Learning Goes Beyond Tutoring at the Language-Literacy Center

llc_group_photoJeannene M. Ward-Lonergan, PhD, professor of speech-language pathology and Jill K. Duthie, PhD, CCC-SLP, associate professor of speech-language pathology, identified a need for literacy services in the community surrounding Pacific. They also observed that the scope of practice for speech-language pathologists has expanded beyond speaking and listening to include reading and writing. In response they established the Language-Literacy Center (LLC), made possible through a Strategic Educational Excellence Development grant from the University’s Strategic Investment Fund.

The LLC offers assessment and treatment sessions to students in grades 1-12, free of charge. “We really feel that there is a need to provide literacy services for students with language disorders in our area,” said Dr. Ward-Lonergan. “We provide services free of charge to meet the needs in the community.” Speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate students met the LLC’s first group of clients in September 2015.

Alina Crom ’17 emphasizes that the services the LLC offers are fundamentally different than tutoring, which focuses on passing a certain test or class. In contrast, at the LLC, clients are taught learning strategies. These lifelong skills can be applied to a wide variety of areas in the classroom and beyond. Dr. Ward-Lonergan explains that students are taught “a set of steps they follow, that they can use wherever they go, not to just get through one assignment.”

In addition to representing a wide range of skill levels, the clients are culturally and linguistically diverse. “The children are at a variety of levels in their need for intervention,” said Dr. Duthie. “Some children are working on very beginning reading skills, some haven’t yet learned how to decode simple words. Others are reading, but not at their grade level.” What the clients have in common is that they have a mild to moderate language disorder. Dr. Ward-Lonergan explains, “They have a significant difficulty comprehending and/or producing language.” Crom found that many of the clients have what she describes as “splinter skills.” She elaborates, “[They were] really strong in one area, such as reading, but would have trouble in other areas.”

The LLC gives SLP students the opportunity to apply, in a clinical setting, the concepts they are learning in their courses. Dr. Ward-Lonergan elaborates, “Students have an opportunity to engage in evidence-based practice with these clients.” She explains that the SLP profession has expanded to increasingly include written language. As the profession evolves, the ways in which graduate students are trained has been updated to reflect the changes, ensuring that graduates are prepared for the demands of the profession when they enter the field. Pacific’s SLP students gain clinical experience at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center, which focuses on speaking and listening. In contrast, the LLC focuses on “how to assess and treat written language disorders,” shares Dr. Ward-Lonergan.

Through the LLC, students are given an immersive clinical experience. Christi Shaver ’17 explains that the students are responsible for planning their therapy sessions. Dr. Ward-Lonergan and Dr. Duthie are available to offer guidance, but the students are responsible for deciding how they are going to address the topic, how to tailor it to the client and how to make it engaging. One way the students make therapy fun for the client is to create themed lessons around their interests, such as bugs or superheroes.

The SLP students agreed that working with this age group requires flexibility, creativity and patience. Caitlin Elam ’17 shared that she had a client with behavioral issues. “I had to get a token system going to keep him on track,” explained Elam. Shaver emphasizes the importance of starting speech therapy at a young age. “This is such a formative time in their lives,” said Shaver. “If they can get this extra help early on it can make a huge impact on the rest of their educational career.”

Dr. Ward-Lonergan and Dr. Duthie see the benefits for both the graduate students and the community. Dr. Duthie shares, “We hope to obtain funding to continue to provide these services beyond our two year grant.” Shaver found working with clients at the LLC to be an eye-opening experience. She shares, “Reading as it connects to writing, as it connects to the overall language system, is more complex than I could have ever imagined.” Everyone involved was overwhelmed by the positive outcome of their experience with the LLC. “Every single one of our kids improved greatly,” said Alex Fernandez ’17. Dr. Ward-Lonergan adds, “Their parents are very excited about the progress they are making.”

Do you know an individual in grades 1-12 who would benefit from these services? Learn more about the LLC and download a referral .



Faculty Spotlight: Derek Isetti ’08, PhD, CCC-SLP

deans_letter_summer16_derek_isettiDerek Isetti ’08, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, was awarded a grant from the University’s Strategic Educational Excellence Development fund for a project titled, “Prevention and Screening of Voice Disorders: Providing a Bridge between Academic Disciplines at Pacific.” This grant allows for the purchase of voice screening equipment and guest lectures on the care of one’s voice. Once the program is underway, Pacific students and faculty will have the opportunity to participate in voice screenings. Dr. Isetti brings to the project his unique combination of experiences in both the theater and speech-language pathology (SLP).

What aspect of this project are you most excited about?

Dr. Isetti: “The ability to share knowledge about the vocal mechanism with individuals who will be relying heavily on their voices throughout their careers. There is an aura of mystery around how our voices function and there are also a lot of misconceptions about how to best care for our voices. I’m hoping that this project will be an eye-opening experience, both for the individuals who take part in the screenings, as well as the SLP students who will be helping to conduct them.”

This is an interdisciplinary project; please explain what other departments you will be working with.

