June 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

On June 16, we celebrated the substantial contributions of six faculty members who collectively have over 200 years of service to the College of Pharmacy. Odds are that one or more of these retiring faculty touched your life in some way through your pharmacy education at UF. Drs. Michael McKenzie, Leslie Hendeles, Michael Meldrum, Michael Katovich, Kenneth Sloan and Abraham Hartzema dedicated their careers to enriching the educational experience of our students. They were well respected in the college and in their area of disciplinary focus. We are grateful for the contributions they have made to the college in their respective ways.

Another group of Gators that deserve our well wishes are the 400+ recent graduates of the College of Pharmacy. This new group of Gator pharmacy grads joined our alumni rank in early May. Multiple ceremonies celebrated the achievements of our Pharm.D., Ph.D., and M.S. graduates.

It is not too early to look ahead to Gator football season! The Gators are the defending SEC East champions and begin defense of their division title on Sept. 10 versus Kentucky. The same day, the College of Pharmacy will celebrate a milestone event with our 30th Annual BBQ Reunion. We would love to have you join us beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Pharmacy Courtyard. Mark your calendars now, so you do not miss this opportunity to join your Gator pharmacy family in celebrating another successful football season.

For the Gator Good,

Julie Johnson, Pharm.D.
Dean & Distinguished Professor

Elizabeth Zipper
Director of Development & Alumni Affairs

College News 

Commencement ceremonies celebrate 2016 College of Pharmacy graduates

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy celebrated more than 400 graduates from the class of 2016 during commencement ceremonies April 28 through May 2.

Students in the college’s professional Pharm.D. programs donned their cap and gowns and walked across the stage to be hooded at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on May 2. Surrounded by family and friends, the graduates enjoyed public recognition for their academic accomplishments at the University of Florida.

The event featured remarks by David Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president of health affairs and president of UF Health, who reminded graduates that they are about to embark on an extremely fulfilling career and will be building many relationships with colleagues and patients. In addition, several awards were presented to faculty and students, including the Outstanding Pharmacy Alumnus Award, which was given to Michael McKenzie, Ph.D., an associate dean of student affairs at the College of Pharmacy. 



White Coat Ceremony celebrates first-year pharmacy students' entry into profession

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy symbolically welcomed 229 first-year pharmacy students into the profession at the college’s White Coat Ceremony on April 2. Held at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the ceremony featured the traditional presentation of the white coat to mark a rite of passage for a pharmacy student into a professional role.

Students from UF’s three pharmacy campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando participated in the ceremony. Each student was recognized and coated by a faculty member or donor who helped fund the coat purchase. Following the coating, each student participated in a pledge of professionalism that demonstrated their commitment to serving patients and a loyalty to the pharmacy profession.



Six retiring faculty honored for their outstanding contributions to the College of Pharmacy

The College of Pharmacy paid tribute to six retiring faculty members during the Faculty Retirement Celebration on June 16 at the Harn Museum of Art. Collectively, the group possesses more than 200 years of service to UF. Each retiree has devoted a significant portion of his career to fulfilling the academic, research and clinical missions of the college. Those honored at the ceremony included:

• Michael McKenzie, Ph.D., 1970-2016

• Michael Katovich, Ph.D., 1976-2016

• Leslie Hendeles, Pharm.D., 1980-2016

• Kenneth Sloan, Ph.D., 1980-2016 (not pictured)

• Michael Meldrum, Ph.D., 1985-2016

• Abraham Hartzema, Pharm.D., Ph.D., 2000-2016

“The College of Pharmacy is fortunate to have had these six retiring faculty as pillars of our college for so many years,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor. “The lives they have touched and the students they have impacted cannot be measured. The college has enjoyed incredible growth and success during their tenures, and we wish them all the best in retirement.”

As a gift from the college, each retiree was presented a personalized vase with their name and years of service engraved in the glass.  


UF pharmacy researchers find ADHD drug does not heighten suicide risk despite FDA warning

For more than a decade, a black box warning from the Food and Drug Administration has accompanied the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, drug atomoxetine cautioning users of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. But University of Florida College of Pharmacy researchers found no evidence that children taking atomoxetine were at an increased risk of suicide or suicide attempts.

