Pharmacy Student Spotlight: Jason Miller ’14

Miller receives his lapel pin from the Pacific Alumni Association at the Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony 2011.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Jason Miller ‘14 moved to the United States in 2005 as a senior in high school. After graduation, he studied at St. Philips College and later at University of Texas at San Antonio where he earned his bachelor of science in biology. He is currently a member of the doctor of pharmacy class of 2014.

At a young age, Miller knew he wanted to pursue a career in healthcare and found pharmacy to be the ideal career. He wanted to find a career where he can help others and have the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives. Miller considers his mother to be one of his role models and feels she is the “epitome of a hard worker and strives to put others, especially her patients, above her own needs”. His mother is the supervisor of the specialty medications department at a mail order pharmacy in Texas.

Miller is also self-driven and finds motivations in his life to inspire him to work hard. “Growing up in Jamaica, resources were limited in comparison to the US and I figured from an early age that if I have the opportunity to do remarkable things, then I need to appreciate that opportunity and always strive to be the best,” he said.

Prior to coming to Pacific, Miller was already serving as a leader in his community. He co-founded the Pre-Pharmacy club at St. Philips College where he held the position as the Public Relations Officer. In addition, he continues to serve as a mentor and moderator for the Student Doctor Network (SDN), an online forum where potential students, professional students and residents can gain insight and knowledge about various practice settings, clinical topics related to patient care, application processes for professional schools and residency programs, tips for interviewing, etc. “I’ve always tried to be involved as much as possible and that is one of the things I am most proud of,” commented Miller.

Miller shows off his Tiger pride at an outreach event.

At Pacific, Miller serves as the President of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA – ASP) and is a member of the Phi Delta Chi pharmacy fraternity. Miller says his desire to get more involved in school and the profession and growing his networking opportunities motivated him to run for office as APhA-ASP President. One of his goals is to inspire and encourage more students to become involved in at both the local, state, and national level.

“It is important to get involved early. Pharmacy is a small world and the sooner an individual can distinguish themselves from their peers, the better prepared they will be,” says Miller.

As the APhA-ASP President, he will lead his executive board in celebrating the annual American Pharmacists Month (APhM) in October. Miller and his team hope to highlight the roles of pharmacists, why it is so important for pharmacists to be involved in all aspects of patient care, and how beneficial pharmacists can be in reducing healthcare costs through their advertising campaign. One of the ways they hope to celebrate APhM is by creating a billboard that will be located off Highway 80-E in Sacramento. This billboard is projected to reach at least five million people throughout October. If you are in the San Joaquin Valley during October, also be on the lookout for advertisements in the movie theaters!

Miller loves to cook Jamaican food, when he can find time to, travel, and is the pickiest person you will ever meet; he will only eat chicken breast. “My friends give me a hard time about that one,” says Miller.


Pharmacy Student Spotlight: Xiaoyuan Han ’14

Earlier this year, Pacific hosted its 14th Annual Pacific Research Day where Xiaoyuan Han ’14 received the Excellence Award for the Stockton Campus Student Presentations for her presentation titled “Gender difference in aortic endothelial function of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats: possible involvement of protein kinase C beta and nitric oxide production”.

Han earned her bachelor of science degree in pharmacy and her master of science in pharmacology from China Pharmaceutical University. She is currently a third-year student in the pharmaceutical and chemical sciences program.

“Since I was very young I have been interested in life sciences which inspired me to major in pharmacy,” said Han.

Her research interests include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, endocrine, and immunology. Han hopes to become a scientist and work in a research institution or research and development department at a pharmaceutical company after graduation. Her dream is to become a successful scientist where she can “contribute to the discovery of effective therapeutic medicine”.

When Han is not spending time in the classrooms or research lab, she enjoys watching “The Big Bang Theory” and discussing natural phenomena with her friends, especially during long trips. She is also known as the “BBQ president” because of her love for barbeque events during her time as president of Pacific‘s American Association of Pharmaceutical Science chapter. Han is also a musician; she started playing the accordion when she was eight years old.


Physical Therapy Student Spotlight: Lorene Young ’13

For Lorene Young ’13, majoring in physical therapy was just another avenue for her to continue doing what she enjoyed most – being active in sports related activities. Growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Young spent much of her time outdoors participating in activities such as white water rafting, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. At age 10, she got involved with cross-country and track and continued to stay active through her college years at Oregon State University (OSU).

