44 posts categorized "Personalized Medicine"

11/17/2015

PCP Grads Pursue Residency Programs at the Johns Hopkins Hospital

Ekeoha-ijeomaSoon after Ijeoma Ekeocha PharmD'09 graduated from University of the Sciences in 2009, she followed her dream career as a pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore

During her time as a hospital pharmacist, Dr. Ekeocha became particularly interested in emergency medicine, internal medicine, diabetes management, patient education, and academia. After five years in that role, Dr. Ekeocha recently made the decision to expand her knowledge and education in the field and became a pharmacy practice resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital earlier this year. She plans to continue her training with a second year specialty residency.

Dr. Ekeocha said she is thankful to the hospital’s pharmacy department for providing her with a unique opportunity that will help her achieve her goal of becoming a clinical faculty member at a large academic institution.

Tolan-meghanRecent graduate Meghan E. Tolan PharmD’14 is also wrapping up a two-year health-system pharmacy administration residency at Johns Hopkins. This competitive program also gave her a chance to pursue an MBA in healthcare management at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Dr. Tolan’s professional interests, include quality improvement, regulatory affairs, clinical and operational management, transitions of care, academia, and professional pharmacy organizations. She currently serves as the resident member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Commission on Credentialing.

10/05/2015

Lifestyle Factors Could Put College-Age Women at Higher Risk of Breast Cancer, Says USciences Prof

IMercier_250x350Breast cancer prevention needs to become a shared conversation among women of all ages because it can strike at any age and is generally more aggressive when diagnosed in women under the age of 50, said Isabelle Mercier, PhD, a pharmaceutical sciences professor at University of the Sciences. With hopes to spark that discussion, Dr. Mercier compiled some key prevention awareness tips for young women.

“Unfortunately, college-age women generally do not consider themselves at risk for breast cancer,” said Dr. Mercier. “However, there are several risk factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer that need to be understood early in life to prevent the development of breast cancer down the road.”

By the end of 2015, more than 231,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. Of those cases, approximately 40,000 individuals will not survive, said Dr. Mercier. Women in their early 20s need to become aware of some key risk factors associated with breast cancer:

  • Check your family tree. A family history of breast cancer, particularly in a mother or sister, can increase the chance for developing breast cancer. Genetic testing is recommended for young women with prevalence of breast cancer in their families.
  • Watch your weight. Obesity is responsible for up to 20 percent of cancer-associated deaths in women. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer by creating a cancer-friendly environment through fat cells.
  • Exercise regularly. Women who strive for at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity activity – like brisk walking – reduce their risk of breast cancer by 18 percent.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. According to research from Washington University School of Medicine, if a female averages a drink per day, her risk of breast cancer increases by 11 percent. Studies show that alcohol possesses estrogenic activity, thus promoting the growth of breast tumor cells.
  • Annual doc visits. Although mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 40, young women should still see their primary care doctors each year for clinical breast exams. They are also encouraged to conduct self-examinations throughout the year.
  • Limit tobacco use. Women who smoke have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they become smokers early in life. Smokers have increased levels of both estrogen and testosterone that might disrupt the endocrine signaling in women and contribute to the development of these tumors.

An important part of Dr. Mercier's research focuses on cancer prevention. The role of vitamin C intake on breast cancer development, progression, recurrence and response to anti-cancer therapy remains unclear. That’s why Dr. Mercier and her research team at USciences are currently studying the role of dietary supplements on cancer risk, as well as evaluating new biomarkers for early detection of breast cancer. 

Media exposure:

KywOct. 8, 2015
Healthy College Lifestyles Can Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer
Audio1

Breast cancer is rare among college-age women, but lifestyle choices made during those years can be life-saving years later.

09/30/2015

Alum's Pharmacy Nationally Recognized for its Service to Community

HealthMart_Tepper_093015Pharmacy alumnus Craig Lehrman P’89, a second-generation pharmacist who learned the business from his father, was recently honored for consistently providing care and services that add measurable value to patient healthcare and community wellness. His independently-owned Tepper Pharmacy, located in Wynnewood, Pa., is one of 10 pharmacies across the country to receive the Health Mart Community Healthcare Excellence Award.

