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   TheDean's Newsletter

photo of Dr. Gary Pollack
From College of Pharmacy Dean
Gary Pollack, Ph.D.
December 2014
In This Issue...
Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As the expiration date for 2014 approaches inexorably, and we begin preparing for 2015’s launch, it seems appropriate to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are going, and to thank those people who have helped us along the way.

This year has been particularly busy and, I think, particularly successful. A full accounting of our activities would be well beyond the word limit allocated for this commentary, and will be relegated to the more formal vehicle of an annual report. There are a few highlights, however, that are particularly worthy of mention: We completed the college’s consolidation on the Health Sciences campus in Spokane, and have broken in (or in some instances, simply broken) our new building. Recruitment of new faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, Pharm.D. students, and research scientists has continued unabated, and we are rapidly approaching the capacity of our new space. Our extramural funding portfolio continues to grow rapidly, supporting innovative research and graduate education. We completed an 18-month-long (and several-thousand-page) self-study, hosted a comprehensive site visit, and are awaiting the draft report from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. We finalized an agreement with Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences to extend our Doctor of Pharmacy program to Yakima, have identified a talented leadership team to implement the extension, and are well on the way to recruiting a strong inaugural class for fall 2015. We restructured our curriculum to increase integration of concepts and provide additional time for elective coursework, while extending our competency-based assessment approach to the second professional year. Overall, it has been a year of which we can be rightfully proud.

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of our college, I would like to extend thanks to the many individuals and organizations who have contributed to our progress. We are fortunate to have an active alumni base, together with a strong group of community partners. We also continue to receive crucial support from a variety of pharmacy organizations and corporations. The time, talent, and resources that our colleagues and friends commit to our program represent invaluable assets, and have a direct and profound impact on all of us. Our students have the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of preceptors around the state, without whom it simply would not be possible to deliver our professional curriculum. I continue to lean heavily on our college’s advisory committee, and they continue to offer unfailing support for our various initiatives. Finally, the aggressive development of our programs would not be possible without the vision and leadership provided by our president, Elson Floyd, and provost, Dan Bernardo.

Best wishes to all from the WSU College of Pharmacy,

Gary M. Pollack

Gary M. Pollack
Washington State University College of Pharmacy

Editor's Note: The next edition of our newsletter will be in February 2015.

Dr. Joshua Neumiller
Q&A with editor-in-chief of Diabetes Spectrum
By: Lorraine Nelson, WSU Health Sciences Spokane
Dr. Josh Neumiller
Joshua Neumiller, Pharm.D.  
Associate Professor Joshua J. Neumiller is completing his first year as editor-in-chief of Diabetes Spectrum, one of four professional journals published by the American Diabetes Association.

Neumiller is a certified diabetes educator and co-leader of the Clinical Trials Research Team in the College which focuses primarily on diabetes-related clinical trials.

Q. Now that you have been the Diabetes Spectrum editor-in-chief for almost a year, what is different about this role compared to your previous three years as an associate editor?

A. Acting as Editor has allowed me to expand my role and work with the rest of the Editorial Board to drive the content of the journal. It has been a very rewarding experience thus far and has allowed me to interact with a variety of experts involved in the care of people with diabetes. The great part about Diabetes Spectrum is that it is a multidisciplinary journal and allows us to cover topics from a variety of perspectives. I might note there are two other WSU alumni now serving on the editorial team – Travis Sonnett and Lindy Swain. The three of us have worked on many projects together over the years.

Q. How does Diabetes Spectrum differ from the other ADA professional journals?

A. Diabetes Spectrum is committed to assisting health care professionals in developing strategies to individualize treatment, enhance diabetes self-management education and optimize patient outcomes. The niche that Diabetes Spectrum fills provides key actionable information to prescribers, pharmacists, nurses, and dietitians. Diabetes Spectrum is unique in that we often cover a special topic and invite a series of experts to write about various aspects of the topic – we call this our “From Research to Practice” section. Earlier this year retired WSU Professor R. Keith Campbell served as guest editor for an issue titled: “Pharmacotherapy of Diabetes: Past, Present, and Future” which flew off the shelves at the most recent American Diabetes Association (ADA) meeting.
read Campbell’s article.

Q. What do you feel is the most important aspect of your work--in the short term and further down the road?

A. I have a strong personal interest in diabetes because I have Type 1 diabetes. Working with and educating people with diabetes is a passion of mine. My research and clinical duties allow me to interact with people and do what I can to help them understand their disease and take better control of their health. My role as Editor of Diabetes Spectrum allows me to meet this goal in a different way – by working with the ADA and my Editorial Team colleagues to deliver timely education to diabetes educators and other health care providers across the country and beyond (Diabetes Spectrum has an international readership).

