CougaRx News
Events College News Alumni News Faculty Scholarship
A message from Gary M. Pollack

November 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Since moving our college fully to WSU’s Health Sciences campus not quite four years ago, we have experienced significant change throughout the organization. (Of all the potential statements I could make, including that health care is complicated or that the atomic mass of carbon is 12.01, this is the one that I am most confident would garner broad agreement among the faculty.) We all know that change is hard, but the question of why it is so darn hard, especially in the higher education sector, is worth considering.

We have experienced all three traditionally-recognized types of organizational change: developmental (generally viewed as improving performance), transitional (replacing one or more elements with something entirely new), and transformative (migrating to a new future state that is not wholly known when the change process begins). Relevant examples for our college are increasing our extramural funding and the size of our graduate program five-fold or more, and doubling the size of our professional program (developmental); launching a second site for our professional program in Yakima and embracing a competency-based approach to evaluating student performance (transitional); abandoning traditional lectures in favor of comprehensive active- and collaborative-learning strategies throughout the didactic portion of the professional curriculum (transformative). In the aggregate, this was a lot of change for the college to manage, and the staff and faculty have worked diligently to make each initiative a success.

Barriers to effective change are largely predictable, and to varying extents manageable. Change always has associated costs; in an era of restricted higher-education budgets, the initial investment can be challenging or prohibitive. Change ultimately requires that people work differently, usually with an initial effort requirement that can be difficult for faculty to balance with ongoing demands on their time. Change also often requires modifying worldview or mindset. Especially in the academic sector, when faculty who were educated under a specific paradigm perpetuate that paradigm largely because “it worked for me” (but in reality because it represents a singular comfort zone), change can be a significant hurdle. Fortunately for us, none of the predictable hurdles were significant, and change was embraced with a reasonable level of enthusiasm.

The one barrier that we have not overcome (yet) is confirmation bias, or the tendency for humans to interpret information in a manner that supports pre-existing beliefs. We had a recent example of this phenomenon with respect to our competency-based approach in the Pharm.D. curriculum. The goal of this approach was to decrease the rate at which students fall off-track and graduate late (or not at all). The first cohort of students studying under this approach graduated in May with an “attrition” rate of 2.4% (compared to an average of 11.3% over the preceding three years). Some faculty expressed the very reasonable hypothesis that decreasing “attrition” would result in a decrease in the board exam pass rate. In fact, the pass rate for our 2017 graduates increased by about 5%, suggesting that our approach, at least with this first cohort, did not make them less competitive.

Most faculty found this to be a cause for celebration, or at least for relief, as we will need to evaluate programmatic results for several years before drawing any conclusions. However, the response from a subset of faculty suggested the belief that something was “missing” in the data. Certainly the board exam pass rate could not improve at the same time that attrition was decreased by an astonishing 8.9%. Could it? It was an unexpected question in light of quantitative data.

No one seems to know with certainty how might we combat confirmation bias in the context of organizational change and development. As with any form of bias, it would seem reasonable to believe that simply being aware (or reminded) of the potential for bias is a helpful first step. However, for those contemplating significant change, dealing with this phenomenon prospectively may be more challenging than any other aspect of the initiative.

Best wishes,
signature: Gary M. Pollack

Gary M. Pollack
Dean, College of Pharmacy
Washington State University

11/14/17 and 11/15/17 Career Fairs
Yakima & Spokane
Vendor Registration
Reception RSVP
11/24/17 Apple Cup Rally
WSU Alumni Association
Seattle, Wash.
12/04/17 CougaRx Reception
Orlando, Florida
12/08/17 Holiday CougaRx Reception
Spokane, Wash.
More college events »

Lifetime Achievement Award

WSU pharmacy prof, alum honored for lifetime achievement
R. Keith Campbell embodies just about every characteristic you can use to describe lifetime achievement within the profession of pharmacy. Read more »

Drug Information Center

Pharmacy drug information teaching lab
unusual in the country

The Drug Information Center on the second floor of the Health Sciences Building looks like a typical windowless office with cubicles and computers, but what happens inside is rather extraordinary and benefits medical practitioners throughout the country. Read more »

Preceptor Press

Would you, or any of your friends, be willing to house a WSU College of Pharmacy student while they are on rotation in your community? We are searching for short-term housing for our students and would love to talk to you if you are able to help! Click here to email us.


Cardiff Pharmacy students visit Washington State University for a learning experience of a lifetime
Abbie Shaw, Emily Walters and Laura Bolger were invited to participate in a number of pharmacy-related programs and gained invaluable experience learning how pharmacy is taught and practiced overseas.
Read more »

Preceptor of the Year

Kirkland pharmacist honored for excellence in practice, teaching
Megan Braine, clinical pharmacist for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at EvergreenHealth, was named the 2017 Preceptor of the Year by the Washington State University College of Pharmacy.
Read more »

Become an alumni mentor! A message from Linda Garrelts MacLean

Dear Alums, Colleagues and Friends of Pharmacy,

It is without exaggeration that I write how humbled, honored and inspired I am by the response we received from our alumni and friends as we celebrated Professor Emeritus R. Keith Campbell in October. It was truly a special night.