Dr. Isetti: “Pacific is fortunate in that we have a Speech, Hearing and Language Center designed to treat members of the local community who have communication disorders. Yet, there are students and faculty here on campus that could easily benefit from some of the services we offer. When you look at our campus as a whole, some of our most prestigious and long-standing programs are those that place a high demand on the vocal mechanism: teacher education, music therapy, music education and vocal performance.”

Why do you think it is important to create connections between academic disciplines?

Dr. Isetti: “Often educators and researchers possess specialized knowledge in a particular field, but that knowledge is contained in separate silos across the various departments. Before I became a voice researcher I began my career on Broadway as a singer. I experienced firsthand that using and protecting our voices requires a bit of both ‘art and science.’”

In what way does this project impact the speech-language pathology and audiology programs?

Dr. Isetti: “The equipment purchased from this grant is going to be incorporated into the curriculum for graduate level voice disorders classes.”

How will students be involved in this project?

Dr. Isetti: “Graduate SLP students who are interested in the field of voice disorders will be assisting me with these voice screenings. These graduate students will be able to gain essential clinical contact hours by assisting with the collection of case history questions, self-reports, auditory-perceptual and acoustic measures of voice. Aside from the individual screenings themselves as part of the grant I will also be providing yearly guest lectures to students in other departments. The focus of these lectures will be on the basic anatomy and physiology of the voice, as well as habits that can help or harm the voice over time.”

Can you please describe the equipment that will be purchased with this grant?

Dr. Isetti: “Believe it or not, our vocal folds vibrate so quickly that you can’t even see the movements with the naked eye. The fancy name for the main piece of equipment is a rigid endoscope with a stroboscopic light source attachment. This basically involves a scope that rests on your tongue, a strobe light that flashes at specific intervals according to the frequency of your voice and a recording apparatus connected to a computer. It is this strobe-effect that captures the movements of the vocal folds that would be lost with the naked eye.”

Why is it important for a teacher to take care of their voice?

Dr. Isetti: “A recent study by Nelson Roy and his colleagues revealed that almost 60 percent of teachers will report having a history of a voice disorder over their lifetime. Not only is there often a personal and physical toll on the teacher […], students are negatively impacted as well. More and more studies are revealing that students perform worse on auditory processing and memory tasks when they are listening to even a mildly dysphonic voice, as opposed to a healthy voice.”

What do you hope to contribute to the SLP profession as a result of this project?

Dr. Isetti: “I’ve become increasingly more interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning. I think there are some valuable insights to be had regarding whether the equipment used in the classroom by our graduate students could help better prepare them for their medical placements. I’m also curious as to whether this early exposure to vocal health information, and more specifically with the ability to see one’s own vocal cords in real time, might have a lasting impact on how our students use their voices throughout their careers.”



Alumni Spotlight: Sabah Ali ’13, ’15

deans_letter_summer16_sabah_aliWhen talking with Sabah Ali ’13, ’15 what becomes immediately apparent is her passion for speech-language pathology (SLP). “I always knew that I wanted to do something in a helping profession and with kids,” shares Ali. She was initially attracted to SLP because of the versatility of the profession. Working with her first client solidified her decision to pursue a career in SLP. Michael Susca, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-FD, associate professor of speech-language pathology, speaks highly of Ali. He shares, “She best represents the highest qualifications and characteristics of speech-language pathologists and the profession.”

Ali, along with co-authors Morgan Dufresne ’15 and Dr. Susca, presented a paper at the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) Annual Convention and Exhibition in Anaheim on April 29, 2016 titled, “Difference in Expressive and Receptive English Vocabulary Test Scores.” When exploring this topic they discovered that the majority of the existing research focused on children. For their study they decided to look at adults ages 18 to 65.

Ali is fascinated by research that looks at the experiences of individuals who are bilingual as she herself speaks multiple languages. In addition to fluently speaking English, she speaks Punjabi and Urdu, as well as several other South East Asian languages. The focus on their research study was vocabulary, an area that Ali can relate to from personal experience. “I always have those ‘tip of tongue’ moments,” said Ali. She explains that Dufresne is monolingual and was able to offer a differing viewpoint. They were able to compare their experiences taking classes as a native speaker compared to an English language learner.

She found that working collaboratively throughout the research process was incredibly valuable in preparing her for her career. “It was a good learning experience,” said Ali. “Working as a SLP you are working with other professionals. You have to learn to delegate work.” She adds that you also need to be flexible as you adapt to the viewpoints of other members of the team.

Ali with her poster at the conference.
Ali with her poster at the conference.

Dr. Susca had an unique approach to advising. He would take their draft and create three different options. Each option would have revisions, but he wouldn’t tell Ali or Dufresne what he had changed. He then challenged them to pick what they thought was the best version and give reasons defending their choice. Ali described the process as a “true collaborative experience” and one in which they were able to develop their own style as researchers. “He has such a wealth of knowledge and you can tell that he is so passionate about research. He prepared us very well.” She adds, “Without him I don’t think we would have become the critical thinkers we are today.”

Ali describes the experience of presenting at the CSHA convention. “It was so wonderful, it was such an honor to present at the California state convention.” She explains that at first it was a nerve-racking experience to present her research to seasoned professionals, but the overwhelming support of the professional community calmed her nerves.

