Making the Most of Career Development

deans_letter_pt-showcase-2016Meeting a prospective employer for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience. There is the pressure to make a good first impression, give eloquent answers and ask thoughtful questions. One of the ways that Pacific prepares students for the career opportunities that lay ahead is through events where they can practice navigating interactions with employers.

On November 14, 2016, the University’s Career Resource Center hosted an etiquette dinner. At the event, students had the opportunity to practice networking and dining in a professional setting. The Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Association sponsored the 20 students undergraduate and graduate students who attended this annual event.

“I would definitely recommend this to future students because it has made me more comfortable dining at nice restaurants and it was a valuable experience if I go to an interview dinner,” said speech-language pathology (SLP) student Ashley Cearley ’17. Her classmate, Monica Berg ’17, agrees, “It was great to receive information about dining in a business setting and note what employers were looking for.” Berg connected with Jillian Hall ’13, MS, CCC-SLP, who is a speech-language pathologist for Twin Rivers Unified School District. “We spoke about her job experience, other colleges and the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association,” Berg said.

SLP student Connie Mach ’17 also connected with a speech-language pathologist. She shares, “She was very friendly and shared her experiences working as a speech-language pathologist in a variety of settings, including early intervention in the homes, school sites and in the hospitals.” Mach adds, “I think it was a great opportunity to practice networking skills and meet potential employers. I would recommend bringing business cards and thinking of questions to ask the employers prior to the event.”

Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) student Samantha Moore ’17 practiced her networking skills. “I appreciated the pointers that were provided that evening about how to better conduct myself,” Moore said. “I found this beneficial in how to interact with other professionals including potential employers.”

Throughout the year students have opportunities to attend events focused on career development. “We highly encourage students to start attending career events and start devising a career development plan as early as their first year in the program,” said Erica Ruiz ’12, whose role at the School includes assisting students with career development.

In November Adriana Joma ’17 attended the Speech-Language Pathology Employer Showcase. “This experience allowed me to see what positions are currently available in my area and specific job skills required or recommended for these positions,” Joma said. Both Kate O’Donnell ’17 and Kasimira Clark ’17 used Showcase as an opportunity to learn more about the corporate culture of local companies. O’Donnell explains, “The companies provided great information and advice for determining the best ‘fit’ for a career.” Clark shares, “The exhibitors gave great advice and explained what things we should look out for and helped narrow my focus.”

Sarah Petry ’18 found that the practice of meeting with employers gave her confidence. She shares, “I grew more comfortable at each table and less overwhelmed. By the last table I felt more myself and able to better make a connection.” DPT student Jacob “Jake” Fredrickson ’18 had a similar experience at the Physical Therapy Employer Showcase. He said, “I got to practice having a professional conversation in a real employer interaction and that was very helpful!”

For Briana Bernard ’17 the benefits of attending Showcase were twofold. “Clinicians gave insight to what they are looking for in therapists and what kind of [interview] questions they ask,” Bernard said. “Also, it was a good experience of putting myself out there in a professional setting and feeling more confident.”

Dickson Chang ’18 and Briana Valenzuela ’18 emphasize the power of a good first impression. Chang shares, “It helped me work on being personable to potential employers.” Valenzuela said, “I felt like practicing introducing myself to everyone and trying to create a good first impression was a great experience.”

Alicia (Lueth) Wortman ’18 found Showcase to be an encouraging experience. She shares, “It was nice to have a ‘practice’ environment in which to have purposeful, but also personal, conversations. It was encouraging to know that these employers see qualities in us which they’d like to hire.” Patrick Amigable ’18 echoes her sentiment. He said, “I was able to practice being an active listener and inquire in a way that expressed my potential as a future employee.”

 

Melanie A. Felmlee, PhD Receives AACP New Investigator Award

deans-letter-felmlee-labPharmaceutics and parenting inspired Melanie A. Felmlee, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry, to pursue a grant for research of monocarboxylate transporters. Dr. Felmlee was awarded the 2017 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy New Investigator Award (NIA) for her proposal entitled “Maturation and spatial expression of intestinal MCT1 in obesity.”

