« March 2014 | Main | May 2014 »

10 posts from April 2014


PT Students, Faculty Share Expertise at Phillies Game

Phillies4Students and faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy braved the rain participate in the Philadelphia Science Festival's Science Night at the Ballpark during the Phillies game on Tuesday, April 29.

Carol Maritz PT, EdD, GCS, vice chair of the Department of Physical Therapy; Karin Silbernagel, assistant professor of physical therapy; and a few of their students evaluated participants' shoulder range of motion and strength needed for throwing. They also demonstrated and provided simple exercises that individuals can do at home to improve shoulder strength. 

Excerpt from Philly.com article, Fans win even as Phils lose with Science Night at the Ballpark:

The Phillies may have succumbed to the Mets in a rainy 6-1 loss on Tuesday night, but fans still proved victorious with science in the 4th Annual Science Night at the Ballpark event. As part of the week-long Philadelphia Science Festival, multiple local companies and institutions showed their support by bringing fun, interactive, and educational presentations to Citizens Bank Park. Presenters included the Philadelphia Zoo, the Franklin Institute, Dow Chemical, NASA, and several area Universities, among others.

The weather was less than cooperative, with temperatures in the high 40's, and cold rain and wind cutting down on attendance. The event was still successful, however, because it focused on providing entertaining, hand-on examples of science in action. The Franklin Institute presented several demonstrations of how science can apply to baseball. Participants could test their reflexes in a pinch-drop test or stand atop a spinning disc and swing a baseball bat to demonstrate Newton's laws of motion. University of the Sciences in Philadelphia demonstrated several strength and conditioning tests and exercises, and then explained how these same exercises can be used to help athletes recover from injury. 

Thomas Jefferson University also offered several mental challenges as well as the difficulties of experiencing a concussion using specially-designed goggles. Dow had on hand the #3 Chevrolet SS driven by Austin Dillon in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series, and highlighted how many of the technical advances found in the race car have also been applied to everyday household items.


'Business As Usual' for USciences' Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Biz Program

The spring semester was business as usual for University of the Sciences' Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business Program, as recent events included a highly successful ‘Entrepreneurial Forum’ featuring three industry executives, as well as new inductions to its honor society, Sigma Beta Delta.

The 2014 Entrepreneurial Forum included panelist presentations, followed by a robust group conversation. Panelists were Kristin Ball Motley PharmD, CGP, president of Health Care Solutions of Delaware Valley, LLC; Len Rosenberg, PhD, RPh, president and COO of ePharmaSolutions; and Marcus Wilson PharmD, president of HealthCore.

Each speaker shared compelling and motivating stories to engage an audience of more than 50 students and faculty, including University president Helen Giles-Gee, PhD.

On the academic side, USciences’ chapter of the international business honor society extended new membership to nine students and faculty members. Established in 2011, the University's chapter of Sigma Beta Delta recognizes academic achievement of pharmaceutical and healthcare business students. Members must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher, be in the top 20 percent of the class, and have completed at least half of their PHB program.

The following individuals were recently inducted into Sigma Beta Delta:

Undergraduate students:

  • Ingrid Beaver-Kepner PhB’14
  • Andrew Lyle PhB’15
  • Gino Randazzo PhB’14
  • Alice Woo PhB’15

MBA students:

  • Andrew Armitage
  • Ashley Johnson
  • Phuong Tran
  • Yelena Yankovskaya


  • Brian Colfer, assistant professor of pharmaceutical and healthcare business

Chapter Officers:
Richard Minoff, president
Robert Mueller, vice president
Alice Levy, secretary
Cassandra Henderson, managing officer

Submitted by Christine Luczka, intern in the Department of Marketing and Communications


Taking Advantage of Adherence Programs

A simple internet search will provide both patients and health care providers with a multitude of current adherence programs/services. Both the availability of programs and participation from the patients will allow for improvement of overall medication adherence. Multiple adherence programs and the future of medication adherence will be discussed to gain a better understanding of the benefits for increasing adherence.

Adherence Programs:  Medication adherence can improve health, and reduce costs. Therefore, it is important that there are many adherence programs available for the public to take advantage of; either sponsored by a health care company, pharmacy, hospital or ambulatory care clinics. Some of the larger companies that provide adherence services include Lash Group, Optum and Humana. These companies provide supplemental services to both health care providers and patients such as personal consultation with a pharmacist or nurse, pamphlets about different disease states and personal medication reminders. These services are available to the public and it may be beneficial for patients to take advantage of such opportunity.