Ali acknowledges that SLP can be a challenging profession. She believes that despite all of the hard work and energy that is required, the impact that a SLP can make in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. “If you really want this don’t give up, keep trying,” she encourages. “You need to be passionate. Work with that passion and let that drive you to success.”

Ali is currently working as a speech-language pathologist in Modesto, California at Sylvan Union School District and Valley Mountain Regional Center. Ali is constantly looking for ways to both challenge herself and to become increasingly well-rounded. It is her goal to work with a wide range of ages. “I would eventually like to work in a hospital with adults,” said Ali.

She continues to stay connected to the Pacific alumni community. She notes that several of her supervisors and co-workers are Pacific alumni. One of her friends from her graduating class works for a neighboring school district. They get together for coffee once a month to debrief about the challenges they have faced and to share their success stories.



Patience and Play Are Key at the Infant/Toddler Lab

RS15630_Physical Therapy4How can students assess posture and balance if their patients are too young to follow directions? That was the challenge the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students were faced with at the infant/toddler labs held earlier this spring. The lab was coordinated by Preeti D. Oza, PT, PhD, NCS, assistant professor of physical therapy. “Students do basic assessment of posture, mobility and balance demonstrated by the infant or toddler during play in sitting, standing and walking,” said Dr. Oza.

“The purpose of the infant/toddler lab is to observe the different developmental milestones of postural control in infants and toddlers of varying ages,” said Melody Mandell ’17. “Unlike adult patients who can follow commands to raise their arms or walk on their toes, infants and toddlers cannot follow these commands. We play with the kids to get them to move in different ways so that we can assess their level of postural control. For example, we observe how they walk on firm ground, then get them to walk on a soft mat to see how they adjust and how well they are able to balance. We can also have the child reach overhead for a toy to observe the range of motion in their shoulders. For the infants who are not yet standing, we place toys around them within reach and observe how they turn their bodies and shift their weight to reach for the toys.”

Samantha Moore ’17 discovered that working with young children requires creative strategies. “We wanted to see what they were capable of doing and the best way to do that is to make it a game,” said Moore. “By doing this we were able to look at balance, range of motion and postural correction strategies.”

In order for a physical therapist to be able to provide optimal care, it is essential to gain the trust of both the parent and the child. Mandell explains, “As a student physical therapist I may know more about developmental milestones, but the parent is the expert on his or her child. Showing that respect while working with the child helps to gain the parent’s trust. Gaining the child’s trust involves allowing time for the child to warm up to me and the environment and making sure the child knows that the parent is always nearby.”

Moore believes that the experience of working with young children gives DPT students a strong foundation to build an understanding of core concepts. She explains, “It is important that we get the opportunity to work with children because it allows us to see and understand how posture develops. Plus, while working with these children it keeps us thinking on our feet and thinking creatively.” Mandell adds, “We learn so much in class about these developmental milestones, what to look for and how to perform certain tests, but none of that is valuable without the hands-on experience to go with it. Working with a child who is energetic and distracted, or shy and crying, adds another level of skill on top of what we learn in class. I am so thankful that we get to experience that now as students instead of being thrown into it for the first time in the clinic!”

The lab gave students the opportunity to practice the skills they had learned and acquire new skills. Mandell shares, “This lab gave me the opportunity to practice being creative in finding ways to get the kids to perform the movements I needed to observe. It also allowed me to practice making quick observations and remembering them until the end of the session when I can write them down. It also helped solidify the milestones of development by being able to see them in action.”

For Moore, one of the key take-aways was the value of patience. She elaborates, “I largely learned about patience while working with these amazing children. Even though we were having fun, we had to make sure we gathered all the data we were looking for. I was also able to work on thinking on my feet and changing tasks quickly to keep up with our patients. It was invaluable to get the opportunity to work with these kids and see the different developmental stages.” Dr. Oza is grateful to the parents who made it possible for students to gain this hands-on experience. She shares, “We thank our cute volunteers, without whom the students would not get this great learning opportunity.”

DPT Students Partner with OLLI@Pacific to Offer Balance Clinic

When a child falls and skins their knee it can be made better with a Band-Aid® and a juice box, but for the elderly, losing your balance can present serious health risks. The Department of Physical Therapy partnered with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Pacific (OLLI@Pacific) to offer a balance clinic. Preeti D. Oza, PT, PhD, NCS, assistant professor of physical therapy, oversaw the clinic. “Participants from the community get free balance and fall risk assessments,” said Dr. Oza. “They learn about benefits of physical activity and physical therapy. They learn exercises to improve balance and get reminders of simple home modifications to decrease their falls risks.”


At each session, doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students provided OLLI@Pacific members over the age of 65 a one-on-one balance assessment. The students then reviewed and discussed the results of the assessment with the participant. “With those results we can give them exercises to improve their balance and coordination,” said Suhani Patel ’17. Fellow student Kristina Chang ’17 shares that the goal of the students is to “help our patients understand what they can do on their own to decrease their fall risk.”

Patel and Chang volunteered to be the clinic’s student leaders. As student leaders they were responsible for determining the best physical assessments for students to administer. They also created handouts which reviewed the recommended exercises and provided information on fitness programs available in the community, many of which are free.

