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.”

 

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.”

 

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.

 

 

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.”

 

Something for Everyone at CSM 2017

To see cutting-edge technology, hear world-class speakers, meet alumni and connect with future colleagues, physical therapists should plan on attending the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). On February 15-18, 2017, over 14,000 health care professionals and students converged in San Antonio, Texas, for the 2017 meeting. This year’s conference hosted over 480 exhibitors and 300 sessions. Pacific physical therapy (PT) faculty, doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students and alumni were among the presenters.

Todd Davenport, PT, DPT, MPH, OCS, associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented the session entitled “Evolution or Revolution? Physical Therapists in Prevention and Population Health.” Co-presented by Mike Eisenhart, PT and Christopher Hinze, PT, DPT the session proposed strategies for the role that physical therapists can play in implementing population health strategies.

Carl L. Fairburn III ’10, PT, DPT, assistant professor of physical therapy; Cathy Peterson, PT, EdD, professor of physical therapy; Anna Barrett ’16, PT, DPT and Patrick Cawneen ’16, DPT, presented “DIY Mid-fidelity Simulation: It Takes Less Space, Less Money and More Time Than You Think! Educational Platform Presentation.”

Justin Scola ’17, along with co-authors Panthjit Khosa ’17 and Dr. Davenport, presented the poster entitled “Initial Impact of Physical Therapy Hashtags on Twitter: A Feasibility Study and Descriptive Analysis.”

Rebecca Van Klaveren ’17 presented the podium talk entitled “Gender Distribution of Authors in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2010-2014,” co-authored by Dr. Fairburn and Dr. Davenport.

 

Q&A with the DPT Class of 2017

What was something at the conference you were amazed or inspired by?

Alycia Clark ’17: “Attending CSM inspired my desire to pursue the newly developing specialty in physical therapy for oncology patients.”

Michael Ellis ’17: “The amount of people there who were actively engaged in bettering their profession in the pursuit of helping patients.”

Brendan Heary ’17: “The incredible number of physical therapists from all around the country, all gathered together for this one event.”

Hailey Kopps ’17: “I was inspired by the quality of current research, variety of content and level of passion I was surrounded by throughout our visit to CSM. I was overwhelmed by the sense of community and dedication to professional growth. I stand alongside 14,000 others with something to offer the field of movement science.”

Audrey Mott ’17: “The number of PT students in attendance and the passion for healing of all of the speakers.”

Helen Shepard ’17: “All of the new information presented in lectures about current research in our field.”

Megan Stiller ’17: “I was amazed at how many vendors and exhibitors were in the exhibit hall.”

Nina Zakharia ’17: “Getting to see how passionate everyone is about our awesome profession made it really fun.”

Describe a memorable interaction you had during the conference:

Ellis: “I enjoyed watching a classmate of mine interact with people during his poster presentation.”

Kopps: “I talked with a Pacific alumnus and learned about how integral experiences like this are in his practice, several years post-graduation.”

Mott: “Jessica Renzi from North Carolina. She is a travel PT who started a company with her husband to mentor new PT grads interested in travel PT. Awesome to talk to her and learn the ins and outs of traveling.”

Scola: “Speaking with many people involved with Twitter and PT advocacy.”

Stiller: “I talked to a Team Movement for Life staff member at a meet-and-greet event and I was able to have an extended conversion with her about the company.”

Max Yeagley ’17: “I met with a friend’s upcoming clinical instructor named Rosalie, who works at Lodi Memorial. She was very down-to-earth, approachable and very encouraging to us about starting our clinical rotations.”

Zakharia: “I met a PT from Texas who designed an electronic medical record. He was funny, but insightful.”

Did you connect with any alumni or former faculty?

Clark: “I met an alumna of the DPT program who now works at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara. She was incredibly friendly and shared with me about her job.”

Jessica Tom ’17: “Yes, it was inspiring to hear about where they all are in their careers and what helped get them to where they are.”

Zakharia: “I connected very easily with Margaret from the class of 1994!”

By: Anne Marie H. Bergthold

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.”

 

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.

 

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.

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.”

 

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.”

 

Faculty Spotlight: Roshanak Rahimian, PharmD, MSc, PhD

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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.”

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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.”