It was remarkable to witness so many people reconnecting, sharing and laughing! In our efforts to honor Keith and his contributions to the profession of pharmacy, we have accomplished some amazing things that will continue to honor his name while advancing the profession into the foreseeable future. The following is a short recap of the event:

  • Over 400 of Keith’s closest and dear friends joined us in Spokane on October 20 for the Crimson Gala.
  • The event and related donations raised over $250,000, which goes toward supporting our student pharmacists and is enough money to not only name our Applied Patient Care (APC) lab in Spokane in honor of Keith, but also the student collaboration and study area on the same floor.
  • The college honored Keith with its Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a track record of excellence in pharmacy, patient care, advocacy, research, service, and mentoring or teaching. It is the most prestigious honor bestowed on an individual from the Washington State University College of Pharmacy.
  • To further galvanize the legacy that Keith has built within the pharmacy community, the college announced that going forward our Lifetime Achievement Award will be named after him. It is only fitting that the R. Keith Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award will honor the innovators and leaders in the pharmacy profession for generations to come.

I would like to sincerely thank Ed and Beatriz Schweitzer for their generous contribution to name the R. Keith Campbell Applied Patient Care Laboratory. The Schweitzer’s donation helped us reach our fundraising goal early on, which allowed us to expand our naming efforts so we could also name the student collaborative and study space outside the APC lab in honor of Keith. We are grateful for the Schweitzer’s support of this effort and I want to share their comments with you:

"Keith has been, and continues to be, a true champion for the College of Pharmacy. He has educated a couple of generations of pharmacists, not only helping folks become pharmacists, but also to be great community members. Keith is "ON" 24/7! He is an inventor and entrepreneur, as well as a professor. And, he has tirelessly and voluntarily served many communities, in fostering and advancing patient care, especially in the area of diabetes. Finally, he is a friend that my wife and I feel fortunate to share. Congratulations, Keith!"

-Ed and Beatriz Schweitzer, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories

Going into the Thanksgiving season, it is even more evident how important it is for us to stay connected. I am grateful that we are able to accomplish so much through the simple act of coming together.

With warmest regards and much appreciation,

Linda Garrelts MacLean
Linda Garrelts MacLean, BPharm, RPh
Vice Dean of External Relations
Clinical Professor


Spokane native Ruby Siegel is not your average Washington State University Ph.D. student: she spent 17 years working in a clinical laboratory and raising a son between earning her degrees. Read more »


Manpreet Chahal received the Outstanding Service Award from the WSU Foundation. Although he couldn’t attend the event due to work obligations, he was still able to make "an appearance" thanks to fellow alum Leon Alzola. View photo »


Thank you to everyone that attended our Pharmacy Homecoming Weekend events! It was great to reconnect with all our alumni and friends. Crimson Gala photos »
Homecoming Tailgate photos »


  • Mylinh Nguyen, class of 2013, recently got married. Congrats Mylinh! View photo »
  • Natasha Heimbigner, class of 2014, is now working as an oncology pharmacist at Summit Cancer Centers. Great job Natasha!

Want to be listed in our alumni updates? Send us your career information or let us know what you’ve been up to!


  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Professor Jean-Baptiste Roullet, Pharmacotherapy Professor K. Michael Gibson, and three co-authors published, “In vitro toxicological evaluation of NCS-382, a high-affinity antagonist of γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) binding,” in the bimonthly peer-reviewed journal Toxicology in Vitro (2017 Apr;40:196-202).
  • K. Michael Gibson with three co-authors published, “Aberrant mTOR signaling and disrupted autophagy: the missing link in potential vigabatrin-associated ocular toxicity?” in the monthly peer-reviewed journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2017 Apr;101(4):458-461).
  • Jean-Baptiste Roullet, K. Michael Gibson and six co-authors published, “Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) content in hair samples correlates negatively with age in succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency,” in the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disorders Reports, a publication from the Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, in February 2017.
  • K. Michael Gibson and 11 co-authors published, “Phenotype of GABA-transaminase deficiency,” in the peer-reviewed medical journal Neurology (2017 May 16;88(20):1919-1924).
  • K. Michael Gibson and 28 co-authors published, “Oral D-galactose supplementation in PGM1-CDG,” in the monthly peer-reviewed journal Genetics in Medicine (doi: 10.1038/gim.2017.41)
  • K. Michael Gibson and four co-authors published, “mTOR inhibition mitigates molecular and biochemical alterations of vigabatrin-induced visual field toxicity in mice,” in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatric Neurology (2017 Jan;66:44-52.e1).
  • K. Michael Gibson and four co-authors published, “Therapeutic relevance of mTOR inhibition in murine succinate semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (SSADHD), a disorder of GABA metabolism,” in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (2017 Jan;1863(1):33-42).
  • K. Michael Gibson and three co-authors published, “Multicompartment analysis of protein-restricted phenylketonuric mice reveals amino acid imbalances in brain,” in the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disorders, the peer-reviewed official journal of the Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (2017 Mar;40(2):227-235).
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor Dana R. Bowers and four co-authors published, “Early administration of adjuvant β-lactam therapy in combination with vancomycin among patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection: a retrospective, multicenter analysis,” in the September 26 issue of Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, the peer-reviewed official journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Read abstract »
  • Pharmacotherapy Professor and Associate Dean for External Professional and Continuing Education Danial E. Baker and Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor (Yakima) Anne P. Kim published, “Formulary drug review: safinamide,” in the independent peer-reviewed journal Hospital Pharmacy (52(8):532-543) in September 2017.
  • Danial Baker published, “Etelcalcetide,” in the journal Hospital Pharmacy in September 2017.


