Are Energy Drinks Heart Healthy? Your Support Needed!

energy-drink-group-photo_edited

Over 50% of college students consume more than one energy drink per month. Energy drinks have also been related to increasing emergency room visits and deaths.

The research team, led by Sachin A. Shah, associate professor  pharmacy practice at University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences have been performing energy drink related research for over 5 years. They are now looking to understand the effects of long term energy drink consumption on human health. They hope to raise $50,000 to conduct a clinical trial to continue their research on this important public health topic.

This project will also bolster student exposure to clinical research. In fact one such student was the recipient of the 2014 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation’s Student Research Award.

You can help support student and faculty research efforts in improving human health by:

1) Donating to the crowdfunding campaign – http://go.pacific.edu/energydrinks

2) Sharing this information with others (email, social media, etc)

More information can be found at the following link: http://go.pacific.edu/energydrinks

They plan to present their results at a scientific conference and and have them published in a medical journal so that others may benefit from the discoveries you have funded.

Thank you for your consideration; we look forward to having your support.

Student Spotlight: Jennifer Elaine-Connsalvi Hodges ’16

jennifer_hodges_resizeIt was a bomb blast on the other side of the world that inspired Jennifer Elaine-Connsalvi Hodges ’16 to become a speech-language pathologist. Before coming to Pacific Hodges earned a bachelor of arts in child and adolescent development from San Francisco State University in 2008 and worked at the Ronald McDonald House. “While working at the Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco I met a 1 year old child from Baghdad who had become deaf due to a bomb exploding near his home,” said Hodges. “A non-profit called No More Victims flew him and his father to the United States and sponsored a cochlear implant for him.”

Hodges continues, “They stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for a year and a half. I witnessed the SLP working with him day in and day out after the implant. I’ve been blessed in my life to see a variety of beautiful things across the globe, but this experience far exceeds all else. Here was an innocent child of war who lost the ability to hear because of an American bomb drop. I was watching him sit in San Francisco with an American SLP who was completely volunteering her time to help in his rehabilitation. His mother and younger brother were stuck in Jordan for two years due to visa issues. I took the father and son to the airport to pick up their wife and mother two years later after the rehab and cochlear implant. I watched the reunification of a family that had fallen victim to the worst parts of humanity. He was able to speak and hear his mother. The tears just wouldn’t stop from all parties. That experience planted a seed that I just couldn’t shake; I wanted to help people take their God-given right to communicate.”

Hodges revealed her academic challenges when she started college at Rancho Santiago Community College, “I started from the beginning at the local junior college with really low math and English courses and retaught myself basic concepts. I struggled and changed my major a couple times, but I began to learn how I learn and the lights went on.” She found that the key to her academic success was understanding her personal learning style and creating a strategy for studying. She explains, “I needed silence to study, good lighting, repetition, visual, tactile and audio for information input. That took discipline, time, effort and sacrifice. Once I started seeing the results of my efforts I realized it wasn’t that I wasn’t smart, it was that I didn’t prioritize my learning nor did I understand how I learned.”

Being accepted to Pacific’s speech-language pathology (SLP) program was a decisive turning point. She shares, “Earning my way into University of the Pacific was one of the biggest and scariest accomplishments of my life. Little did I know it was just the medicine I needed. […] I felt like an equally contributing member of group work. I also had intriguing conversations with my incredible professors who always took the time to explain a topic or question me further to challenge my understanding. I came out of my Pacific coursework more confident than ever. Whatever obstacles come my way in the future I know not only will my creativity and social skills carry me, but I can also rely on my intellect that Pacific helped me realize.”

Hodges is the recipient of the Janet Nimtz Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to an individual who plans to complete a medical internship. Pursuing her career goals required a significant financial investment. “This scholarship made a significant difference in my attitude about my debt,” said Hodges. Her plans after graduation are to pursue a career in rehabilitation. By making what she has invested in her education mentally easier to handle, it is easier for her to focus on working toward her goals of helping clients regain their communication skills.

Balancing life and the rigors of graduate school is challenging, but Hodges is undeterred and continues to pursue to her passions. In addition to working weekends at a restaurant in San Francisco, she is the president of a non-profit organization called Le Donne d’Italia. She founded Le Donne d’Italia in the North Beach district of San Francisco to promote and preserve Italian culture and Italian female heritage.

