March 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

The College of Pharmacy continues its rise to the top of the U.S. News and World Report's national rankings. We were excited to learn last week that the college has moved into the top 10 nationally, up from No. 14 in 2012, the last year that U.S. News and World Report reported rankings. In addition, UF maintained its No. 1 position among pharmacy colleges in Florida. Without the strong support we enjoy from alumni and friends of the college like you, we would not be able to achieve this top 10 ranking. Thank you for your continued support and all you do to make the College of Pharmacy a nationally recognized institution.

Our Pharmily is ever expanding. In early February, the college celebrated the arrival of our youngest member of the Pharmily when our director of development, Elizabeth Zipper, and her husband, welcomed a baby boy to their family. I am happy to report that mom and baby are doing well. While Elizabeth is on maternity leave, I wanted to share with you some additional exciting developments in the College of Pharmacy.

In a few weeks, we’ll symbolically welcome our first-year students to the pharmacy profession with the White Coat Ceremony at the Phillips Center. In May, we’ll celebrate the achievements of more than 300 of our professional and graduate students at commencement ceremonies and officially welcome them to the Pharmily as Gator pharmacists. These are two of the signature events that define major milestones in our students’ paths toward a pharmacy degree, and as alumni of our college, we welcome your attendance and support at either of these events.

Check your mailboxes in April for our latest edition of the GatoRx magazine. Our next issue features the College of Pharmacy-led UF Health Personalized Medicine program and the remarkable story of how this program changed the life of a Florida grandfather. We also highlight several research breakthroughs led by College of Pharmacy faculty, recap the successful Crisafi Challenge and share a few of our favorite photos from the Alumni BBQ Reunion.

We would love to see you at one of our Gator receptions this summer. Events are planned for the Florida Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists Annual Meeting in Orlando. These events are a great opportunity to reconnect with classmates and faculty from the College of Pharmacy. We hope to see you there.

Go Gator Pharmacists!

Brynn Huysman
Assistant Director of Development & Alumni Affairs

College News 

UF College of Pharmacy moves into top 10 of national rankings

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy continues its rise to the top of the U.S. News and World Report’s national rankings.

UF moved to No. 9 nationally among 125 pharmacy colleges and doctor of pharmacy programs included in the rankings released on March 16. The top 10 position reflected a move up from No. 14 in 2012, the last year that U.S. News and World Report ranked pharmacy colleges. In addition to placing in the top 10 nationally, UF continued to maintain its No. 1 ranking among pharmacy colleges in Florida.


WPPD Program celebrates 2,500th graduate

Canadian pharmacist Vincent Ho traveled more than 1,100 miles to participate in his graduation ceremony at the University of Florida, and at the event, he collected the distinct honor of becoming the 2,500th graduate of the UF College of Pharmacy’s Working Professional Pharm.D. Program, or WPPD.

An employee of Hamilton Health Services as an intensive care unit pharmacist, Ho enrolled in the WPPD program in 2013. He previously obtained a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the University of Toronto in 2010 and wanted to expand his knowledge of critical care pharmacy through UF’s program. As a distance education student, he engaged in online learning activities, participated in virtual class discussions and traveled to weekend seminars with his cohort.


Dr. Shauna Buring named as next Associate Dean for Student Affairs

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy has named Shauna Buring, Pharm.D., as its next associate dean for student affairs effective May 9. She succeeds Mike McKenzie, Ph.D., who is retiring following 32 years leading the Office of Student Affairs.

As associate dean for student affairs, she will play a prominent role to ensure UF pharmacy students enjoy a rewarding educational experience and develop professional leadership skills. She will lead a highly innovative and effective recruitment and admissions program that supports pharmacy education at UF’s College of Pharmacy campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando. In addition, she will chair a number of student and faculty committees and work closely with the Office of Curricular Affairs.


Dean Johnson appointed ASCPT president

The American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, or ASCPT, has announced the appointment of Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., as its 2016 president.  

Johnson is dean and distinguished professor of the UF College of Pharmacy and director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program. She has been an active member of ASCPT for over 20 years and has been involved in many of the ASCPT programs, task forces and committees, including the Scientific Program Committee, Membership Committee, and Scientific Awards Selection and Strategic Planning Task Forces. She has been a featured speaker and presenter at the ASCPT Annual Meetings. Johnson will deliver the 2016 William B. Abrams Lecture, a joint ASCPT and U.S. Food and Drug Administration educational initiative established in 1999 to honor William B. Abrams, M.D., an ASCPT president from 1975-76.


Precision Medicine Conference spotlights expanding field of pharmacogenomics in clinical practice

Implementing pharmacogenomics into clinical practice and education took center stage at the inaugural Precision Medicine Conference hosted by the University of Florida College of Pharmacy on March 10-12.

Designed for practicing pharmacists and pharmacy educators, the conference featured a pharmacogenomics certificate program and a workshop on teaching pharmacogenomics. Attendees had the opportunity to undergo personal genotyping for selected pharmacogenomic variants and apply their own genetic information to solve patient cases during the program.

More than 150 participants from 30 states and multiple countries traveled to Orlando for the event. The group represented a wide-range of pharmacogenomics interest areas, including hospital and community pharmacy practice, education and industry.



The Conversation piece by Dr. John Gums earns national attention

A story about the expanding role of pharmacists in health care authored by John Gums, Pharm.D., FCCP, an associate dean for clinical affairs, has earned national attention. Originally published in The Conversation — an independent news source that features views from the academic and research community on issues affecting the world — Gums' commentary has registered more than 115,000 views on Business Insider's website and been shared hundreds of times on social media.

In the commentary, Gums addresses the gap that exists between outdated state statutes and the training that pharmacists receive today. He advocates that patients will benefit from collaborative care models that include pharmacists as a part of the health care team.

