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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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Goodwin Named Director of Nursing’s BSN Program

Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), recently named Jana Goodwin, PhD, RN, CNE, assistant professor, director of UMSON’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

As a faculty member at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) since 2001, Goodwin participated in course assessment, expansion, and revision. In her new role, Goodwin will be responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the BSN program’s policies and procedures. She will also provide leadership in program coordination; curriculum planning; student recruitment, retention and advisement; and didactic instruction at both the Baltimore and USG locations.

“It is exciting for me to step into this new role as the director,” Goodwin said. “I am looking forward to collaborating with the associate dean for the baccalaureate program, the Office of Student and Academic Services, the department chairs, and the faculty as we work as a team to deliver and provide a high-quality education to our students.”

Goodwin earned a PhD in nursing education from Villanova University and Master of Science in Nursing and BSN degrees from Temple University.

“Dr. Goodwin has more than 16 years of experience teaching students and coordinating courses within the BSN program. She is also noted for her contributions to diversity, inclusivity, and cultural competence in academia,” said Nina Trocky, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CNE, assistant professor and associate dean for the baccalaureate program, UMSON. “I am very excited about Dr. Goodwin serving as our BSN program director and am very confident that she will continue to advance the mission of the School.”

Kevin Nash Bulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 13, 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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public health roundtable

Exploring Careers in Public Health Pharmacy

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.

Can you imagine yourself working as a pharmacist in a prison, on a Native American reservation, or in a housing facility for immigrants seeking asylum within the United States? These are just some of the interesting career options discussed during the Public Health Roundtable sponsored by the School of Pharmacy’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Section of the Maryland Public Health Association (SMdPHA) in May.

A Chance to Gain New Insights

The Public Health Roundtable is an event that students look forward to each spring. In fact, in recent years, the School has had at least one graduating Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student enter the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) as a commissioned officer. This year, more than 30 students and eight officers from the PHS participated in the successful program held at the School of Pharmacy’s satellite campus at the Universities at Shady Grove.

The PHS officers, many of whom were graduates of the School, shared their career trajectory, described their unique experiences serving in the Corps, and provided advice about future career opportunities in the fields of pharmacy and public health. Among other topics, students had the opportunity to learn about careers in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Indian Health Service, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

An Enjoyable Evening for All

Students from the Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses alike enjoyed this year’s experience, and are looking forward to planning next year’s event. Feedback from PHS officers was also very positive, with two officers offering the following kind words:

“The Public Health Roundtable was a great experience, and I found it incredibly inspiring to hear about where the students would like their professional careers to go. Best of luck to everyone and thank you again for the opportunity,” said LCDR Christine Corser, PharmD, RAC, health science policy analyst in the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion at the FDA.

“Thank you kindly for the opportunity. It was my pleasure to attend this lovely event and speak with students,” added LT Zakiya Chambers, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, recruitment specialist for the Office of the Surgeon General.

The School of Pharmacy continues to be committed to introducing students to opportunities in public health pharmacy, and looks forward to supporting more SMdPHA events in the future.

Robert Beardsley Education, University Life, USGAJune 14, 20170 comments
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Medication Safety and Kids Event

Breaking the Language Barrier to Bring Medication Safety to the Community

As members of the School of Pharmacy’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicine Safety committee at the Universities at Shady Grove campus, we work in collaboration with our chair and co-chair – third-year student pharmacist Vee Do and second-year student pharmacist Quynh Nguyen, respectively – to raise awareness about OTC medication safety in our local community. Since 2015, other members of our committee have hosted outreach events at a variety of locations, including a middle school, health fair, and library.

To help our team deliver our message to an even wider audience, Quynh devised the idea to bring our medication safety lesson to a Vietnamese Sunday School. Vee worked with administrators at the school to ensure that the session went smoothly, while Phu, who served as the project coordinator, prepared the lesson plan and activity. All of our efforts culminated on March 19, when the five of us hosted our committee’s first-ever Sunday school event to bring awareness about medication safety to a particularly vulnerable population: first generation Vietnamese Americans.