Dr. Felmlee has been studying transporters for the past nine years. This research builds on her previous research of monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1). In her previous research studies, Dr. Felmlee has investigated the behavior of this transporter in the kidney and liver. She shares, “The pediatric part honestly came from my kids,” said Dr. Femlee. “As parents, we want to figure out how kids work.”

“The overall objective of this study is to investigate the maturation and spatial expression of intestinal MCT1 in obesity to improve our understanding of its developmental regulation,” Dr. Felmlee said. She will use the $10,000 in funding from the award to investigate how MCT1 behaves in different regions of the intestine. Throughout the research process she will be assisted by Michael Ng ’20.

She explains that the International Transporter Consortium identified the need for additional research on MCT1. “Monocarboxylate transporters are involved in intestinal drug absorption, yet maturation and spatial expression data are lacking in the literature,” Dr. Felmlee said.

In addition to a patient’s age, obesity could affect drug pharmacokinetics and toxicity. She elaborates, “Alterations in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination (ADME) due to physiological changes resulting from childhood obesity can influence drug exposure leading to lack of efficacy or toxicity. Physiological alterations in obesity include changes in the expression of drug transporter and metabolic enzymes leading to altered liver function, kidney function and intestinal absorption.”

“The prevalence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, with 42 million children worldwide under the age of five considered overweight,” Dr. Felmlee explains. “Obese children are more likely to require pharmacotherapy, so it is crucial to optimize therapeutic interventions to avoid lack of efficacy or toxicity.”

The goal of this study is to contribute to the understanding of MCT1 so that health care providers can optimize therapeutic strategies in obese pediatric patients by accounting for variations in drug absorption. In addition, a greater understanding of transporters can pave the way for personalized treatment plans for both normal weight and obese pediatric patients. Dr. Felmlee believes that understanding MCT1 “is one small piece” in the development of personalized medicine. “Give them an optimized therapy, the right treatment at the right time,” Dr. Felmlee said.

This grant holds special significance as this is the first external funding Dr. Felmlee has received. The AACP New Investigator Award is tailored to pharmacy faculty who are at the start of their career as researchers. She shares what receiving this grant means to her personally: “It’s a confidence booster. Putting together a grant proposal is difficult and time consuming.” Being awarded the NIA is “validation that someone believes in the research you are doing and believes in you as a researcher.”

Since joining the Pacific faculty in 2015, Dr. Felmlee has found the atmosphere of the School to be supportive and encouraging. She appreciates the friendly, collaborative environment, as well as their balanced approach to teaching and research. She elaborates, “We are really well balanced. I feel supported to teach and given the time and resources to pursue research.” She shares a memory of an interaction with Dean Phillip Oppenheimer, PharmD, where he acknowledged one of her recent accomplishments. “Dean Oppenheimer saw me washing out my coffee mug and congratulated me,” Dr. Felmlee said. “I love those little things.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Judi Jewett ’95, MA, CCC-SLP

deans_letter_judi_jewett_welcome_back_dinner“I never have to worry about what I want to do when I grow up because I’m doing it,” said Judi Jewett ’95, MA, CCC-SLP. For over two decades Jewett, president of Jewett and Associates, Inc., has worked in private practice and in schools as a speech-language pathologist. She believes, “Communication is a basic need and if you can help someone with their communication you are giving them a gift.”

She reflects on what inspired her to pursue a career in speech-language pathology (SLP). “There was a video that I absolutely fell in love with. The speech-language pathologist was teaching a hearing impaired child to speak. I thought, ‘That’s it, that’s what I want to do.’” She also found the variety of opportunities available within the profession very appealing. Jewett adds, “I have always been fascinated by all of the things you can do in SLP.”

She explains why she chose Pacific for her masters of arts in communicative disorders: “I liked the philosophy of the School.” She says that choosing Pacific was “one of the best choices I’ve made.” She adds, “I absolutely love Pacific; all of the staff, all of the faculty, all of the students. I always feel connected to Pacific even though I graduated many years ago. They have a wonderful program that I can’t recommend enough. They support each student to be the best clinician they can be.”