Q. Have there been any big developments in diabetes treatment this past year?

A. For pharmacists there have been a number of developments over the last several years. Of note, a new inhaled insulin product was approved this year. Several other new medications are on the market as well. I was fortunate enough to participate in a conference recently regarding the management of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), which resulted in a grant to fund projects advancing the knowledge about DKD. I am quite excited to see the results of this research effort. Not many clinical studies to date have included these patients.
Pharmacy program honored by state for community outreach
WSU receives state award for excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention
This November, the WSU College of Pharmacy received the Cardinal Health Generation Rx Champions Award from the Washington State Pharmacy Association. This award recognizes excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention.

Photo: staged drug overdose reenactment on the WSU Pullman campus in September
The College of Pharmacy worked with the WSU Police Department to stage an overdose reenactment on the Pullman campus in September to raise awareness of the growing epidemic of opiate drug abuse and overdose. (Photo by Jacqueline Garza, WSU College of Pharmacy)  
Over this past year, the College of Pharmacy began a project to develop a prevention and awareness program to battle prescription and opiate drug abuse that can be duplicated and repeated across the country. Shannon Panther, a registered pharmacist in Washington and four other states and clinical assistant professor of pharmacotherapy at WSU, was the lead developer for this project.

Modeled after similar overdose programs nationwide (, this program targets people who are in non-health care positions within the community, educates them about opiate drug overdose and teaches interested participants how to save the life of an individual who is experiencing an overdose. At the end of the program, each participant is provided with a lifesaving tool kit.

Naloxone has been proven to be effective to reverse an opiate drug overdose, most commonly triggered by hydrocodone, oxycodone or heroin.

The next piece of the project will be surveying participants and measuring participant change in knowledge and perceptions to determine the long term effectiveness of the program. Once Panther and her team demonstrate success for this large group education and delivery model, the program will be used as a template for future intervention programs that will target community groups at high risk for exposure to a drug overdose event.
WSU student pharmacist selected for Capitol Hill internship
Student pharmacist steps up to advocacy, leadership
Erin McCarthy
Erin McCarthy  
Erin McCarthy, a second-year student pharmacist at Washington State University, has been selected for a summer internship on the staff of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Washington’s Fifth Congressional District. McCarthy had the opportunity to meet the Congresswoman after a panel discussion on health policy and health care advocacy hosted by the WSU College of Pharmacy in Spokane this October. McMorris Rodgers encouraged McCarthy to apply to the internship program after McCarthy said she was interested in learning more about the legislative process in order to be a better advocate for pharmacy, her future profession.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers interacts with student pharmacists in the WSU pharmacy program
from left: Cathy McMorris Rodgers and WSU student pharmacists Courtney Mayo, Erin McCarthy and Jessica Chung  
McCarthy will begin the four-week internship next June at the Congresswoman’s Washington, D.C., office. “Erin is a natural leader and I expect she will accomplish great things in the coming years,” said Jennifer Robinson, director of student services for the College of Pharmacy. “I have been continually impressed with her poise, professionalism and her passion for pharmacy.”

McCarthy is actively involved in the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). For this campaign she is presenting information about HR 4190 to fellow classmates in the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program, and encouraging the different classes to sign up and be engaged in the legislative process. HR 4190 is a bill currently in Congress that would amend the Social Security Act to provide access to pharmacists' care services through Medicare coverage.

In addition McCarthy is working with the Spokane Pharmacy Association and Washington State Pharmacy Association to spread the word about this campaign to a wider, non-student audience, said Robinson.