She graduated from OSU with a bachelor of science in exercise and sports science with a minor in psychology. She is currently in Pacific’s doctor of physical therapy program.

Young chose Pacific for its family-like atmosphere. She also believes that the program is unique for the cohesiveness of the students and their overall goal to provide the best patient care. “As students, we understand that we are in this together and will help each other out in any way possible so that our future patients will be getting the best care we are capable of giving,” said Young.

As an athlete, Young spent countless hours in the training room to either receive treatment for her injuries or to prevent future ones from occurring. She says her athletic trainers inspired her to pursue a career in rehabilitation and when she knew she didn’t want to work solely with athletes, she started observing physical therapists.

“Each observation experience was a confirmation that I could enjoy physical therapy as a career. Not only did I find the science behind physical therapy to be very interesting, I also found it to be fulfilling because it gave patients an opportunity to return to whatever makes them happy,” commented Young.

A doctor of physical therapy degree is just the beginning with countless career development opportunities. With that in mind, Young has set out to discover a physical therapy setting that would be the best fit for her after graduation. Her experiences in physical therapy are in an outpatient orthopedic setting and a neurological acute rehabilitative setting.

“I am interested in an outpatient orthopedic setting but I am also currently doing volunteer work with two patients who have had spinal cord injuries. These patients have really inspired me to work in the neurological acute rehab setting. In fact my last clinical experience was in this exact setting and I absolutely loved it. So, we will see what the future brings!”, says Young.

Living an active lifestyle, Young has been able to accomplish some of her personal goals. She did the tallest tandem sky dive in the world at 15,000 feet, bungee jumped, was the team captain for the cross-country and track team at OSU and was one of the top 10 runners for the 10K, 5K, and indoor 3K competitions. She also studied abroad in New Zealand at the University of Otago and had the opportunity to stay with a Maori tribe on their Marae (sacred meeting place).

Young and her class are planning the annual 5K Tiger Dash and ½ mile Cub Run scheduled for Saturday, October 6, 2012 at University of Pacific, main campus. To support the students and register for the event, visit



Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Spotlight: Gretchen VanMiddlesworth ’98

Gretchen VanMiddlesworth ’98 and Orna Kempler-Azulay ’98 were classmates and friends while attending Pacific’s master of arts in communicative disorders program. They both graduated from Pacific in 1998. After Orna moved to Pennsylvania, she founded Abington Speech Language Pathology Service, Inc. (ASPS) in 1999. Orna invited Gretchen to join ASPS in 2006 as the West Coast Clinical Director. Gretchen brought to ASPS healthcare experience in outpatient, acute care, acute rehabilitation, home-health, and sub-acute settings. Gretchen also worked in public schools with elementary school-aged children.

Abington Speech Pathology Services, Inc. is a contracting agency serving the Philadelphia Tri-State area as well as Los Angeles and Orange Counties in Southern California. Abington offers the following services: speech pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, educational psychology, and teaching of the visually and hearing impaired. Abington currently has 160 therapist/contractors in both educational and medical settings.

As the West Coast Clinical Director, Gretchen says that she loves to hire Pacific graduates. When she hears that a Pacific graduate is moving to Southern California, she gets in touch with them. “Every time I see Pacific on a resume—I say to myself, I’m going to get them!” Gretchen exclaimed. Over the last six years Gretchen has hired eight Pacific speech-language pathology gradudates for Abington. Two alumni are currently employed; one in a hospital setting, and one at a school and hospital. “Pacific grads are truly different. They are well-spoken, very professional, extremely educated, well-prepared, and informed”, Gretchen stated.

Orna, Abington President, says, “We know the education Pacific graduates possess. It is consistent and of high quality. When they come to us we help them grow professionally.”

In March of this year, Gretchen, Orna, and fellow alumna Amy Reeves ’05, who is also an Abington employee, hosted a dinner for graduating speech-language pathology students. “We gave a three hour talk, reviewed resumes, interviews, and explained each setting. My big advice to students would be to not feel locked into one place. You will do yourself a disservice if you think you have to stay. Speech-language pathologists have so many other opportunities!” Gretchen explained. She went on to say, “Contracting with Abington brings a variety of experiences.

