University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy posts displayed by tag

AMCP Student Chapter Brings Home the Gold

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) presents its annual Chapter of the Year Award to three student chapters that have demonstrated the greatest innovation and commitment to establishing quality managed care programming for student pharmacists. The award highlights all of the programs and initiatives established by the winning chapters throughout the year, and the competition can be intense.

With dozens of student chapters vying for this coveted award, it was truly amazing — not to mention incredibly humbling — to hear our chapter announced as the first-place winner of the Chapter of the Year Award at the AMCP Nexus 2017 in Grapevine, Texas, in October.

Raising Awareness About Opportunities in Managed Care

The mission of our AMCP student chapter is to improve students’ understanding of concepts and career opportunities in managed care and industry. Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to gain exposure to the field by inviting speakers from managed care and industry to deliver presentations and meet with students at the School of Pharmacy. We also strive to develop and implement professional development events aimed at helping our members and other students in the school achieve their unique professional goals.

Building Sustainable Programming

Each year, our chapter strives to build on the initiatives put in place by the previous executive board and members to create sustainable programs for students. For instance, to help expose students to managed care concepts, we host a local Pharmacy & Therapeutics (P&T) Competition that allows participants to analyze the cost-effectiveness of new medications on the market, critically examine medication-related literature, and conduct comparative effectiveness research. The team selected as the winner of our competition then has the chance to enter its submission into the national P&T Competition hosted by AMCP.

In addition, to assist students with their professional development, we have implemented an Internship Prep Series (IPS) and Network Development Series (NDS). IPS supports students in their goal to obtain an internship by hosting CV/resume workshops and internship panels. IPS is open to students interested in all areas of pharmacy, including community and hospital. NDS represents the next step in professional development, providing students with the skills necessary to help them learn how to network. Later, students can implement the skills they have learned at our annual AMCP Managed Care, Industry, and Regulatory Affairs Roundtable, which introduces participants to the wide range of careers available in managed care pharmacy.

We also regularly invite speakers from industry and managed care to present to students about residency and fellowship opportunities in managed care, as well as potential career options. Our Seminar Series, made up of webinars, aims to provide in-depth information about career opportunities as well as the day-to-day life of a managed care or industry pharmacist. During each fall semester, we coordinate with fourth-year student pharmacists and current fellows, who also are alumni of the school, to host “PPS 101: Intro to Fellowship Applications.” Personnel Placement Service (PPS) is the application portal through which student pharmacists can apply for fellowships and set up interviews at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Meeting. The goal of this event is to educate students about what to expect during the fellowship application process and to provide steps they can take to enhance their competitiveness as an applicant based on the experience of previous fellows.

Expressing Our Gratitude

As with any notable achievement, this award is the result of the time and effort dedicated by numerous individuals. In addition to the hard work put forth by our members and executive board, we are grateful to the many alumni of the school who have taken time from their busy schedules to talk with students about the field and support our chapter in many other intangible ways. Without everyone’s hard work, this remarkable achievement would not have been possible.

– Yogitha Pazhani, chapter president and third-year student pharmacist

  
Yogitha Pazhani Education, University Life, USGANovember 10, 20170 comments
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Student Pharmacists Participate in National Drug Take-Back Initiative

Each year, student pharmacists from Generation Rx in the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) at the School of Pharmacy partner with law enforcement officials to establish collection sites for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Drug Take-Back Day initiative. This national campaign offers members of the local community an opportunity to dispose of unwanted, unused, or expired medications that might otherwise have remained in the home, posing a great danger to families and the environment and potentially leading to the misuse or abuse of those drugs.

Cleaning Out Medicine Cabinets in Baltimore

Oct. 28 marked the 14th official Drug Take-Back Day sponsored by the DEA. To give community members more time to clean out their medicine cabinets, student pharmacists at the school’s Baltimore campus collaborated with the UMB Police Force to set up a collection site at the SMC Campus Center on Oct. 25 and 28. Faculty, staff, students, and members of the local community were invited to turn in their unused or expired medication for safe disposal.

In addition to collecting medications, student pharmacists staffing the collection site had an opportunity to educate the public about medication safety and how to properly dispose of medications at home. They explained how disposing of antibiotics down the toilet and/or other drain can increase the severity of antibiotic resistance, and how disposing of birth control pills in the trash or in the toilet and/or drain can negatively affect the aquatic environment.

