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6 posts from July 2014

07/30/2014

Pharmacy Prof Explains Properties of New Pain Pill Approved by FDA

Hussar_DanielOn the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of an oxycodone pill designed to deter abuse, pharmacy professor Daniel Hussar, PhD, at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, was featured on KYW Newsradio to explain the drug's properties.

Web story: KYW Newsradio: New Oxycodone Pill Designed To Prevent Abuse

Click here to listen to the KYW Radio audio segment

Purdue Pharma's new drug Targiniq ER is an extended release tablet that combines oxycodone — the active ingredient in OxyContin — with the drug naloxone. FDA regulators approved the drug for daily, round-the-clock pain that does not respond to other medications.

If abusers crush these tablets for snorting or injecting, naloxone blocks the euphoric effects of oxycodone, making the drug more difficult to abuse. Naloxone is currently used to reverse the overdose effects of opioids and highly addictive painkilling drugs, including morphine, methadone, codeine and others.

07/29/2014

Samson College Aims to Prepare High Quality Healthcare Professionals for In Demand Careers

 

While no industry is completely recession-proof, the healthcare industry has proven its strength – even in the midst of economic uncertainty. And that's good news for students at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, a specialty institution solely focused on science and healthcare disciplines.

“Our programs in the health professions are all high quality, fully-accredited programs which offer our students an interdisciplinary education with hands-on experience,” said Laurie Sherwen, PhD, Dean of Samson College of Health Sciences at University of the Sciences.

A recent analysis by U.S. News & World Report found that 21 of the 30 fastest-growing jobs are in health-related fields — a growth coming from more participation in healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act, and also because of the increasing needs of the aging boomers themselves. Because healthcare jobs continue to soar across the United States, graduate degrees in physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, and physical therapy each landed a spot on Forbes’ top 10 master’s degrees for jobs in 2014. This list was generated based off recent national statistics regarding the job climate and projected career growth for each of these fields.

Among its six academic programs, Samson College houses a physician assistant studies program, as well as occupational therapy and physical therapy programs. Each year, entry into each of these programs becomes more competitive, as application submissions continue to spike.

USciences received more than 800 applications for 40 spots in its graduate physician assistant studies program for the 2014-15 school year. In only its second year, this graduate program has doubled its size because students realize the demand for healthcare professionals will translate into jobs after graduation. USciences also offers an undergraduate physician assistant pre-professional program for students who want to start their journey to becoming a physician assistant directly after high school. 

“The physician assistant profession is booming, and students of all ages and healthcare backgrounds are returning to school to become physician assistants,” said Joan Ward MS, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “The flexibility to move into different areas of medicine without additional training also adds to the appeal of this profession.”

The University’s Department of Occupational Therapy also continues grow, and most recently bolstered its offerings by launching an online, post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy program to deliver flexible learning opportunities to individuals interested in continuing their education. USciences is one of six schools in the country with a direct-entry doctorate in occupational therapy program, in addition to offering a post-baccalaureate doctorate in occupational therapy, and a master’s of occupational therapy degree.

Lastly, the Department of Physical Therapy offers students a direct-entry doctorate of physical therapy program, as well as a transfer or post-baccalaureate doctorate of physical therapy option. The physical therapy program provides students with real-life experience through its two research labs – the Leahy Lab and the Baltimore Technology Equipment Lab – as well as its pro-bono clinic for underprivileged residents of Philadelphia.

This will be an exciting year for students enrolled in Samson College, as USciences prepares to open the doors of its new Integrated Professional Education Complex (IPEX) this fall. IPEX combines innovative learning spaces and student lounge space with simulation labs, a clinical lab, mock patient exam rooms, and conference rooms.

This building showcases an integrated education model that allows students from several disciplines – including pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise science, psychology, and healthcare business and policy – to obtain traditional and hands-on experience.

Don’t forget: The University community is encouraged to celebrate the completion of the IPEX at a special ribbon cutting ceremony and reception slated for Thursday, Sept. 18, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.  This ceremony is among several events on tap during Alumni Reunion weekend (Sept. 18-21).

07/10/2014

Youngsters Learn Important Safety Tips from PCP Students

PCP2For the third consecutive year, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy’s Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG) volunteered at the Pediatric Asthma and Health Fair, hosted by Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper University Hospital on May 22. More than 90 first- and second-grade students from Veteran’s Memorial Family Elementary School in Camden attended the fair to interactively learn health lessons from pharmacy students and medical providers.