Understanding the Linguistic Challenge

Because many members involved with our organization have immigrated to the United States from other countries themselves, we understand the challenge posed by the language barrier that many immigrants often have to overcome to be an active member of American society. For older generations, the language barrier can pose an even greater obstacle, with some individuals attending free classes offered by local nonprofit organizations to try to learn English and others deciding to forego learning the language for a wide range of personal reasons. However, a problem arises when the first generation of Vietnamese Americans born in the United States – who are able to speak fluent English – cannot communicate fluently with their parents and grandparents in their native Vietnamese.

Making Medication Safety Fun for Children

To help raise awareness about medication safety among Vietnamese families in our community, we created a short bilingual lesson and activity to highlight safe medication use. Our presentation targeted young children born in the United States to parents who had emigrated from Vietnam, allowing us to reach a local minority community by leveraging the bilingual (English-Vietnamese) communication skills possessed by multiple members of our committee. More than 40 children from the fifth grade at a Vietnamese Sunday school in Silver Spring, Md., attended our presentation, which addressed topics such as:

  • Differences between prescription and OTC medications
  • How to read and understand medication labels
  • How to safely store and dispose of medications

We incorporated as much Vietnamese into the lesson as possible, reviewing our presentation slides first in Vietnamese and then in English. We also engaged the class in a bilingual game of Jeopardy, which quizzed the students on the topics covered in the presentation, with an emphasis on how to use acetaminophen (Tylenol) safely and how to contact the Maryland Poison Center for both emergency and non-emergency situations. The students received double points if they correctly answered the questions in both English and Vietnamese.

Imparting Lifelong Lessons about Health

We hope that the children who attended our event had a great time, while also learning some useful health information that they can share with their families in both English and Vietnamese. Not only was our goal to enhance their knowledge and keep them safe when taking medications, but also to provide them with the knowledge necessary to ensure the safety of their parents, caregivers, and other family members who might not be able to read English. The children were very excited and engaged in the activity, seeming to grasp the concepts and pick up some new terms in Vietnamese, which makes us feel as though we accomplished our goals and more. We had a wonderful time preparing and presenting this project, and look forward to hosting future outreach events in our community.

Jessica Woodward Community Service, Education, USGAApril 11, 20170 comments
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Assessment

ExamSoft Certification: Enhancing the Assessment Process

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.

Managing student examinations across two campuses is no simple task. Since establishing our satellite campus at the Universities at Shady Grove in 2007, the School of Pharmacy has been committed to continuous quality improvement and streamlining operations for faculty and students alike. In our early days at Shady Grove, examinations were shipped back to Baltimore via FedEx or courier, where they were graded by faculty or the campus test scoring center. This process continued until fall 2010, when we created a streamlined paper-based test scoring service that linked the Baltimore-based center with the Shady Grove campus.

Working Toward Quality Improvement

Managed by Lisa Finn, MPH, assistant director of assessment for the School of Pharmacy, the Shady Grove-based test scoring service replicated the services offered at the Baltimore campus to score bubble sheets (a.k.a. Scantrons) from proctored paper-based exams given at Shady Grove. In addition to local scoring, a brokered arrangement between the Baltimore-based test scoring center and Lisa’s office allowed the reconciliation of campus exam scores to take place at Shady Grove for unified reporting to faculty based on either campus. This service eliminated scoring delays that sometimes exceeded more than a week as materials were shipped back and forth between campuses.

In Fall 2012, we further enhanced this process with the introduction of ExamSoft – an integrated online platform for the creation, delivery, and reporting of computer-based exams – when George Anagnostou, MS, senior instructional technology specialist, joined our team in the Office of Academic Affairs. ExamSoft offers an integrated tool that our team can use to administer assessments and integrate results into courses, student performance and progression, and curriculum assessment plans supporting our accreditation requirements. As one of 110 U.S. schools of pharmacy using ExamSoft, a significant focus for our team has been to improve the overall quality of the assessment experience.

