Sanderson Lecture at University of the Pacific Featuring Bennet Omalu, MD

On March 1, 2017, the Department of Physical Therapy presented the Sanderson Lecture at University of the Pacific featuring keynote speaker Bennet Omalu, MD, MBA, MPH, CPE, DABP-AP, CP, FP, NP. The event was sponsored by Dignity Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Pacific Arts and Lectures, the School of International Studies, College of the Pacific, Pacific Athletics, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Chan Family Endowment for Physical Therapy.

Born in 1968 in war-torn Nigeria, Dr. Omalu’s family were refugees. Despite suffering from malnutrition in his childhood, he went on to attend medical school at the age of 15 and became a physician by age 21. He first came to the United States in 1994 to complete an epidemiology fellowship at University of Washington. American football would alter the course of his career and impact his life in dramatic ways.

“I didn’t understand football,” said Dr. Omalu. “I did not know what a quarterback was.” He is credited as the first doctor to diagnose chronic brain damage in NFL athletes. In 2002, while working for the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania he discovered what would later become known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Mike “Iron Mike” Webster. The former athlete died at age 50 after years of suffering from dementia, amnesia, depression and other ailments.

According to Harvard Medical School, CTE is a neurodegenerative disease believed to result from repetitive brain trauma, including repetitive concussions or subconcussive blows to the head. At this time, a CTE diagnosis can only by confirmed by autopsy and all confirmed cases have had a history of repetitive brain trauma. While the total number of athletes affected by CTE is unknown, the Boston University CTE Center found evidence of CTE in the brain tissue 90 of 94 former NFL athletes.

When Dr. Omalu’s findings first published, they were dismissed by many of his peers and met with fierce resistance from the NFL, who attempted to have his published papers retracted. “I was called a voodoo doctor,” Omalu said. Dr. Omalu’s story was chronicled in Concussion, by Jeanne Marie Laskas, and a film by the same name starring Will Smith.

In his address at Pacific, Dr. Omalu stressed the dangers of children participating in contact sports, emphasizing that each head injury could cause irreversible brain damage. “In the past year, so many science papers have been published indicating that after one season of football, your child’s brain is permanently damaged — just after one season,” Omalu said.

According to Ann C. McKee, MD in the paper entitled “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Athletes: Progressive Tauopathy following Repetitive Head Injury,” athletes in a wide range of sports are at risk for developing CTE: “Repetitive closed head injury occurs in a wide variety of contact sports, including football, boxing, wrestling, rugby, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and skiing. Furthermore, in collision sports such as football and boxing, players may experience thousands of subconcussive hits over the course of a single season.”

Dr. Omalu’s message resonated with doctor of physical therapy student (DPT) Amanda Whalen ’17. “We don’t let our children smoke or drink alcohol, but we encourage them to play a game that could cause brain damage,” Whalen said.

Fellow DPT student Vien Vu ’17, CSCS was inspired by Dr. Omalu’s perseverance in the face of adversity. Vu shares, “His story was a story of grit. No matter how many successes and setbacks he had, he did not pause for a second. It’s important for everyone to remember to keep going even if they have failed and also to keep going if they are handed an award. This is especially important in research and health care.”

The lecture was a testament to the legacy of another pioneering physician — George H. Sanderson, MD. Dr. Sanderson was the first orthopedic surgeon in Stockton and he also served as the university physician at Pacific’s Student Health Program from 1926 to 1969. He was regarded by his colleagues as an energetic and innovative participant in the growth of orthopedics. He practiced at San Joaquin General Hospital (SJGH) and St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

In 1976, Dr. Sanderson’s colleagues at the Stockton Orthopedic Medical Group, Inc. established a fund for a lecture series to honor his 50 years of service to the community. In 2012, Dr. Sanderson’s daughter, Jean Sanderson; Joseph B. Serra, MD; Christine R. Wilson, PhD, PT; and Sister Abby Newton, vice president of the St. Joseph’s Foundation, were instrumental in bringing the Sanderson Lecture to University of the Pacific.

