Election Day Gives Opportunity to Improve Health

Pacific Student Pharmacist Advocacy Coalition (SPAC) hosted two health fairs on November 6, 2012, Election Day, where student pharmacists offered their assistance to people within the Stockton and Sacramento communities. The health fairs were organized by Scott Harada ’14 and Jag Chauhan ’14 along with pharmacy students from University of the Pacific and California Northstate University in Sacramento, California. In addition to providing general pharmacy information, the health fair also offered several types of screenings such as: bone mineral density, blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart burn. Harada managed the fair at University of Pacific in the DeRosa University Center, while Chauhan took a handful of Pacific students and headed to Sacramento.

Student pharmacist administer health screening to election day voter.

The initial plan for the health fair on campus had student pharmacists approach voters and offer them free screening services. “Using the voter booth as the gateway, we approached community members and asked if they were interested in getting their cholesterol checked. I was surprised by the reaction of how many people were interested in getting a screening and health information. There were around 26 students involved with the health fair on campus and 15 students in Sacramento. I feel that we had the correct amount of services, but I would like to have immunizations for the next health fair,” said Harada.

Both health fairs had a successful turnout and received positive feedback from people within the community. “We screened about 180 people at the community center in Sacramento. The community was very appreciative of the services that were offered. I had many people thanking me and other students for the services we provided. I was told by the administration of the community center that many people called in regarding free flu shots, screening services and when these services would be available to them,” said Chauhan. The health fair on Pacific campus gained media attention from the Stockton Record, Good Day Sacramento and KTXL FOX40. “The media representatives were extremely friendly and we even gave them diabetes and cholesterol screenings. The media coverage helped encourage community members to attend our health fair in Sacramento,” commented Harada.

Student involvement from both schools played a key role in structuring these health fairs. Cultivating new relationships and establishing new contacts created a successful outcome for the health fair. Hopefully this health fair will encourage first year students to engage with the community. “Students should be involved with these types of events because it will open their eyes regarding the health disparities in underserved communities,” said Chauhan. Although the success for these health fairs gained tremendous exposure from media coverage, both Chauhan and Harada had other visions to help improve future health fairs. Chauhan explained, “I would like to see this event at a larger venue, and with more partners and sponsors.” Harada mentioned his original location for the fair was Downtown Stockton because he thought it would be more accessible for local community members. While this may be a part of planning going forward, Harada would like to continue working with Sacramento pharmacy students. He stated, “I would love to collaborate again with California Northstate University. Pacific students had fun and met a lot of new faces in Sacramento. I think this is something we will continue to do for future health fairs.”


Rho Pi Phi Expands Its Outreach to Lodi

For many people, Saturday mornings are spent sleeping in or catching up on mid-morning cartoons on television. For the brothers of Rho Pi Phi and the many volunteer student pharmacists of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the morning of Saturday September 22, 2012 was dedicated to extending a helping hand to those in need.

Dr. John Medina ‘12 supervises student pharmacists as they administer blood glucose tests. Photo by Jessica Liang ‘14.

Since our first health fair, the Living Hope Health Fair, which was planned in conjunction with the Bread of Life program this past June, Rho Pi Phi has been committed to providing as many accessible health services to the community at large as possible. Those who are not informed enough about their health or cannot afford medical attention are often times overlooked by other healthcare providers. With this population in mind, Rho Pi Phi partnered with the Lodi Chamber of Commerce to bring the knowledge, services, and care of our student pharmacists to the Lodi 2nd Annual Health and Wellness Family Festival.

The festival was held in breathtaking Lodi Lake Park. Rho Pi Phi provided 85 blood glucose and 30 blood pressure screenings. With our combined efforts, over 400 participants attended the event and were able to utilize the services provided by pharmacists, student pharmacists, and volunteers.

Rho Pi Phi would like to thank all the committees, organizations, and fraternities that were present to provide education and health services to the Lodi community and its neighbors. We would like to extend our gratitude to our knowledgeable alumni who volunteered their time to precept for this health fair. Let us all continue to serve those who are underserved and extend our expertise and profession to benefit humankind!


NCPA Convention San Diego

On October 13, 2012, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) held the 114th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition. This five day event featured several keynote speakers and independent pharmacy owners who provided insight on practices, care, products and other advice for the community pharmacy business. NCPA represents pharmacy owners, managers, and employees of independent community pharmacies across the United States. For NCPA Pacific President Deborah Pardo ’14, the timing was perfect because the event was held in San Diego, California. “We had about 40 students attend this convention. It was just after mid-terms and everything worked out for us. This was a great opportunity for students to network with professionals,” commented Pardo.