When asked if she would recommend SLP as a career Hodges exclaimed, “Do it!  Not only will you always have a job that makes you feel like you’re contributing to the world, but you’ll also never get bored. I have yet to find another career that is so versatile.”

 

Baseball Brings the SLP Community Together

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the announcer calling “strike three!” It was the atmosphere at a baseball game that inspired Benjamin Reece ’01, ’08 assistant clinical professor of speech-language pathology, to create Better Speech and Hearing Night at the Ballpark.

Professor Reece approached the Stockton Ports Minor League Baseball team with his idea and was met with an enthusiastic response. The first year he started with 100 tickets, planning for each speech therapy client to bring one caregiver. As the date of the event drew closer, Professor Reece began to get discouraged by the apparent lack of interest. After a discussion with his colleagues he realized that each client’s support system extends far beyond one guardian. When he opened up the event to include the client’s whole support system the tickets sold out in two weeks. They increased the number of tickets to 600, which astounded the Port’s management. “That had never been done before on an inaugural event,” explains Professor Reece.

“My first goal is to increase awareness of speech and hearing disorders,” said Professor Reece. “My second goal is to recognize the work that goes into overcoming a communication disorder.” He emphasized that in addition to the exhaustive efforts by the client throughout the speech therapy process, their success is possible as a result of a network of support.  In addition to the speech-language pathologist, “the caregivers who take them to therapy, the siblings who are affected by the communication disorder and the extended family.”

At that first event, a client who was profoundly deaf and had a cochlear implant assisted the announcers in the radio booth. Professor Reece explains that when an individual receives a cochlear implant early on they do not hear the whole range of sounds; it is a process and the device is tuned over a period of time. He shares that only a week before the game, the client had been mapped for the “s” sound, a critical sound when announcing “strike one, strike two!”

Hosted by California Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Better Speech and Hearing Night at the Ballpark has now spread beyond Stockton. The Modesto Nuts, Sacramento River Cats, Oakland A’s, Lake Elsinore Storm and Inland Empire 66ers have all held similar events. Past events have included individuals from the speech-language pathology community singing or signing the National Anthem, throwing the first pitch, announcing the lineup and leading the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch.

Professor Reece shares that it is hard to describe the experience when a speech-language pathologist has the opportunity to sit at a baseball game with a client and their family, whom they may have worked with for several years. It gives them the chance to interact in a different context. One factor that motivated Professor Reece to organize this event was working with children with autism. He identified a need for an event where families would feel that their child was accepted and where there would be no judgment if they needed to leave early because the child felt overwhelmed.

Professor Reece is amazed by the positive response from the community, which often takes shape in unexpected ways. He shared a story from one baseball season at a Port’s game, one of the mothers brought her son who has autism to a concession stand. The cashier wasn’t given special training in preparation for the event, but was aware that it was Better Speech and Hearing Night at the Ballpark. She took the mother’s order and then asked the child directly what he wanted to order. At first he shied away, but the cashier was very patient and eventually he communicated to her what he wanted. The mother was touched and she shared that this was the first time that her son had ordered for himself.

“We can take out passions and create community event around these passions. Baseball isn’t the point,” emphasizes Professor Reece. “Take what you are passionate about outside of work and use it to bring awareness.”

 

Student Spotlight: Vien Vu ’17

vien-vuAn unquenchable thirst for understanding fitness led Vien Vu ’17, CSCS to pursue a doctor of physical therapy (DPT). He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified personal trainer. “So many times as a personal trainer I got frustrated. I didn’t know the answers to certain problems,” said Vu. He earned a bachelor of science in kinesiology from San Jose State University. What drew Vu to Pacific’s DPT program was the faculty and the resources available to students.

While working as a personal trainer he observed that professionals within the fitness industry discuss research findings, but there is a lack of quality, evidence-based information directed to the general public. He elaborates, “This is a passion of mine. There is so much stuff on the internet that is rubbish.” In response he launched a blog and podcast. His goal for How Fit Works is to help dispel misconceptions and misinformation about fitness by providing quality information and scholarly, peer-reviewed resources.

Vu’s philosophy is, “What’s not measured can’t be managed.” He shares, “I have an obsession with spreadsheets and numbers. I love data.” His zeal for collecting data has a practical purpose. He asks, “How can you measure change if you don’t have data?” Vu also emphasizes moderation and consistency. “Three times 52,” said Vu. “Who cares what you do in the gym? Show up three times a week, every week. Make it a routine like brushing your teeth.” He is committed to following his own advice. He makes it a priority to go to the gym even during finals week. “No matter how stressed I am I go, because I know I will drop the habit if I don’t continue and in terms of stress I will feel worse if I don’t go.” He emphasizes that it important to take care of yourself. “If you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of others.”