After graduating from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1989, Lehrman gained most of his pharmacy experience working for others before he achieved his goal of owning a pharmacy in 2011. Over the past four years, Lehrman and his staff have continued to build upon Tepper Pharmacy’s rich 30-year history of delivering personalized care to the community.

“I was interested in the business aspect of pharmacy, but it was my father that guided me into the profession of pharmacy,” he said. “I was looking for a store to buy and even considered opening a new store from scratch, until the perfect opportunity arose to take over Tepper Pharmacy.”

In this new era of chain pharmacies and mail order prescriptions, one of the hallmarks of independent pharmacies, like Tepper, is their ability to understand and cater to the unique needs of their community.

“I want the service that we provide to make us unique,” Lehrman said. “The personal interactions we have with our customers is what makes us stand out and it is an important part of what makes Tepper Pharmacy a successful business.”

Beyond the traditional services most pharmacies offer, Tepper Pharmacy’s staff includes an employee who specializes in fittings for compression stockings and sleeves and is also an expert in durable medical equipment and wound care, a pharmacist who specializes in managing the medications for long-term care facilities in the area, and a pharmacy team that services local dialysis centers.

To help the community stay healthy, Tepper Pharmacy administers vaccinations, offers free delivery anywhere in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, and makes every attempt to fill all prescriptions by stocking a large inventory. These specialized and personalized services are just a few examples that exemplify the concern Lehrman and his pharmacy staff have for the community.

The Health Mart Community Healthcare Excellence Award program is a component of the Health Mart Healthy Living Tour, which is on the road to celebrate and recognize community pharmacists for the important role they play as trusted healthcare providers in their communities—helping to educate and counsel on a variety of conditions that can be better managed with the help of a pharmacist.  

“Health Mart pharmacies fill a gap in today’s busy healthcare system by providing broader access to clinical services and medication counseling, and our pharmacists often serve as the first point of care for everyone from new parents to grandparents,” said Chuck Wilson, vice president of Health Mart. “We recognize that issues like diabetes and obesity are serious epidemic affecting millions of Americans, and these 10 pharmacists have proven themselves as go-to resources for those in their community managing these diseases.”

07/21/2015

Jamaican a Difference: PCP Students Complete Interprofessional Medical Mission Trip

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Left to right: Pharmacy students Joellen Friedman, Brie Kassamura, Nitin Bagga, Julian Kam, Grace Park and Monika Cios.

Pharmacy student Nitin Bagga PharmD'16 observed closely as a middle-aged Jamaican woman—with teeth rotted well into her gum line—underwent an oral exam at a free health clinic in Kingston. Until that day, the woman had no means of getting medical attention or hope that the pain would come to an end.

Stories like this highlighted all of the reasons why nearly a dozen pharmacy students and professors from University of the Sciences made the journey to Jamaica last month to participate in an interprofessional medical mission trip.

It was a mission to help others, to learn about a culture 1,500 miles from Philadelphia, to gain work experience, and to come away better people. It was a mission to give back.

“This trip was a humbling experience to say the least…seeing the poverty in different parts of the world and being able to help so many in need was extremely rewarding,” said Bagga. “Working with the different healthcare professionals on the trip has prepared me to be the best pharmacist I can be.”

Bagga was accompanied on this trip by his classmates Joellen Friedman PharmD’16, Brie Kassamura PharmD’16, Julian Kam PharmD’16, Grace Park PharmD’16, and Monika Cios PharmD’16; and pharmacy professors Drs. Shelley Otsuka, Jessica Adams, and Yvonne Phan.

The pharmacy group from USciences joined a large team of healthcare practitioners and professional students from Nova Southeastern University and Women of Health Occupation Promoting Education (H.O.P.E.) to provide essential medical services to Jamaicans in critical need of quality medical and dental care, health awareness education, and pediatric care.

By the end of the trip, the team had provided care to more than 3,000 patients at prisons, churches, schools, and hotels across rural and urban communities in Jamaica. In fact, the USciences pharmacy team filled more than 5,000 prescriptions for these patients.

The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy students had many responsibilities before, during, and after the mission trip, said Dr. Otsuka. They prepared for the trip by updating the medication guide-use tools, reviewing the medication formulary, developing patient education pamphlets, creating a continuing medical education presentation handout, and constructing a research project that included a protocol. In addition, they held disease-state topic discussions with their instructors to help review treatment guidelines.