The clinic offered students the opportunity to practice applying the knowledge and skills they are learning in the DPT program. Dr. Oza elaborates, “Students who volunteer to organize the balance clinic get the opportunity to develop leadership and organizational skills. All of the students who take part in the balance clinic get an opportunity to improve the assessment and communication skills required to be a good physical therapist.”


Both Chang and Patel discovered that the clinic challenged them to hone their communication skills. Chang explains that in an academic setting patient care is discussed using highly technical terms. One of the benefits of getting out of the classroom is to encourage students to practice communicating with their patients in a way that it is easy for the patients to understand.

Patel describes the role of a physical therapist as someone who helps others reach their goals. She believes that the key to successful physical therapy is keeping the patient motivated. Throughout the DPT program, students develop the skills they will need in the future when establishing partnerships with their patients. “[We are] learning how to build a relationship with a patient; build that trust,” said Patel. She adds, “Our entire careers are based off interactions with patients.”

Dr. Oza believes that community outreach enriches the community. She shares, “Community outreach not only enables the individuals from the community to benefit from the services provided by our DPT students, but also provides the students opportunities to ‘get their feet wet’ with skills required to be a physical therapist. Students get to practice their interview skills, examination/evaluation methods and clinical reasoning skills required for appropriate interventions.” She adds, “We truly value this collaboration with OLLI@Pacific.”

Learn more about OLLI@Pacific or Pacific’s DPT program.

Pharmacy Scholarship Recipients Q&A

Agbongpolo with Dean Phillip Oppenheimer and Kourtney Sherman '12, PharmD.
Agbongpolo with Dean Phillip Oppenheimer and Kourtney Sherman ’12, PharmD.

Each year the School’s Scholarship Ceremony brings into focus the generosity of the donors who support our pharmacy students. The history of how each scholarship was established is as diverse as the abilities and aspirations of the recipients. What all the recipients have in common is the feeling of overwhelming gratitude that comes with knowing that there are individuals and organizations who support them. Watch a video of students demonstrating the impact of their benefactor’s support here.

Samuel Agbonkpolo ’18 was awarded the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation Pharmacy Partners Scholarship, the Sherman Family Scholarship and the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship. He shares, “When you are on this road to becoming a pharmacist sometimes you can feel like you are on your own, just me and these books. It’s nice to know there are people out there who support you.”

Cindy (Mei Xian) Hsieh ’17 was awarded the Commitment to Global Health Scholarship, the Robert M. Long Endowed Scholarship and the Thomas J. Long Foundation Scholarship. She echoes Agbonkpolo’s sentiments. “It gives me confidence and pride knowing that there are professionals rooting for my success and applauding me for the goals I am striving for,” said Hsieh. “Thank you for your generosity.”

Larsen with Dean Oppenheimer and John Livesey, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology and chair.
Larsen with Dean Oppenheimer and John Livesey, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology and chair.

Cory Larsen ’17 was awarded the Richard and Marilynn Balch Endowed Scholarship, the Camouflage to White Coat Scholarship, the Jen-Ling Hsieh Scholarship and the Thomas J. Long Foundation Scholarship. He describes his academic career as a journey. “It’s good to know that people who have gone on the road before me are looking out for people who are still going down the path,” said Larsen. “Having that support, especially from the alumni, inspires me to help future generations.”

Scholarships open up opportunities that students might not otherwise have been able to pursue. Mark Miller ’17 was awarded the Norm Kobayashi Travel Award and the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association Travel Award. “Thank you to all the donors,” said Miller. “This scholarship is going to help me get to a conference that will help me in my job search in the future.”

From left to right: Dean Oppenheimer, Lucille Gould, Karen Gould, Milana Vachuska, Johnny Hsia and Michaela Vachuska at the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony.
From left to right: Dean Oppenheimer, Lucille Gould, Karen Gould, Milana Vachuska, Johnny Hsia and Michaela Vachuska at the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony.

Michaela Vachuska ’18 was awarded the Chan Family Endowed Scholarship and the Jay Patrick Gould Memorial Scholarship. She has learned from personal experience that pursuing a doctor of pharmacy degree requires drive and determination. She shares, “While the challenge is rewarding, pharmacy school is a highly taxing experience and it is amazing to know that there are people who want to support students in their pursuit to become pharmacists. It is incredibly generous and I can’t thank them enough.”

Milana Vachuska ’18 was awarded the Chan Family Endowed Scholarship, the Jay Patrick Gould Memorial Scholarship and the Thomas J. and Muriel Long Scholarship. When asked what it means to her to know that there are individuals who offer their support she said, “It means the world. It’s the main reason I chose to come to Pacific. Our alumni really care about the School. You see a lot of loyalty in preceptors, in pharmacy managers, in professors and it’s really nice to know that I always have somewhere to go if I need advice.”


What aspects of this scholarship resonated with you personally?

Agbonkpolo: “The description said it was for African-Americans and there are a limited number [at the School], so I applied because I wanted to show that we are here and we do have a presence on campus. Knowing that there were people out there who supported African-Americans made me want to apply.”