“It was a joy to see that the children were already so knowledgeable about health and wellness at such a young age,” said Priya Panchal, PharmD’16, president of PPAG. “Pharmacy students gained insight on how to successfully communicate healthy ideas to children.”

Panchal was joined by several other PPAG members, including Rachael Oyewole PharmD’16; Michael Kee PharmD’16; Minju Lee PharmD’17; Amanda Yu PharmD’16; Aditi Bhogal PharmD’17; Fatima Ali PharmD’18; and Isabel Papraniku PharmD’18. These students had the opportunity to collaborate with the hospital’s departments of pediatrics, pediatric critical care medicine, child life, pharmacy, and dietary services – as well as local nonprofit organizations – to educate the children on asthma, healthy nutrition, smoking cessation, fitness, and medication safety through fun, interactive games.

PCP4In an effort to fascinate young minds, the pharmacy students presented a poster, “Is It Candy?” to highlight medication safety tips. Dr. Laura L. Bio, pharmacy professor and advisor of PPAG; and Dr. Colleen Smith, pediatric/neonatal clinical pharmacy specialist at Cooper, also spoke to the youngsters during the presentation.

“We discussed what medicine is, as well as the importance of never sharing medicine or taking medicine without the presence of a parent or guardian,” said Panchal.

She said the children also played a game that had them guessing whether or not they were pointing to a pill or a piece of candy. This exercise emphasized the importance of seeking permission from a parent or guardian before eating an item that resembles candy, since medicine and candy often look similar.

At the conclusion of the health fair, children played a game where they chose scenarios about safe medication use, or what to do when feeling sick. Each scenario was accompanied by a question about whether or not the child in the scenario handled the situation correctly.

PCP Grads Travel to Kenya, Share Expertise in Underserved Areas

Kenya8Two recent pharmacy graduates of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences had the opportunity to travel abroad and share their expertise with health professionals in Kenya – an area where medical and pharmaceutical services are limited.

Alumnus Cornelius (Neil) D. Pitts P’73, PharmD’04, frequently travels to Kenya to help his peers overseas develop and provide medical and pharmaceutical services in underserved areas. Recent graduates Laney Jones PharmD'14 and Carl Gerdine PharmD'14 joined Dr. Pitts and alumnus Leo Ross PharmD'73, as they traveled to Nairobi during their off-rotation period in the spring to work with other pharmacists at St. Mary's Missionary Hospital and Kenyatta University.

Dr. Pitts said they went into the trip with three objectives in mind: Learn about Kenya’s healthcare system, perform volunteer service at medical camps, and connect with pharmacy students at Kenyatta University. All three objectives were met, he said.

 “The dedication of Laney and Carl to careers of service, demonstrates the diverse interests of pharmacy students in exploring careers beyond traditional pharmacy practice,” Dr. Pitts said.

The combination of service and learning opportunities were coordinated through a joint effort by Dr. Pitts and Dr. Titus Kahiga, professor and chief of pharmacology at Kenyatta University. Through this partnership, Jones and Gerdine were able to visit several Kenyan agencies, including the Kenyan Medical Supply Agency, Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (APhA equivalent), Kenyan Pharmacy and Poisons Board (FDA equivalent), and the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

During their time in Kenya, alumni and recent grads had the opportunity to:

  • Hold a medical clinic for more than 280 children at Huruma Children’s Home in Ngong Hills, Kenya
  • Visit GlaxoSmithKline to tour the facilities and chat with the director of medical and regulatory affairs
  • Provide healthcare services to underserved individuals at hospitals and orphanages 

Kenya5While visiting GlaxoSmithKline, the USciences team learned about drug distribution and research in Kenya, as well as counterfeit medications in developing countries. They also sat in on patient clinic visits and surgeries at St. Mary's, and participated in clinical rounds to help meet the needs of the underserved population. Lastly, the team delivered hands-on healthcare to children at the orphanage through pediatric blood pressure screenings, direct administration of medications, and deworming - a routine treatment made necessary by the ingestion of unclean water.

"Although many orphanages are served by mission organizations and other volunteer groups, seldom do pharmacists accompany these teams," said Dr. Pitts. "The outreach of this Philadelphia connection, played an essential role by managing and dispensing medication while others diagnosed and prescribed." 

Dr. Jones will be attending Columbia University School of Public Health this fall, and Dr. Gerdine recently began a clinical pharmacy residency at Paoli Hospital (Mainline Health).

Click here to see more photos from their trip.