For Pacific’s students, faculty and staff who are interested in taking their physical fitness to the next level Vu recommends taking advantage of the resources at the Baun Fitness Center. The center has a group of nationally certified trainers and offers over 35 fitness classes. In addition, the Baun Fitness Center hosts free “Ask a Trainer” sessions on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. For more information contact Fitness Coordinator Caitlin Sommers at csommers@pacific.edu or 209.946.7300.

 

Physical Therapy Leadership Council Offers Insight and Support

What do an orthopedic surgeon, the president of a local high school and an attorney have in common? The Physical Therapy Leadership Council (PTLC). The members also share a commitment to being invested in their community. The PTLC supports the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program by reviewing marketing materials, participating in events, promoting alumni engagement and serving as brand ambassadors. According to their mission statement the PTLC assists with “strategic planning, marketing, developing short and long term goals, providing community outreach, and garnering financial support of education, research and clinical practice.”

Who is the DPT program seeking to serve on the PTLC?  “I look for someone who has that depth of experience in whatever field they are in,” said Sandra Reina-Guerra ’97, ’99, ‘03, PT, DPT, PCS, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. “Someone who is visionary and philanthropic with their talents.”

Dr. Reina-Guerra elaborates, “The purpose is to have an external group to give us some perspective on things such as needs in the community, perceptions and what we are projecting outward.” She emphasized that she is grateful for the support of the PTLC members, who give her constructive appraisal of program changes and ideas or affirmation regarding future plans. The members also can give a unique perspective on what employers are looking for in prospective candidates. She adds, “There are four members of the council who are in the hiring position as employers.”

pt-leadership-council-03_resizeDr. Reina-Guerra believes it is vitally important to involve individuals who represent different viewpoints; the group is comprised of both alumni and community members. “I wanted to provide constructive feedback to the University as to how the profession functions in the real world and address issues that affect the future of physical therapy delivery in the community,” said Brandon Nan ’09, PT, DPT, CSCS, clinic owner and physical therapist at Golden Bear Physical Therapy and Sports Injury Center. “I felt that given my experience, I may be able help provide information to assist the University to improve outcomes and delivery of didactic coursework as well as program development. Bringing local representation into a committee like the Physical Therapy Leadership Council provides a diversified view of how we can mainstream physical therapy services to the public and to keep up with current and future affairs for physical therapy delivery.”

Fellow alumni Parley Anderson ’03, PT, DPT, OCS is co-founder of Active Physical Therapy and Peter Hohenthaner ’01, ’04, PT, DPT is an owner of Pine Street Physical and Occupational Therapy. The newest member is alumna Kimberly (Howard) Colón ’03, PT, DPT who is a physical therapist at San Ramon Regional Medical Center.

“We take pride in our community, […we] bring in experiences, public relations, grants and a positive image for the program,” said Virtu Arora, PT, DPT, CLT, COMT. Arora is a physical therapist at Stanford Health Care, ValleyCare. Kevin A. Hicks, JD is a deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County. He believes that it is important for community members to be involved in order to “help the program address public needs.”

Kerry L. Krueger ’06, MS, JD is an attorney at Kroloff, Belcher, Smart, Perry & Christopherson. Krueger has strong ties to the University. In addition to being a graduate of McGeorge School of Law, she worked for the University’s Department of Student Life for nine years. When asked why it is important to involve community members, Krueger replied, “To gain some ‘out-of-the-box’ perspective, to make connections beyond the School and University and to get honest feedback on how others view issues.”

Joseph B. Serra, MD is an orthopedic surgeon and lecturer for the Pacific’s DPT program. Peter D. Morelli ’74 is president of Saint Mary’s High School in Stockton. No stranger to athletics, Morelli has been officiating sporting events since 1971 and his time as an NFL referee includes signaling the winning field goal for Super Bowl XXXVI. In his view, the PTLC gives community members the opportunity to share their opinions and their support.