Pharmacist’s role: One of the easier ways to improve medication adherence is by developing a relationship between patients and their pharmacists. Pharmacists can keep track of patients’ current medication lists, refill schedules, disease states, and work to resolve any barriers that patients may have. Major drug chains such as CVS Caremark pharmacy makes an effort to understand the barriers that are preventing patients from taking their medications. In order to resolve issues CVS uses their pharmacists on the frontline to work one on one with patients to answer questions and improve adherence.

Prospect for Medication Adherence: After careful consideration of past methods and strategic research, the consultant group Frost & Sullivan provides insight on what direction medication adherence programs should be moving. Current methods of improving medication adherence include refill reminders, brochures, blister cards and telephoning. Future strategies hope to avoid general approach and instead focus on each patient’s specific needs or barriers to improve medication adherence. One of the strategies includes pharmaceutical companies to initiate a loyalty card program where patients are offered a financial discount at every fill.  While there may be some benefit to this, one does need to wonder if this strategy will be counter-productive to the pharmacist-patient or physician-patient relationship.  Moving forward technology will also play a key factor in improving adherence as discussed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). With an increase use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) facilities should be able to measure level of medication adherence, evaluate economic impact, increase electronic prescribing, improve drug formulary, and initiate medication reconciliation in all healthcare facilities. Other technology adjustments such as video conferencing, smartphone applications, and electronic availability of medication list for both patients and providers will help advance medication adherence strategies.

A variety of adherence programs are available for all patients to participate in which will then help increase health outcomes. Health care systems and providers are implementing new strategies to reach the common goal of improving medication adherence. Strategies such as focusing on specific patient factors, cost incentives and availability of electronic information will help increase adherence. Taking advantage of multiple adherence programs and new strategies will benefit the future of healthcare.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15

English Prof to Spend Summer Exploring Influential, American Literature

NEH-logo-releaseA University of the Sciences English professor has been nationally selected to attend one of 30 seminars and institutes supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Christine Flanagan, MFA, will spend four-weeks this summer collaborating and studying with 25 experts in humanities disciplines at Georgia College & State University. These instructors will participate in a program, "Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor: A NEH Summer Institute."

This program, in particular, is designed to encourage the 22 college and university instructors and three graduate students to explore the life of O'Connor, an influential American writer and essayist in the 1950s. Flanagan and her peers will attend lectures and seminars, as well as spend a week studying materials available to scholars only through the Georgia College library. All participants will receive a stipend of $3,300 to cover their travel, study, and living expenses.

The NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government that supports the humanities. Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study humanities topics in a variety of summer seminars and institutes.

Some of the topics for the 30 seminars and institutes offered for college and university teachers this summer include, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia: Literature, the Arts, and Cinema Since Independence; American Maritime People; America's East Central Europeans: Migration and Memory; Arts, Architecture, and Devotional Interaction in England, 1200–1600; Dante’s Divine Comedy: Poetry, Philosophy, and the City of Florence; and many more.

The approximately 437 NEH summer scholars who participate in these programs will teach nearly 115,00 American students at various colleges and universities during the 2014-15 school year.


USciences Promotes Social Responsibility through Campus Recreation

Femi 1Striving to further engage University of the Sciences students with the local community, the University renamed its Department of Fitness and Wellness to the Department of Campus Recreation (DCR) in 2007. As leaders of the facility, Marc Caserio and Jesse Phillips envisioned a plan that would make the DCR more than just recreation. In addition to aligning DCR’s mission and vision with the institution’s goals, they incorporated their own educational beliefs and values that helped structure campus events which have collectively raised more than $54,000 for nonprofit organizations over the past eight years.

According to Danielle Hoguet DPT’16, a student recreation building manager, campus recreation has provided her with countless volunteer opportunities that allowed her to be a part of the entire fundraising and community service process from start to finish. These experiences, she said, will benefit her throughout her professional and personal endeavors.

“Together we plan, design, and market events to build excitement within the campus community and invite people to join us,” said Hoguet. “It’s so much more rewarding that way because not only are we making a difference for people in need, but we’re also facilitating growth within our school and bringing everyone together for a greater cause.”