Throughout its history, the Sanderson Lecture has brought prominent speakers to Stockton to address current health care topics and present on areas of emerging practice related to physical therapy. “The lecturers at the Sanderson Lecture bring to light the changes and advancements that are happening right now in our field,” Whalen said. “As students, we are expected to have the freshest perspective and be up to date with the new information out there. These lecturers, especially one as large as Dr. Omalu, are not available to most practicing clinicians without the Sanderson lecture.”

Echoing this sentiment, Cathy Peterson, PT, EdD, professor of physical therapy, shares, “Dr. Omalu’s talk was inspiring, educational and entertaining. He represents so much that we hope to foster in our students: courage, tenacity, conviction, integrity and compassion. As we strive to empower and equip our students to become clinicians who advocate for optimal health, wellness and performance of all members of society, Dr. Omalu’s message was a perfect fit.”

 

Pacificans Honored by the California Pharmacists Association

On February 24, 2017, at the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) Western Pharmacy Exchange in Palm Springs, Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD was inducted into the CPhA Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honor recognizes individuals for their inspiration, distinguished service and innovative contributions to the practice of pharmacy in California. Read more.

Several Pacific alumni were among those honored at the 2017 Western Pharmacy Exchange. Michael A. Pastrick ’73, BS Pharm, who was inducted to the CPhA Hall of Fame in 2014, was formally recognized. Read more.

Edlen Wong ’07, PharmD, FCPhA, received the Distinguished New Practitioner of the Year award. Read more.

K. Scott Guess ’83, PharmD, MSPharm, RPh, received the Cardinal Health Generations Rx Champions award. Read more.

Edlen Wong ’07, PharmD, FCPhA, Michael A. Pastrick ’73, BS Pharm and Donald Floriddia ’71, PhD.

Research Study Finds the Type of Sugar Consumed Makes a Difference

Dr. Rahimian and Shaligram in the lab.

 

“We should consider the type of sugar we are consuming, because different sugars behave differently in our body,” said Roshanak Rahimian, PharmD, MSc, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology. Dr. Rahimian, along with Sonali Shaligram ’17 and Farjana Akther ’19, collaborated on a study with researchers from University of Barcelona. “Our goal was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the metabolic and vascular effects of these simple sugars and to determine whether these effects are exclusively related to increased calorie consumption or the type of sugar,” Dr. Rahimian explains.

The results of the study were published in the prestigious American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology, in the February 2017 issue. The article entitled “Type of supplemented simple sugar, not merely calorie intake, determines adverse effects on metabolism and aortic function in female rats,” was co-authored by Gemma Sangüesa; Sonali Shaligram; Farjana Akther; Núria Roglans, PharmD; Juan C. Laguna, PhD; Roshanak Rahimian, PharmD, MSc, PhD; and Marta Alegret, PharmD.

“Fructose is a monosaccharide, a simple sugar that is present in many fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Rahimian explains. “Although fructose has the same chemical formula (C6H12O6) as glucose, it differs in its chemical structure.” Shaligram adds, metabolism of fructose also differs from that of glucose. While both are metabolized by the liver, other tissues can uptake glucose. She quotes Robert H. Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco, “Up to 80 percent of glucose can be metabolized by other tissues; in comparison 100 percent of fructose is metabolized by the liver.”

Their findings emphasize that the type of sugar consumed makes a difference. “Despite higher caloric intake in glucose-supplemented subjects, fructose caused worse metabolic and vascular responses,” Dr. Rahimian said. Although both sugar-fed groups consumed more calories than the control group, the total calorie intake of the glucose-fed subjects was higher than that of fructose. Also, despite this difference, only the fructose group exhibited a significant increase in final body weight. In addition, the fructose group showed more vascular and liver damages than those of glucose-fed group.

While studies have been done comparing glucose and fructose, the unique aspect of this study is the focus on investigating how specific genes are altered when the two sugars are metabolized. Dr. Rahimian adds, “Our collaborators at University of Barcelona had already published several articles on the adverse effect of fructose, but further studies should be done on the relative effects of glucose and fructose on vascular reactivity and the underlying mechanisms involved.”