Jewett was a speaker at this year’s Welcome Back Dinner, an annual event where alumni and experienced speech-language pathologists serve as guest speakers for round-table discussions with current SLP students. She shares, “One thing that I like about the Welcome Back Dinner is that it takes place just before students have their first interaction with their clients.” Jewett brought with her almost 700 books which she distributed to undergraduate and graduate SLP students. The books had been donated to First Book, a non-profit social enterprise, by Random House Golden Kids. First Book receives donations of new books from publishers, which are then available to educators who work in settings where the majority of the students come from low-income families.

One of the books Jewett brought was “Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten” by Marc Brown. Jewett explains that in the book the monkey is doing activities such as playing with blocks and coloring. By bringing props to a speech therapy session, such as coloring books and blocks, the client can engage in the activity instead of only listening. Jewett stresses the importance of helping children form positive associations with books during the pre-literacy phase. By introducing an interactive element, the child is able to practice literacy skills, regardless of their age or skill level. Also, the speech-language pathologist can ask the child about both what the character in the book is doing and what they themselves are doing.

Jewett’s passion for sharing the gift of communication crosses linguistic and cultural boundaries. Jewett traveled to what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina shortly after the Bosnia War ended in 1995. “I first went to Bosnia as part of a church program,” Jewett said. “I went to a youth house, the schools were not up and running at this point.” She noticed that one child wasn’t engaging in the activities that were going on around her. Jewett was told, “‘She’s deaf, there’s nothing you can do.’” Jewett thought to herself, “‘I’m a speech-language pathologist, I do know there are things I can do.’” The girl could only use a few gestures, which her mother understood, but she was unable to communicate with her father who had been blinded in the war. Jewett worked tirelessly until she found hearing aids.

Finding hearing aids was only the first step. “You have to also provide therapy,” explains Jewett. “You can’t just hand them hearing aids like audiology tourism.” Jewett arranged for the girl to have speech therapy. On her return trips she observed the impact it had made on the girl’s life. She shares, “She went from gesturing to actually participating in conversations.” That initial interaction sparked the creation of the Bosnia Speech and Hearing Project. Jewett shares, “Bosnia is the place that has captured my heart. The people there are now my family. I didn’t have family when I first went, but now I do.”

She believes that it is our responsibility to reach those individuals who otherwise would not have access to the services they need. She encourages her fellow speech-language pathologists to give back of their time and talent. “There are some people outside of our settings that also need communication, that is a basic need,” Jewett said. “Find those settings where we can use our knowledge and skills.”

 

11th Annual Tiger Dash Brings the Community Together

deans-letter-pt-tiger-dash-03On a brisk Saturday in October during Pacific Homecoming, 179 runners lined up at the starting line of the 11th annual Tiger Dash 5K and Half Mile Cub Run. Among the runners were a number of students from local schools. “This year our office was awarded a community grant through Kaiser Permanente to implement running programs at our afterschool sites,” said Nora Hana, MA Ed, afterschool programs coordinator for San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE). “The culminating event of the running club was to run a 5K. Since we have an ongoing partnership with Pacific’s physical therapy department I reached out to Dr. Todd Davenport to see if we could participate in the Tiger Dash. It was a perfect event for us since the students in our afterschool program were familiar with the physical therapy students at Pacific.” Dr. Davenport commented, “What a fantastic way to kick off the second decade of the Tiger Dash and Cub Run, to continue building bridges between our campus and our community.”

The expanded partnership between the Department of Physical Therapy and SJCOE was based on their collaboration on another project, the Healthy Children program, which is sponsored by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Fund. The program allows physical therapy students to participate in afterschool programs to teach local students about backpack safety and the importance of a healthy diet.

“I saw many of our afterschool students recognize the Pacific physical therapy students that came to their schools,” Hana said. “Many of the students that participated in the run have never been to a college campus before so this was a very rewarding and unique opportunity for them.” She explains, “It is important for these students because many of them will be the first in their families to consider attending a college. We always want to give our students opportunities to learn from positive role models that are in their communities and to expose them to higher learning opportunities. This expands their horizons and gives them a look at what opportunities are out there for them. Also, having parents bring their children to the campus helps families experience the different possibilities together.”

Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) student Megan Stiller ’17 served as Tiger Dash’s event chief executive officer. She shares that the most memorable part of the event for her personally was the interactions she had with students from the afterschool program. Stiller is passionate about addressing the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, she sees a natural fit between this goal and Tiger Dash. “I feel strongly about outreach and prevention,” Stiller said. “We really try to instill in the kids the things that they can do.”