Lake Nona Leadership Symposium attracts top scientists and clinicians to discuss drug development and regulatory science

More than 90 scientists and clinicians from around the world gathered in Orlando on Feb. 24 to discuss the latest developments in translational science during the 2016 Lake Nona Leadership Symposium.

Hosted by the UF Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology, the daylong event presented a rare opportunity for experts from pharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies and academic institutions to gather in one location and examine ways to improve the science of drug development. Five sessions co-chaired by some of the leading researchers and pharmacometrics and systems pharmacology scientists covered a breadth of topics from pediatric drug development to systematic approaches in pharmacology models.



UF researchers to evaluate policy changes in pain treatment strategies

Researchers at the UF College of Pharmacy want to know if new pain management strategies for hospitalized patients are as effective and safe as previous practices.

Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, and Juan Hincapie-Castillo, Pharm.D., a graduate student in the same department, received a nearly $28,000 grant from UF Health to study the impact of policy changes on pharmacy-generated order sets within UF Health’s hospitals.


Dr. Phil Frost receives UF honorary degree

Phil Frost, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of OPKO Health Inc., a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostic company headquartered in Miami, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Florida during the fall 2015 commencement ceremony. The College of Pharmacy nominated Frost for one of UF's highest honors.

A highly regarded physician, scientist and business executive, Frost has made significant contributions to human health and the pharmaceutical industry through his efforts to bring beneficial drug products to the market and increase available health care options. A generous supporter of the arts, music, technology and science, he and his wife, Patricia, have contributed greatly to Florida’s economic, educational and cultural strengths through their philanthropic efforts. 



Dr. Kristin Weitzel named editor-in-chief of Pharmacy Today

Pharmacy Today, the official publication of the American Pharmacists Association, or APhA, has named Kristin Weitzel, Pharm.D., FAPhA, as its new editor-in-chief.

Weitzel, a clinical associate professor at the College of Pharmacy and associate director of UF Health’s Personalized Medicine Program, oversaw her first Pharmacy Today publication in January. In the issue, she highlighted her new role as editor-in-chief in the Today’s Perspective editor’s column and her priorities to increase Pharmacy Today’s voice within the profession. APhA is the largest association of pharmacists in the U.S., and its monthly publication features a circulation greater than 150,000.

Weitzel has been a member of APhA for more than 20 years and previously served three years as editor-in-chief of the weekly publication APhA DrugInfoLine.

AAPS Microdialysis Focus Group publication features Dr. Hartmut Derendorf

College of Pharmacy faculty and students shine at ACCP annual meeting Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., a
distinguished professor and chair of the department of pharmaceutics, was featured in the winter 2016
“Probes” newsletter
, a publication of the American
Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Microdialysis Focus Group

The issue focuses on the application of microdialysis in the design and development of anti-infective agents and includes commentary from Derendorf on microdialysis’ role as one of the exciting new technologies in biomedical research and drug development. Derendorf is also profiled in “Probes” for his accomplished career in pharmaceutics, and one of his former lab students, Nivea Maria Falcao Voelkner, Ph.D, ʼ15, is featured for her dissertation work in which she developed a PK/PD model to describe pyrazinamide treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a potentially fatal skin infection.

Development and Alumni Affairs Updates

Gator pharmacists gather for dean’s reception at APhA Annual Meeting

On March 5, the College of Pharmacy hosted its annual Dean’s Night In Reception at the American Pharmacists Association, or APhA, Annual Meeting in Baltimore. More than 50 students, alumni, friends and faculty of the college joined Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor, for a dessert reception. Dean Johnson was able to share college news and updates, including the introduction of the college’s new Pharm.D. curriculum and a successful Crisafi Challenge fundraiser last fall.


Alumna Suzanne Wise elected as president elect of the Florida Pharmacy Association

Pharmacist Suzanne Wise, a 2009 graduate of the College of Pharmacy, was elected as president elect of the Florida Pharmacy Association, or FPA. The Maitland, Florida, native will begin her term at the organization’s 126th Annual Meeting and Convention on July 3 in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to her Pharm.D. degree, she earned an M.B.A. degree from the University of Florida in 2009 and maintains strong ties to the UF College of Pharmacy. She serves as a mentor and preceptor for pharmacy students and was awarded with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from UF in 2012. Active in FPA since 2004, she was honored with the FPA Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award in 2010.

Student News

College of Pharmacy students and faculty advocate for profession at Legislative Days

An enthusiastic group of more than 80 white coat-wearing UF pharmacy students from all four campuses and several faculty descended on Tallahassee on Jan. 20-21 for Florida Pharmacist Legislative Days. The group joined hundreds of other pharmacists and pharmacy students from the state of Florida to advocate for the profession. During the visit, Gator pharmacists met with a number of state political leaders and toured the state capitol building.


Kappa Psi golf tournament to benefit Children’s Miracle Network

Join Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity for its 19th Annual Golf Tournament benefitting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals on April 16. The four-man scramble will take place at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course beginning at 8 a.m. All participants will receive entry into the tournament, a golf cart, range balls, T-shirt, breakfast and a catered lunch. Make your best shot and register today at

Mark Your Calendar

April 2 - White Coat Ceremony - Gainesville, FL

May 2 - Commencement - Gainesville, FL

July 1 - Gator Reception at FPA - Fort Lauderdale, FL

August 5 - Gator Reception at FSHP - Orlando, FL

Stay Connected!

Keep up with the exciting changes and accomplishments of the College of Pharmacy, its students, faculty, staff and alumni by viewing The Pharmily Connection and GATORx online!

Are you not receiving the GATORx? Contact the Development and Alumni Affairs office at or (352) 273-6605.

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