Dr. Rahimian shares what drives her and her team to pursue this research: “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death worldwide. Macro and micro-vascular complications can lead to CVD. Unhealthy diet is one common factor responsible for developing obesity and CVD. The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) are increasing very rapidly. Therefore, we were very interested in the topic of investigating different types of sugars and their effects on metabolic and vascular function.”

As stated in the article, “At present, there is an intense debate in the scientific community about whether the adverse cardiovascular and metabolic effects of SSB are mostly attributable to specific effects of the simple sugar used as sweeteners or are merely the consequence of the increase in caloric intake and weight gain in the population consuming large quantities of SSB.”

The study gave Pacific students the opportunity to be involved in the various stages of the research project, from planning to publishing. “The graduate students were fully involved in analyzing the data and giving intellectual input over the course of the study,” Dr. Rahimian shares. “We are so proud of this work. It provided my group the opportunity to experience an outstanding collaboration with the University of Barcelona group. We got a chance to work closely with each other. It is very rewarding to share research and knowledge with other groups.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Nathan “Nate” Hunsaker ’97, PT, MSPT, DPT, Cert MDT, CSMT

Nathan “Nate” Hunsaker ’97, PT, MSPT, DPT, Cert MDT, CSMT approaches his work as a physical therapist the same way he approaches a summit like the Grand Teton — with determination, skill and grit.

“I’m from Wyoming and since they didn’t have a physical therapy program at the time they would fund you to go elsewhere,” said Dr. Hunsaker. “I was impressed with the relaxed, but professional atmosphere Pacific seemed to offer. After interviewing at several different places their interview stood out to me because the physical therapy department had a unique way to interview. […] They asked really crazy questions, that was really interesting.” He thinks that the rationale for the unusual interview questions was to see “how you reacted, how you thought on your feet.” This theory was confirmed when he got to know his classmates. He shares, “I think it reflected on the class we had. We had a lot of unique thinkers, they thought outside-the-box.”

Dr. Hunsaker was named the 2016 Physical Therapist of the Year by the Idaho Physical Therapy Association. “First of all, it was a complete surprise to me,” Dr. Hunsaker shares. “I’ve worked hard to be a good spine therapist. It was a great honor. I was totally surprised, it was wonderful.” He also expressed his gratitude for the work of his peers, who consistently set a high standard of excellence for physical therapy in Idaho.

The award also recognizes Dr. Hunsaker’s role as a mentor. He encourages his fellow alumni to act as a mentor for aspiring health care professionals. “Remember how instrumental it was to getting you to where you are now,” Dr. Hunsaker said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without great mentorship. I’ve mentored many physical therapy students, many physical therapy techs aspiring to be physical therapists and many young people thinking about a career in physical therapy.”

Dr. Hunsaker is a partner, owner, clinic director and physical therapist at RehabAuthority in Idaho Falls, Idaho. While he enjoys the different aspects of this multifaceted role, working with patients is his driving force. “Number one I am a physical therapist; I just love patient care,” Dr. Hunsaker explains.

“Coming out of school I got a job in an acute rehabilitation clinic doing mostly rehabilitation,” Dr. Hunsaker shares. “When I joined RehabAuthority I had to completely shift gears. I had to take extensive education courses.” In 2011, he was certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment, awarded by the McKenzie Institute®, and in 2012 he became a Certified Spinal Manual Therapist, awarded by the International Spine and Pain Institute. He has earned a reputation as a specialist in back and neck rehabilitation and every year hundreds of patients benefit from his expertise.

He continues to challenge himself professionally. He elaborates, “I’m always working on the next certification. I keep setting goals for myself.” Dr. Hunsaker and his partners also plan to expand in Idaho and into Wyoming. He adds, “That provides its own growing pains and joys.”

