussed how the results of those experiments might be applied in manufacturing and clinical settings.

“Water NMR offers a number of benefits when compared to other analytical technologies,” said Yu. “It is not only inexpensive, fast, and easy to perform, but also noninvasive. Traditional pharmaceutical analyses often require the tester to open the product, draw out the solution, and inject it into another device. Once the product has been opened, it cannot be dispensed to patients for use. Water NMR allows the tester to insert the entire vial with its cap and label still intact for analysis. There is no tampering with the drug, and it can still be used by patients if the analysis shows no indication of protein aggregation.”

As Yu explained the benefits associated with water NMR, he noted that the method was likely not appropriate for all pharmaceutical analyses. “Although there are a number of applications that can benefit from noninvasive analyses such as water NMR, there are certain applications for which more invasive analyses must be performed. It is crucial that we continue to research other analytical technologies to meet the diverse needs of all researchers, manufacturers, and clinicians, and to ensure that the products we provide to our patients are safe and effective,” he added.

Exploring All of the Options

Following Yu’s presentation, the conference was divided into four sessions that explored the regulatory challenges associated with analytical technologies, the applications and limitations associated with common technologies, optical techniques such as counting and characterization, and techniques available through NMR and mass spectrometry.

“NMR is an excellent tool that can give researchers a picture of the ‘state’ of a protein,” said David Keire, PhD, acting laboratory chief for the Office of Pharmaceutical Quality in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who delivered a presentation titled “Applications of NMR for Assessing the Higher Order Structure of Protein Therapeutics.” “Although NMR has been used by researchers to analyze proteins for many years, it has not been widely applied to the understanding of protein aggregation. Our research aims to change this practice.”

The conference concluded with a panel discussion during which all presenters were invited to address questions posed by audience members.

“As researchers and manufacturers, we are all familiar with the challenges that protein aggregation presents for the development of new biologic therapies,” said Ewa Marszal, PhD, chemist in the Center for Biologics Evaluations and Research at the FDA. “Understanding both the established and emerging techniques that are available to detect and measure protein aggregation is crucial to ensuring the quality and safety of these products. It is truly an area that requires much more research and attention, and I thank you all for attending this conference and affirming your dedication to this important field.”

Malissa Carroll Research, UMB NewsJanuary 13, 20170 comments
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Healthy Cookoff

Healthy Cook-Off Brings Out Student Pharmacists’ Inner Chef

As a student pharmacist, I know that one of the most important, yet modifiable risk factors for heart disease – the leading cause of death in the United States – is an unhealthy diet. Fortunately, I grew up with parents who were pretty health conscious. Although my parents occasionally bought snacks, such as cookies and chips, for my brother and me, there was never a soda in the house, nor was there an expectation of dessert after dinner. Our lives were all about balance. Most of our meals were cooked at home, and included a lot of lean protein, veggies, and whole grains. Yet, I never felt deprived. My parents made it easy for me to eat healthy because – simply put – the food that they cooked tasted really good.

The idea that – with a little bit of creativity – “healthy” and “tasty” do not have to be mutually exclusive terms is the message that members of the Student Section of the Maryland Public Health Association (SMdPHA), Students Engaged in Public Health (SEIPH), and American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Operation Diabetes wanted to share with faculty and students at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) when we co-sponsored the first-ever “So You Think You Can Cook (Healthy!)” competition.

Bringing the Competition to Life

I first pitched the idea for the “So You Think You Can Cook (Healthy!)” competition to Margaret Hayes, MS, director of student educational services and outreach at the School of Pharmacy and SMdPHA’s faculty advisor. She encouraged me to put together a team to help me plan and execute it. The core members of my team included:

  • Michael Luong, public health student (SEIPH president)
  • Neha Kumar, third-year student pharmacist (Operation Diabetes chair)
  • Phuong Tran, second-year student pharmacist (Operation Diabetes co-chair)
  • Jeeyeon Shon, first-year student pharmacist (SMdPHA P1 co-historian)

We put our heads together and developed a plan to execute the competition. It took a lot of hard work and patience, but we saw it through. We sought recipe submissions from students, staff, and faculty at USG. For those recipes that we approved, we asked contestants to cook their dish at home and bring it to campus on Oct. 29, when we held the tasting event. Everyone at USG was invited to participate in this event, sample each dish, and rate it based on taste.

Taste accounted for 50 percent of each contestant’s total score. The remaining half of the score was based on the dish’s nutritional value. Michael devised a scoring system based on an average 2,200 calorie diet, which falls between the estimated calorie requirements published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for sedentary males and females ages 21-25. The system also incorporated recommendations from MyPlate, a nutrition guide published by the USDA that emphasizes a healthy diet filled with fruits, veggies, protein, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free dairy. It also stresses the importance of limiting saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

Revealing the Master Chefs Among Us

The tasting event had an amazing turnout that truly exceeded all of our expectations. Word of mouth, not to mention the wonderful smells, drew people from all across campus to Building III for the event. We heard great things about each of the 11 dishes, but it was ultimately Sumaiya Latif and Timothy Yu from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore who took home first place for their excellent balsamic glazed chicken dish. Second and third place went to the School of Pharmacy’s own third-year student pharmacists Erika Saunders and Heather Kirwan for their Japanese-inspired noodle salad and honey chicken kabobs, respectively.

All of the recipes from the 2016 “So You Think You Can Cook (Healthy!)” competition can be found in the cookbook that we created based on the event. We hope you enjoy the cookbook and become inspired to make healthier food choices every day.

Quynh-Nhu Nguyen ABAE, University Life, USGAJanuary 13, 20170 comments
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Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging Open House

Join the School of Pharmacy’s Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging for an open house on Feb. 1, 2017, from 3 to 5 p.m. to learn more about the center.

Drs. Nicole Brandt, Linda Simoni-Wastila, and Chanel Whittaker will host a seminar presentation with light refreshments to follow. The open house will be held in the Saratoga Building at 220 Arch Street, 12th floor, Room 01-330. Please RSVP by Jan. 25 to

Erin Merino Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Education, PeopleJanuary 13, 20170 comments
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