Dr. Reina-Guerra commended the members of the PTLC for their support of the program’s vision for excellence and foremost to be recognized locally for preparing its graduates to be leaders of distinction in health care and society. “Each member of the Council carries our message to the people and organizations in their own professional and personal lives. We are honored to have the members represent us and we are thankful for their selfless contributions.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Alexa Hukari ’03, DPT

alexa_hukari_resizeBallerina, firefighter, veterinarian, circus performer. How many people grow up to be what they dreamt about at a young age? For Alexa Hukari ’03, DPT her childhood aspiration became a reality. At the age of 12, Hukari decided she wanted to join the circus when she grew up. Hukari recalls thinking, “I have to do that, I have to be a part of that.” She adds, “In high school people teased me about running away with the circus.”

Upon graduating from Pacific’s doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program she sought a position working with circus performers in Las Vegas. This led to the opportunity to do strength and conditioning, as well as physical therapy, for the performers of Cirque du Soleil.

Hukari met her husband, Ming Fang, in Barcelona while they were working on the same show. Fang was an acrobat in a Chinese troupe and Hukari was working as a physical therapist touring with the show. The two made for an unlikely couple; he didn’t speak English and she didn’t speak Mandarin. The strong connection between the two overcame cultural and linguistic barriers. In 2009, his partner was injured and she got the opportunity to audition as a replacement. She landed the part, which later led to the opportunity for Hukari and Fang to perform together in “Absinthe®” by Spiegelworld Las Vegas.

Hukari was 5 years old5 when she started gymnastics. She went on to be a U.S. National Acrobatic Gymnastics Champion and six-time California State Champion. While her background in gymnastics helped prepare her for the physical demands of her role in “Absinthe®,” there are distinct differences between preparing for a competition and training for performing. She explains, “It’s different when you are training for competition and you are working to peak once a year, one amazing moment. Working in ‘Absinthe®’ is 10 shows a week, it’s less about training for one peak moment and more about consistency.”

When performing week after week the focus is on being healthy, staying strong and avoiding injury. Core strength is key. She adds, “Acrobatics is really hard on your body. I try really hard to focus on all of the small things that add up to making your body strong.” Her background in physical therapy gives her a deeper understanding of maintaining physical fitness, which helps her to stay disciplined. “If I get injured I know how to come back from that injury and how to prevent it in the future when possible.”

When considering different career paths physical therapy was a natural choice. She shares, “I wanted to do something where I could stay involved in gymnastics or acrobatics.” Also, she has always wanted to know “how the body works and how to make it work better.” Hukari has found that being an athlete has made her a better physical therapist. She explains, “I can ask the right questions about what patients need.” This allows her to treat patients more effectively. Hukari emphasizes the importance of gaining the trust of  patients. When working with an athlete she  relates to the demands they put on their body as well as  the goals they want to achieve when rehabilitating from injury.

When reflecting on her experience at Pacific what stands out to Hukari is the faculty. Even after graduating Hukari felt like she could go to them for advice if she was uncertain about the best way to approach a certain aspect of a patient’s therapy. She adds, “I had the resources to make good decisions to help people.” She is grateful for her education, which has opened doors to opportunities far beyond what she could have imagined.

To read her story in her own words read “East meets West, and we fall in love.”

 

PharmD Student Leaders Share Study Tips: Who They Are and What They Recommend

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to understand and remember for an upcoming exam? Having a good study strategy can help you tackle the mountain of information. We asked several student leaders to share with us how they study and what techniques they would recommend.

What is your #1 study tip?

Jamie Legaspi ’18: “Do what works best for you! If it means studying with a group, find that group and make the most of it!”

Andy Szeto ’18: “Break up the material and revisit it several times. I feel that the more you expose yourself to lectures and notes, the more the content sticks. Often students look at a professor’s lecture slides once and get discouraged that they can’t understand it. The point of school is to learn things that you don’t already know so it is perfectly natural to not understand class material right away. Each time you study, ensure you understand the overarching idea before you dive in. This will help you ‘connect the dots.’ Rho Chi also provides tutors who can help you with course material.”

Michaela Vachuska ’18: “When it comes to learning new material, I like to ‘mix it up.’ Study methods that are highly effective for one class might not be effective for others. By quizzing myself often and talking to my friends about the material, I am able to evaluate how effectively I am learning and adjust my habits as necessary.”