At the conclusion of Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 28, student pharmacists in Baltimore had successfully collected 46 pounds of expired and unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

Serving the Community in Shady Grove

Given the growing opioid epidemic, a large, independent senior living community within walking distance from campus, and local pharmacies unable to accept unused and expired medications, the student pharmacists in Generation Rx at the School’s Shady Grove campus in Rockville also saw a need to provide a safe, convenient disposal site for the community.

Student pharmacists at Shady Grove assisted the Rockville City Police with an expansion of the national Drug Take-Back initiative by hosting a second Drug Take-Back Day at the Universities at Shady Grove on Oct. 26. For local community members unable to make it to the national Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 28, this event provided another opportunity for safe disposal. In addition, students chose to host the event in Lot 5, which allowed community members to drive through and drop off medications with ease.

Local pharmacies that helped promote the event as well as the individuals who participated expressed their gratitude to us for hosting an event so close to home. Several students and members of the local community stopped by the event, resulting in the collection of 30 pounds of unused and expired medications — a 10-pound increase from Shady Grove’s first Drug Take-Back Day event in April 2017.

Increasing Our Impact in the Future

Though the Baltimore campus has hosted its Drug Take-Back Day event for several years and the Shady Grove campus is only beginning to test the waters with its initiative, student pharmacists at both campuses are excited to see how these events continue to grow and evolve in the future. We enjoy having this unique opportunity to apply the lessons that we learn in the classroom to help individuals across the state of Maryland understand the importance of safely disposing of their unused and expired medications, and to provide a convenient collection site for them to participate in this national event.

— Larissa Nguy and Payal Patel, third-year student pharmacists

  
Larissa Nguy Community Service, University Life, USGANovember 9, 20170 comments
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Muslim Students and Scholars Association Banquet Set for Nov. 10

The Muslim Students and Scholars Association (MSSA) invites members of the UMB community to its Fall Banquet on Nov. 10.

The banquet will run from  6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center, Room 349.

This is the MSSA’s main event of the semester and will feature an engaging discussion followed by dinner. The topic of social media is very relevant today, and the discussion will focus on appropriate ways to incorporate social media while maintaining a professional and modest attitude.

The speaker for the night will be Brother Jose Acevedo, who has been a leader in youth development and education in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area for more than 15 years.

This event is open to everyone, so please spread the word!

  
Ghania Naeem People, University Life, USGANovember 3, 20170 comments
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Scholarship Awards Recognize Up-and-Coming Health Services Researchers

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

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

Promoting Social Justice, Pharmacy Advocacy, and Public Health

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

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

Becoming Clinician-Researchers

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

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

Realizing a Lifelong Dream

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

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

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

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

Malissa Carroll

 

  
Malissa Carroll Education, People, UMB NewsNovember 1, 20170 comments
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Study Finds Link Between Antidepressants and Type 2 Diabetes in Youths

A team of researchers from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that current (prolonged) use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors — a major class of antidepressant medications — in children and adolescents was associated with a nearly twofold increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when compared to youths who formerly used (but eventually discontinued) those medications. Published in JAMA Pediatrics, this is the first population-based study that comprehensively examines pediatric patients’ risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after beginning treatment with an antidepressant.

“Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used psychotropic medication classes among youth in the United States, with serotonin reuptake inhibitors representing a majority of total antidepressant use in this population,” says Mehmet Burcu, PhD, a May 2017 graduate of the doctoral program housed within the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the School of Pharmacy, who led the study for his dissertation. “These findings provide new information on the risk of a rare but serious adverse outcome that is often difficult to assess in clinical trials due to limited sample size and inadequate follow-up.”

According to Burcu and his team, there has been a marked increase in the percentage of children and adolescents in the United States who use antidepressants over the past two decades — from 1.5 percent in 1996-1998 to 2.6 percent in 2010-2012. This increase has been largely driven by a rise in the number of antidepressants prescribed by pediatricians and other primary care providers. Although a number of studies have demonstrated a link between antidepressant use and risk for Type 2 diabetes in adults, evidence of a similar risk among children and adolescents remains limited.

For their study, Burcu and his team analyzed Medicaid administrative claim files for nearly 120,000 children and adolescents between the ages 5 of and 20 from California, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey, who initiated treatment with an antidepressant between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2009, for conditions such as depressive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety disorders. Medications that patients were prescribed included serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic or other cyclic antidepressants, and other antidepressants.

The team applied rigorous design and statistical approaches to compare incident cases of diabetes in current antidepressant users to former users, rather than non-users (children and adolescents who were never prescribed an antidepressant). “This approach represented a methodological strength of our study, as the comparison of current users to non-users could potentially lead to biased estimates due to several factors, such as confounding by indication and medical care utilization intensity bias,” Burcu says.