The Pacific 5K Tiger Dash and Half Mile Cub Run serves as a fundraiser for the DPT Class of 2017. The majority of the funds raised will be used to help students with travel expenses and conference fees associated with attending the national physical therapy conference, American Physical Therapy Association’s annual Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). In addition to networking opportunities, CSM offers physical therapy students and practicing physical therapists access to the latest developments in their dynamic profession. Stiller elaborates, “We can find out the most up-to-date information, learn about current products available, policy changes, new legislation and changes to billing.” Stiller explains that staying up-to-date with changes in the profession allows physical therapists to give their patients the best possible care.

A portion of the funds raised will go toward the Physical Therapy Visionary Endowment, which also supports students traveling to CSM. The purpose of the Physical Therapy Visionary Endowment is to help relieve the pressure of raising funds during the semester, thus allowing the DPT students to focus on their studies. Once the fund reaches $50,000 it will be matched by the Powell Match.

Attending CSM is a key opportunity for professional growth and the process of organizing Tiger Dash is as well. Stiller elaborates, “You use the same skill set you would use in the clinic. Tiger Dash is heavily student initiated, that’s how it first began and it is definitely student run. The whole class gets involved.” The DPT students reached out to community partners to sponsor the event. Major sponsors for the 2016 event were Lodi Physical Therapy, Pine Street Physical Therapy, Golden Bear Physical and Occupational Therapy, Homer’s Barbershop, Team Movement for Life (Central Valley Physical Therapy and Delta Physical Therapy) and Fleet Feet.

“I hope it continues to be a homecoming tradition,” shares Stiller. Echoing her enthusiasm, Hana expressed, “We are looking forward to next year. We are already gearing up for it.”

“Mark your calendars to come join us.” Dr. Davenport said. “The 12th Annual Tiger Dash is scheduled for Saturday, October 7, 2017!”

 

Faculty Spotlight: Zhu “Kerrie” Zhou ’14, BPharm, PhD

deans-letter-zhu-zhou“I’ve always wanted to work in academia,” said Zhu “Kerrie” Zhou ’14, BPharm, PhD, assistant clinical professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry. She was inspired by her parents who are both professors. Through her parents she has observed the lasting impact a professor can have on the lives of his or her students. She shared a story of when her mother’s students held a reunion. At the event, former students who Dr. Zhou’s mother had taught three decades ago shared how grateful they were for the positive influence she had on their lives.

In her role as a professor, Dr. Zhou’s goal is to help her students discover their unique strengths. “I always think that every student is an individual,” Dr. Zhou said. “My goal here is to help them to become life-long learners.”

Originally from Nanjing, China, Dr. Zhou earned a bachelor of pharmacy from China Pharmaceutical University. She moved to New Zealand to attend University of Auckland where she earned a bachelor of science in food science. She shared that the highlight of living in New Zealand was the people she met through the university’s international housing. “I met friends from all over the world,” Zhou said. She stays in touch with those friends through email and Skype.

Speaking from experience, her advice for both exchange students and international students is to take advantage of the opportunity to experience a different culture. She recommends immersing yourself in the culture and being willing to go outside your comfort zone. She believes that communication is the key to success when adapting to a new environment. She adds, “I think it is very important to be open-minded.” Dr. Zhou has found that when you show an interest in the culture of those around you it can forge friendships with people from all over the world.

She first came to Pacific to pursue a doctor of philosophy in pharmaceutics and chemical sciences. After earning her PhD, Dr. Zhou worked as a research scientist in the Department of Pharmaceutics at University of Washington. While living in Seattle, Dr. Zhou worked as a research scientist at the Center of Excellence for Natural Product and Drug Interaction Research, where she conducted research on how different herbs interact with drugs.