It is vital for higher education professionals to promote cultural awareness. University of the Sciences is a culturally diverse campus, made up of individuals of various religions, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds who interact together and enjoy each other’s company.  These interactions provide students with the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the diverse cultures that exist on campus. 

One strategy the DCR implemented to best promote social responsibility, equality, and diversity is empowering students to design and implement community service projects. This objective has been an effective tool in cultivating students’ leadership skills.  The community events have been, and will continue to be, student organized and managed with the professional staff of DCR serving as advisors and mentors. The intention of establishing community service initiatives was not only to increase awareness and generate funds for charitable organizations, but also to bring the campus community together in a positive and entertaining environment to improve student engagement and retention. 

“I never thought that working at the campus recreation center could have made such an impact on my life but it has been one of the most significant moments of my college experience thus far,” said Princy John PharmD’ 16, a student recreation building manager.

Three of DCR’s more popular events – the Femi Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Pink-a-Thon, and USciences Got Talent – have raised thousands of dollars for Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations, such as the Linda Creed Foundation, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, SciNet USA, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, KIPP West Philadelphia, Goal4theGold Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Big Brother Big Sister, and the Wounded Warrior Project. These events incorporate student engagement and community service by allowing students to plan events and reach out to their peers, as they know their audience best.
Providing an effective and efficient recreational program is vital to student engagement and retention. The activities offer students a chance to relieve stress from the trials and tribulations of the rigorous academic workload in a positive environment. However, designing a recreational program that incorporates community service activities also allows our campus to provide an educational value to the University community, especially by promoting social responsibility.

"Giving back to the community is more than the act itself; it’s about that indescribable feeling of satisfaction you get at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference, regardless if it was big or small,” said Daphne Torre PharmD’14, a former student recreation building manager.


Role of a Pharmacist in Medication Adherence - Across the Ages

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals known for their medication expertise to provide the best care for their patients. Using very unique skills such as medication knowledge, disease management, and patient education, pharmacists can improve patients’ medication adherence. Patients have the opportunity to contact their local pharmacist through multiple ways to develop a connection with their pharmacist and receive the best treatment. Focusing on pharmacists’ relationships with patients of various age groups can help determine ways to improve overall medication adherence.

Pediatrics:  Pharmacists play an important role in the well-being of pediatrics. Factors contributing to non-adherence may include minimal parental support, improper timing of dosage, and even inaccurate dosing. A study shows that the intervention of pharmacists counseling patients and families in regarding to medication regimen improves health outcomes for pediatrics. Accurate dosing and timing of doses also play an important role in treating children. Therefore, pharmacist’s role in electronic scripts allows for safe pediatric prescribing, when prescriptions include child’s age, weight, and proper directions to minimize miscommunication. Pharmacists can continue to be involved in a patient’s care, as the child becomes a young adult.

Young Adults:  When people aged 16 to 24 are diagnosed with a disease, it can be extremely difficult for individuals to understand their condition, medication purpose and still be adherent to therapy. Pharmacists can play an active role in managing these barriers of limited disease knowledge, minimal support from family and friends, and fear of adverse reactions. For example, pharmacists are in a key position to communicate with young adults diagnosed with HIV about the  the importance of 100% medication adherence, missed dose scenarios, and management of adverse effects.  Pharmacist can even provide details of the disease state and how the patient  can contact a local support group.

Adults:  As patients grow older, issues such as medication expenses, comorbidities and health literacy may contribute to improper management of therapy. Many adults are also taking multiple medications to manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension. A study conducted in Spain shows that community pharmacist intervention significantly improved asthma control. Pharmacist interventions included explaining inhaler techniques, distinguishing between acute verses chronic asthma management, increasing pharmacy visits and stressing the importance of adherence. Thus pharmacist contribution greatly assists adult patients with adherence issues.

Elderly: Additional barriers develop as patients continue to age, such as polypharmacy, medication perception, and even growing disabilities. Pharmacists can play a significant role in patients’ adherence levels as seen by the study results, conducted in patients >65 years old, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. There was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and an increase in adherence for those patients in pharmacy care compared to usual care. Interventions used in the study such as individualized medication education, blister packs, and regular follow up visits can be adapted into all pharmacy practice settings. The elderly population needs constant assistance and it is a great place for pharmacists to intervene by small modifications such as providing large font labeling, easy open caps, timely refills and patient education.

