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11 posts from February 2014


Alumni Seminar Series features Dr. Richard C. Remsing C’08

RemsingThe Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry brings prominent graduates back to their alma mater through its Alumni Seminar Series. On Feb. 17, alumnus Richard C. Remsing C'08, PhD, joined USciences for an accepted students “Chemistry Day.” He engaged prospective scholars with an active panel discussion and lectured for current students.

 “I hope to join a university faculty, begin teaching, and continue research,” Dr. Remsing said on his future goals. “I want to provoke passion in students about the incredible field of chemistry.”

After graduating from USciences in 2008, Dr. Remsing earned a doctorate degree in chemical physics from the University of Maryland. He currently holds a postdoctoral research position at University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering.

As an undergraduate commuter, Dr. Remsing had to fill a significant amount of time between classes with on-campus activities. Research fit this schedule nicely, and he published eight papers before completing his bachelors degree.

The team Dr. Remsing worked with during those years was the first to demonstrate an ecological method of extracting cellulose from wood – in other words: eco-friendly paper pulp. Dr. Remsing then moved from studying ionic liquids and other aspects of physical chemistry to the field of theoretical physics.

Today, he is a theorist: using computer systems to explain the principles governing molecular interactions and building models describing these findings.

“Statistical Mechanics was my favorite class at USciences,” said Dr. Remsing. “It was a preview of what I do now with computer simulation, and introduced me to a different type of research that I continue to use.”


Medication Adherence: Focusing on the Pediatric Population

There are many factors that contribute to medication non-adherence in the pediatric population. Children are susceptible to many diseases, but are not in a position to manage their own treatment. It will be beneficial to focus on various barriers and even a disease state such as otitis media in order to gain a better understanding of adherence issues in pediatrics.

Barriers: Barriers such as minimal parental support, limited knowledge, improper timing of dosage and even palatability of medications can play a role in adherence. The possible consequences of poor medication adherence can be symptom worsening, multiple hospital visits, increase in healthcare costs, and a higher risk of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it is important to identify the factors that prevent the best therapeutic outcome from occurring.

As children grow up, they are highly dependent on their family for medication administration. If the parent is not involved or is not optimistic about the therapy option, it may prevent the child from receiving appropriate therapy. Many parents are worried about adverse reactions of the medication, causing them think to twice about administering the dose or completing the regimen.

Dosing time also plays an important role in improving adherence. The author Matsui mentions that only 1 out of the 75 mothers were following dosing instructions and appropriate timing when giving their child antibiotics. Many children attend daycare, preschool or elementary school and therefore may not receive the right dose at the proper time. This suggests that due to the schedule conflict between the care taker and the child, children may not receive medications at the right intervals. This may be most important when considering the medication burden associated with treating one a common ailment affecting young children, otitis media.

Otitis Media: The disease of otitis media is the most common pediatric infection affecting most the children by the age of two. Most parents terminate antibiotic therapy when the child seems to feel better, or even before the prescribed regimen is completed. This can result in reoccurrence of ear infection and puts the child at risk for further hospitalization.

Palatability, involving taste, texture and aftertaste of antibiotics also acts as a barrier in children’s desire to take the prescribed medication, such as antibiotics for the treatment of otitis media. Most antibiotics are prepared as solutions for children to take and may not taste pleasing. The recommended treatment option for otitis media is amoxicillin 80-90mg/kg per day given in 2 divided doses. This may not be the best option for taste and therefore another option from the cephalosporin class instead of the penicillin can be recommended. Different flavorings of bubblegum, cotton candy or strawberry can be chosen through vendors such as Flavor Rx or through a local pharmacy.

In conclusion, factors such as parent involvement, timing of dose, and palatability can be modified in order to provide optimal therapy to children. As pharmacists it is important to conduct educational and behavioral tutorials for parents and children to better improve medication adherence in the pediatric population. Modifications such as flavoring medication, scheduling regimens and educational support are ways for pharmacists to get involved in order for children to receive optimal therapy.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD Candidate, 2015


First Pharmacy Students Now Trained in Advanced Life Support

BinghamWith critical care pharmacy surfacing as a staple in intensive care, prospective pharmacists now complete high levels of life support training to increase patient survival.

Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) is a team-based response strategy used to optimize the survival of patients in life-threatening cardiac emergencies. Pharmacist participation on these rapid-response teams is associated with lower mortality rates, emphasizing a need for future pharmacists to get trained.

“Pharmacy students on their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations in the hospital setting will likely encounter code situations. Many of the treatment algorithms require pharmaceutical intervention, and it is valuable for pharmacy students to be involved and educated on how to treat patients in these situations,” said Meghan Tolan PharmD’14, who became ACLS certified in 2013.

Prior to taking the course, students are expected to understand pharmacological aspects specific to cardiopulmonary arrest and reach proficiency in identifying cardiac arrhythmias. Basic Life Support for Healthcare Provider certification is also required.

“As part of the curriculum at USciences, student pharmacists receive didactic education regarding ACLS that is reinforced through high-fidelity mannequin simulation,” said Angela L. Bingham PharmD, BCPS, BCNSP, (pictured above) an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at USciences' Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP).

To achieve ACLS certification, students must then complete a 12-hour training program through the American Heart Association. Developing their skills, students practice and perform these life-saving interventions at an on-campus simulation laboratory.

Three PCP students have completed the certification thus far, including Tolan, Julia Weiner PharmD’14, and Michael Flacco, Jr., PharmD’15.

“By developing fundamentals in basic life support, management approaches for various life-threatening situations, related pharmacology, and effective resuscitation team dynamics, Julia, Meghan, and Michael are ready to save lives when they become licensed pharmacists,” said Dr. Bingham.

Trained critical care pharmacists will use their expertise to assist in a variety of scenarios as part of an interdisciplinary team. To find more information on ACLS certification, email Dr. Bingham at a.bingham@usciences.edu.

Article written by Christine Luczka
University of the Sciences Marketing and Communications Dept.

Pharmacy Student Values MLK Day of Service Experience

Mlk dayAditi Bhogal PharmD'17 shares her experience from the University’s MLK Day of Service on Jan. 20.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day commemorates a national leader who helped our overcome segregation, ignorance and prejudice. This year was the first year Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and the entire University, celebrated MLK Jr., Day, by cancelling classes and encouraging students to develop and/or participate in volunteering events. Generation Rx, a patient care initiative developed by The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and funded by the Cardinal Health Foundation, is an educational program that increases public awareness of prescription medication abuse and encourages health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens, and college students to actively work to prevent abuse.  APhA-ASP partners with Cardinal Health on this educational program to expand the breadth and depth of this important initiative to the communities surrounding our nation’s schools and colleges of pharmacy. 

At our PCP-APhA chapter of Generation Rx, we tried to carry on the message of MLK. Jr., of overcoming segregation, ignorance, and prejudice by having an interactive workshop with pharmacy students and faculty about prescription drug abuse. The workshop was titled “Be Part of the Conversation.” The workshop included a presentation, which presented facts, ideas about preventing drug abuse, pharmacist roles in preventing prescription drug abuse, and the importance current trends and data surrounding this. This was followed by an interactive activity including drug abuse questionnaires and pretend patient counseling. The purpose of this was to get the conversation going about the unique position pharmacists are in to help prevent prescription drug abuse.

The most rewarding activity in this workshop was the discussion component. We discussed important questions such as policy changes that could be needed, efforts that could be taken at a nationwide, local, and campus level. One of the primary activities we found needed to be focused on was just an awareness of the physiological and medical effects of the body when prolonged drug use occurs. Another issue we focused on was the stigma attached to mental illnesses and addiction, as opposed to conditions like diabetes and heart disease.  One of the key components we realized we could do on a campus level is to have presentations/awareness on the pathophysiology of addiction, both mentally and on the body and how that ties into the most commonly abused drugs. Another idea we had was to integrate conversation and steps towards intervention in our Pharmacy jobs/rotations/volunteering. The Generation Rx “Be Part of the Conversation” workshop was the perfect way for students and faculty to come together, discuss, and take steps towards a more knowledgeable, cohesive, and tolerant society, much like the vision Martin Luther King, Jr., had for our society.