In its analysis, the team uncovered 233 incident cases of Type 2 diabetes, of which 156 occurred during current use and 77 occurred during former use of antidepressants, demonstrating that current use of antidepressants in children and adolescents was associated with a twofold increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In addition, within current users, the team assessed the risk of incident diabetes according to duration of use, cumulative dose, and average daily dose. This secondary analysis showed that the risk for children and adolescents who were prescribed serotonin reuptake inhibitors further intensified with an increasing duration of use (long-term use), cumulative dose, and average daily dose.

“The increased risk of Type 2 diabetes following prolonged use of serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants in youth is clearly supported by these findings, with the data showing a greater effect on those youths who were prescribed the medications over longer durations and at higher doses,” says Daniel J. Safer, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who has practiced for more than 40 years in the field of child psychiatry and is a co-author of the study. “We know that long-term use of these antidepressants is not without risk, and further research on outcomes, especially for current, long-term users, is warranted to assure a favorable benefit-risk balance for patients.”

“I am proud of Dr. Burcu’s ability to use the most sophisticated methods available to address the question of whether antidepressant use in children elevates their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes,” adds Julie Zito, BSPharm, PhD, professor in PHSR, who served as Burcu’s advisor and is a co-author on the study. “The nested cohort approach that he employed offers a fair comparison of those children who are currently using an antidepressant versus those children who previously used an antidepressant. It helps reduces bias in the research, which is often a challenge with safety studies such as this.”

Burcu and his colleagues hope their study paves the way for further research on the biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between antidepressant use and increased risk for Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, noting that their results can be used to spur policy development to improve patient monitoring and ensure these medications are used safely and effectively.

  
Malissa Carroll Research, UMB NewsOctober 23, 20170 comments
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Engaging Hepatitis C Patients to Improve Research Methods

When I joined the School of Pharmacy in 2014, my primary focus was on teaching pharmacy management and developing research skills in the area of economic evaluation. As a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), I enrolled in the PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) program at the school to become a pharmacoeconomist and build cost-effectiveness studies. However, I enrolled into the program at a time when the culture in research was beginning to shift, primarily because of extraordinary PHSR professors who knew that researchers could do a much better job systematically including the patient voice in our work.

Evaluating cost-effectiveness of hepatitis C treatments

Like any other graduate student, I dove into the literature around the new treatments for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). With help from Julia Slejko, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR, and C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR, I developed my first cost-effectiveness study for HCV treatments, but I fell into the trap of focusing on traditional methods that did not include patients.1 Although it was good experience for me to gain while learning this field, I knew there was much more to do.

Engaging patients to improve methods

After submitting my economic model, I spoke informally with Susan dosReis, BSPharm, PhD, and Eleanor Perfetto, PhD, MS, both professors in PHSR, about the lack of patient input in all of the HCV cost-effectiveness studies that I had reviewed. Without hesitation, Perfetto smiled and said, “There is your next paper.” So, we went to work. We systematically reviewed economic studies for HCV treatments and found that the inclusion of the patient voice has been limited in this area, to say the least.2

Submission to PCORI: It takes a village

One of the key lessons that I’ve learned over the past year is that most good research proposals require a team effort, and all researchers are influenced by the company they keep. With several faculty in the department having success with their contract submissions to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) – facilitated, in part, by the creation of the PATIENTS Program – a culture of authentic, patient-centered research has weaved throughout the school.

I recently had an opportunity to become the director of operations with the PATIENTS team, where I learned firsthand what it meant to “continuously engage” patients in every step of the research process.3 The natural progression for me was to submit a Pipeline to Proposal (P2P) Tier A award to PCORI, which would fund the work necessary to build relationships with patients in the West Baltimore community where the School of Pharmacy is located. I pitched an idea to leverage the Community Engagement Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to work with underserved patients as advisors to our research to Shyamasundaran Kottilil, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and renowned HCV clinician and researcher at the School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology (IHV). He immediately came on board.

With the support of Kottilil; Ashley Valis, executive director for strategic initiatives and community engagement at UMB; and Mullins, as director of the PATIENTS Program, our proposal was created and, fortunately, won over the reviewers at PCORI.