Pardo acknowledged that NCPA is for the students interested in community pharmacy; an association for students to learn, network and identify key successes in independent pharmacy. She says, “Students who want to be entrepreneurs in the profession or work in the community should definitely think about being a part of NCPA. This convention is national, unlike many other chapters that are California based, so there are several students from out of state that attended. Pacific students can meet students from other schools and expand their networks with independent pharmacists in the field. These events are encouraging because the number of independent pharmacies are decreasing. These events show that independent pharmacy still has a place. I think as long as we keep changing the way we do things in community pharmacies we can prove that we are still worth it.”

Pacific students that attended the convention took part in the NCPA business plan competition. Pardo explained, “In this competition, students must build a blueprint for a pharmacy from scratch or create a plan to buy out an existing pharmacy. Students create an actual financial plan and talk about the demographics of their patients. There is a lot of research and work that goes into planning. Students are writing an actual plan that could be implemented tomorrow.” Going into the convention, Pacific was listed in the top three teams and students presented their business plan to the panel of judges. “Pacific came in second place at the NCPA convention. We encouraged all the students to attend and learn about the competition first-hand and to support Pacific. I am hoping that some first year students will participate in the NCPA business plan competition at the next convention. Each school can only have one submission,” said Pardo.

While the San Diego trip was successful for Pacific students, they also had support from Dean Phil Oppenheimer and Nancy DeGuire ’89, Assistant Dean for External Relations, who both attended the convention with students. Students appreciated the time and interactions spent with the Dean Oppenheimer and Dr. DeGuire. Pardo says, “They hosted a dinner for us and we really enjoyed chatting with them. Students were touched that they took time out of their busy schedules to be with us; it was such a warm gesture. It felt good to come together as a School and we were able to make new friends we might not have seen around campus.”

The NCPA student chapter at Pacific is brainstorming new ways to be more involved at health fairs. Pardo emphasized the importance in finding ways to become more present at those events, along with other notable changes with the chapter. “All the other organizations have specific services they provide at the health fairs along with other committees on campus. We will focus on pharmacy education. We implemented a new program where each first year student will be asked to go on community pharmacy rotations which will help enhance their professionalism. In addition, we hosted a symposium and invited preceptors to explain what they expect from students when we go out on rotations. This allows students to ask questions and get a feel for what to expect,” said Pardo. The symposium has received a lot of positive feedback and Pardo would like to continue the event, as she believes it can help strengthen the chapter.


Student Spotlight: Daniel Huynh ’13

The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative (IPC) 2012 Member Conference held its second annual conference in Savannah, GA this past June. The conference allows students to engage with owners and experts in the independent pharmacy business. The IPC sponsored 38 students from 12 universities to attend and announced eight recipients to receive a $1500 scholarship. Scholarships are awarded based on essay submissions about the students’ most impactful experience at the conference. Among these individuals was Daniel Huynh ’13 from University of Pacific.

Huynh shared some of his own experiences from the IPC conference. “I truly enjoyed the venue where the conference was held. Savannah, Georgia was an incredible place that was rich with culture and historic landmarks. The city was beautiful and the food was delicious. In addition to the wonderful venue, I enjoyed meeting and networking with many pharmacy owners from around the country,” said Huynh.

Huynh’s essay would detail his struggle with accounting and business finance, which are critical elements within an independent pharmacy. The conference would give Huynh an opportunity to learn about these topics from a lecture given by Steve Lefever. “Steve, IPC, members and staff provided me with the skill set I needed in taking the next step towards becoming a confident independent pharmacy owner. I even learned how to balance my business plan’s balance sheet,” said Huynh.

Several Pacific students also made submissions to the IPC and Huynh recognized several of his peers. “I feel very blessed to receive this scholarship. I know in addition to the many applicants from other prestigious pharmacy schools around the country that University of Pacific had some very deserving applicants. I am proud that someone from the University of Pacific won this scholarship, and grateful that it was me,” said Huynh.

In addition to the scholarship, Huynh is already looking forward to another big project after graduation. “I have always considered owning a pharmacy, but never took it serious until my good friend, Nataliya McElroy ’13, approached me about the opportunity to develop an independent pharmacy business plan. I am looking forward to creating a practice that will serve my community and its members.”

Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Martinez ‘12

Many stories we hear often talk about an individual who motivated us to chase our dream career. For Nicole Martinez ’12, her interest in pharmacy started with an admiration of one pharmacist, Dr. Douglas Wilcox ’74. While working as a dance instructor in his daughter’s dance studio, Martinez would volunteer under Wilcox at his independent pharmacy in the Central Valley. He recognized her passion and professionalism in the field and recommended that she continue her education in pharmacy. Wilcox encouraged her to look into the program at Pacific and the rest, as they say, is history. “After speaking with Dr. Wilcox about Pacific, and after some research, I found Pacific was the only school in California that offered an accelerated doctor of pharmacy program,” said Martinez.

Martinez earned her bachelor’s in chemistry at California State University, Fresno in 2008, and credited this as another key decision in becoming a pharmacist. “I became fascinated by transition state analogs, which are temporary molecular structures found in the body, and how knowing the form of these structures enable drug design. This sparked my interest in drug function and design,” she said. During her time at Pacific, Martinez moved forward in the program and cultivated new relationships with specific faculty members. “I feel Pacific is a place where professors know their students by more than just an ID number or familiar face. Dr. Nancy DeGuire ’89, also known as my ‘UOP Mom,’ was the most welcoming to me. I immediately bonded with her. She has been there for me throughout my hardships and the joyful experiences at Pacific. I am also grateful to have worked with Dr. William Kehoe ’96. He has provided invaluable insight into the profession of pharmacy and expanded my clinical knowledge. At Pacific you truly become part of a family with networking opportunities and colleagues willing to help one another. I am glad to be part of the ever-evolving success,” said Martinez.

All the hard work at Pacific landed her a spot on a pediatric medicine rotation at the Children’s Hospital Central California and she “fell in love with helping the pediatric population.” The hospital is the second largest in California, and the facility is one of the only 10 largest pediatric hospitals of its kind in the nation. The time and experience at the hospital allowed her to “teach patients and moms how to use inhalers, provide recommendations in order to optimized drug therapy, manage children on warfarin (a blood thinner), and work closely with physicians, nurses and pharmacy students.” Martinez also commented she loves kids and feels comfortable working in the environment. “There was this child who made me laugh and smile almost every day,” she said.

Martinez was born and raised in Kerman, California and enjoys baking, dancing, fishing, walking her dog and spending time with her family. The love and support from her family helped shape the person she has become today. Martinez continues moving forward in her pursuit to follow her next dream, which is becoming a highly regarded pediatric pharmacist. “Pacific has given me the opportunity to complete one of the most important tasks in my life, earning a doctor of pharmacy degree. My graduation and recent successes have brought a new found happiness to my family and loved ones. I am happier than ever and look forward to my future career.”

Student Spotlight: Lu Xu ‘13

On October 14 – 18, 2012 the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) held the Annual Meeting and Exposition conference at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois. The AAPS is a professional, scientific association with members in industry, academia, government, and other research institutes across the globe. Lu Xu ’13 attended the conference to give her presentation titled “Molecular Docking, Synthesis of Novel Quinazoline Analogues as Inhibitors of Transcription Factors NF-kappaB Activation and their Anti-cancer Activities.” She received the AAPS25 Award and the AAPS Graduate Student Symposium Award in Drug Design and Discovery. “The AAPS Graduate Student Symposium award proves my own strength in research and in drug discovery. This makes me more confident in my future career,” said Xu.

The AAPS25 Award is a competition aimed at identifying the greatest challenges for pharmaceutical sciences and AAPS in the next 25 years. The AAPS Graduate Student Symposium Award in Drug Design and Discovery program is designed to recognize excellence in graduate education in the fields of drug discovery and development interface.

Xu earned her bachelor of science degree in applied chemistry at Sun Yat-sen University in China before coming to Pacific. This year Xu received three awards which included the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Student Travel Award, the President’s Award and the Student Award of Excellence. “Pacific has a very good Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program. I am proud to be a doctoral student in the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program here. The course setting includes drug development and approval process for new drugs, pharmacology, and drug design that has helped me in basic knowledge learning,” said Xu.

She said her education at Pacific provided training in the “industrial process and methodology, laboratory management, risk management and safety.” Xu hopes that after graduation she can continue to enhance her understanding of the pharmaceutical industry. “University of the Pacific’s Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program has provided a perfect platform to realize my dream. I am convinced the experience of learning and living here will be the greatest treasure in my life,” said Xu. When Xu is not spending her time in the laboratory, she enjoys cooking and exploring unique recipes to create new dishes.