Milana Vachuska ’18: “I feel most prepared and confident in class when I review the lecture slides the previous night. In the afternoons, I try my best to review the lectures that took place earlier that day. This method is definitely a big time commitment, but I’ve found that I do best on exams when I approach the material this way. Office hours are the best way to get your questions answered. There is only so much explanation a professor can give during class and sometimes it takes just a few minutes with them to solidify a concept.”

rs29853_phs-students-studying5

Legaspi serves as academic affairs coordinator for Phi Delta Chi. She shares, “They have a strong passion for leadership and brotherhood. I also felt very comfortable around them and found a family in them.” She adds, “My experience here at Pacific would not have been the same if it weren’t for the people I have met and the friends I have made.”

Legaspi is also a project manager for Alternative and Integrative Medicine (AIMRx). “I was interested in the type of education they did and all of the events they put on,” explains Legaspi. She is also involved in the Medicare Part D Outreach Program. “As I learned more about the program, I realized how much it interested me and how much of an impact I could make on peoples’ lives.”

Szeto is originally from Sacramento and it was the recommendation of alumni that led him to choose Pacific’s accelerated doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program. He explains, “I liked the idea of being able to complete a typical four-year PharmD degree in only three years. Being from the area, I personally knew several Pacific alumni and they only had positives things to say about the School, students and faculty.” He adds, “Being able to meet so many like-minded peers has been the most humbling experience. I know that even after I leave Pacific I’ll have life-long friends to rely on.”

Szeto serves as secretary of the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO). “I chose to run for the executive board of IPhO to showcase myself as an advocate for industry pharmacy and to facilitate networking with industry professionals,” said Szeto. “Industry pharmacy is a relatively nontraditional field of practice for pharmacists that gained popularity in the past several years. IPhO-Pacific was the first IPhO chapter on the West Coast, so I wanted to be at the forefront of industry and innovation in California.”

rs29866_phs-students-studying18

He is also a member of the Rho Chi Honor Society. “My foremost attraction to Rho Chi was the opportunity to be a peer tutor and mentor to first year students,” said Szeto.” The first year of pharmacy school can be demanding on new students and Rho Chi makes available second year students to help coach and steer their study habits and time management to achieve success.”

It was strong recommendations from alumni that brought Michaela Vachuska to Pacific. She describes her first visit to the campus, “I loved the warm atmosphere and the faculty and students spoke very highly of the program. One of my mentors is a Pacific Alumnus and he encouraged me to apply.” She adds, “The faculty at Pacific have exceeded my highest expectations. They are extremely supportive and understanding. It has been amazing to have them as resources.”

Michaela Vachuska explains what led her to pursue the role of president of the Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (SCCP), “SCCP just graduated from a committee to an organization and I was excited about the prospect of being at the forefront of this transition. I am passionate about clinical pharmacy, so it was a perfect fit.”

Milana Vachuska serves as president of Pacific’s chapter of California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP-Pacific) and scribe of the Medicare Outreach Logistics Committee. “During my first semester here I noticed that CSHP-Pacific hosted a high number of quality events,” said Milana Vachuska. “I wanted to provide those opportunities for my fellow students.”

In July, Milana Vachuska participated in the Pharmacy Scholarship Ceremony. She shares, “The Scholarship Ceremony reception was a meaningful highlight of my Pacific experience. At the reception students were given the opportunity to have dinner with the donors of their respective scholarships. This event made me feel as though I could someday make a difference in a student’s life and it elucidated the strength of the Pacific alumni network.”

For more tips on how to make the most of your Pacific experience read 8 Things You Should Do During Your First Semester at Pacific.

 

AAPS-Pacific Chapter Contributes to “30K in 30 Days” Campaign

Chapter Officers with Dr. Li.
Chapter Officers with Dr. Li.

Thirty thousand dollars raised in 30 days was the goal set by the Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) to benefit their foundation. “’30K in 30 Days’ was a fundraising campaign introduced by AAPS in celebration of their 30th anniversary,” said Yifan Lu ’18, chair of Pacific’s chapter of AAPS. “The goal was to raise $30,000 and provide three graduate students with a $10,000 fellowship funding to further their research.” Pacific’s chapter organized a board game night where students competed against faculty. The chapter earned the distinction of being the student chapter with the largest number of donations.

“The AAPS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of AAPS,” said Vice-Chair Mallika Vadlamudi ’18. “Its mission is to provide meaningful financial support to scientists to advance research, education and training for the discovery, development and manufacture of drugs. It is also used to encourage, inspire and inform K–12 students of career opportunities in the pharmaceutical sciences.”