Hsieh: “I’m Chinese-American and I am very proud of my heritage and that started really early on. That got me looking at other cultures as well. This scholarship really resonated with me because it combines my passion outside of pharmacy, along with my future profession, as well an emphasis on cultural awareness and competency in the pharmacy setting.”

Miller: “I wanted to be able to attend the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists conference in November to share the data that I have generated and make connections with other students and also potential employers. A lot of times these conferences will have recruiters from the top pharmaceutical companies and it’s a great place to connect with people.”

Larsen: “Being a veteran with a family, I feel like the scholarship was pretty much created for me.”

Michaela Vachuska: “While I knew a lot of students were applying, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to tell the donors my story.  The faculty were all incredibly supportive and made the process as easy as possible for the students, which was also really helpful!”

Milana Vachuska: “I live in the Chan Family Hall, so I thought that it would be appropriate. I met all the qualifications […]. You never know until you try.”


How would your professors and peers describe you?

Agbonkpolo: “Confident, charismatic and determined.”

Hsieh: “Ambitious, enthusiastic and well-rounded.”

Miller: “Efficient, pragmatic and detail-oriented.”

Larsen: “Focused, gregarious and adaptable.”

Michaela Vachuska: “Hard-working, genuine and charismatic.”

Milana Vachuska: “Perseverant, confident and empathetic.”


What are the characteristics of a successful pharmacist?

Agbonkpolo: “Active listener, selfless and a lifelong learner.”

Hsieh: “Knowledgeable, reliable and professional.”

Miller: “Hard working and creative. Someone who can work well with teams. It seems counterintuitive that a scientist would have to be charismatic, but I think it is extremely important to know how to deal with people.”

Larsen: “Someone who is charismatic. Whether a pharmacist is talking to a patient or talking to a doctor, the pharmacist needs to be able to explain things to them so they understand and trust what the pharmacist is telling them. Charisma is an underrated attribute that a pharmacist needs to have.”

Michaela Vachuska: “Although I have a lot to learn, what I have taken from my experiences is that you have to be passionate about making a difference in peoples’ lives in order to be a great pharmacist in the long term. “

Milana Vachuska: “A successful pharmacist admits that they don’t know everything. As humans, or as any health care professional, we are not expected to know everything. I think the important thing is to understand the people around us and know where to look for the answer.”

There are many ways to make a transformative, tax-deductible gift to the School. You can make a gift online, by mail or over the phone by contacting Jen Flora at 209.946.2303.

ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge Tests Knowledge and Teamwork

SCCP_winningteamgroupphotoImagine that you only have seconds to answer the following question: Which of the following medications used for rapid sequence intubation can inhibit cortisol synthesis? a) Etomidate b) Ketamine c) Propofol or d) Succinylcholine. This is the type of question that is asked at the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Clinical Pharmacy Challenge, which is a national pharmacy student team competition.

Across the country universities hold local competitions to identify their strongest competitors. The Student College of Clinical Pharmacy hosted the competition at Pacific and 11 three-member teams competed. Pacific will be represented at the national level by Dilraj Sohal ’17, Claire Kim ’17 and Cindy Hsieh ’17.

Eligible teams compete in up to four online rounds. The top eight teams advance to the live quarterfinal competitions, which will take place at the ACCP Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida, October 22-24, 2016. The competition has three sections. The trivia/lightning round consists of 15 true-false questions. The questions cover the subjects of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, pharmacogenomics, biostatistics and health outcomes. The second segment is a clinical case and participants answer five questions after reviewing the clinical case vignette. In the final portion of the competition, students answer questions covering a wide range of topics that relate to clinical pharmacy. The format of the final portion is similar to Jeopardy and teams are asked questions that belong to five specific categories. These five categories are selected from a larger group of topics ranging from endocrinology to vaccinations.

For pharmacy students the competition is a unique and interactive way to assess their knowledge. “I saw it as an opportunity to really learn and challenge myself as a pharmacy student, so I took the opportunity and ran with it,” said Hsieh. “I also liked the idea of exploring different aspects of pharmacy.” She elaborates that the competition is a good way to “see if clinical pharmacy is something you love doing.” Sohal agrees, “It helps you test the material you learn in class and see if you can actually use reasoning to apply the knowledge to situations that may arise. I am hoping for a career in clinical pharmacy and figured this would be a great way to test my knowledge.” William A. Kehoe, MA, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, department chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and professor of pharmacy practice and psychology adds, “This competition requires high level pharmacotherapy knowledge. I think the preparation is really important and will help them in patient care settings.”

Sohal explains that the fast paced environment forces you to rely on your instincts. She adds that the way that the competition is structured teaches you to trust your teammates as you work collaboratively. Hsieh adds, “I think that working in a team helps you realize your strengths and weaknesses. When you go into the clinical field you are in essence working as a team.” Dr. Kehoe agrees, “These kinds of opportunities give them a chance to solve problems by working together.” He explains that today’s health care professionals work in teams with each individual contributing their unique skill set.

“Without a doubt, the health care world involves communicating with many different health care providers, whether it be nurses, doctors, physicians or other pharmacists,” said Sohal. “Working as a team in a competition demonstrates the importance of being able to communicate with people who may think and do things differently. It allows you to be able to listen to others while also giving you the confidence to apply your own knowledge in order to make the best clinical decision.”