Danielle Sartori ’04, ’06 Wins Gold in Water Polo

Danielle Sartori ’04, ’06 always had a passion for improving athletic performance, including her own in swimming and water polo. This passion pushed Sartori forward through her academic career at Pacific. She graduated from Pacific with her bachelor of arts in sports medicine in 2004 and then went on to receive her doctorate in physical therapy in 2006. After graduating, she was a trainer at Lodi Physical Therapy and Lodi’s Pursue Ultimate Muscle Performance (PUMP) Institute since 2010, while continuing to volunteer as an assistant coach with the water polo team at Pacific.

Sartori’s passion and competitiveness continued to drive her, as she started to train for the 14th Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) Masters World Championships in Riccione, Italy. She participated in July, with the Olympic Club of San Francisco in the 30+ women’s division and helped them take first place. “I usually practice by playing with the University of the Pacific’s women’s water polo team at their weekend practices. I stay involved with water polo by coaching and have been the volunteer assistant coach at Pacific for the last five seasons. In addition, I try to stay fit by running, riding my road bike, and lifting weights two to three times per week,” said Sartori.

Receiving the gold at this competition made everything worthwhile for Sartori. “It was the best 30th birthday present ever. I was also lucky enough to have my mom and a family friend there with me which made it even better. After the game my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told her that nothing compares to receiving a gold medal and representing the USA, California, San Francisco, and University of the Pacific,” she said.

Sartori is currently a Senior Staff Therapist, Sports Performance Director, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the PUMP Institute. She is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and has been the secretary for the Pacific Physical Therapy Alumni Association since 2011. Sartori won’t be slowing down anytime soon, as she continues to strive for higher goals going forward. “Professionally I have been looking into becoming an APTA Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist and continuing to build the health and wellness side of physical therapy at PUMP. As for polo I plan to continue training hard, playing with the Olympic Club of San Francisco, and coaching. We plan to go to Montreal, Canada to defend our world champion title in 2014,” says Sartori.


Speech-Language Pathology Student Spotlight: Kelsie Brucia ’13

Kelsie Brucia ‘13 came to Pacific for reasons shared by many students – a program that is accelerated and focuses on shaping students into trained and prepared individuals for the real world. “Throughout my time at Pacific, I have made personal and professional growth. The faculty and staff provide encouragement, confidence, and knowledge to their students and fully prepared us for every aspect of this field,” says Brucia.

Brucia earned her bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders at California State University at Fullerton and is currently in the speech-language pathology class of 2013. When she entered CSU Fullerton, she initially chose to study child development because she was sure she wanted to teach first grade. During one of her classroom observations, Brucia took one of her children to speech therapy and realized speech therapy was what she wanted to do.

“I absolutely fell in love with the field,” she said.

The speech-language pathology graduate program further confirmed her interest in the field. Brucia recalled being “overwhelmed with so many feelings” at her first day of clinicals at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorder Center but felt “a sense of accomplishment and confidence” once the therapy session was done.

Her successes didn’t come without challenges. During her undergraduate years, she was once told she would never get into graduate school. “If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to never give up. I decided at that moment that I would never let somebody tell me I couldn’t do something. I worked and studied harder than I thought was possible and proved to myself that I could do it,” commented Brucia.

She also finds inspiration and motivation from her mother. Her mother is her “biggest fan” and believed in her when she didn’t believe in herself. At School, Brucia found comfort in her program and felt each faculty member truly cared about the students but Professor Simalee Smith-Stubblefield ‘83 “made me feel welcome and at home. She creates such a positive atmosphere and inspires me to become the best speech therapist I can be”, she added.

Brucia also finds inspiration through her clients. She described an adult client who had an “uplifting personality” and was so “determined to make progress that he had multiple speech therapy sessions in one day”. Her client’s dedication to making progress made her feel “honored and privileged” to be his speech therapist.

After graduation, Brucia hopes to spend a few years in a hospital environment then later in a school environment or open up a private practice to serve underprivileged families.