Now the real work begins

In our P2P, we aim to engage underserved HCV patients to inform and improve comparative effectiveness research for HCV interventions. We also plan to develop a blog that will target patients and researchers to disseminate our work in a way that is meaningful to both audiences. We want to bring patients, clinicians, and researchers to the same table to discuss research questions related to HCV treatment that matter most to patients. This multi-stakeholder approach will help us develop another research proposal that might be of interest to funding agencies such as PCORI, the National Institutes of Health, or the Food and Drug Administration. We’re excited to get started and can’t wait to see how the results of our work might impact future studies.

Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in PPS and PHSR graduate student

References

1 Mattingly TJ, Slejko JF, Mullins CD. Hepatitis C Treatment Regimens Are Cost-Effective: But Compared With What? Ann Pharmacother. 2017; online: July 1, 2017. doi:10.1177/1060028017722007.

2 Mattingly TJ, Perfetto EM, Johnson S. Engaging hepatitis C infected patients in cost-effectiveness analyses: A literature review. Hepatology. August 2017. doi:10.1002/hep.29482.

3 Mullins CD, Abdulhalim AM, Lavallee DC. Continuous Patient Engagement in Comparative Effectiveness Research. JAMA. 2012;307(15):1587-1588.

  
Joey Mattingly ResearchOctober 18, 20170 comments
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ATRIUM Patient Safety Continuing Education Webinar on Nov. 8

The ATRIUM Cardiology Collaborative at the School of Pharmacy will be holding its fall continuing education program Nov. 8. The session will be delivered in a live webinar format, and participants will have two opportunities to join  — from noon to 1 p.m. or from 7 to 8 p.m.

The featured topic will be “Cardiology Mythbusters: Volume 1” presented by Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA, associate professor of pharmacy practice and science and director of postgraduate Year 2 cardiology residency training at the School Pharmacy.

The purpose of this program is to educate pharmacists on four myths so they might address them in their practice and optimize medication therapy used to treat common cardiovascular disorders. This application-based educational activity is designed for pharmacists practicing in all settings and will count as patient safety continuing education credit.

The registration fee is $15. To register for this program, go to the Eventbrite website. For any questions, send an email to atrium@rx.umaryland.edu.

  
Erin Merino Education, PeopleOctober 17, 20170 comments
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School of Pharmacy Welcomes Students

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

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

Watch this video to see highlights from this exciting time.

 

 

  
Malissa Carroll Education, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 12, 20170 comments
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Pharmaceutical Sciences Takes Center Stage for University’s CURE Scholars

Local middle school students gain hands-on experience conducting fun-filled science experiments under supervision of faculty at the School of Pharmacy.

Students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) CURE Scholars Program visited the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy throughout the month of July to gain hands-on experience conducting research in the field of pharmaceutical sciences. The visits were organized by Lisa Jones, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School of Pharmacy, as part of her $1.1 million CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, which supports her ongoing work to develop a new method to study the structure of cell membrane proteins in the cellular environment.

“One of the key components of the CAREER Award is that the awardee not only conducts his or her own research, but also creates an education plan aimed at fostering the development of young researchers,” says Jones. “I was thrilled to have an opportunity to collaborate with the UMB CURE Scholars Program for my education plan, and offer local middle school students a chance to conduct hands-on research in a laboratory setting at the School. I hope their time with us helped them uncover a love of science as well as a desire to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).”

Training the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Established in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program prepares middle and high school students in Baltimore for competitive, lucrative, and rewarding research and health care careers at UMB and other health institutions in the region. The program is a partnership with three public schools in West Baltimore – Franklin Square Elementary and Middle School, Green Street Academy, and Southwest Baltimore Charter School – that provides career navigation, workforce training, and mentorship to underrepresented scholars at all stages or academic and career development.

More than 20 middle school students participating in the UMB CURE Scholars Programs visited the School of Pharmacy on July 6-7 and July 13-14, where they attended brief lectures and participated in hands-on experiments related to the lecture topics in one of the School’s state-of-the-art laboratories. Topics covered during the lectures included the role of DNA in cancer, the incidence of obesity in the United States, recombinant DNA technology, and protein-based drugs. In the lab, students had an opportunity to extract DNA from strawberries and kiwis, test calories in foods such as marshmallows and popcorn, and express and purify a protein in E. coli.

“Studies have indicated that middle school is the best time to capture students’ interest in STEM,” says Jones. “However, you will be hard-pressed to capture much interest by sitting students at a desk all day. The hands-on experiments that students conducted in our lab not only reinforced lessons from our lectures, but were also fun and gave them opportunities to engage with the material and learn from each other – opportunities that they might not have in a typical middle school science classroom.”