  • Danial Baker presented the webinar, “USP Drug Classification System 2018 webinar for pharmaceutical manufacturers + beneficiaries/patient advocacy groups,” on October 12, 2017.
  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor Kimberly McKeirnan and Pharmacotherapy Specialty Resident Kyle R. Frazier presented the poster, “Pharmacy technicians as immunizers: impact from the pilot project,” at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, in October 2017.
  • Kyle Frazier and Kimberly McKeirnan presented the poster, “Utilizing home visits to provide a comprehensive medication review,” at the NCPA Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, in October 2017.
  • Kimberly McKeirnan, Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor Shannon G. Panther and Pharmacotherapy Academic Fellow Taylor Bertsch presented the poster, “Tuberculin skin test training utilizing pharmacy students,” at the NCPA Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, in October 2017.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Technologist Kenneth Porter (Gaddameedhi lab), Pharmaceutical Sciences Assistant Professor Shobhan Gaddameedhi and three co-authors presented the poster and podium presentation titled, “Circadian clock regulates the melanogenesis pathway through MITF in mouse and human models,” at the 2017 Sleep and Performance Research Center (SPRC) Retreat in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on October, 19, 2017.
  • Kenneth Porter, Pharmaceutical Sciences Assistant Professor Hui Zhang, Shobhan Gaddameedhi and four co-authors presented the poster and the podium presentation titled, “Chronopharmacology of cisplatin: role of the circadian rhythm in modulating cisplatin-induced toxicity in melanoma mouse and human models,” at the 2017 SPRC retreat in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on October, 19, 2017.
  • Shobhan Gaddameedhi delivered the podium presentation, “Mechanistic understanding of circadian clock role in carcinogenesis and in cancer treatment efficiency” at the 2017 SPRC retreat in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on October, 19, 2017.
  • Pharmacotherapy Professor and Chair John R. White, Jr., presented, “Management of Type 2 DM,” at the Metabolic and Endocrine Disease Summit at Meds East, Orlando, Florida on October 11, 2017.
  • John White, Jr., presented, “Pharmacologic 101: simplifying pharmacology of insulins and its application to clinical practice,” as the 19th Dr. Ricardo E. Fernando Professorial Lecturer during the Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation, Inc. Annual Convention in Mandaluyong City, Philippines, on October 19, 2017.
  • John White, Jr., presented, “Evolving standards and innovation in diabetes care,” as the 19th Dr. Ricardo E. Fernando Professorial Lecturer during the Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation, Inc. Annual Convention in Mandaluyong City, Philippines, on October 20, 2017.


  • Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor Alyson Blum will serve as the first pharmacist medical director at Camp Stix, a summer camp in Spokane, Washington, for children aged 8-18 with juvenile diabetes.


  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Assistant Professor John Clarke received a WSU Health Equity and Resilience Research Collaborative Community Partnership Seed Grant in the amount of $5,000 for the project, “Toxin exposure and liver disease disparity in Pacific Northwest American Indian Tribes.”
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty and Student Development Kathryn E. Meier received a Ferring Innovation Grant in the amount of $70,000 over one year from the Ferring Research Institute for the project, “FSH receptor as a therapeutic target in prostate cancer.”

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students

  • Soumyadeep Sarkar, pharmaceutical sciences (Gaddameedhi lab); Panshak Dakup, pharmaceutical sciences (Gaddameedhi lab); with faculty co-author Shobhan Gaddameedhi and two others presented the poster and podium presentation titled, “Circadian clock regulates the melanogenesis pathway through MITF in mouse and human models,” at the 2017 SPRC Retreat in, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on October 19, 2017.
  • Panshak Dakup; Alexander Little, pharmaceutical sciences (H. Zhang lab); with faculty co-authors Hui Zhang, Shobhan Gaddameedhi and three others presented the poster and podium presentation titled, “Chronopharmacology of cisplatin: role of the circadian rhythm in modulating cisplatin-induced toxicity in melanoma mouse and human models,” at the 2017 SPRC Retreat in, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on October 19, 2017.
  • Soumyadeep Sarkar received first place in the poster presentation competition and a $50 award.


WSU College of Pharmacy logo

Washington State University College of Pharmacy
PO Box 1495, Spokane, WA  99202