As patients of all ages get sick, they go to their doctor, receive a prescription, fill the prescription at a local pharmacy, take medication home and then return to the pharmacy for refills. This timeline of events repeats every time someone is sick. Therefore, pharmacists play an integral role in  patients’ medication therapy management and can help improve adherence. Focusing on different age group barriers and finding solutions, can contribute to the development of a relationship between the patient and the pharmacist, to receive and provide the best care.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD ‘15


VIDEO: 6abc Highlights Students, Faculty at USciences Research Day

6abc showcased the diversity and growth of research pursuits at University of the Sciences during its 12th Annual Research Day and 27th Annual John C. Krantz, Jr., Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, April 10. Research Day recognizes and highlights the research efforts of faculty, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, to encourage and promote communication and collaboration among researchers.
USciences distinguishes itself by offering undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research early in their academic careers. The diverse research activity that was on display spanned several aspects of the University’s scholarly pursuits, including:
  • Determining occupational therapists’ role in working with pediatric cancer patients
  • Discovering the personality traits that cause adolescents to kill
  • Using yoga to improve quality of life for patients with anorexia nervosa
  • Identifying predictors of successful post-secondary transitions for autistic students


Occupational Therapy Students and Faculty Present at National Conference

USciences made an impact at this year's national occupational therapy conference.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) organized the largest group of occupational therapists and occupational therapy students in the world. USciences' Occupational Therapy Department was strongly represented. Students and faculty members were honored with multiple presentations and awards this year. Below is a list of these awards and presentations.

Congratulations to all those that represented USciences and the profession of occupational therapy so strongly. 

Dr. Rondalyn Whitney, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA - Dr. Whitney was honored as a Fellow of AOTA. She also presented, "Is Reality Broken? Introducing the First High-Quality Online Game to Improve Social Participation." She also presented an educational session on, "Emotional Disclosure Through Journal Writing: Outcomes of Online Intervention." Dr. Whitney presented another educational session titled, "What You Need to Know to Get Published! An Insider's Look at Strategies for Success." 

Dr. Colleen Maher, OTD, CHT, OTR/L presented a session led, "Evaluation of a One-Week Occupation-Based Program on the Health and Participation of Women With Cancer."

Dr. Varleisha Gibbs, OTD, OTR/L and Elizabeth Higgins presented on, "The Relation of Cultural Behavioral Norms and Parenting Styles to Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders." 

Dr. Kimberly Gargin, OTD, OTR/L presented on, "Generational Differences: Do they Impact Fieldwork?." 

Dr. Ruth Schemm, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA presented a session titled, "Our Time Now?: Function Becomes Central to Implementing the Accountable Care Act (ACA)." 

Danielle Centi, OTS (P4) - Danielle received an internship with the Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Section. 

Alyssa Reiter, OTS (P4), Paula Ortiz and Christima Smith presented on, "Healthy Living for Children and Family: Occupational Therapy's Presence in the Community." 

Brandy Brouse and Danielle Cooney presented a poster titled, "Prevention and Health Care Access: Relationship Between Engaging in Healthy Behaviors and Health Insurance." 

Carolyn Edwards, OTS (P3) presented on "Best Practice for Fall Prevention in Long-Term Care."

Daniel Fichter, OTS (P3) presented a literature review titled, "Are Apps for Adults in Rehabilitation Settings Evidence-Based?." 

Erin Livingston presented a poster titled, "A Systematic Review of Social Stories: Evidence and Application in Community Settings." 

Palak Sutaria, OTS (P3) presented a literature review on, "Combined Cognitive-Motor Fall Prevention Interventions."

Kristin Anderson, Beth Kelly, Patricia Murphy and Ashley Paolino presented on "Creating Opportunities for Social-Emotional and Physical Play."


Pharmacy Students, Leaders Unite for Pharmacy Legislative Day at Capitol

PCPMore than a dozen student pharmacists from University of the Sciences' Philadelphia College of Pharmacy gathered at the Pennslyvania Capitol for the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association's (PPA) Pharmacy Legislative Day on Wednesday, April 2.

The students and their faculty advisors helped to “paint” the Capitol white, wearing their identifying lab coats and pushing the importance of “Pharmacists: We Make a Difference!” More than 250 pharmacy students from seven schools of pharmacy across the Commonwealth, as well as more than 80 pharmacists, walked the halls of the Capitol, participated in the Pharmacy Rally, and made legislative visits.