He has been a member of the American Physical Therapy Association for over two decades. He believes that it is vitally important to be involved in professional organizations. “If we don’t speak up for ourselves no one will,” Dr. Hunsaker said. “Quite simply there is strength in our members, when you have thousands of professionals combining their experience we can truly make a difference.”

He and his family loves spending time outdoors. “I live in a great place to be in the outdoors — Idaho Falls, Idaho. Yellowstone [National Park] is about two hours away and Grand Teton [National Park] is about two hours away.” He and his wife, Audra, have four kids and they enjoy going hiking together.

He thinks fondly of his time at Pacific. “I have a special place in my heart for the Pacific Tigers. I just love Pacific, my wife and I had such a great experience there. I will forever be indebted to that wonderful school and what it’s done for me.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Edlen Wong ’07, PharmD, FCPhA

Edlen Wong ’07, PharmD, FCPhA, joins a long list of Pacific alumni who have received the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) Distinguished New Practitioner of the Year award. The award recognizes an outstanding new practitioner who encourages others to actively participate in professional, political and/or community affairs related to the practice of pharmacy. Dr. Wong’s enthusiasm for the profession is an inspiration to everyone he encounters. His tireless efforts are evident in the numerous leadership positions he has held within CPhA and the San Joaquin Pharmacists Association (SJPhA).

“When you make the decision to be involved it’s not the awards that drive you to succeed, but the passion for the profession,” said Dr. Wong. “My goal is to leave the profession in a better position than when I started. Receiving this award is quite a humbling honor; especially to be recognized by one’s mentors and colleagues. It is inspiring to be amongst such incredible company of previous award recipients who have gone on to do so much in their careers.”

During his time as a student at Pacific, Dr. Wong was actively involved in the student chapters of CPhA, American Pharmacists Association (APhA), National Community Pharmacist Association (NCPA) and California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP). Over the years, he has been involved in numerous Pacific health care outreach events as a student and a preceptor. Immediately after graduating he began serving on the SJPhA Board of Directors; serving as president in 2010 and again in 2014.

“Being actively involved in a pharmacy organization is a way to give you a voice to shape your profession,” Dr. Wong said. “One person can make a difference, but it takes a group to move a mountain. It is never too late to get involved. Join us in advocating for your profession!”

Dr. Wong is the immediate past-president of CPhA, having served the 2016-2017 term. His dedication to the CPhA includes his service as speaker-elect and speaker of the House of Delegates; as well as member of the Board of Trustees. It was during Dr. Wong’s term as speaker of the House of Delegates that CPhA revamped their association policies and standards of practice. He has also served on several CPhA committees and task forces.

His passion for the pharmacy profession is without question. He has mentored numerous student pharmacists and new practitioners. “I’m thankful for the great mentors who helped me along the way as if it wasn’t for them, who knows where or what I’d be doing today,” Dr. Wong shares. “I only hope to inspire the next generation of new practitioners for future success.”

As a board member of the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association, he continues to give back to his alma mater through his time and talent. In 2014, he was named a Fellow of CPhA. Dr. Wong is currently a lead pharmacist for Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, California.

Pacific Alumni Distinguished New Practitioner of the Year Award Winners

2015 | Annie Ho ’12, PharmD
2014 | Michael Conner ’12, PharmD
2011 | Veronica T. Bandy ’00, ’08, MS, PharmD
2009 | Eric Gupta ’00, PharmD
2008 | Ryan Gates ’04, PharmD
2007 | Jason Kim ’04, PharmD
2006 | Helen Park ’98, PharmD
1999 | Adam M. Kaye ’95, PharmD, FASCP, FCPhA
1995 | Michael Pavlovich ’89, PharmD
1992 | Christopher Woo ’88, PharmD
1990 | Scott Workman ’81, RPh
1988 | Michael Woo ’80, RPh

Alumni Spotlight: Tobias “Toby” Damron ’14, PharmD

From California to New Jersey and back to California, Tobias “Toby” Damron ’14, PharmD has come full circle. “Following graduation, I joined Novo Nordisk as a post-doctoral fellow,” Dr. Damron said. “It was rewarding to grow as a professional and diversify my skills. I was really surprised by the number of doors that a fellowship opened for me in pharmacy. Roles that were traditionally not thought of as for a pharmacist, or that I had not thought were for a pharmacist, were available to me.”

