IPSF Hosts Second Annual “Viva La Pharmacie”

On January 25, Pacific’s International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF) hosted Viva La Pharmacie at the Chan Family Health Sciences Learning Center and Clinics to give students the opportunity to learn about pharmacy practice in various countries.

Faculty member Dr. Katerina Venderova opened the night by introducing her native country, Czech Republic, and her experience as a pharmacy student at Charles University in Prague.

Dr. Venderova was not the only person who shared her international experience in pharmacy. Among the students who participated were Jason Miller ’14 (Jamaica), Matthew D’Anis ’14 (Haiti and Mexico), Nicole Dinh ’14 (Vietnam), Lindsay Noriega ’13 (Japan and China).

“With the help of University of the Pacific faculty and fellow students with first-hand experience, we aim to give Pacific a global glimpse of our profession without even leaving the country,” said IPSF member Adaeze Okeh ’14. “We hope that attendees walk away from the event with a more holistic understanding of our profession and with an enhanced desire to understand it on an international level.”

Viva La Pharmacie inspired many students including Vittoria Ledesma ’14. “After attending Viva La Pharmacie, I realized how different pharmacy practice is in other countries,” she said. “For example, Dr. Venderova said that Czech students must take five board exams in front of a panel to get their license. The drug regulation, the education needed, and the level of respect vary so much. This definitely inspired me to travel to experience it for myself and made me appreciate the system that we have here.”

Dr. Mamoun Alhamadsheh receives NIA grant from AACP

Dr. Mamoun Alhamadsheh, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry, was awarded the 2011-2012 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) New Investigator Award (NIA) for his research titled Harnessing Transthyretin to Inhibit Extracellular Receptor-Ligand Interactions. The award was funded in the amount of $10,000 with an additional $1,000 to cover his travel expenses to present his research findings at the 2013 AACP Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“I am excited to represent Pacific and to know that I have so much support from faculty members, the Dean, and School administrators,” said Dr. Alhamadsheh. “It shows that as an institution, we value education and research, and although we are a smaller university there is a collaborative environment that is flexible and supportive of research,” he added.

The NIA provides start-up funding for new pharmacy faculty’s research programs and receives more than 200 applications a year. Dr. Alhamadsheh’s proposal received one of 18 grants.

Dr. Alhamadsheh’s research will focus on developing a new strategy for inhibiting protein-protein interactions, which can be used to target multiple diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. If successful, his research will provide a more stable, less toxic, and inexpensive alternative for targeting antibodies.

In August 2011, Dr. Alhamadsheh has his article Potent Kinetic Stabilizers That Prevent Transthyretin-Mediated Cardiomyocyte Proteotoxicity published and featured on the cover of Science Translational Medicine magazine. It was also mentioned in the Chemical & Engineering News published by the American Chemical Society and The Alzheimer’s Research Forum. This article will serve as the foundation for his research.

Medicare Part D partners with Bread of Life to provide free flu vaccines to the community

This year, Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Medicare Part D event at Franco Center provided nearly 300 screenings and services to residents of the low-income housing complex. It was here that Gina Valadez discovered the invaluable service that the School provided to the community. She reached out to Dr. Rajul Patel ’01 ’06 and invited the School to participate in her event and non-profit organization, Bread of Life. Bread of Life is a ministry of LifeSong and provides supplemental groceries to needy families of the greater Stockton community every month.

Valadez was inspired to start Bread of Life after driving home one day and seeing all of the foreclosed homes. She struggled as a single mom and understood how it felt during hard times. As a team of one, Valadez recalled the months she spent going door-to-door inviting the community to come out and take a bag of groceries. Her efforts seemed to go unnoticed until one day she showed up and there was a line.

“Community outreach is important and what I learned is that we should always treat others with respect and dignity,” said Valadez.

With the help of Dr. Mark Walberg ’06 ’09, Dr. Joseph Woelfel ’70 ’72 ‘78, Dr. Annie Patel ’01, and a handful of students, they were able to offer an immunization clinic at the event. The clinic was made possible through a partnership between the School, Bread of Life, and Public Health Services of San Joaquin County who donated flu shots.

During this December event, 67 community members received the flu shot, many of whom would not have received it otherwise. Being that this was the School’s first time participating in the event, Dr. Patel is encouraged and hopes that this becomes an annual event in which our pharmacy students can participate. “This is a great event. We would love to be here again next year,” he said.

The purpose of Medicare Part D outreach is to provide services to Medicare beneficiaries helping them chose a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that meets their needs at the lowest cost possible. In addition, participants can take advantage of health services including blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, immunization, asthma screening, and more.

To learn more about Bread of Life, visit breadoflifestockton.org.