Other College News
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Professor Terri L. Levien and Pharmacotherapy Professor and Associate Dean for External Professional and Continuing Education Danial E. Baker published, "Drug Evaluation – Tavaborole topical solution 5% (Kerydin)," in Wolters Kluwer Health’s The Formulary Monograph Service (FMS) in October. Wolters Kluwer Health is a drug and health information publisher, the FMS is a resource used in the formulary decision making process for hospitals and managed care systems on recently released and investigational drugs.
  • Terri Levien and Danial Baker published, "Drug Evaluation – Efinaconazole topical solution 10% (Jublia)," in the FMS in October.
  • Terri Levien and Danial Baker published, "Drug Evaluation – Empagliflozin (Jardiance): Updated Evaluation," in the FMS in October.
  • Danial Baker published, "Drug Evaluation – Oritavancin," in the FMS in October.
  • Terri Levien and Danial Baker published, "Drug Evaluation – Inhaled Insulin (Afrezza)," in the FMS in October.
  • Danial Baker published, "Drug Utilization Evaluation – Oritavancin," in the FMS in October.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor Jiyue Zhu, Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate Clinical Professor Shuwen Wang, and Pharmaceutical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Associate De Cheng published, “Dual roles of c-Myc in the regulation of hTERT gene,” in the journal Nucleic Acids Research (Volume 42, Issue 16, 2014), a leading peer-reviewed journal on nucleic acid metabolism and gene regulation. read abstract
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate Professor David Liu co-authored with 11 others, "PKM2 phosphorylates ​MLC2 and regulates cytokinesis of tumour cells," published in the journal Nature Communication (2014 Nov 21;5:5566). read article
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Associate Professor Lisa J. Woodard presented a workshop titled, “Treat to target: A model for effective care,” to the Washington State Department of Health's Washington Health Improvement Network on October 15, to a group of rural care providers and clinic leaders.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Education Kathryn E. Meier presented a research poster written with three co-authors titled, "Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit LPA- and EGF-induced proliferation of human prostate cancer cells by acting as agonists for free fatty acid receptor 4 (FFA4),” at the Southeast Regional Lipid Conference in Cashiers, N.C., November 5-7.
  • Pharmacotherapy Associate Professor Joshua J. Neumiller, Pharmacotherapy Clinical Professor Brian Gates, and seven co-authors presented the research poster, "Study design and participant characteristics for the Chronic Kidney Disease – Medication intervention in transitional care clinical trial (CKD-MIT)," at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2014. Philadelphia, Pa., November 11-16.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate Professor Salah-uddin Ahmed presented, “Induction of pro-apoptotic noxa expression by ursolic acid sensitizes rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts to apoptosis: a role of Mir-181a,” at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass., on November 17.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Associate Anil Singh presented, "Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG) suppresses IL-1β-induced IL-6 and IL-8 synthesis by selectively inhibiting TAK1 activation in human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts," at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass., on November 18.
  • Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Associate Professor Susan A. Marsh and Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Student Services Jennifer Robinson have been accepted as a members of the Washington State University Teaching Academy.
  • Lisa Woodard has been invited to serve as chair for the Washington State Department of Health, Diabetes Leadership Team.
  • Salah-uddin Ahmed served as a reviewer on two special emphasis study sections at the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professors Julie Akers, Kim McKeirnan, and Shannon Panther were all recently awarded the BPS certification in ambulatory care.
  • The College of Pharmacy's “Save-A-Life” Naloxone Safety Net Project received the 2014 Cardinal Health Generations Rx Champions Award from the Washington State Pharmacy Association for excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention. read more
  • The College of Pharmacy received the Assessment Executor Award from the testing software company Examsoft for innovative use of their platform.
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Associate Professor Catrina Schwartz received the 2014 Pharmacist of the Year Award from the Spokane Pharmacy Association.
  • Pharmacotherapy Professor Emeritus Bill Fassett received the 2014 Special Services Award from the Spokane Pharmacy Association.
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Associate Professor Colleen Terriff received the 2014 Speaker of the Year Award from the Spokane Pharmacy Association.
  • Pharmacotherapy Research Associate and Specialty Resident in Obstetrics Alyson Blum received the 2014 Resident of the Year Award from the Spokane Pharmacy Association.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students
  • Mandi Hopkins with faculty co-author Kathryn Meier and two others produced a research poster titled, "Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit LPA- and EGF-induced proliferation of human prostate cancer cells by acting as agonists for free fatty acid receptor 4 (FFA4),” that was presented at the Southeast Regional Lipid Conference in Cashiers, N.C., November 5-7.
  • Mandi Hopkins will present, “Free fatty acid receptor 4 (FFA4) mediates the inhibitory effects of omega-3 fatty acids on growth factor-mediated proliferation and migration in human prostate cancer cells,” on Thursday, January 8.
  • Amity Platt will present, “Identification of active exemestane metabolites: significance in breast cancer prevention,” on Thursday, January 22.
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) students
  • Amanda Norman received the 2014 Pharmacy Student of the Year Award from the Washington State Pharmacy Association.
Coming Events
  • December 7-11, 2014
    Over 20 WSU College of Pharmacy affiliated post-graduate pharmacy specialty residents will present research project posters at the 49th ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, in Anaheim, Calif.

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