Social Media in Healthcare - A New Lecture Series at USciences

As healthcare conversations between providers and patients continue evolving into global, participatory discussions via social media, Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy at University of the Sciences will kick off an informative three-part lecture series on March 13 regarding social media as a means of communicating with patients.  The first lecture, presented by Matt Prior, MPH, Director of Communications and Policy Coordinator, Philadelphia Department of Health, will focus on how that department used social media to improve the use of condoms in Philly. 
At the conclusion of the lecture series, the University's Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy will hold its annual “Making the Connections” program on Tuesday, April 22, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the University’s AstraZeneca Auditorium, located in the McNeil Science and Technology Center. This year’s program will highlight social media in healthcare.
Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IMS Institute, will be a panelist on April 22, speaking on the new report Engaging Patients Through Social Media.  Find out more information about the program email MayesCollegeConnections@usciences.edu.


There is ‘No Face to Eating Disorders,’ Says USciences Psychology Prof

Despite the common misconception that eating disorders affect primarily young women, prevention and awareness toward these diseases starts by recognizing that they do not discriminate by gender or age, said C. Alix Timko, PhD, director of the graduate psychology and Eating Disorder Research programs at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

As part of the upcoming National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Feb. 23 to March 1, Dr. Timko emphasized that an estimated 25 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, a Timkond nearly 25 percent of those suffering are male.

“Eating disorders are not personal choices, diet fads or phases; they are severe and can be fatal,” said Dr. Timko, an international researcher who has written and spoken extensively on this topic. “In fact, anorexia nervosa has one of the highest overall mortality rates and the highest suicide rate of any psychiatric disorder.”

The American Psychiatric Association recognizes four primary eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and eating disorder not otherwise specified.  While these disorders seem vastly different due to the difference in symptoms, individuals and their families face similar psychological, physical, and emotional challenges. Researchers have not established a single cause of an eating disorder, but they have identified numerous biological, social, psychological, and interpersonal factors that contribute to its development, said Dr. Timko.

There is no guaranteed way to identify if a friend of family member is at risk for eating disorders; however, there are a variety of easy-to-overlook signs that might help spot an eating disorder — or disorder in the making — sooner, including:

  • Dramatic weight loss and refusal to eat
  • Retreating to the bathroom for long periods of time after meals
  • Excessive exercise
  • Poor body image and negative comments about oneself

Under the direction of Dr. Timko, USciences’ Eating Disorder Research Program studies the development, treatment, and prevention of eating disorders. This program also aims to train new clinicians in the most evidence-based treatments for adolescents and adults with eating disorders. The University also offers students suffering from eating disorders counseling from therapists with a focus on health psychology; however, these services are not affiliated with Dr. Timko’s research program.

A variety of studies investigating eating disorders, body image, and eating behavior are currently underway by students and faculty at USciences, including Acceptance-Based Separated Family Treatment for Adolescents with Eating Disorders, Understanding Differences in Body Image in Women of Different Ethnic Groups, Psychosocial and Cultural Factors Influencing Craving, and Understanding Eating Behavior in College Students.


Medication Adherence: Does it Change as You Age?

Medication adherence is the extent to which a patient accurately follows the prescribed medication timing, dosage and frequency. Many factors influence medication adherence such as a patient’s age, social background, healthcare coverage, and even type of illness. The following series of blogs will focus on the effect of medication adherence on varying age groups, such as children, adolescents and adults.

Children: Matsui states that in the pediatric population, the adherence rate ranges from 11% to 93% with a median of 58%. It is evident that just over half of the pediatric population is properly using their prescribed medication. Children are dependent on their family to help manage their disease. Barriers such as insufficient understanding of medication use and drug administration techniques may also play a role in decreasing adherence. Therefore, many factors contribute to the overall success of medication adherence in children.

Adolescents: As children grow up to be adolescents, or teenagers, they become more independent in taking charge of their own health needs. In contrast to popular belief, the Matsui review article shows that the adherence level reaches a nadir during adolescent years. A barrier such as peer influence prevents teenagers from being compliant to certain regimens treating disease states of diabetes, renal disease, asthma and HIV.  Therefore, it is important to evaluate the support a young adult receives from peers, family and society. It is a critical point in time where children are becoming more independent and therefore will start to develop their own perception of the purpose of medication use.