Founded in 1986, AAPS advances the capacity of pharmaceutical scientists to develop products and therapies that improve global health. AAPS has approximately 10,000 members worldwide who have roles in academia, industry, research and government. Pacific’s AAPS student chapter was established in October 2004; the chapter currently has 66 student members from various disciplines. Xiaoling Li, PhD, professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry and associate dean for graduate education and research, serves as the faculty advisor. “Our mission is to enrich students’ graduate experiences by providing resources in the field of pharmaceutical sciences to bridge the gap between academia and industry,” shares Treasurer Jieyun Cao ’18. “To achieve this mission our chapter has organized numerous activities such as guest speaker events and research symposia, as well as professional and social interactions.”

Lu presents his work in the DeRosa Center for Research Day.
Lu presents his work in the DeRosa Center for Research Day.

Cao sees the value in being involved in professional organizations as a student. She elaborates, “Professional organizations are a great platform which facilitate interactions between students and industry scientists, as well as academic scholars. It gives us exposure to the pharmaceutical field and prepares us for our future career endeavors.”

The chapter is actively involved in the University’s annual Research Day. Since 2015, members have assisted with and moderated the event. The vision of the multi-disciplinary event compliments APPS’s core values of learning, innovation, service, inclusiveness and integrity. “Research Day is an event that showcases the research and creative endeavors of Pacific’s faculty, graduate and undergraduate students via posters and presentations,” said Vadlamudi. The next Research Day will be held on the Stockton campus on April 29, 2017.

This year the AAPS chapter initiated the inaugural Pacific-China Pharmaceutical University Pharmaceutical Research Symposium to promote international networking and collaboration on research techniques and ideas. Vadlamudi shares, “The event was very successful and was scientifically stimulating. Pharmacy and chemistry faculty members, as well as graduate students and doctor of pharmacy students attended the event. With the success of the first symposium, we will expand the second symposium by involving more universities such as University of California, San Francisco.”

To learn more about AAPS go to aaps.org. For more information on Pacific’s chapter of AAPS contact Mallika Vadlamudi at m_vadlamudi@u.pacific.edu.

 

8 Things to Do During Your First Semester at Pacific

Jamie Legaspi ’18, Andy Szeto ’18, Michaela Vachuska ’18 and Milana Vachuska ’18 share their advice for getting the most out of your first semester at Pacific.

1) Get to you know your professors

Michaela Vachuska: “They are an incredibly helpful resource and will give you great advice if you find yourself struggling.”

Milana Vachuska: “The faculty here at Pacific are friendly, available and dedicated to the success of their students. This became apparent to me after my first tour of this campus. Not only are they super friendly and hilarious, but they can also help you through more difficult concepts. While it might seem intimidating at first, I promise it will be worth it.”

2) Get to know yourself

Milana Vachuska: “Get involved, attend speaker events and establish a routine that works for you. There is no ‘cookie-cutter’ approach […] you are going to have to adapt!”

3) Go to class

Szeto: “The first step in learning the material is to expose yourself to it. Repeated exposure helps cement concepts in your mind.”

Milana Vachuska: “I find that for every hour I spend being attentive in class, I save about three hours of toiling over the material. Don’t skip class, it’s a trap!”

4) Relax

Legaspi: “Find what makes helps you de-stress. Give yourself a time to relax and enjoy things you love to do.”

Szeto: “School, leadership and community service are important, so is taking time for yourself. Make sure you don’t burn yourself out and remind yourself that you deserve to unwind once in a while. The key to success is balance, everything in moderation.”

Michaela Vachuska: “My friends have ‘casual Fridays’ where we just hang out, socialize, eat and watch TV. It was always a great way to de-stress so I could be as productive as possible over the weekend!”

5) Stay positive

Michaela Vachuska: “It is important to celebrate your successes and learn from your failures. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect!”

Milana Vachuska: “Being in the company of good friends helps me to keep a positive attitude during stressful or draining times.”

6) Join a student organization

Legaspi: “Don’t be afraid to take risks when it comes to joining clubs and organizations. On the other hand, only go for something if you have a passion for it, rather than doing it just to fluff up your resume.”

7) Use a calendar

Szeto: “With the plethora of organizations, committees and other extracurricular activities on top of academics, it is very easy to be overwhelmed. Put everything into an accessible planner to ensure you don’t miss any appointments and have ample time to prepare for projects or events.”