As the competition advances the difficulty and complexity of the questions increases. Dr. Kehoe says, “You would not believe the level and depth of the questions they will face in the next few rounds.” In 2011, Pacific’s team advanced to the quarterfinal round and was among the top eight teams in the country. Dr. Kehoe remembers with pride, “What I recall most was walking around and hearing so many ACCP members talking about the strength of the Pacific team.”

Hsieh believes that one of the factors that contributed to the success of her team was their mentality going into the competition. She elaborates, “We went into it with a mindset that we wanted to win.” As a team they spent time preparing by studying, doing research and taking practice tests. Both Sohal and Hsieh encourage students to participate in the future. Sohal exclaimed, “Definitely something to try out with some friends!”



Meet the 2016-17 ASP Board Members

American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists Board from left, Wesley Sweis, Brandi Tacdol, Bianca Khishaveh, Jason Yudiono, Emily Highsmith, Stephanie Hong, Joshua Lin
American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists Board from left, Wesley Sweis, Brandi Tacdol, Bianca Khishaveh, Jason Yudiono, Emily Highsmith, Stephanie Hong, Joshua Lin

The 2016-17 American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) executive board has been selected and the leadership baton has been passed. ASP acts as the student body government, which serves as an umbrella organization that oversees all of the pharmacy-related student groups on campus. The 2016-17 ASP president Jason Yudiono ’18 describes the ASP board as “the collective voice of the student body.” Wesley Sweis ’18, vice president of student affairs adds, “The ASP board is committed to the students. We strive for academic excellence, social and community involvement, as well as innovation.”

“My admiration for the previous board is what led me to being a member of ASP board,” said Stephanie Hong ’18, vice president of communications. She admired their enthusiasm and all that they were able to accomplish during their term. Bianca Khishaveh ’18, vice president of membership and finance, was also inspired by the leadership of previous board members. She shares, “During my first few days at Pacific the previous ASP board spoke to us during orientation. Experiencing the positive energy and impact that they had on us I knew that I too wanted to be a role model to the incoming freshmen and my fellow classmates.”

For Emily Highsmith ’18, vice president of professional affairs, the motivation for pursuing this leadership position was to get a deeper understanding of the pharmacy profession and to have the opportunity to support her fellow classmates. She said, “I wanted to be a member of the ASP board because I wanted an opportunity to make a broad impact with my leadership. I also view ASP as an opportunity to network with local practicing pharmacists and for me to get a feel for the direction pharmacy is headed.”

According to Highsmith, “The goals of our ASP board are to serve and represent the student body, provide patient care opportunities and to spark excitement about the future of pharmacy.” Highsmith shares that one of the goals of the 2016-17 board is to implement a project that will serve veterans. “Another goal of ours is to promote inter-professional collaboration through our health fairs,” said Brandi Tacdol ’18, vice president of legislative affairs. Joshua Lin ’18, vice president of correspondence, wants to enrich the student experience by tapping into the potential of the pre-pharmacy student body. He elaborates, “Like many of my predecessors, I want to try and further solidify the interaction between the pharmacy and pre-pharmacy students. Both campuses are so physically close, but interaction has always been limited. I want to be someone who builds the bridges and gives them the chance to be involved in pharmacy affairs.”

As they step into these high-profile leadership roles, each student reflects on the traits that they believe characterize a strong leader. Sweis shares, “I think a strong leader must possess organization, patience and the ability to delegate well.” Khishaveh adds, “Strong leaders are honest, accountable, creative and focused.” Tacdol emphasizes the trait of humility. She says, “The traits of a strong leader include someone who is humble, self-motivated and determined.”

In Hong’s opinion the key traits of a leader are charisma and confidence. Yudiono believes that in addition to charisma the essential characteristic is “being able to listen to the people you are leading.” Echoing Yudiono’s sentiment that good communication is a vital component of leadership, Highsmith said, “Strong leaders know when to step up and voice their opinions and when to step back and listen to others’ opinions.” Lin adds, “Above all else a leader needs to be understanding and approachable.”

Yudiono’s advice for those considering leadership roles is to “speak to people that are currently in the leadership position that interests you.” Highsmith recommends making the most of your time by focusing on leadership opportunities in an area that you are passionate about. Lin adds, “Pharmacy school can be hard and academics will always be a primary focus, but if you take the time to step out and fill the shoes of a leader I promise you will not regret the immense rewards you get in return.”

“Leadership will challenge you to work well with others and to communicate efficiently,” said Tacdol. “Joining ASP was the best decision I’ve made so far during my time as a pharmacy student. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone, it has allowed me to grow as an individual and as a leader.”