07/08/2014

Doctoral Student to Present Award-Winning Research at ACS Meeting in San Francisco

AraA biochemistry doctoral student at University of the Sciences is set to travel across the country next month to present his award-winning research during the American Chemical Society's (ACS) meeting in San Francisco. Ara Abramyan PhD’15 was one of five U.S. recipients of the highly competitive ACS Chemical Computing Group Excellence Award for Graduate Students.

Abramyan won for his research titled, “Computational studies of aromatic foldamer helices: molecular encapsulation and handedness inversion.” Vojislava Pophristic, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at USciences; and Zhiwei Liu, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, served as research advisors and mentors for this project.

The five award recipients' research projects will be recognized at the award presentation ceremony during the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry Poster Session on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Abramyan will also receive an award certificate, a one-year molecular operating environment software license for his research group, as well as $1,150 to cover his travel costs to San Francisco.

Sanfran-generalDuring his time as a student, researcher, and teaching assistant at USciences, Abramyan has received many honors, including the University’s Graduate Excellence in Research Award, Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Abraham Glasser Endowed Fellowship; as well as the ACS Chemical Computing Group Excellence Award and a research grant from University of Chicago.

"Ara is an exceptional biochemistry PhD student, as well as graduate student instructor," said Dr. Pophristic. "His award – together with the ACS award alumnus Eleonora Gianti PhD'13 won in 2010 – speaks volumes about the quality of education and research conducted by our biochemistry students and faculty.”

Abramyan earned a master’s degree in drug discovery from the University College London, University of London; as well as a master’s degree in pharmacy from First Moscow State Medical University in Russia.

The theme for this fall's meeting is "Chemistry & Global Stewardship," and the four-day event will kick off Aug. 10 and run through Aug. 14. More than 15,000 chemists, scholars, students, and other professionals are expected to gather at the event; and more than 7,400 papers will be presented, and nearly 4,400 poster presentations will take place. 

Follow the conference on social media by using the hashtag #ACSsanfran.

Drowning Remains a Top Cause of Death for Children with Autism, Says USciences OT Prof

VGibbs_250x350Many families beat the summer heat with trips to swimming pools, beaches, and water parks; but water safety concerns are particularly heightened for families of children with autism, said Varleisha Gibbs, OTD, OTR/L, occupational therapy professor at University of the Sciences. In fact, drowning remains a leading cause of death in children with autism because they often become overstimulated with crowds and escape to unsafe environments.

“Among the plethora of concerns for families dealing with autism, includes addressing water safety practices as early as possible in a child’s life,” said Dr. Gibbs. “Although water safety is a concern for all parents, children with autism are especially at a higher risk for drowning because they may seek isolation by fleeing to unfamiliar territories.”

According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning accounted for approximately 90 percent of total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement in 2009 to 2011. Furthermore, research indicates that nearly 50 percent of children with autism attempt to escape from a safe environment – a rate nearly four times higher than children without autism.

Dr. Gibbs compiled the following summer safety tips to help parents relax and enjoy the summer with their children with autism:

  • Learn to swim. Enroll your child in swimming and water safety lessons as early as possible.
  • Visual learning. Use video narratives to discuss water safety, as well as outline specific rules and consequences related to poor safety practices.
  • Display reminders. For children who respond well to visual cues, consider placing STOP or DO NOT ENTER signs on all doors that open to the outside.
  • Key information. Make sure your child knows his or her name, address, and phone number in the event he or she is separated from family. If your child does not speak, he or she should wear a bracelet or necklace with identifiable information.
  • Avoid sensory-overload. Summer is the time for vacations, exploring new places, and sensory-overloading experiences. Try to prepare your child for what they can expect as they enter a new environment – whether it is a beach, pool, or even a restaurant.
  • Alert others. Communicate with your neighbors, whether at home or on vacation, and ask them to contact you immediately if they see your child wandering alone outside your home or property

Autism"Swimming and aquatic therapy is actually a wonderful sport for children with autism because it can address many of their body's sensory and motor needs,” said Dr. Gibbs. “By preparing and communicating with your child with autism, family, and friends, summer trips and activities can be much less stressful and more enjoyable.”

Dr. Gibbs earned her BA in psychology from University of Delaware, MS in occupational therapy from Columbia University in the City of New York, and doctorate of occupational therapy from Thomas Jefferson University. She 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.

Click here to read the Autism Society's 2014 fact sheet regarding autism.

Dr. Gibbs was featured on KYW Newsradio regarding this topic:

  

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