Pharmacy Legislative Day attendees met with a significant number of legislators or their staff and delivered packets of information to any legislative offices for which visits were not able to be scheduled.  The visits covered important issues of the profession focusing on pharmacy benefit managers' regulation and transparency, fair pharmacy audits, and expanded immunization opportunities. This valuable opportunity for PPA members to have their voices heard - and to stress the importance of issues facing pharmacy today - was an important and crucial step in educating legislators about pharmacists and their concerns.

Each of the pharmacy schools had displays showcasing information on the value pharmacists provide and performed various health related screenings. Information on medication adherence, smoking cessation, immunization awareness, hypertension assessment, heart health, blood pressure and cardiovascular risk assessment, and blood glucose was displayed in the East Wing Rotunda throughout Pharmacy Legislative Day. Philadelphia College of Pharmacy’s table focused on medication adherence and taking medications appropriately. The PPA also arranged for group tours of the Capitol and some special legislative meetings for students.

USciences' pharmacy students who participated, include: Stephanie Yenner PharmD'14, Priya Patel PharmD'14, Monica Huon PharmD'14, Courtney Spina PharmD'15, Kevin Farrow PharmD'15, Matthew Garin PharmD'15, Breanna Kester PharmD'16, Fidelia Bernice PharmD'16, Colleen D'Amico PharmD'16, Kevin Pak PharmD'19, Justin George PharmD'19, and Antonella Frattarelli PharmD'15. Pharmacy professor Dr. Dan Hussar is also pictured here.


Medication Adherence in the Elderly Population

Which population do you see most at your local pharmacy? It is the elderly population (ages >65), that are usually at the pharmacy trying to fill multiple prescriptions. There are many areas that the elderly population needs assistance with, in order to achieve optimal medication therapy and prolong life. Barriers such as polypharmacy, comorbidities, and growing disabilities can be analyzed to provide better treatment outcomes.

Barriers: The elderly population struggles with an increasing number of medications or polypharmacy as they age. Italian researchers concluded that number of drugs prescribed at hospital discharge and minimal comprehension about the purpose of each medication contributed to overall non-adherence. The average patient in the study had a total of 9 drugs to take on a regular basis. It is this pill burden that the elderly population needs help managing. Because of multiple medications, patients may feel overwhelmed and even stop taking their medication accurately according to schedule. Patients are taking multiple medications for hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and other comorbidities.

Comorbidities, if not managed properly can lead to future complications and decrease patients’ life expectancy. Schuz and colleagues concluded that if older people with multiple illnesses are convinced that their medication serves their specific needs, the more likely they will stay adherent. Elderly patients may not see a purpose in taking so many medications and may even consider one disease state more important the other. Thus, it is important to explain the use of each medication in treating a specific illness.

Additionally, growing disabilities such as vision loss can contribute to a patient’s overall adherence. It is common for elderly patients to lose their eye sight as they age and therefore contribute to unwanted difficulties. Patients will have trouble reading medicine labels or treatment directions. With this inconvenience, patients may even ignore the direction on the prescription bottle and start taking the medication on their own terms. It is these arising issues with age that may result in poor adherence and unsuccessful disease management.

Hypertension: Most elderly patients are on antihypertensive agents to prevent future cardiac issues. Although patients may not see physical changes, it is important for them to be adherent for long term results. Multiple questionnaires showed that illness perception and beliefs about antihypertensive medications played a role in patients’ adherence. It was more likely that patients followed a drug regimen if they knew that the long-term health consequences of cardiac complications, stroke, and mortality can be decreased. Elderly patients tend to take antihypertensive medication if they know that it is purposeful and efficacious for their health.

Barriers such polypharmacy, comorbidities and other disabilities should be resolved so that the elderly can better manage their health. Pharmacists can work one-on-one with these patients so that they can provide better resources for these patients. Resources such as pill kits, large font instructions or even a counseling session can go a long way in assisting elderly patients. The pharmacy has a lot of valuable information that patients can use in order to improve their overall medication adherence.

Sheenu Joseph, PharmD '15

© 2011 University of the Sciences in Philadelphia • 600 South 43rd Street • Philadelphia, PA 19104 • 215.596.8800