MissionTrip
Joellen Friedman PharmD’16 provides patient counseling to a mother and her young daughter.

The students also collected donations from pharmaceutical companies, alumni, and local businesses, such as SunRay Drugs and ACME Savon Pharmacies. As a result of their efforts, approximately 75 different medications were used to treat a variety of patient conditions in Jamaica. They also held fundraisers in the spring to offset their housing expenses for the trip and to raise money to purchase medical supplies, including gloves, hand sanitizer, and Ziploc bags—which functioned as the medication vial.

During the trip, the students had the opportunity to work alongside healthcare practitioners and students in the fields of medicine, physical and occupational therapy, and dentistry. They also managed a closed formulary system and maintained an accurate medication inventory system, as well as filled, compounded, and labeled medications, and counseled patients on new medications—all under the guidance of their professors.

When the students returned to Philadelphia, Dr. Otsuka said they took stock of their inventory, wrote self-reflection essays, and gathered and analyzed data for a scholarly project. She said they plan to submit an abstract and research poster for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' Midyear Clinical Meeting, and share their experience with peers and underclassmen this fall.

Throughout the trip, each healthcare profession interacted with pharmacy in a unique and collaborative way, said Park.

“Pharmacy was truly an equally integrative part of the healthcare system and care of the patient,” Park said. “Being able to be a part of that and see it occur in one room was an unforgettable experience.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE TRIP

04/06/2015

PCP Student Takes Third Place in Prestigious U.S. Pharmacy Competition

Viha daveBy combining her pharmacy education and interpersonal communication skills, pharmacy student Viha Dave PharmD’16 recently took third place at the 2015 National Patient Counseling Competition—held during the American Pharmacists Association Academy’s (APhA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, on March 29, in San Diego. She competed against 126 student pharmacists from across the country, becoming the first pharmacy student in decades to represent USciences as a top 10 finalist in this prestigious competition.

“It was an honor to represent Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the national level, and I hope this gets my younger classmates excited to participate in the future, as this was an enriching experience for me,” said Dave. “My PCP education definitely helped prepare me for this experience because many of my professors continually emphasize the importance of delivering personalized care to our patients.”

The main goal of this national competition is to encourage student pharmacists to become better patient educators. Each year, the competition is designed to reflect changes that are occurring in practice, promote and encourage further professional development of student pharmacists, and reinforce the role of the pharmacist as a healthcare provider and educator.

This competition began at the local level in January, where students, like Dave, competed against their classmates to represent their pharmacy school on a national platform. The national competition was divided into the preliminary round and final round. At the preliminary round, students selected a simple practice scenario at random and were required to counsel a mock patient on the appropriate use of the drug involved. Evaluations were based on the content and style of the counseling presentations, and the top 10 student pharmacists advanced to the final round of the competition.

The final round involved a more complex counseling situation where the participants again selected a prescription at random and were asked to counsel their patients on safe and effective drug use. The patient in the final round, however, also displayed personality characteristics such as anxiousness, aggression or apathy to challenge the participants’ ability to convey pertinent information in a realistic situation.

 “I had the opportunity to watch Viha’s performance during her final counseling round and it was clear that she is a highly competent, confident, and compassionate student pharmacist,” said Kenneth Leibowitz, assistant professor of communications at USciences and co-founder of this national competition.

Dave, along with the other top 10 finalists in the competition, were recognized during the closing ceremony of the APhA  meeting, and the four top winners of the competition received cash prizes.

#ProvenEverywhere

03/10/2015

USciences to Host Panel on LGBT Healthcare on April 1

LGBTStriving to address the healthcare needs in the LGBT community, University of the Sciences has teamed up with local nonprofit organizations to host its first Panel on LGBT Healthcare on Wednesday, April 1, from 7-9 p.m., in Griffith Hall (43rd Street at Woodland Avenue).

“This event is intended to bring together students and community members to learn more about the unique needs and challenges faced by the LGBT community in regards to accessing healthcare,” said AJ Young, coordinator of the event at USciences.