He shares a memorable experience from his fellowship: “I gave a diabetes market overview presentation to the entire sales force of 3,000 employees. It was really awesome that they trusted me to do a presentation like that.” The experience gave him a sense of belonging and made a lasting impression. He remembers thinking that the opportunity to present to such a large audience showed that he was viewed as a contributing member of the company.

Despite facing a sharp learning curve at the start of his fellowship, he felt that his time at Pacific honed his abilities and equipped him with transferrable skills. “Pacific does a really good job of keeping their students well-rounded,” Dr. Damron said. “The program’s emphasis is on being well-rounded pharmacists, good communicators, being involved in the community and being leaders. Throughout the fellowship these were the things [Novo Nordisk] emphasized and thought were important.” As a student, he was the vice president of Phi Lambda Sigma, Rho chapter, and a member of Rho Chi, Beta Omega chapter. In addition, he was a member of the California Pharmacy Student Leadership team and a project manager for Operation Heart.

For students considering pursuing a fellowship he emphasizes that there are “so many opportunities that maybe you haven’t even thought about yet a fellowship can open doors to.” Given the competitive nature of residencies and fellowships, finding ways to stand out from the sea of applicants is essential. Dr. Damron recommends taking the time to research the company. He elaborates, “From first-hand experience those people who do well in the interview are those who understand the company culture.” His advice is to find out who oversees the fellowship and, if possible, directly contact the preceptor. He adds, “Collect as many resources as you can about the fellowship and connect with the current fellows.”

Following his fellowship, he accepted a position at Novo Nordisk as manager of health care professional relations. In July 2016, he transitioned to the position of regional medical liaison. His territory covers Northern California, including Stockton and Nevada. “In my new role, I share education and resources with health care professionals,” Dr. Damron said. “Building strong partnerships and relationships to enhance patient care is my number one goal.”

 

Dean Oppenheimer Inducted to CPhA Hall of Fame

Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD has been a dedicated educator, administrator and ambassador of pharmacy for over 40 years. With his induction to the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) Hall of Fame, he joins 34 pharmacists who have garnered this distinction and is one of three deans who have received this recognition. He earned his doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1972. He completed a clinical pharmacy residency at UCSF in 1973. His love of education led him to pursue a faculty position at University of Southern California School of Pharmacy where he served for 24 years as a faculty member and administrator.

Dean Oppenheimer has been a member of both the CPhA and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) since 1972. He is an active member of several additional national, state and local professional organizations. In his role as dean, he supports and encourages students to be involved in their professional organizations. Students in the pharmacy, speech-language pathology, physical therapy and audiology programs have the opportunity to be involved in professional organizations during their time at Pacific through student chapters or by attending local, state and national conferences.

Dean Oppenheimer joined the Pacific family in 1997 when he was appointed dean. His open-door policy, attendance at events and financial support of the student body has brought the School national recognition. Faculty, staff and students can attest to his accessibility and hands-on leadership style. In 2014, he was awarded the Academy of Student Pharmacists APhA-ASP Outstanding Dean Award.

Under his leadership the School has seen a significant increase in the number of faculty and staff in all programs, new or upgraded facilities, and growth in endowments and funding. During his tenure as dean he has led the faculty to achieve four full reaccreditations from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The PharmD program has also seen enhanced post-graduate placements of graduates.

Dean Oppenheimer believes that alumni are one of the School’s most powerful assets. He advocates for alumni engagement, actively supporting the School’s events and alumni associations. His induction to the CPhA Hall of Fame is a testament to his vision as an educator and his life-long dedication to the pharmacy profession.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Brenda Riser ’85, PharmD

Few people have as many stamps in their passport as Brenda Riser ’85, PharmD. By specializing in contract work and utilizing her experience in pharmacy she has been able to see the world.