Bringing Lessons Learned Home

Students visiting the School on July 7 also had a chance to participate in a special activity hosted by Sarah Michel, PhD, professor in PSC. Inspired by the water crisis in Flint, Mich., Michel asked students to bring a sample of tap water from their homes to test for metal ions using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) – the same method used by researchers who tested the water in Flint – in the School’s Mass Spectrometry Center. With assistance from a postdoctoral fellow and two summer interns in Michel’s laboratory, the students tested and analyzed the levels of toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, as well as non-toxic metals such as iron, zinc, and copper, in their water samples.

“Most individuals likely assume that drinking water in the U.S. is safe regardless of where one lives,” says Michel. “The Flint water crisis was an eye-opening experience for many of us, but I hope that it can serve as an example to these students of how science can help solve real life problems. The scientists who brought to light the drinking water crisis in Flint used their expertise in analytical chemistry to help uncover the lead contamination in the water and, as a result, the city, state, and country took notice. Scientists helped solve this big problem, and I want to inspire the CURE scholars to pursue science and solve other big problems.”

After speaking with students in the program, it appears that both Jones and Michel’s messages are resonating.

“Before I joined the UMB CURE Scholars Program, I thought science was mostly about reading books,” says Tyler McKinsey, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Green Street Academy. “Now, I understand that there are a lot of opportunities for me in science. I like working with my partners on the different projects and knowing that, if my ideas aren’t working, they will have other ideas that we can test, since we’re all contributing to the same project. I’m also looking forward to becoming a surgeon.”

  
Malissa Carroll Community Service, Education, UMB NewsJuly 28, 20170 comments
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moving grooving feature

The Anatomy of a Community Health Fair – Lessons Learned

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.

In the early hours of May 31, 2017, a team of faculty and students from the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the School of Pharmacy arrived at Patterson Park in Baltimore to take part in the “Movin’ and Groovin’ for Good Health” health fair organized by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Each member of the team had a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff) handy, and by 10 a.m., a long line of individuals waiting to receive a blood pressure assessment and speak with trusted members of the Lamy Center team had formed under the merciless sun.

With the formation of a second line, all visitors had an opportunity to engage in deep conversations with members of the team about the many challenges associated with living with their specific illnesses and the best way to optimize their use of medications. The event did not pass without several lessons learned:

Never Forget That the Challenges of Older Adults Residing in the Community are Very Real

While music, dancing, and a jolly atmosphere saturated the surroundings, many of the older adult participants took time from their day to talk with us about their prescribed medications; recent hospitalizations and diagnoses; falls; challenges of living with hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, overactive bladder, and depression; issues with polypharmacy; and medication adherence – to name a few. They were seeking answers!

Building Strong, Meaningful Relationships with Community Partners Was Never More Fun

After having her blood pressure assessed at our table, the division chief of the Special Populations Unit for the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, posed for a picture and later shared these kind words, “Thank you so much for bringing your pharmacy students to our fitness event yesterday in Patterson Park. What an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of young people! The weather cooperated and the event was very successful. The participation of [The Peter Lamy Center at the] University of Maryland School of Pharmacy always adds greatly to our senior health education and promotion efforts and is greatly appreciated. I truly find it a pleasure to work with both you [Dr. Mansour] and Dr. Brandt. On behalf of Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, the Baltimore City Health Department, and Baltimore’s older adults, thank you again.”

To Have the Greatest Impact on the Health Education of the Community, Attend a Health Fair

Health fairs are a well-received intervention for community health programs, and their success can be traced back to 19th century county and state fairs. One will continue to learn many lessons about the needs of the communities and residents that they serve by attending these events – lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom or auditorium.

  
Daniel Mansour Clinical Care, Community ServiceJuly 24, 20170 comments
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Shark Tank Feature

Shark Tank Competition Celebrates Pharmapreneurial Innovation

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted a Shark Tank-style competition on June 15 to showcase the pharmapreneurial talent of faculty across its Departments of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR), Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), and Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC). The competition celebrated the School’s recently launched pharmapreneurism initiative, which describes its commitment to supporting and best positioning faculty, staff, and students to achieve their career aspirations and address the nation’s health care, research, policy, and societal needs, and awarded $50,000 to three winning teams – one team from each department – to help support their pioneering projects.

“Pharmapreneurism provides the School of Pharmacy with a mechanism through which we can capitalize on our entrepreneurial spirit to improve pharmaceutical research, practice, and education in the state of Maryland, the nation, and the world,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School. “I was awestruck by the amount of time, thought, and dedication that our faculty members put into their presentations for this Shark Tank-style competition. The innovative thinking demonstrated by our winning teams will undoubtedly drive additional pharmapreneurial endeavors across the School and help position us as the premier entrepreneurial pharmacy school in the nation.”