“Parents generally struggle to weigh the risks and benefits associated with ADHD drug treatment options,” said Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy at the College of Pharmacy and co-author of the study. “Having the suicidality safety concern studied and shown that it does not exist will help parents and doctors make more informed decisions related to the treatment of ADHD.” 

UF researchers evaluated a half million children with ADHD in 26 states for four years. The study assessed whether atomoxetine, which is not classified as a stimulant, was associated with an increased risk of suicidal events when compared with stimulant drugs typically prescribed for ADHD. The findings, which showed no increased risk of suicide attempts among 5- to 18-year-olds treated with atomoxetine compared with those receiving stimulant treatment, were published in the journal Pediatrics on April 26.


Researchers identify new strategy for discovering colorectal cancer drugs

University of Florida pharmacy researchers have identified novel drug targets and a new screening method for drugs affecting the signaling pathways in colorectal cancer.

Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the department of medicinal chemistry and the Debbie and Sylvia DeSantis Chair in Natural Products Drug Discovery and Development, and Long H. Dang, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine, have devised a strategy whereby multiple cancer pathways may be targeted simultaneously for drug discovery. Many of the proteins currently under investigation as possible targets for cancer therapy are found in these pathways. Their results appear in a study published in the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Biology journal.


Dr. Almut Winterstein named Crisafi endowed chair

Almut Winterstein, R.P.H., Ph.D., FISPE, a professor and chair of the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, has been named the Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. She is the second scholar appointed to the Crisafi endowed chair, succeeding Richard Segal, Ph.D., associate dean for faculty affairs, who originally held the position from 2011-16.

Longtime supporters of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Robert and Barbara Crisafi established the endowed chair to carry on his four decades of work in preventing medication errors in the nation’s hospitals. Robert was a 1956 Ph.D. graduate of the college and devoted his career to the successful development of several companies in the pharmacy sector. His pioneering efforts in medication safety resulted in the first unit-dose cups for liquid pharmaceuticals and bar coding technology to safeguard medication use.


Dr. Michael McKenzie named UF Honors Professor of the Year, College of Pharmacy Faculty Advisor of the Year and given University Medallion

In his final semester at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy before retiring, Michael McKenzie, Ph.D., a professor and associate dean of student affairs, has collected three celebrated awards for his service to UF and mentoring of pharmacy students.

The UF Honors Program named McKenzie as its Honors Professor of the Year for 2015-16. In addition, he was nominated by students and selected by the college’s Awards Committee as the Faculty Advisor of the Year. UF President Kent Fuchs also awarded McKenzie with a University Medallion for his significant service and loyalty to UF.

Since 1990, McKenzie has taught an honors-level course called “In Search of Magic Bullets,” to UF undergraduates interested in a pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy or another science-related field. The course provides students with an overview of drug research by selected pharmacy faculty and a better understanding about the efficacy and adverse reactions associated with treatment of diseases with medications. Each class includes about 20 students and encourages engagement and discussion as well as guest lectures from pharmacy professors and clinicians.


Career Coaches wanted for class of 2020

University of Florida College of Pharmacy is seeking pharmacists to serve as career coaches for the incoming doctor of pharmacy students that are part of the class of 2020. The role of the career coach is to mentor students during the four-year curriculum, with a focus on developing skills needed to help them be successful in obtaining their first job upon graduation. 

Coaches will meet with students twice each year (once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester). The meetings can be conducted either face-to-face or via videoconference (i.e. FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc…), so travel to any of the campus locations is not required.

For more information about becoming a career coach, please visit the full job description or contact Sarah Mazorra (smazo@cop.ufl.edu) or Michelle Farland, Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE (mfarland@cop.ufl.edu).

Attention Florida Pharmacists: New mandatory two hour controlled substances continue education requirement for licensure renewal

The Florida Board of Pharmacy has added a new mandatory two hour controlled substances continuing education requirement for licensure renewal (F.A.C 64B16-27.831). The Office of Continuing Pharmacy Education is pleased to help you meet this requirement by offering a board-approved home study course. The cost of Validation of Prescriptions for Controlled Substances is $30, but it is free to all UF faculty and offered at a 50 percent discount for UF preceptors and career coaches. The discount must be requested through the online form. All other Florida Pharmacists can register online at http://cpe.pharmacy.ufl.edu/.