“Contract work has allowed tremendous flexibility during my career,” said Dr. Riser. “It allowed me to experience and enjoy new towns and cities I would not have explored without working these assignments. Also, in the latest chapter of my life as a single mom, it has allowed flexibility in scheduling to enjoy our adventures in traveling.” Dr. Riser, her mother and her daughter form a tight family unit. “Three generations of women live and travel together,” Dr. Riser shares. The flexibility of contract work also allows her to volunteer at her daughter’s school, as well as attend her daughter’s academic and athletic events.

Dr. Riser was awarded the 2017 National Staffing Employee of the Year All-Star for the health care sector by the American Staffing Association. She shares what receiving this award means to her personally: “What a humbling experience. […] My boss’ nomination and support means everything to me. To be recognized in such a large industry boosts my confidence.”

She has had over 500 assignments during her tenure with Rx relief®, a leading specialty pharmacy placement firm which utilizes a network of over 50,000 pharmacy professionals.  “I have been fortunate to dabble in many niches of pharmacy through my relief work,” Dr. Riser explains. “I always enjoy the challenge of something new and I believe I am adaptable to what the clients need. I have taken on both short and long-term contracts. I try to keep abreast of the changes within our profession.”

Dr. Riser explains how she first got connected to Rx relief®: “Carl Franklin was a customer of mine when I worked in retail. I went to pharmacy school with Tom Maez [’85, PharmD], so both bosses were actually friends prior to my employment with them. I first began with Rx relief® as a client, utilizing their staff to cover my temporary needs. I then began working with them part-time to supplement my extensive traveling.”

Dr. Riser believes that contract work allows pharmacists “to experience niches of our profession they might not get exposure to, but requires a great deal of confidence and hard work.” For those interested in this career path she emphasizes that one must be open to learning new information, personalities and systems. “The main challenges have been gaining enough knowledge and skill to provide the client with the level of competence they deserve. It requires a great deal of flexibility and adaptability to become a part of the staff and team in a limited amount of time.” Travel is also a key component. Dr. Riser adds, “An openness to travel to the client is a must.”

The element of travel has a strong appeal for Dr. Riser. “I have travelled my entire life, starting as a child with camping, exploring the U.S. and Canada,” Dr. Riser explains. “As a teen, my family took our first cruise in 1978 on the original Love Boat and I was hooked. I have been on over 60 cruises all over the world. I have visited all the continents except Antarctica, which is still on my list. My favorite places have been those that had animal experiences and encounters including Tanzania, Tasmania, Australia and the Galapagos Islands. My daughter has caught the travel bug as well; starting at 4-months-old with her first passport and adventure to Tahiti.”

 

Photo credit: Chance James Photography

Outreach Opportunity Takes Audiology Students to Guatemala


“Refreshing,” said Benjamin Thompson ’18. “Incredible,” said Eun “Rudi” Kim ’18. “Joyful,” said Susanna Marshall ’18. The experience of providing hearing health care to patients in rural Guatemala impacted each of the three doctor of audiology students in a unique way. Pacific’s audiology program partnered with Entheos Audiology Cooperative to send a team of 30 volunteers, including audiologists and audiology students, to Panajachel, Guatemala.

“It’s my first time in Guatemala and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Kim said. “So, I came here with an open mind. It’s a beautiful country and people are so receptive. I just feel really grateful to be here; to be part of this team.”

Marshall also expressed gratitude at having the opportunity to work with this team. She elaborates, “Every single one of the audiologists on this trip are amazing. Each one of them brings different skills and different knowledge. They are all incredible teachers as well. […] It was an honor to be able to work with them as a student; to be given that opportunity.”

Entheos is committed to taking hearing health care to patients who otherwise would not have access to these services. Their international outreach has included sending teams of volunteers to Haiti, Jordan and Zambia. Marshall shares, “For some of the individuals we helped, some of the children for example, we gave them the chance to learn spoken language that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. The joy on their faces was really obvious. Even though there is a language barrier, to see them smile when they could hear with the hearing aids, that says it all and there are no words needed for that.” Thompson adds, “There’s a lot to smile about.”