8) Dress professionally

Michaela Vachuska: “While it is not required, it could be helpful in making an impression while you are still new to campus!”

 

 

Faculty Spotlight: Roshanak Rahimian, PharmD, MSc, PhD

rs47743_roshanak-rahimian-lab-25

Roshanak Rahimian, PharmD, MSc, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology was awarded a $302,428 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for the study entitled, “Diabetes, Estrogen and Endothelial Dysfunction.” The NIH grant allows Dr. Rahimian to continue her research on the vascular effects of estrogen. She contributes the experience and expertise gained from two decades of working in the field of estrogen and vascular reactivity to her role as principle investigator. “I have been working on the area of women’s health since I started working on my PhD project at University of British Columbia back in 1995,” said Dr. Rahimian.

lation-based reports providing statistical evidence that premenopausal females become vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases in presence of diabetes,” said Dr. Rahimian. “Despite the sex-associated differences in physiological processes and functions, as well as pathological development and progression of diseases, research has predominantly involved male subjects and many knowledge gaps and paradoxes still remain.”

According to the World Health Organization diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide, over half of whom are women, and the number of diabetic patients is estimated to rise by more than 50 percent within 20 years [International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Atlas, 7th Edition, 2015]. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in diabetic patients.

According to Dr. Rahimian, “The risk for CVD is lower in premenopausal women compared to age-matched men. This difference disappears in the postmenopausal years and is presumably related to the reduced levels of female sex hormones, in general, and estrogen, in particular. However, premenopausal women with diabetes not only lose this sex-based cardiovascular protection, they actually experience a higher relative risk of CVD compared to diabetic men, which suggests that diabetes abolishes some of the beneficial effects of estrogen. Given this epidemiological evidence, the question arises as to what mechanisms underlie the loss of sex-mediated vasoprotection in diabetic women. This proposal will explore the basis for the loss of sex-based cardiovascular protection.”

rs47719_roshanak-rahimian-lab-1

While there has been extensive research into diabetes in males, much less is known about how diabetes affects the risk of cardiovascular diseases for females. Dr. Rahimian shares, “The NIH has been recently directing basic and clinical scientists to consider potential sex differences and perform their studies using both male and female subjects. My laboratory has made significant contributions to the study of sex differences during this era. We previously reported sex differences in vascular dysfunction in a model of type 1 diabetes (T1D), a project which was also supported by NIH from 2009 through 2013. However, the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) may differ from that seen in T1D, and it is known that the incidence of T2D is rapidly increasing worldwide.” Dr. Rahimian explains, “Over the past decade, obesity and diabetes have reached epidemic proportions in developed countries and has become one of the most serious and challenging health problems in the 21st century. Therefore, we proposed to examine vascular function in arteries using an established obesity-induced T2D model. The knowledge gained from this proposal will ultimately enhance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the vascular dysfunction in diabetic premenopausal women. The enhanced insight into these mechanisms is expected to eventually also be beneficial for the male population.”

Dr. Rahimian emphasizes the collaborative nature of research. She elaborates, “I couldn’t have received this grant without the support of my school and university, and my dedicated past and current graduate, undergraduate and pharmacy students. As well as, my outstanding collaborators Dr. Leigh Anderson at Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Dr. Peter Havel at University of California, Davis, who provided us with a novel and validated model of type 2  diabetes, and Dr. Linda Shortliffe at Stanford University, the consultant on this study. I also appreciate the excellent support of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Pacific.”

 

 

Student Spotlight: Benjamin Thompson ’18

slp-student-spotlight-benjamin-thompson2_resizeMusical festivals set Benjamin Thompson ’18 on the path to a career in audiology. “I began to wear earplugs at music festivals after a close friend recommended I consider protecting my hearing,” said Thompson. “Soon after I began personal research into the effects of noise on our auditory pathway. Audiology resonated with me because I enjoy working with people to improve their communication.”

For Thompson, music and audiology go hand-in-hand. He shares, “I would like to become more involved in hearing loss prevention campaigns for musicians and music lovers.” He adds, “Many of my friends are musicians, music lovers or work in the music industry and experience tinnitus. […] Hearing loss provides unique challenges to every individual.”

Thompson grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. He earned a bachelor of arts in communication and health from College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. While living in Charleston he collaborated with local audiologists to conduct a research study about ear plug usage and concert attendance among college students.