Development and Alumni Affairs Updates

Outstanding Young Alumni Award presented to College of Pharmacy graduate Dr. Matthew Kirchoff

Matthew Kirchoff, Pharm.D., M.S., a dual degree graduate of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, was presented with the college’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award during a ceremony hosted by the UF Alumni Association on April 9.

Kirchoff earned three degrees from UF, including a Bachelor of Science in nutrition in 2005, a Doctor of Pharmacy in 2009 and a Master of Science in pharmacoepidemiology in 2011. In September 2016, he will earn a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.


Class of 2016 pledges $37,750 to College of Pharmacy

Members of the College of Pharmacy class of 2016  gave generously in support of the college's annual 4PD Giving Challenge. Across all four campuses, our newest Gator pharmacists pledged a total of $37,750. The money raised from the challenge will support professional development, student events and individual campus needs. We thank all of our recent graduates for their support.

Make plans to attend the Gator Reception at FPA

Gator pharmacists will gather in Fort Lauderdale on July 1 for a Gator Reception at the Florida Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting and Convention. Hosted by the College of Pharmacy, the reception will take place from 5–6:30 p.m. in Salon F at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa and feature light hors d’oeuvres and remarks by Dean Julie Johnson. The annual event offers an opportunity for Gator pharmacists attending the FPA meeting to connect with faculty, alumni and students and learn more about the latest news around the college. Make plans to attend this year’s Gator Reception at FPA by registering today.

Gator Reception at FSHP planned for Aug. 5

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy will host a Gator Reception on Aug. 5 for faculty, students, alumni and friends attending the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacy’s 50th Annual Meeting in Orlando. The reception will take place from 6-8 p.m. in the Ocean Room at the Renaissance Resort at Sea World. Attendees will enjoy food and the opportunity to connect with fellow Gator pharmacists. John Gums, Pharm.D., associate dean for clinical and administrative affairs, will also provide an update on recent news from the college. Please RSVP if you plan to attend the reception.

Celebrate 30 years of Alumni Reunion BBQs at Sept. 10 event

The College of Pharmacy will celebrate the start of another Gator football season with our fellow Gator pharmacists at the 30th Annual Alumni Reunion BBQ on Sept. 10. In this milestone year, we invite alumni and friends of the college to gather in the Pharmacy Courtyard at 12:30 p.m., three hours before kickoff, to relive the good times that made our days memorable as Gator pharmacists at UF. Enjoy BBQ and entertainment before heading to The Swamp to cheer the Gators to victory against the Kentucky Wildcats.


Student News

UF pharmacy students win multiple awards at APhA Annual Meeting

UF College of Pharmacy students brought home multiple national awards at the American Pharmacists Association, or APhA, annual meeting in Baltimore on March 4-7. The UF chapter of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists, or APhA-ASP, was the national winner of the APhA-ASP Back-the-PAC Challenge for the fifth consecutive year. The challenge is a fundraising campaign to support APhA’s political action committee that advocates for the pharmacy profession. In addition, UF received several other national honors, including first runner-up in the Policy Postcard Challenge, the Region 3 Generation Rx Award and the inaugural APhA-ASP National Chapter Operational Leadership Award in demonstration of the college’s strength in leadership across the multiple pharmacy campuses.


UF pharmacy students develop app to connect CPR providers, cardiac patients during emergency

A new app developed by three University of Florida College of Pharmacy students aims to help heart attack victims in the critical moments before an ambulance arrives to help.

The developers of CPRush want to fill the time gap that exists between a medical emergency and the arrival of first responders by using global positioning software to connect CPR-certified providers to a person in cardiac distress. When a cardiac event occurs, the patient activates the free app to simultaneously notify any licensed CPR providers in the area and call 911 to report the emergency.

“In testing our app around Gainesville, we determined that we can virtually beat an ambulance nine times out of ten based on response times,” said Samip Doshi, a third-year College of Pharmacy student and the computer engineer responsible for the app's programming and development. “Our intent with the app is not to replace the ambulance, but augment it during the perilous minutes that a cardiac patient waits for medical attention.”



Mark Your Calendar

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

August 5 - Gator Reception at FSHP - Orlando, FL

September 10 - 30th Annual Alumni Reunion BBQ - Gainesville, 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 alumni@cop.ufl.edu or (352) 273-6605.

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