Certifying Our Excellence

A majority of the work that George, Lisa, and I do to support faculty and graduate teaching assistants on the creation and management of exams, as well as students on the resolution of technical issues, happens “behind-the-scenes” and focuses on the quality and validity of exam administration. This behind the scenes work is an unseen component of the office’s support of continuous quality improvement and commitment to using evidence-based best practices to support our educational technologies.

After learning about ExamSoft’s certification program, our office thought it offered an excellent opportunity to further our commitment to enhancing the assessment process for faculty and students. Offered once each year, the program certifies that participants are proficient in current use, test administration, and support. To receive certification, each participant must complete a series of exams that assess factual knowledge of the ExamSoft portal and student exam software SofTest, and complete a series of essays to demonstrate knowledge of best practices in the creation and support of exams and users.

Sharing Our Thoughts

The decision to participate in the new certification program arose organically out of our team’s personal commitment to serving the School community, rather than an office mandate.

“For me, certification was an important step in ensuring that I can continue to provide our faculty and students with the best advice when working with ExamSoft and SofTest,” says George. “My goal is to know any product that I support as thoroughly as possible, so certification was a logical next step. Even though I spend a lot of time working with the product, I learned so much valuable new information through the certification process, which truly made the experience worthwhile.”

Lisa adds, “I decided to pursue ExamSoft certification to increase my understanding of the many useful features included within the software. Ultimately, I want to ensure that I am as knowledgeable as possible in my ability to support our students, faculty, and academic affairs team. Having gone through the certification process, I now have greater working knowledge of how to create and post an exam, techniques for troubleshooting, and student performance and assessment analytics. I look forward to continuing to use this software and am interested to see how it enhances School-wide assessment and accreditation efforts.”

Unlike George and Lisa, I am not involved in ExamSoft support for every exam that we deliver at the School. For me, certification offered an opportunity to ensure that the support I provide is consistent with emerging best practices for product features that we have not yet implemented. Overall, our collective decision to seek certification ensures that everyone within our Office can provide a consistent level of support wherever we use ExamSoft.

Shannon Tucker Education, TechnologyMarch 24, 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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Childhood Vaccines

Tots, Shots, Connecting the Dots: The Truth About Childhood Vaccinations

After coming face-to-face with many situations in which patients questioned the importance of vaccinations – most notably the Flu Shot Clinic hosted at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in October, during which a number of individuals remarked, “My immune system can fight the flu,” or “The flu shot gives me the flu” – students from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists’ (APhA-ASP) Operation Immunization and the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), decided to collaborate on an event to help raise awareness about the importance of childhood immunizations. Held in February, the event was called “Tots, Shots, Connecting the Dots: The Truth About Childhood Vaccinations,” and featured a panel with three guest speakers followed by a resource fair.

Preventing A Public Health Crisis

As future health care professionals, students at the schools of pharmacy and public health understand why immunizations such as the flu shot, adult Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccination, and the wide range of available childhood vaccinations are essential in protecting the general population from potentially life-threatening viruses. We are also well-equipped to dispel the myths that often surround these lifesaving immunizations, which is why we decided to collaborate to host an event designed to educate other students and adults about the fundamental role that vaccinations play in ensuring the health of our community, particularly in light of recent immunization-related public health crises, such as the measles outbreak that occurred at Disneyland in 2014.

Educating the Community

Held at USG, “Tots, Shots, Connecting the Dots: The Truth About Childhood Vaccinations” was attended by approximately 60 students from different undergraduate and graduate schools. The panel discussion included Sara Bazaco, PhD, an epidemiologist with Booz Allen Hamilton; Amy Costello, MD, a pediatrician, and the School’s own Jill Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), who specializes in pediatric pharmacy.

Along with the other panelists, Morgan offered background information about vaccinations, explained current myths surrounding vaccinations, emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, discussed the process of vaccine development, and concluded with an emphasis on adhering to the childhood vaccination schedule. The panelists’ ability to engage the audience and their obvious passion for the subject made it a wonderful experience for all, and the question and answer session held after the panel discussion featured a number of thought-provoking inquiries from the audience. Representatives from Pfizer, the UMCP Health Center, and a number of student organizations, including APhA-ASP and the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG), also graciously volunteered to further educate attendees and speak about vaccinations during the resource fair held after the panel.