Dr. Zhou explains that in many Asian cultures natural products are commonly used as dietary supplements. She emphasizes the importance of pharmacists taking the time to discuss with their patients what natural products or traditional medicines they may be using. For example, green tea and grapefruit juice may interact with certain medications, causing adverse side effects. “As a pharmacist communication skills are very important,” Dr. Zhou said. “Part of communication is understanding different perspectives. It is very important to understand cultural needs.” Dr. Zhou encourages her fellow health care professionals to approach the interactions they have with patients with an attitude of respect. She believes there should be a balance of being mindful of the patient’s cultural perspective and helping them understand how to follow the treatment plan that has been prescribed.

She enjoys watching movies, playing badminton, playing table tennis and traveling. She shares, “When you are traveling you embrace new cultures and different experiences.” One of her favorite things is sharing a meal with family and friends.

 

PT and SLP Collaborate for a Study on Respiratory Muscle Strength Training

deans-letter-fairburn-isettiCarl L. Fairburn III ’10, PT, DPT, assistant professor of physical therapy, and Derek Isetti ’08, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, have teamed up for a research project to explore if respiratory muscle strength training (RMST), commonly used in physical therapy, can benefit patients who are having difficulty with speaking. For this study Dr. Fairburn and Dr. Isetti are focusing on individuals with Parkinson’s disease, as often these individuals experience diminished lung capacity and decreased speaking volume.

Ultimately, the goal of this study is to improve the quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease by improving their pulmonary function, which in turn could make it easier for them to speak. Vocal loudness is intricately related to the amount of air pressure an individual can generate within the lungs. It is Dr. Fairburn and Dr. Isetti’s theory that as pulmonary function and strength improves with respiratory strength training this could have a translational effect on vocal loudness when speaking.

In this study, participants are trained on how to use small, portable respiratory trainers. “These are small hand-held devices that are typically spring-loaded,” said Dr. Fairburn. “They apply a resistance to the user when they are either breathing in or breathing out. The trainers are calibrated to each individual with resistance adjusted based on the user response.” Calibration is important as these devices employ the progressive overload principle. Dr. Fairburn explains, “Placing strain on the muscle causes adaptive hypertrophy and growths in strength. The diaphragm and muscles in the rib cage can be strengthened to improve the individual aspects of pulmonary function.”

Dr. Fairburn is the lead investigator of the study. “My responsibilities are recruiting and selecting candidates, study design and selecting outcome assessments that relate to pulmonary function and quality of life in Parkinsonism,” Dr. Fairburn said. “We also measure thoracic expansion, or how much movement they get in their rib cage.” In addition, he trains the study’s participants on how to use the respiratory devices and teaches them the exercise protocol. Dr. Fairburn also assesses “how much their respiratory function affects their quality of life.”

Co-investigator Dr. Isetti lends his expertise as a speech-language pathologist. “I’m essentially obtaining baseline measurement data on the participants,” Dr. Isetti said. Once he has established a baseline of the participant’s vocals he then follows up at two week intervals with a vocal assessment. “Some of the things we are looking at are maximum phonation time, or the length of time someone can sustain a sound, and vocal loudness, how loudly someone can project their voice.” In addition, he measures pitch range. He also assesses their perceived vocal handicap before and after the respiratory strength training, as well as the amount of self-perceived effort that a participant feels is necessary in order to produce speech.

Dr. Isetti emphasizes the importance of seeking out the expertise of a speech-language pathologist. “RMST is not designed to be a replacement for speech therapy,” stresses Dr. Isetti. “However, if use of respiratory trainers is shown to improve vocal outcomes they could be a valuable ancillary treatment, complementing the patient’s speech therapy.”

Several doctor of physical therapy students are involved in this research study: Alycia Clark ’17, Andy Westhafer ’17 and Amanda Whalen ’17. “Their responsibilities include assistance with data collection and helping perform some of the outcome assessments,” Dr. Fairburn said. This study is just one way that students have the opportunity to work alongside Pacific faculty. Dr. Fairburn shares, “A large number of our students are involved in research projects or state and national-level presentations. Opportunities outside of the classroom are available to all of our students should they express their desire to pursue research activities.”

Pacific is committed to creating an environment where interdisciplinary collaboration thrives. Speaking from personal experience, Dr. Fairburn has found that when physical therapists work with speech-language pathologists they can become a “cohesive, collaborative rehabilitation team.” Dr. Isetti adds that when students are exposed to rehabilitation research that is being developed outside of their own discipline they are better prepared to meet the needs of their patients in strategic and innovative ways.