Faculty Spotlight: Neel Prasad ’96, PharmD

deans_letter_summer16_neel_prasadNeel Prasad ’96, PharmD joined the pharmacy faculty as an assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice. He will also serve as regional coordinator of the Modesto/East Bay region. Dr. Prasad has always had a passion for patient care. “As a child I always wanted to do something in the health care field,” shares Dr. Prasad. “While in high school and junior college I realized I wanted to help people. It was easy for me to connect and understand people’s needs. Being a pharmacist allowed me to fulfill these areas.” He and his brother, Navindra Prasad  ’96, PharmD went through Pacific’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program at the same time. The year that he graduated from the PharmD program was a momentous year for Dr. Prasad. He explains, “I graduated in May 1996, I got married to my lovely wife Aileen in July 1996 and I started working as a pharmacist in October 1996.”

Since 2000, Dr. Prasad has worked for Target/CVS Health where he has held multiple positions and had various roles. “I’ve been involved in teaching, training, development and leadership at every level,” said Dr. Prasad. “I’ve met tremendous people that have shaped who I am today.” He has applied the broad range of experience gained at Target to his role as a preceptor. He elaborates, “I’ve been a preceptor for Pacific for over 17 years. I’ve always had the passion to teach and train individuals. I feel I connect well with different generations and can help students bridge the gap.” Dr. Prasad was named the 2016 Preceptor of the Year for the Modesto Region. He gives credit to his whole team for helping him create an environment that fostered learning and where students were challenged.

As he steps into the role of a faculty member he has already outlined a set of goals. “I want to be a great teacher and mentor for students. Also, I want to share my knowledge and experience to make them better individuals,” said Dr. Prasad. “I would like to make the Modesto region a region that provides excellent sites for students to learn and develop. I want it to become a destination site for students. Lastly, since I am new to academia, I want to develop myself and excel in areas that are new to me.”

While a student at Pacific he was actively involved in Kappa Psi. Dr. Prasad shares, “Kappa Psi was an integral part of my Pacific experience. Kappa Psi jump-started my development and helped me with my personal and professional life.” He emphasizes the support he received from his fraternity brothers, which continues to this day. He adds, “I still keep in touch with the brothers that I graduated with.” In his new role at Pacific he is looking forward to the opportunity to once again be actively involved in Kappa Psi.

Family plays an important role in Dr. Prasad’s life. “My parents have always been the most influential people in my life,” shares Dr. Prasad. “I get my work ethic, my social skills and my drive for excellence from them.” Dr. Prasad and his family are Hindus. Dr. Prasad explains that Hinduism is a very difficult religion to learn. He has spent many years learning from his father and his desire is to pass on that knowledge to the next generation. He is proud to be a part of the thriving Hindu community in Modesto. He explains, “We spend certain days each month playing music, singing and praying with other members of the community.” In addition, he has been involved in many community projects organized by Target, including volunteering at park clean ups, food banks and reading programs.

Both he and his wife are originally from the Fiji Islands. His wife’s family still lives in Fiji and they visit every two to three years. He and his wife have two sons. As a family they love to travel. Dr. Prasad has spent time in New York, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Canada, India, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. One of the reasons he loves to travel is the chance to try new foods. Dr. Prasad is also a sports enthusiast. His favorite teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, the Oakland A’s, the New York Yankees and the Washington Redskins.



Donors Recognize Those Who Exceed Expectations

From left to right: Dean Oppenheimer, Elda Roscoe-Gustafson, Tobi Knepler-Foss, Frank Roscoe and Cori Sakoda at the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony.
From left to right: Dean Oppenheimer, Elda Roscoe-Gustafson, Tobi Knepler-Foss, Frank Roscoe and Cori Sakoda at the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony.

Above and beyond. The phrase is reserved for those individuals who surpass expectations and who are focused on the success of others. Each of the School’s donors can be characterized by their generosity and their readiness to support students who strive to go beyond the status quo.

The Emmons E. Roscoe Scholarship recognizes exemplary academic achievement and is awarded to the second-year pharmacy student holding the highest GPA in the first four semesters of the professional program. The Roscoe family has a long history with the School. The School’s founding Dean, Ivan W. Rowland, PhD, urged Emmons E. Roscoe, RPh, MS to leave Idaho State University to join him in establishing a school of pharmacy at University of the Pacific. Emmons Roscoe became the School’s first professor and served as an advisor to Dean Rowland, who valued the advice of the former dean.

Charles W. Roscoe, PhD followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a Pacific faculty member. He taught medicinal chemistry and was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Order of Pacific, upon his retirement. Charles Roscoe was also instrumental in raising funds for the pharmacy building, which allowed the School to move out of the cramped quarters of Weber Hall to their current location on North Campus. The interests of Charles Roscoe’s brother, Frank, led him to pursue mechanical engineering rather than pharmacy, yet he explains that he has been treated as an honorary alumni. He shares, “The Dean and others had just been so open-armed to me that I decided to go back and have [a scholarship] made in my brother’s name.”

From left to right: Dean Oppenheimer, Farjana Akther and Donald Shirachi, PhD at the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony.
From left to right: Dean Oppenheimer, Farjana Akther and Donald Shirachi, PhD at the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony.

The Charles W. Roscoe Memorial Endowed Graduate Student Fund was designed to be a travel stipend which helps students travel to professional conferences to present their research. The scholarship’s focus on research is a fitting tribute to his brother who is remembered by many for his brilliant mind. Frank Roscoe shares, “His knowledge was just amazing. He’d give you the formula for any drug.” He is always excited to hear about the research that students are conducting. “I think those that are able to go present their papers, it gets their name out there,” said Frank Roscoe. He believes that this opportunity to present their research to a larger audience can act as a catalyst, allowing them to expand their horizons.