Spreading the Message

The overall goal of this event was to encourage attendees to make informed and educated decisions about their health and vaccinations. We hope that participants had an opportunity to learn more about why vaccinations are needed in our community, and will become ambassadors for vaccinations who help spread the word about these lifesaving immunizations.

Erika SaundersABAE, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeApril 18, 20160 comments
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March EOTM

Pharmacy’s Currier Is Employee of Month

Don’t expect to see Lindsay Currier on a ski slope after she retires many years from now. She’s had enough of the white stuff. As the coordinator for scheduling at the School of Pharmacy, Currier has been responsible for rescheduling all the pharmacy classes at the Baltimore location and at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, updating the 25 Live scheduling software, and sending out emails to all involved when classes are canceled or delayed, largely because of inclement weather.

“Snow is one of my least favorite things on so many different levels,” says Currier, a UMB employee for 13 years, “because I also have two little girls so, inevitably, not only am I dealing with work stuff, but they’re up early and excited because it’s a snow day, running around the house like maniacs.”

She has an early morning ally on snow days in UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, who surprised her at a supposed 25 Live meeting on March 23 to tell her she was UMB’s Employee of the Month.

“It was good to read that since I have to get up to receive a phone call at 4:45, you’re waiting at 5 a.m. for the verdict,” Perman told Currier. “And I understand you do a very good job of juggling things.”

IPE Supporter

Perman also pointed out that Currier helps facilitate his passion for interprofessional education by coordinating the School’s academic schedule so pharmacy students can participate in the President’s Clinic and UMB’s Interprofessional Education Day. “Your School is always there when we have an activity,” Perman said. “In fact you probably know I have a bunch of pharmacy students every week in my clinic. Your colleagues talk about you as a collaborative, knowledgeable, gifted, concise communicator. Simply put, they say ‘without Lindsay we would be lost.’ So congratulations on your honor!”

Shannon Tucker, MS, assistant dean for instructional design and technology at the School of Pharmacy, nominated Currier, citing her day-to-day contributions, core values such as accountability and collaboration, and her proactive nature to solve problems “before colleagues even know they exist.”

And on snow days?

“Lindsay makes literally thousands of changes in the School of Pharmacy scheduling platform so students can get back to studying and faculty back to teaching, research, and service as fast as possible,” said Tucker, who accompanied Currier to the surprise “meeting” in the Lexington Building along with Richard Dalby, PhD, associate dean of academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy and professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“Lindsay’s work requires diplomacy, collaboration, and civility under pressure; then, once a recovery plan is devised, the details must be meticulously entered into 25 Live for distribution to our community,” Tucker added. “One mistake could be catastrophic — integrated courses could become out of sequence, students could end up in the wrong room and miss key instruction prior to scheduled rotations, or an exam proctor or the AV and IT support on which faculty rely for support could be missing. Due to Lindsay’s hard work and diligence, this almost never happens.”

Surprised and Pleased

Currier, who manages the scheduling of School of Pharmacy activities at UMB and USG such as academic courses, student events, special events, and any meetings that need conference rooms, takes pride in her work. She was surprised, and very pleased, to be the March Employee of the Month, which comes with a plaque, $250, and makes her a candidate for the Cecil S. Kelly Memorial Employee of the Year Award, which will be given at the Employee Service Awards Luncheon on April 7.

“I’m excited to be recognized,” said Currier, who began working at the school as coordinator of mental health programs. “I feel like I work really hard to do really well, but sometimes you’re not sure if it’s helping anyone.”

Now she has a plaque to prove it.

— By Chris Zang

Pictured above from left: Shannon Tucker, Lindsay Currier, Dr. Perman, and Richard Dalby.

Chris ZangABAE, Collaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University AdministrationMarch 25, 20160 comments
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