Results of the study showed a lack of knowledge about noise-induced hearing loss and served as his motivation to design a community education event. “Of respondents, 70 percent have experienced tinnitus after attending a concert and 90 percent have never used ear plugs,” Thompson explains. “Short-term tinnitus, ringing in the ears, may be a precursor to hearing loss. With the results, I organized a hybrid education and entertainment event called ‘Decibel: Hearing Conservation Seminar’ with a presentation by a local audiologist.”

Pacific’s doctor of audiology (AuD) program brought Thompson to California. “I chose to be a part of Pacific’s inaugural class because of the need for audiologists in California,” shares Thompson. “Pacific’s AuD program in the second year consists of classes three days a week and clinical experience two days a week. I enjoy this balance of theory and practice because it allows students to exercise our knowledge immediately. Our program introduces students to Pacific’s Hearing and Balance Center in downtown San Francisco from the beginning of the program. We are one of the select accelerated AuD programs in the country. The fast-paced nature of the program is challenging. It requires sharp mental focus and diligence.”

Thompson loves being outdoors either camping, hiking or surfing. His ideal weekend would be exploring California’s untamed coastline, either in Big Sur or the Lost Coast. He  found a way to combine his love for outdoor adventures with his passion for audiology. “This August I organized a fundraiser titled, ‘Hiking for Hearing: California to Guatemala.’ I hiked the 210-mile John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. The trip raised money for an audiology mission trip to Guatemala this fall that two Pacific classmates and I plan to attend.”

Thompson encourages those who are interested in pursuing a career in audiology to learn more about the different specialties within the profession. He adds, “Pacific’s AuD program accepts students from a diverse background of undergraduate studies.” To learn more about Pacific’s audiology program go to pacific.edu/aud

 

Student Spotlight: Avenlea Gamble ’16, ’17

avenlea_gamble_resizeRedwood trees evoke different memories for different people, from Stanford University’s logo to summer camping trips in Sequoia National Park. For Avenlea Gamble ’16, ’17 redwoods remind her of home. Gamble is from Willits, California, the small city located in Mendocino County, 35 miles east of Fort Bragg, known as the “Gateway to the Redwoods.” The first time she stepped on the Pacific campus she felt at home.

In May, Gamble completed her bachelor of science in speech-language pathology (SLP) at Pacific and is now starting the graduate program. “I knew I always wanted to go into some kind of therapy,” said Gamble. “In high school I was torn between occupational therapy and speech-language pathology.” The opportunity to shadow a speech-language pathologist helped her decide which career path to follow.

Her advice for those starting the SLP program, either as an undergraduate or graduate student, is to connect with the faculty. “Definitely talk to your faculty inside and outside of class. They are such great resources and are very well known in the field.” She expressed that she aspires to follow in their footsteps. She adds, “This is an incredible community of very intelligent and very passionate individuals, I’m so glad to be a part of it.” She adds, “Being a Pacific Tiger has given me a life-long community of friends and colleagues.” The positive experience she has had as a Pacific Tiger has even changed the way she thinks about the color orange.

Gamble was selected by the SLP faculty to be the recipient of the Virginia Puich Endowed Scholarship, which recognizes clinical and academic excellence. Emerita faculty member Virginia Puich, MS served as department chair from 1987 until her retirement in 1993. Her focus on clinical training helped shape the SLP program at Pacific into what is today.  “She was a big catalyst for where we are now,” says Gamble. She is honored to have been chosen as the recipient of this scholarship. “To think they saw even a fraction of her in me. It is incredible to know they view me in the same light.” She adds, “Having the support from all different areas of my life is one of the reasons I am here today.”

Gamble is a member of Omega Eta Epsilon, a Greek-letter honor society unique to Pacific. “We focus on increasing literacy,” explains Gamble. Founded in 2011, Omega Eta Epsilon is open to students who are majoring or minoring in any language, as well as those studying SLP. “We are a very eclectic group; English majors, speech-language pathology majors and others who have a passion for linguistics.” Illiteracy can have a profound impact on an individual both socially and professionally. She sees an urgent need for literacy programs in the San Joaquin County; she believes that Pacific students help meet that need by hosting outreach events and organizing book drives.

Gamble believes in the concept of paying it forward. Upon graduating she plans to return to her hometown where there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists. “I would like to work in the medical setting, either a hospital or skilled nursing facility.” Her passion is for helping those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease regain language skills. She elaborates, “To speak, to introduce themselves, to have those normal day-to-day conversations.”