Frank Roscoe has spoken with a number of his father’s former students. They share about his willingness to offer his students support and words of encouragement. He has seen the legacy of his father and brother carried out in the Pacific faculty and staff. Emeritus professor Donald Shirachi ’60, PhD in particular made an impression on him. Frank Roscoe explains that when he attends events hosted by the School he is often one of the last to leave. He shares, “Every time [Dr.] Shirachi was sitting there talking to a student. I thought, ‘That’s the sort of thing my dad would be doing.’”

From left to right: Man Ting Chou, Karen Gould, Michaela Vachuska, Lucille Gould and Milana Vachuska at the reception.
From left to right: Man Ting Chou, Karen Gould, Michaela Vachuska, Lucille Gould and Milana Vachuska at the reception.

Another individual who exemplified the Pacific spirit was Jay Patrick Gould ’76. He grew up in a pharmacy and was slated to take over his family’s pharmacy in Palo Alto, California, upon his father’s retirement. His life was tragically cut short by a car accident in 1978. His parents, Carl and Lucille Gould, established a scholarship in his memory in 1979. “He was our hope, our future,” said Lucille Gould. She adds, “[This scholarship] keeps Jay alive, we never forget him, not one day.” She believes that a scholarship supporting Pacific’s pharmacy students is what her son would have wanted. She describes her son as someone who was “always thinking about others. […] He was a giving person.”

Lucille Gould’s advice for future pharmacists is to “make wonderful, beautiful memories. When you are old you can look back and have great joy. Try to be the best you can with what you have.” Frank Roscoe is a firm believer in life-long learning. His advice is to “pay attention, keep an open mind.”

Watch a video of students demonstrating the impact of their benefactor’s support hereClick here to read the full article about these recipients.

For information on how you can start a named scholarship or add to an existing scholarship through an annual gift, estate gift or asset transfer, please contact either Nancy DeGuire at 209.946.2752 or ndeguire@pacific.edu; or Susan Webster at 209.946.3116 or swebster@pacific.edu. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Alumni Spotlight: Cathrine Misquitta ’96, PharmD

deans_letter_summer16_cathrine_misquittaCathrine Misquitta ’96, PharmD recently served as a speaker at a Managed Care Series event titled “The Role of the Pharmacist in Controlling Costs in a Pharmacy Benefit Manager,” co-hosted by Script Your Future and Pacific PharmAssistance. Misquitta believes that it is important to give back to your alma mater by volunteering to share your experiences and helping to shape the next generation of health care professionals. “I would definitely encourage all alumni to be involved with the School in some way, whether it is serving as a preceptor or serving in another teaching capacity,” said Misquitta. She is able to share her expertise in managed care. “I have a vested interest in ensuring pharmacy students come out of school understanding managed care, even if they don’t become managed care pharmacists,” explains Misquitta. “Any pharmacist who processes a claim through a patient’s insurance should understand how much consideration has gone into the pharmacy benefit. The pharmacists in the community are often the ones explaining everything to the patient.”

Misquitta explains that it was her aunt who inspired her to pursue a career in pharmacy. She shares, “I have an aunt who is a pharmacist in Oregon. When I was in college I think I changed my major three times. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then one day when I was visiting my aunt, she invited me to come to work with her. She knew so much and was a tremendous resource to her community. Since I liked science and working with people I decided that pharmacy would be a great profession.”

Reflecting on her time at Pacific she is grateful for both the education she received and the connections she made. She said, “Every course I took helped me prepare for a career in pharmacy. It was also a great place to meet peers with whom I’d be working for years to come. I still run into my classmates. Pharmacy is a small world.” Given the close-knit community she advises current students to apply themselves and demonstrate professionalism during their rotations. “Study hard, work hard and always do your best work,” said Misquitta. “Pharmacists remember how well students do on rotations and word travels fast in pharmacy.” She adds, “I wouldn’t be in my current position if I hadn’t made a good impression on my former preceptor or current boss.”

Misquitta is currently the vice president of clinical pharmacy solutions at Health Net Pharmaceutical Services. “When I graduated from Pacific I never envisioned myself as a managed care pharmacist,” shares Misquitta. “I completed a pharmacy practice residency and started off working as a clinical pharmacist in the hospital setting. After about three years, one of my former residency preceptors contacted me to see if I knew anybody interested in a job in managed care. After a few minutes of consideration I decided that I would be interested. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal about how to manage pharmacy costs and improve patient health from a population-based perspective. Some of my most interesting opportunities have been leading software development, serving on the National Committee for Quality Assurance pharmacy expert panel and developing clinical programs.”

Through the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists she serves as a board member of her local chapter and chair of the continuing education committee. By being involved in professional organizations she is able to keep a finger on the pulse of changes in health care. She views these changes as an opportunity. She believes, “With a shortage of primary care providers and an influx of newly insured patients, pharmacists have a golden opportunity to help shape the future and push the profession to the next level.”