 

Pacific’s Hearing and Balance Center Collaborates with Stockton Civic Theater

deans-letter-audiology-hearing-aidsThe lights dim, the curtain rises, the music begins to play — it is the sights and sounds that make going to the theater an unforgettable experience. Imagine if you had difficulty hearing the music or the actors and how that would impact your experience. The Pacific Hearing and Balance Center has collaborated with the Stockton Civic Theatre to make the theater experience more enjoyable for community members that use hearing aids by refurbishing the theatre’s telecoil sound system.

“We have many patients who attend plays or musicals at the Stockton Civic Theatre and they could not hear well due to the acoustic of the space,” said Gail Amornpongchai, AuD, FAAA, C-AAA, clinical director of audiology. “We called Stockton Civic Theatre and found out they had the loop, but it had been turned off for many years as the system had interfered with the sound of one of the shows. When they tried to turn it back on, they discovered the company who had installed the loop had gone out of the business. We found another company who came to install the new amplifier and made sure everything worked well.”

“A hearing loop, or telecoil loop, is a sound system that magnetically transmits the signal to hearing aids,” explains Dr. Amornpongchai. “The hearing loop brings sound directly from the sound system of the theatre to the patient’s hearing aids, similar to a Bluetooth headset. This allows the wearer to have direct access to sounds in the presence of room reverberation and background noise, which can improve their understanding of speech.”

Sound reverberates in rooms with high ceilings, which makes auditoriums challenging environments for those who use hearing aids. “A hearing loop consists of a loop of cable which is placed around a designated area, usually a room, auditorium, theatre or church. The cable generates a magnetic field throughout the looped space which can be picked up by a hearing aid that is compatible with telecoil. Patients who have hearing aids should consult with their audiologists to see if their hearing aids have telecoil and if the telecoil is activated.”

Dr. Amornpongchai believes that it is important for everyone to understand the challenges that individuals with hearing impairments face so that as a community we can help create inclusive environments. She elaborates, “The main factors that affect hearing are distance between the speaker and the listener, background noise and reverberation. Some people think that hearing aids will solve everything and that is not true. Therefore, the community needs to provide accommodations for those who have hearing impairments. This includes modifying the acoustics in restaurants or churches by installing carpet or installing sound-absorbing materials on the walls or ceiling. Also, we can educate servers to seat people close to the wall, or in less noisy areas, when requested or sponsor a telecoil loop in public places.”

Doctor of audiology student Cheryl A. Linton ’19, MS had the opportunity to assist Dr. Amornpongchai with the process of refurbishing the hearing loop at Stockton Civic Theatre. Linton shares, “Audiology is a hands-on profession; I can learn all about hearing aids and telecoils in a book or through a lecture, but handling and operating devices gives me a much more thorough and personal understanding of what my patients have to live with on a daily basis.”

Linton explains the importance of experiential learning for students training to become audiologists. “In order for us to serve our patients well, we have to become capable, confident and competent practitioners in our field,” Linton said. “Pacific’s faculty and facilities in Stockton and San Francisco are second to none. Within the first few weeks we began interacting with patients, while being precepted by experienced faculty and clinical audiologists. Our rigorous two-year classwork in science, technology, speech and language development, business practices and other topics continues as we begin our internships. The internships are in hospitals, private practice clinics and medical offices throughout the Bay Area. They provide us with a breadth of experience with patients of all ages and in all situations. The education and ‘real world’ training I’m getting through Pacific will give me the knowledge and the skills I need to have in order to serve my future patients well.”

To learn more about Pacific’s AuD program go to pacific.edu/aud

To learn more about Pacific’s audiology clinics go to upacifichearing.com

Hearing and Balance Center, Stockton Campus
757 Brookside Rd
Stockton, CA 95211
209.946.7378

Hearing and Balance Center, San Francisco Campus
155 Fifth St
San Francisco, CA 94103
415.780.2001

 

 

Phi Delta Chi’s Alpha Psi Chapter Celebrates Their Diamond Anniversary

deans-letter-phi-delta-chi-reunion-03“We love what we do and we love doing it together as a family,” said Kevin Chan ’19. The spirit of camaraderie is interwoven throughout the rich history of the Alpha Psi chapter of Phi Delta Chi. In 2016 the chapter celebrated their 60th anniversary. This milestone was celebrated at the Alpha Psi Diamond Jubilee held during Pacific Homecoming.