For Thompson, the trip reinforced that there is a marriage of art and science in the profession of audiology. He explains, “There is a science of what we do and there is an art of what we do. Each professional brings their own artistic perspective and way that they approach communication or a hearing aid fitting. They all reach very similar end goal. It’s nice to realize that there truly is an art in this profession and there is an art in the sciences.”

Kim, Marshall and Thompson are thankful for all the support that made this trip possible. Marshall adds, “Thank you to University of the Pacific for all your support and the training you’ve given me.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Michael A. Pastrick ’73, BS Pharm

Michael A. Pastrick ’73, BS Pharm, who was inducted into the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) Hall of Fame in 2014, was formally recognized at the CPhA Western Pharmacy Exchange Awards Ceremony in Palm Springs on February 24, 2017. “It’s a humbling experience to suddenly be included in the same group of pharmacists you’ve always considered to be your role models and mentors,” said Pastrick.

A member since 1973, Pastrick has served the CPhA as board member, president and parliamentarian. He shares, “As a student, I was taught the importance of volunteer work and giving back to your community and to the profession.” He was named the CPhA Pharmacist of the Year in 1992 and received the Bowl of Hygeia Community Service Award in 2003. In 2016, he was named a Fellow of the CPhA.

Pastrick received the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Good Government Pharmacist of the Year Award in 1992 and the Hubert H. Humphrey Award in 2009. The latter recognizes APhA members who have made major contributions in government or legislative service at the local, state or national level. The award is named for United States Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a pharmacist, mayor and U.S. Senator who served under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was instrumental in the passage of the groundbreaking Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In 1995, Pastrick received the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service. In 2014, he was named the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year. Pastrick is a member of the Beta Omega chapter of Rho Chi and the Gamma Nu chapter of Kappa Psi. He is also a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council.

Pastrick explains his motivation for continuing to give back to his profession and alma mater: “Someone once told me, if you won’t do the work, how can you expect others to do it? It takes all of us working together to advance the profession and improve patient care.” He adds, “It’s a way of paying it forward to thank those that came before you. There have always been great role models at Pacific. Pacific has a proud tradition of service, 25 percent of the membership of the Hall of Fame are Pacificans.”

In addition to his service to the pharmacy profession, for many years he has been actively involved in civic affairs in Contra Costa County. A lifelong resident of Concord, California, Pastrick has served the city as mayor, member of the City Council, chair of the Design Review Board, chair of the Planning Commission and as an architectural design consultant; in addition to several other leadership roles for the city and county.

Pastrick is a currently a clinical oncology pharmacist at John Muir Medical Center and an editorial advisor for the Pharmacy Technician’s Letter.

Pacificans Inducted into the CPha Hall of Fame

2017 | Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD
2014 | Michael A. Pastrick ’73, BS Pharm
2013 | Royce Friesen ’65, RPh
2013 | Ralph L. Saroyan ’64, RPh
2012 | Jeff Jellin ’74, PharmD
2012 | Clark H. Gustafson ’66, RPh
2009 | Donald Floriddia ’71, PhD
2007 | Charles Green ’68, RPh
2006 | Carlo Michelotti ’61, RPh, MPH
2005 | Thomas J. Long
2005 | Joseph M. Long
2000 | Ivan “Cy” Rowland, PhD

View complete list.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Erica Barr, PharmD

“I have been to all 50 states and over 20 countries,” said Erica Barr, PharmD, who joined Pacific last December as assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice. She believes that it is important for health care professionals to “get some kind of exposure to different cultures and their views on medicine.” She adds, “America being the melting pot that it is, you are going to encounter someone who feels differently about your practices than you do.”

As a student, she participated in public-forum style debates. In these debates, students were challenged to critically evaluate their position by approaching the topic from the perspective of the opposing viewpoint. “They assigned you to argue the other point of view,” Dr. Barr explains. “You really had to dig deep and get in their shoes.” The experience left a lasting impression on Dr. Barr and underscored how deeply held beliefs affect the way one views health care. “People are very passionate about the way they feel about certain things.”