Access to Information

Wendy Camelo Castillo, MD, MSc, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR; Danya Qato, PharmD, MPH, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR; and Linda Simoni-Wastila, BSPharm, MSPH, PhD, the Parke-Davis Chair in Geriatric Pharmacotherapy and professor in PHSR, were the first to take a bite out of the competition with their proposal for a project that would link two national health and pharmaceutical claims datasets – Medicare and Medicaid – to help researchers better understand the course of pharmaceutical access, health care utilization patterns, and health outcomes among people with disabilities.

Their ultimate goal is to use the data to establish a multidisciplinary, patient-centered research collaborative within PHSR to identify disparities in access to and quality of care in patients with disabilities and design novel approaches to overcome those disparities.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as the winning team for our department in the School’s Shark Tank competition,” says Simoni-Wastila. “Our project truly embraces the spirit of pharmapreneurism and situates us to take the lead in informing policies and programs that support the hypervulnerable population of patients with disabilities. The unique linkage of Medicare and Medicaid datasets on the national scale will allow us to map the tremendous, yet neglected needs of this population and empower us to advocate for unified efforts to bridge the gaps in their care. We will establish the School of Pharmacy as a trailblazer in disabilities research.”

Interactive Learning

Kimberly Claeys, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in PPS; Emily Heil, PharmD, BCPS AQ-ID, AAHIVP, assistant professor in PPS; and Neha Sheth Pandit, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP, associate professor and vice chair for research and scholarship in PPS, also made a splash during the competition with their proposal to develop novel, engaging training tools for students studying the spectrum of antimicrobial activity and antimicrobial stewardship using an interactive app-based platform.

Antimicrobials include any substance that kills or stops the growth of microorganisms, but causes little or no damage to the host.

In their presentation, the team noted that although digital learning tools are currently in-demand, no such tools specific to the spectrum of antimicrobial activity exist. They suggested that once these tools are developed, they could be used as educational supplements at schools of pharmacy, medicine, and nursing nationwide, with the ultimate goal of increasing student knowledge.

“All of the proposals presented at the Shark Tank competition were phenomenal, so it is truly an honor to be named the winning team for our department,” says Claeys. “With bacteria continuing to develop resistance to even the strongest antibiotics available, antimicrobial stewardship is urgently needed to help guide appropriate antimicrobial use and prescribing in all health care settings. By developing a visual-based, interactive tool to serve students across all health professions who are studying the antimicrobial spectrum, we hope to position the School of Pharmacy as an innovator in the development of app-based learning tools.”

A New Center for Research

Lastly, Angela Wilks, PhD, and Sarah Michel, PhD, professors in PSC, proved they did not have to fish for compliments with their proposal to establish a new research center at the School of Pharmacy focused on metalloprotein (proteins that require a metal ion) and metallotherapeutics research. Aptly named the Metallotherapeutics Research Center (METRC), the center would aim to improve human health and welfare locally, nationally, and internationally by identifying new metalloprotein drug targets, developing new metal therapeutics, and improving current metal-based medications.

Presenting their proposal to the audience, Wilks and Michel noted that, although metalloproteins have been implicated in a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, their function and role in these illnesses remains largely unknown. METRC brings together the expertise of numerous faculty members from PSC to not only develop new metallotherapeutics, but also to train future scientists to meet the needs of industry and government agencies in this critical field.

“Having this opportunity to share an idea that has been on our minds for some time, and to discover that others find it just as exciting as we do was tremendously gratifying,” says Wilks. “Oftentimes, expertise in metalloproteins and metallotherapeutics is siloed in traditional chemistry and biochemistry departments, where there is no access to pharmacologists, toxicologists, and pharmaceutical scientists. By disrupting this discipline-centric approach to academic departments and centers, METRC not only addresses a gap in the area of drug development and regulatory sciences, but will also position the School of Pharmacy as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in research on metals in medicine and the environment.”

Each winning team received $50,000 to help fund its proposed pharmapreneurial project. Other faculty members who participated in the competition included Susan dosReis, BSPharm, PhD, professor in PHSR; Ebere Onukwugha, MS, PhD, associate professor in PHSR; Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, professor in PPS; Vijay Ivaturi, MS, PhD, assistant professor in PPS; Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in PPS; Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA, associate professor in PPS; Bruce Yu, PhD, professor in PSC; and James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics in PSC.