“Had it not been for my joining the fraternity during my freshman year, I might not have graduated from Pacific,” Ralph L. Saroyan ’64, RPh said. “The support and fraternal love I gained from this brotherhood provided the encouragement I needed when my studies were not going well.”

When Saroyan was initiated on May 1, 1960 it paved the way for his career at Pacific, which would include being awarded Order of the Pacific, the University’s highest honor. “Had I not been in Phi Delta Chi I would not have been brought back to the University,” Saroyan said. He explains that through being involved in Alpha Psi he formed a connection with Dean Ivan “Cy” Rowland, PhD. Dean Rowland approached Saroyan when he decided to create the role of Director of Student Affairs. Saroyan shares, “I was blessed that Cy Rowland saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

Jack Schlegel ’67, RPh joined Phi Delta Chi in 1963. “Without Dean Rowland’s support, as well as that of Alpha Psi, I am not certain that I would have been able to complete pharmacy school and enjoy the remarkable career I had in the profession,” Schlegel said. After serving as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Schlegel relocated to Washington, D.C. His illustrious career includes serving as the CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, CEO of the American Pharmacists Association and CEO of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as his current position as president and CEO of Schlegel & Associates. “My experiences as an Active in Alpha Psi clearly helped develop and hone leadership skills that served me well throughout my career,” Schlegel said.

Chan shares the impact the fraternity has had on his personal and professional growth. “When I first joined as a brother, I lacked a sense of responsibility and had little knowledge of what I wanted to pursue in the field of pharmacy,” Chan said. “The fraternity has given me a vision of who I want to become and the essential resources to strive after my professional and personal goals. It is extremely important to form connections with fellow peers, because having a support system is crucial to any success. The best part about the brothers of Phi Delta Chi is the diverse group of individuals you get to work with, which can allow you to gain new skill sets by working with such unique personalities.” Chan adds, “Our alumni have been an essential part of the fraternity’s success by offering career and academic advice.”

Milestones
1883 | Phi Delta Chi, the country’s first professional pharmacy fraternity, was established. Their motto is alterum alterius auxilio eget, “each needs the help of the other.”

1955 | A school of pharmacy was established at Pacific.

1956 | The Alpha Psi chapter was officially chartered. At that time Dean Rowland was Phi Delta Chi’s Grand President. Dean Rowland’s legacy is the fraternity’s focus on leadership development. Today Phi Delta Chi emphasizes “Leaders in Pharmacy” and “Brothers for Life.”

1958 | The North Wing of North Hall, what is now Hand Hall, was designated as housing for Alpha Psi brothers.

1978 | Alpha Psi hosted the Grand National Council at North Lake Tahoe.

1981 | The chapter received the fraternity’s prestigious Emory W. Thurston Grand President’s Award. That year Saroyan was elected Grand President, serving the fraternity on the national level. Both Saroyan and Dean Rowland served as Grand President for a record four terms, a total of eight years. Also, representing Pacific, Max Polisky, PhD and Robert “Bob” Supernaw ’72, PharmD, key figures in the School’s history, both served as Grand Vice Presidents.

1989 | The new chapter house was dedicated. Rowland Hall, the two-story brick building located across from Burns Tower, is named in honor of Dean Rowland.

1997 | The chapter became a co-ed fraternity — that year of the 21 new Brothers initiated 13 were women. Saroyan shares, “Since going coed in 1997, Alpha Psi chapter has never been stronger as demonstrated by their ranking in the top ten national chapters for the past two decades.”

2008 | Alumni established the Alpha Psi Education, Scholarship & Leadership Foundation a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public-benefit corporation. The mission of the Foundation is to provide support for pharmacy students through scholarships and leadership training. The founding members believe that by that investing in the development of pharmacy students it contributes to the pharmacy profession and advances in health care, which benefit society at large.