Adults: Adults are usually the main focus when trying to improve medication adherence in a specific population. This is because there are multiple factors that have been known to influence this age group. Factors such as status of illness (acute versus chronic), insurance coverage, pill burden and disease understanding all help determine patient’s compliance to regimen. Cohen states that when looking at discharged patients there is a very small absolute increase of 1% in adherence for every 10 year increase in age. This shows that one cannot presume that there is a high improvement in medication adherence as patients grow older.

Looking at various age groups shows that the barriers to medication adherence are not identical. As health care providers, pharmacists are the most involved in patients’ medications and therefore should take the opportunity to discuss the importance of adherence. Tackling each age group’s specific barriers will allow pharmacists to assist the patients in overcoming the difficulties and improve overall medication adherence.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15 Candidate


The Biggest Mistakes Transfer Students Make

Viggiani_aimeeChoosing which college to attend is a huge decision for students. Whether they’ve earned their associate’s degrees from community colleges and ready to move on to earn their bachelor’s degrees, or currently enrolled in four-year schools that aren’t the right fit, one-third of all students transfer at least once before earning a degree.

Aimee Viggiani, associate director of transfer admissions, was recently featured in two articles which provide helpful tips for transfer students. She said, "All too often, students wait until too late in their college careers to ask why a certain class didn't transfer. Even if you don't need the credit right away, you may need it in the future. So ask transfer credit questions as soon as possible."


Social Media Strategy for Publications: Poster from ISMPP EU 2014 Meeting

submitted by USciences alumnus Doug Taylor

Getting the Word Out: Developing a Multichannel Social Media Strategy for Publication-Based Initiatives

This was presented at the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals 2014 European Meeting in London. 

PDF of Poster:  Download Doug Taylor ISMPP 2014 Poster

Pinterest Link: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/407998047463962531/



Bundling Up in Frigid Weather: A Challenge for Children with Sensory Issues, Says USciences OT Prof

VGibbs_250x350Because children with sensory processing disorders often resist donning proper winter attire despite below freezing temperatures, occupational therapy professor Varleisha Gibbs, OTD, OTR/L, at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, compiled tips to help parents combat these obstacles and keep their children safe and warm in the frigid weather.

“With children who have sensory processing differences, preferences to certain materials and fabrics can be very intense,” said Dr. Gibbs. “We don’t want children to get frost bite because they are underdressed for cold weather as they wait for the bus stop or play outdoors. That’s why it is important for parents to have their children try on and pick out their cold gear so they can find items that fit their sensory needs.”

 Here’s a list of practical tips Dr. Gibbs said can help children adapt to cold weather gear:

  • Seek child’s opinion. If a child is old enough and able to communicate his or her discomforts with particular clothing, find out what causes irritation. If possible, also allow a child to pick out their own clothing.
  • Try different materials/fabrics. Stock up on hats, gloves, and mittens made with fabrics that are less likely to irritate a child’s skin. For instance, opt for fleece rather than acrylic or wool items.
  • Opt for tight clothing. Sensory kids can generally prefer tight clothing that can be worn alone or underneath looser clothing because it provides pressure and insulation. Consider tight long johns, nylon undershirts, glove liners as they can be worn alone or underneath items such as fleece hats and water-resistant pants.
  • Hand warmers are better than nothing. If a child refuses to wear gloves or mittens, keep hand warmer packets in the pockets of his or her jacket.
  • Desensitize skin before getting dressed. Rub a heavy towel over the child’s skin or give the child a massage to help stimulate his or her skin prior to getting dressed.
  • Tagless clothing is key. Try to purchase clothing without tags, or cut off the labels and tags on items prior to having a child wear them as the paper and plastic can irritate a child’s skin.

“Small things like uncomfortable mittens, hats, and boots can cause a child with a sensory processing disorder to melt into tantrums; but these types of situations can be avoided with a little preparation and input from the child,” said Dr. Gibbs, who earned her BA in psychology from University of Delaware, MS in occupational therapy from Columbia University in the City of New York, and OTD from Thomas Jefferson University.

Dr. Gibbs has written and spoken extensively on sensory processing disorders, and also co-authored Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders: A Week-by-Week Guide to Solving Everyday Sensory Issues.

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