  
Malissa Carroll Education, Research, Technology, UMB NewsJuly 21, 20170 comments
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When the Trainees Become the Leaders

By: Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, Professor in PPS

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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 developed the world’s first Post-Graduate Year 2 (PGY-2) Pharmacy Practice Residency in Palliative Care in 1997. Ten years later, it is still going strong. Palliative care, which includes hospice care, aims to improve the quality of life for patients and their families affected by serious illness. It addresses pain and suffering, including physical, psychosocial, and spiritual care. As the program’s director, I am inordinately proud of this program, its 21 graduates, and the two residents who just started their journey with us earlier this month.

A New Generation of Palliative Care Practitioners

Perhaps one of the most gratifying aspects of my role as the program’s director is being able to witness the maturation of new residents into caring, seasoned practitioners over the course of just one year. It fills me with tremendous joy to see where our graduates have taken their careers and how, in Johnny Appleseed fashion, they have spread the word and practice of “pharmacopalliation” across the country through their work at schools of pharmacy, tertiary care centers, primary care, the Food and Drug Administration, and other organizations. I always warn my residents that they will never get away from me, and I continue to interact with them long after they have completed our program. In fact, some of them are now teaching in the School’s new, online Master of Science and Graduate Certificate Program in Palliative Care.

However, our residents have not only attained impactful positions in the field, but also achieved many honors and awards. One example is our most recent residency graduate, Kelly Mendoza, PharmD, who developed an online educational program focused on the use of medical cannabis in relieving pain and other troubling symptoms in advanced illness.

Questions that Need Answers

As many people are aware, cannabis has been legalized for medicinal and/or recreational purposes across more than half of the country, despite still being scheduled as an illegal controlled substance at the federal level. Understandably, this results in quite a bit of confusion among practitioners. About 18 months ago, a hospice nurse from Oregon contacted me. “Here’s my question,” she said. “If I’m making a home visit to a patient using medical cannabis in front of me, will I be safe to drive to my next patient’s house?” That’s a great question, I thought. The more we discussed it, the more it became evident that this nurse, as well as other hospice and palliative care practitioners, had many questions about medical cannabis.

After briefly discussing this issue, Mendoza decided that she wanted to rectify this lack of education among health care professionals in hospice and palliative care. Using solid principles of instructional design, Mendoza conducted an educational needs assessment, identifying six core domains of knowledge where hospice and palliative care practitioners wished to develop competence.

Based on this needs assessment, Mendoza developed a three-module online educational activity for hospice and palliative care professionals. She developed a pre- and post-course assessment to evaluate practitioners’ attitudes, self-perceived skill, and knowledge in the six core content areas. The results were very impressive – participants felt all six content areas were very important before and after taking the course. Self-perceived competence in all domains increased dramatically, as well as knowledge – all to a statistically significant degree.

Results that Resonate

Mendoza submitted her research project as a poster presentation to the International Conference on Opioids, which was accepted and presented in June. There were many impressive poster presentations at this well-attended international meeting, and Mendoza was delighted to learn that her poster was one of three selected as “Best of Show,” and would be spotlighted in an oral presentation to the entire assembly on the last day of the meeting.

I am so proud of Mendoza and her research project on multiple levels. Research that is practical, such as this project, is prized above all else. Mendoza conducted a comprehensive assessment – an often-overlooked step – and delivered a highly user-friendly educational intervention. She showed very positive outcomes, which will hopefully result in the appropriate use of medical cannabis in the future and enhanced pain and symptom management of terminally ill patients.

Congratulations to Mendoza on the successful execution of a highly relevant and practical research project that resulted in humbling recognition at an international pain conference!  We will miss her as she moves back to the west coast in July to continue her career, but we know she will take a little bit of the University of Maryland with her.

  
Mary Lynn McPherson EducationJuly 12, 20170 comments
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Buterbaugh

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

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

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

Remembering His Students

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

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

Making Memories Outside the Classroom

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

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

Helping Others Through Hardships

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

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

Leaving an Enduring Legacy

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

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

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

  
Malissa Carroll Bulletin Board, Education, People, UMB NewsJune 30, 20170 comments
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CERSI Conference

Patient-Centric Drug Development Conference

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy welcomed more than 150 researchers from across academia, government, and industry to Pharmacy Hall in May for “Dissolution and Translational Modeling Strategies Enabling Patient-Centric Product Development,” a multiday conference organized by the University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI) in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To help address regulatory agencies’ need for a patient-centric assessment of drug product quality in today’s global pharmaceutical environment, the conference featured numerous presentations and breakout sessions that aimed to help attendees better understand the use of dissolution and modeling/simulation approaches in drug product approvals and highlight novel approaches for developing new dissolution testing methods.