2015 | For the second time, Alpha Psi received the Emory W. Thurston Grand President’s Award. Logan Brodnansky ’17, explains that for a chapter to be awarded the Thurston Cup is “the highest honor our chapter can receive.

2016 | During Pacific Homecoming 2016 the chapter celebrated their 60th anniversary. President Pamela A. Eibeck spoke at the Alpha Psi Diamond Jubilee, congratulating the Foundation on their focus on leadership development and their commitment to supporting students through scholarships.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Kenneth D. Billheimer, AuD

deans_letter_ken_billheimer“There is very little I have not seen clinically,” said Kenneth D. Billheimer, AuD. Between time spent as the owner of a private practice and working as an audiologist for the U.S. Army he has seen first-hand hearing loss from a wide range of causes.

Dr. Billheimer is a clinical instructor for Pacific’s doctor of audiology (AuD) program and an audiologist at the Hearing and Balance Center in San Francisco. Dr. Billheimer earned his bachelor of arts in communication disorders and a master of science in audiology from California State University, Fresno. He earned a doctor of audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences.

What led you to pursue a career in audiology?
Dr. Billheimer: “It was purely by accident. In my studies, I took undergraduate audiology classes and developed a great interest in hearing and hearing rehabilitation. The next thing I knew I had taken all of the possible undergraduate courses in audiology, so graduate school was the next choice.”

What led you to join the Pacific faculty as a clinical instructor?
Dr. Billheimer: “When I sold and ‘retired’ from private practice, I knew I would need to find a purpose for what was left in life. I engaged a colleague of mine who has left the profession and is a career coach. She coached and counseled me into the next chapter. During this time, as fate would have it, I shared a cab at a national conference to my hotel. Dr. Rupa Balachandran and I sat next to each other. We talked about the Pacific audiology program and agreed to meet later that summer. The rest is history.”

For nearly 30 years you were the owner of a private practice, Hearing Science of Pleasanton. How does this background help you as you train Pacific’s audiology students?
Dr. Billheimer: “I bring to the faculty at Pacific a business acumen that will help the students I teach see the non-academic side of audiology practice.”

What are the greatest rewards and challenges of training AuD students?
Dr. Billheimer: “The greatest challenge and joy is working with a generation of students who are two generations younger than I am. Although I am in an academic environment, my experience is in the private sector as an audiologist and a businessman. I find myself buried in the same books that the student use for all their classes. I need to be prepared to answer challenging questions from bright students.”

What do you find most rewarding about working with audiology students?
Dr. Billheimer: “They are so excited to make a difference in the world. In teaching audiology as a clinical instructor, I get the greatest joy in passing on to the students my years of clinical experience from private practice, working in a teaching hospital with ear, nose and throat (ENT) residents, industrial audiology and other medical center practice settings.”

What notable changes to the profession have you witnessed over the course of your career?
Dr. Billheimer: “One of the most profound changes in audiology is early identification of hearing loss. Today identification is close to birth with the use of a tool called otoacoustic emissions. This inexpensive procedure is administered in the hospital by putting a small tip in the infant’s ear and doing a test that lasts a few minutes; it is not at all invasive. Also, we now have very sophisticated digital hearing aids and cochlear implants. All populations benefit from this technology and the success rate is the best it has ever been.”

In what ways did your experiences in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve impact how you approach your profession as an audiologist?
Dr. Billheimer: “At one time audiologists did not fit hearing aids, it was considered unethical. In the military audiologists did everything, including fitting hearing aids. We were familiar with hearing aids long before the rest of audiology. My first Army experience was in a hospital that supported a division of 15,000 soldiers attached to a mechanized infantry group. I spent time in tanks and near large weapons measuring their sound levels. The second part of my Army experience was in a teaching hospital with residents in ENT. It impacted my career in identification and treatment of noise induced hearing loss. It gave me a compassion and understanding of the grief that an individual experiences as a result of losing his or her hearing as a result of a single incident. When I see a veteran in my clinic I have a sense of where they have been and the type of noise and other exposures they may have had.”

What are your hobbies?
Dr. Billheimer: “My greatest love is my garden. I love wildflowers and have a large garden; if it’s not raining or really cold I am outside in the yard. I love classic cars. I have a completely restored 1961 Nash Metropolitan convertible.”