Brucia was born and raised in Fairfield, California and grew up playing many sports including competitive soccer, softball, dance/cheer, cross-country, and more. She trained on an Olympic development soccer team. While at Fullerton, she also worked at Disneyland for six years as Tinkerbell, a parade dancer, acrobat, and guest relations hostess. Brucia has traveled to Japan, England, France, and Canada. Her family owns an opera house in Italy.


Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Host Welcome Back Dinner

On August 29, 2012, the Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Association (PSLPAA) hosted the Welcome Back Dinner for students, faculty, and alumni. The Welcome Back Dinner was an opportunity for alumni to welcome the students and faculty back to campus and offer Roundtable Sessions.

The Roundtable Sessions, coordinated and hosted by alumni and friends, offered students helpful hints and insights in preparation for clinicals. Some of the topics discussed included Articulation Errors Other Than “R”, Autism, Thematic Early Intervention, and more.

Joan Eberhardt-Snider ’93 shows the students how to incorporate the “iPad” into clinicals.

“The Roundtable sessions were very informative; I especially liked the “Autism” session because I have limited interaction with children with Autism and course information regarding techniques used with children on the spectrum,” said Lucy Pacheco ‘12, ‘13.

“I believe it’s crucial to keep ourselves informed about updated treatment strategies because we will bring flexibility, creativity, and resources into our clinic experience as well as set a foundation for our workforce,” she added.

“We wanted to create an event that was meaningful for the both the students and the alumni. The event was a success,” commented Harriet Doyle ‘73.

The planning committee included Joan Eberhardt-Snider ‘93, Heidi Germino ‘92, Nancy Harlow ‘06, and Benjamin Reece ‘01, ‘08.


Students and Donors Honored at Annual Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony

Every year the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences hosts the annual Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony to honor students and donors. More than 100 students were recognized for their academic excellence and awarded with nearly $400,000 in scholarships.

The awards are made based on a combination of factors, including financial need, demonstrated academic excellence, and the nature of the academic program. Scholarships assist to bridge the financial gap and help students achieve their educational and professional goals.

Nguyen and Cassie Hu ’14 enjoy the reception with Drs. Rajul ’01, ’06 and Annie ’01 Patel

“In addition to helping me reduce the amount of loans I need to take out, scholarships are genuine encouragement and motivation to move forward in my goal of becoming a great community pharmacist,” says Lana Nguyen ’14. Nguyen was the recipient of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation Pharmacy Partners Scholarship and the Arvind and Kumud Patel Pharmacy Scholarship.

A reception was held following the ceremony, allowing students and donors to connect and share their stories.



Student Pharmacists Make Online Rounds for the ACCP Clinical Challenge

The Northern California College of Clinical Pharmacy committee recently hosted the local American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Clinical Challenge on July 5, 2012. Six teams comprised of 18 students competed to answer questions about clinical pharmacy and therapeutics.

Toby Chang ‘13, Lisa (Xiaowen) Jiang ‘13 and Aileen Auyeung ‘13 will be representing Pacific in September during the online rounds of the ACCP Clinical Challenge. To prepare for the competition, the group highlighted topics that will be covered and have divided the academic resource books amongst themselves; each person responsible for reading and reviewing four books.

“We have a strong team; we all have strengths in different areas of study and together we are able to work efficiently and well under pressure,” says Auyeung.

Eligible teams will compete in up to four online rounds, with the top eight teams advancing to the live quarterfinal competition at the 2012 ACCP Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida, this October. Last year, Pacific was among the eight teams who advanced to the semifinals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Each team advancing to the quarterfinal round held at the ACCP Annual Meeting will receive three paid-in-full student registrations. Each team member will receive an ACCP gift certificate for $125 and a certificate of recognition. In addition to the above, semifinal teams not advancing to the final round will receive a semifinal team plaque for display at their institution. The second-place team will receive a $750 cash award and a commemorative team plaque. The winning team will receive a $1500 cash award and each team member will receive a commemorative plaque. A team trophy will be awarded to the winning institution.

“It’s important to participate in this competition because it helps me review materials taught in school as well as expand my scope of knowledge in materials not taught in school (i.e. pediatrics). The competition will also help me polish up on my clinical knowledge in preparation for my upcoming rotations,” commented Auyeung.