Panelists from ActionAIDS, Philadelphia FIGHT, Mazzoni Center, GALAEI, and the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) will give a brief overview of their organization’s work and mission, discuss current issues and pressing needs in LGBT healthcare, and share what they believe is important for future healthcare professionals to know about working with the LGBT community. There will also be time for questions from the audience.

Invited panelists, include:

  • Tiffany Thompson, Director, Youth-Health Empowerment Project at Philadelphia FIGHT
  • Elaine Dutton, Trans Clinical Services Coordinator, Mazzoni Center
  • Elicia Gonzalez, Executive Director, GALAEI
  • Jay Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator & PWA, ActionAIDS
  • Rosemary Daub, Medical Case Manager Coordinator, ActionAIDS
  • Han Meadway, Transportation Advocate, CARIE

“Our speakers are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate people in Philadelphia regarding LGBT issues, and they’re eager to highlight what future healthcare professionals should know to provide quality care that treats LGBT patients with respect and dignity, while addressing their unique and not-so-unique health concerns,” said Young.

This event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served after the panel. For more information, contact Young at a.young@usciences.edu or 215.596.8734.

11/12/2014

Medication Adherence In Hypertension Patients

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, does not usually present itself with symptoms. However, it can be deadly if not treated properly. Through time, 78 million Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood is high causing the arteries to stretch and damage, which can lead to severe complications such as heart attacks. To prevent cardiovascular events, it is important to chronically treat hypertension. With increasing number of patients getting this disease, it is key for patients to stay educated, monitor blood pressure, and adherent to their diet and medication regimen.

According to the Health Belief Model (HBM), there are certain aspects that tell whether a patient will take their medications. Some barriers to adherence include patients perceived susceptibility and severity of the disease. If patients do not think they are going to get a disease or the disease does not impact their quality of life, they may not be adherent to medications. Patients have a call to action, such as taking medications and staying adherent, when there is a perceived threat of the disease. Another hindrance of medication adherence would be the patient’s perceived benefits of taking medications minus the barriers or side effects that comes along with it. This HBM can help pharmacists understand patient non-adherence and allow them to better approach to medication therapy management.

A systematic review in the Health Psychology Review by Jones identified intervention studies used by the health belief model. From 18 studies evaluated, 78% of the studies suggested significant improvements in adherence with behavior change interventions. The health belief model is a way to promote behavior through interventions in a variety of disease. The HBM can be applied to hypertension through the help of pharmacists. Researching how much education patients have about the disease will allow pharmacists to gauge how well patients understand the disease. Knowledge of the disease can be assessed through questionnaires. Through these surveys, pharmacists can learn about the patient’s lifestyle to construct the best regimen.

The prevalence of hypertension will decrease dramatically when pharmacists incorporate the HBM into counseling patients.  By understanding the HBM, our society can better the symptoms of hypertension.

 

Urvi Patel, PharmD ‘16

11/10/2014

Students Prepared for Bioterrorist Attack During Medical Reserve Corps Training

Training
Left to right: Alex Fevry PharmD'17, Soonyip Alec Huang PharmD'17, Khiem Huynh PharmD'17, and Ami Patel PharmD'17

A team of eight student-pharmacists from University of the Sciences joined more than 150 new volunteers with the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps as they acted out a bioterrorist attack which required them to administer antibiotics to thousands of Philadelphians to help prevent the spread of a deadly bacterial infection.

This dramatic, but informational, training session was held at USciences on Saturday, Nov. 8, for these credentialed volunteers – who are typically seen providing medical care and first aid after major storms, or at large city events such as the Philadelphia Marathon.

“Bringing together such a diverse group of local healthcare professionals and students was a positive experience which reinforced USciences’ mission of promoting integrated learning and professionalism,” said Steven Sheaffer, PharmD, associate professor of clinical pharmacy.  

Although Dr. Sheaffer has been a member of the Medical Reserve Corps since 2007, he said regularly attends training sessions to keep up to speed with relief efforts and build stronger relationships with healthcare professionals across the Philadelphia region.

“I hope that more of our students across all disciplines consider attending future training programs and join the Medical Reserve Corps,” he said.