Dr. Barr’s interest in health care led her to choose a career in pharmacy. “I have been involved in volunteer clinics that provide free health care since high school,” Dr. Barr explains. She earned her doctor of pharmacy from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy in Little Rock, Arkansas. She completed an acute care residency at Christian Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned a teaching certificate from St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Dr. Barr is a member of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists.

“I have always wanted to teach,” Dr. Barr shares. “At Pacific, I’m able to combine my love of teaching and my love of medicine to help mold future health care professionals. Pacific encourages me to integrate new, active styles of learning into the traditional lecture setting, better preparing students for the ‘real world’ challenges they will face in their practice.” She explains that the caliber of the students is part of what attracted her to Pacific. “The School has one of the highest residency match rates in the country.”

After completing her residency, she spent three weeks in Greece, including a week spent sailing amongst the Greek Islands. “Sailing is one of my new hobbies. Up until this point I’ve been entirely landlocked.” In addition to sailing, she is passionate about mastering new vegan recipes. “My dream is to start a vegan YouTube cooking channel,” she shares. When having a conversation with Dr. Barr her love for animals quickly becomes apparent. “I am extremely involved in charities that involve working with animals, anywhere from training service dogs for disabled families to helping with local pet adoptions.” She also enjoys watching international soccer and has “a strange talent for escaping from ‘escape rooms’ in record times.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Carol Hirota ’77, ’79, MA, CCC-SLP

The San Francisco Giants, Delta Gamma and University of the Pacific — spend time with Carol Hirota ’77, ’79, MA, CCC-SLP and one is likely to hear about her passion for baseball, education or alumni engagement. When describing her Pacific experience Hirota uses an expression: “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it; from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.” She shares, “That is how I feel about my proud affiliation with the Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Association, the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and University of the Pacific. It is a collegial community that exemplifies pride, history, tradition, excellence and distinction.” Hirota was named the 2016 Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumna of the Year. She was honored at the Alumni and Friends Breakfast at the 2017 California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) Annual Convention & Exhibition, held in Pasadena, California in March.

She has served on several CSHA committees, including a two-year term as commissioner of association services. She has been recognized by CSHA for her outstanding achievements and service to the profession. “There is always so much to look forward to in our profession; employment options, international networking and opportunities to serve our association and University,” Hirota said.

Simalee Smith-Stubblefield ’83, MA, CCC-SLP shares, “As a colleague she is well respected, dedicated, professional, efficient, ethical and always keeps her student’s best interest at heart. She sets high standards for herself and is wonderful to work with as she is innovative in her philosophy and knows how to problem solve.” She adds, “In addition, she is a great Giants fan and loves going to AT&T Park for a game! Go Giants, go Carol!”

Several years ago, Hirota made the transition from speech-language pathologist to administrator, becoming the principal of the Stockton School for Adults. In this new role, she is a passionate advocate for her students and staff. Hirota is a well-respected and active member of several adult education organizations in California.

Hirota is also actively involved with her alma mater. She devoted eight years of service to the Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Association and is currently a member of the Pacific Alumni Association board of directors. She has held several prominent positions on University committees, including chair of the Delta Gamma Advisory Team. In her role with Delta Gamma she encourages and champions the members of Pacific’s Delta Epsilon chapter. For her tireless efforts on behalf of Delta Gamma, the University’s division of student life recognized her with the Advisor of the Year Award in 2016.

She is also an avid community volunteer, serving as a member of the Junior League of San Joaquin and the Miracle Mile Improvement District Board. Passionate about literacy, she has volunteered with several literacy organizations at both the local and state level.

Samantha M. Soto ’16, Carol Hirota ’77, ’79, MA, CCC-SLP, Tierney O’Mara ’17 and Simalee Smith-Stubblefield ’83, MA, CCC-SLP at the 2017 California Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention & Exhibition, March 16-19, 2017 in Pasadena, California.