Student Pharmacists Travel to Egypt for 58th IPSF World Congress

Pacific students pause for a photo at the World Congress.

After hosting a successful International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) Pacific Without Borders event on July 9, 2012, Susan Deng ’14 and 11 student pharmacists packed their suitcases for Egypt to attend the 58th IPSF World Congress. The event was held from August 1 – 11, 2012.

“I chose to attend the international conference because it was an opportunity to learn more about IPSF and pharmacy on an international level. I also wanted to gain more experience and knowledge to bring back and share with peers at Pacific,” said Deng.

The program included an educational symposium, a scientific symposium, workshops, general assemblies, a patient counseling competition, a public health campaign and social events. Deng and the Pacific students participated in several events like the scientific symposium and the public health campaign. Adaeze Okeh ‘14, Van Duong ‘13, and Deng presented their research about language barriers in the pharmacy setting at the scientific symposium where they won third place in the poster competition.

“I benefited the most from just talking to other students. The best part of World Congress was meeting everyone from around the world and sharing our views and ideas of pharmacy. It was amazing talking to and learning from international students because they come from such different and diverse backgrounds,” commented Deng.

Deng also enjoyed International Night where she had an opportunity to sample food and drinks from around the world.

Samples at the USA Table for International Night

The 59th IPSF World Congress will be held in the Netherlands in the summer of 2013.

“World Congress was an amazing and unforgettable experience! I would highly recommend students to attend,” said Deng.



NCCCP Inagural PharmD Research Day a Success

The four person committee that constitutes the Pacific Northern California College of Clinical Pharmacy (NCCCP) successfully hosted the inaugural PharmD Research Day on July 9, 2012. PharmD Research Day, the first of its kind at the School, was organized by Lisa (Xiaowen) Jiang ’13 and Abigail Kurtz ’13 “to inspire students to look into research and make them aware of what research has to offer”.

Students and faculty were invited to participate and submit poster presentations that have been in development in the last year and a half. Sixteen posters were presented at the event which represented the hard work of nearly 50 students and eight faculty members. The posters covered research topics such as Medicare Part D, immunizations, Medication Therapy Management (MTM), asthma, smoking cessation, human stem cells, and more.

Many of the posters have been accepted or are in the process of being accepted at national conferences. Kurtz hopes that students also took this opportunity to “enhance their communication skills and practice their presentation for the conferences”.

Dr. Sachin Shah, faculty judge, talks with student presenters at the event.

Participating in academic research is a skill highly recognized inside and outside of academia and gives students hands-on experience and a greater understanding of what they are studying. “Students are not fully aware of the types of research in pharmacy practice versus a research lab and we hope this event will expose them to it,” says Kurtz.

NCCCP is dedicated to educating students about the advancement in the profession, opportunities in residency, and specialized board certifications. NCCCP mirrors American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s (ACCP) commitment to excellence in patient care, research and education, and passion for extending the frontiers of clinical pharmacy.

They would like to give special thanks to first year co-chairs, Elizna Van Zyl ’14 and Randall Mello ’14, Dr. William Kehoe ’96 and Dr. Rajul Patel ’01, ’06. This event was sponsored by the Flowers Heritage Foundation.



Dr. Donald Shirachi ’60 Celebrates His 80th Birthday

Dr. Donald Y. Shirachi ‘60, Professor Emeritus, recently celebrated his 80th birthday at the Morada home of Fred ‘74 and Karen Norman.  Alumni and faculty guests included Herb ‘61 and Gloria Low of Los Banos and Newark; Mitch ‘74 and Mary ‘73 Hoggard of Chico; and Jim, Professor Emeritus, and Lola Blankenship of Stockton. Barbara, from Dr. Shirachi’s University of California, San Francisco post–doctoral days, and Ron Jacobs of Clayton also joined in the festivities.

Dr. Shirachi is currently collaborating with Dr. Ray Quock, former Pacific faculty, at Washington State University studying the neuropharmacological effects of hyperbaric oxygen in acute and neuropathic pain. He also enjoys travel at home and abroad, visiting family and friends.

Every year, Dr. Shirachi awards an annual pharmacy scholarship in memory of his parents, the George and Mickie Shirachi Memorial Scholarship at the School.

Happy Birthday Dr. Shirachi!