Aside from USciences pharmacy students and faculty, other volunteers at the training session included medical and doctoral students from University of Pennsylvania, nurses, as well as students and faculty from other local universities.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the mailing of anthrax-tainted letters to news media and U.S. senators painfully illustrated the need for more organized use of medical volunteers.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health launched the city’s unit in 2005, after Congress allocated money to establish the Medical Reserve Corps program office in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office. Philadelphia’s chapter now boasts more than 1,800 volunteers who offer their medical, pharmaceutical, behavioral health, and other skills.

“I wanted to volunteer for the medical corps to use my pharmacy education in way that allows me to give back to the community,” said Alex Fevry PharmD’17.

Media coverage:

10/28/2014

USciences Prez, Students and Faculty Attended Life Sciences Future in Philly

PABioLSF14_-138University of the Sciences President Dr. Helen-Giles Gee, as well as students and faculty from USciences, joined hundreds of life sciences leaders and innovators during the Life Sciences Future Conference on Oct. 13-14 in Philadelphia.

Life Sciences Future was a two-day event designed by Pennsylvania Bio to reflect the rapidly-evolving landscape in healthcare - which includes biopharma, medical device and diagnostics, healthcare IT, contract research organizations, medical research institutions, and the investment community.

The first day of the event kicked off with Life Sciences Future Symposium: Partnerships in Science, which was designed for an exclusive audience of academic researchers, such as USciences students and faculty, to explore best practices for engaging business development representatives at large companies as well as the next steps in developing their technologies. The second day of the conference was jam-packed with speakers, topics and features all related to advancing science and healthcare industries.

Dr. Giles-Gee and students had the opportunity to meet and speak with Michael Sofia, inventor of Sofosbuvir – known by the brand name Sovaldi, a hepatitis C therapy drug approved by the FDA last December.

“The sessions were outstanding and much appreciated by the faculty and students who attended," Dr. Giles-Gee.

10/13/2014

Get Vaccinated: Flu is Bigger Threat to You than Ebola, Says USciences Prof

Hussar_DanielWith the 2014-15 flu season officially underway, pharmacy professor Daniel Hussar, PhD, at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences, urges people to stop worrying about Ebola and get a flu shot instead. That’s because the flu is far more deadly in the U.S. compared with Ebola, and resulted in 131 flu-related deaths in Pennsylvania alone during the 2013-14 flu season (Sept. 29, 2013 to Sept. 27, 2014).

“While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season, it’s especially important for infants, children, pregnant women, and seniors because they are most vulnerable to developing serious complications – like pneumonia – if they catch the flu,” said Dr. Hussar.

Flu seasons – which typically span from October to May in Pennsylvania – are unpredictable and often differ in length and severity. However, influenza remains a leading cause of death in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 131 flu-related deaths in Pennsylvania last flu season, the Pennsylvania Department of Health revealed that nearly 80 percent of those deaths were recorded among people aged 50 and older. Nationwide, about 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu and up to 49,000 people die each year.

As an advocate for protecting people against the flu, Dr. Hussar compiled a list of key facts people need to know regarding flu vaccinations:

  • Safe for pregnant women. Pregnancy should not be a restriction to receiving a flu shot as it protects the mother and her baby for several months into its life.
  • It’s never too late. While people are encouraged to receive their flu shots in early fall, the immunization still provides benefits to individuals who wait until December or January to get vaccinated.
  • Healthy children need flu protection, too. Between 2004 and 2012, flu complications killed 830 children in the U.S., many of whom were otherwise healthy, according to the CDC.
  • Convenient locations. Most Pennsylvania pharmacies house a certified pharmacist who is authorized to administer flu shots to individuals older than 18. Anyone under the age of 18 is encouraged to receive vaccinations through their pediatrician or community health clinics.
  • ‘Flu caused by vaccination’ myth. The flu vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that cannot transmit infection. That means people who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway, they just assume the shot caused their illness.
  • Nasal spray an option. The nasal spray vaccine – or the live, attenuated influenza vaccine – is commonly known by its trade name, FluMist, and offers protection to healthy adults from 2 to 49 years old who are not pregnant. FluMist contains a live but weakened flu virus that cannot cause flu illness.

“Don't let the recent Ebola news headlines distract you from taking measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from the much greater risk of catching the flu,” said Dr. Hussar.

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