“Ensuring quality over the course of a drug product’s life cycle can be challenging,” said James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School of Pharmacy and co-principal investigator for M-CERSI. “The organizers of this conference worked tirelessly to put together an event that I am confident will facilitate many fruitful discussions and help advance our collective understanding of the role of dissolution testing in promoting drug product development and assessment. My special thanks to Dr. Sandra Suarez Sharpe for her efforts to organize the FDA’s participation in this workshop, as well as to the regulatory representatives from Europe, Canada, and Japan who attended our event.”

Meeting a Critical Need

Drug dissolution testing is an analytical test used to detect physical changes in a drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredient as well as in the finished drug product. It is a requirement for all solid oral dosage forms and provides researchers in regulatory agencies and industry with important in vitro (outside of a living organism) drug release information for both quality control and drug development purposes.

Because it is a key enabler of drug product development and often required by regulatory agencies such as the FDA to justify certain process and formulation changes, effective strategies for developing in vitro dissolution testing methods and establishing corresponding acceptance criteria to ensure product quality are needed throughout a product’s life cycle. However, recent advances in formulation and manufacturing technologies, evolving regulatory expectations, and the development of new testing methods have resulted in inconsistencies in dissolution terminology, limitations for the current regulatory framework, and a lack of understanding on how to effectively implement in vitro and in silico (computer-simulated) approaches to advance product understanding.

“Over the past two decades, we have identified a number of issues related to dissolution testing that remain relevant today,” said Lawrence Yu, PhD, deputy office director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the FDA, in his opening remarks. “My hope is that this conference becomes a starting point for discussions about how we can make progress in this field. Whether it is in how we collect our data or leverage new mathematical modeling approaches, there are many opportunities of which we can take advantage.”

Seeking Opportunities, Overcoming Challenges

The conference kicked-off with a day of presentations and breakout sessions dedicated to helping attendees better understand the role of dissolution testing in drug product development and as a quality control test. Presenters spoke about the challenges and opportunities that currently exist in the development of new in vitro testing methods to guide product development as well as the justification of quality control method conditions and acceptance criteria.

“Product quality is truly the foundation on which safety and efficacy rests,” said Sarah Pope Miksinski, PhD, office director for CDER at the FDA. “Think about the parent who is awake at 3 a.m. looking for a medication for his or her sick child. That parent is not thinking about the quality of that medication at that moment. He or she expects that the medication will work exactly as its intended. That is a really powerful concept, and it is inherent on us as regulators to remember individuals like that parent, and to make the right decisions using the best available evidence as we review and approve new medications for consumer use.”

During the second day, attendees learned more about the need to establish an in vitro-in vivo (inside of a living organism) link for dissolution testing, including novel approaches and in silico tools currently used in the development of dissolution and permeability testing. The conference concluded on the third day with a discussion of the regulatory applications for dissolution testing.

“This conference truly exceeded my expectations,” said Rob Ju, PhD, head of dissolution sciences for AbbVie. “I am thrilled to have been involved in the many meaningful, logical discussions held over the past three days and cannot wait to attend the next workshop. The knowledge that I gained here will certainly have a lasting impact on my work.”

“All of us attended this conference because we care about patients,” added Andreas Abend, PhD, director at Merck. “Patients rely on the quality of the medications that we develop, and it is our responsibility to ensure that those products work every time they are consumed. It is also symbolic that this event was held at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. When you enter a university, you are most likely there to teach or to learn. I think that approach can be applied to many of our attendees – we are all here to learn, to teach, and to influence the direction in which science will lead us.”

Support for the conference was provided in part by AbbVie, Merck, and Novartis.

  
Malissa Carroll ABAE, Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, People, Research, UMB NewsJune 28, 20170 comments
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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network: Funding Your Innovation

Join the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network (EIN) for lunch and a talk on funding your innovative idea or startup.

The session will include ways to bring money in for exploring an innovative idea or building your business. Speakers will include successful entrepreneurs with experience raising money for their biotechnology ventures. Cosponsored by USGA, BHI, and EAGB. Food will be served.

  
Alex Meltzer Bulletin Board, Education, People, Technology, UMB News, USGAJune 21, 20170 comments
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