126 posts categorized "Pharmacy Practice"


PCP Students Provide Faith-Based Healthcare to Underserved Philly Residents

SMI_20151Five students from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy collaborated with more than two dozen medical, dental, podiatry, and nursing students from various colleges across Philadelphia during this year’s Summer Medical Institute (SMI) Philadelphia. This three-week health outreach program is sponsored by the Medical Campus Outreach ministry of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and Esperanza Health Center.

“Teams of health professions students helped address the health and spiritual needs of residents in the Kensington and Hunting Park neighborhoods of Philadelphia,” said Daniel Hussar, PhD, Remington Professor of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences. “This unique experience allowed students to learn how to integrate their faith with their responsibilities as health professionals.”

After initial training sessions, Sherilin Joe PharmD’16, Rebecca Shatynski PharmD’16, Julie Varughese PharmD’16, Megan Pellett PharmD’16, and Christina Besada PhSci’17 joined their peers to conduct door-to-door health outreach in teams throughout the neighborhoods—offering diabetes and blood pressure screenings, as well as nutrition and healthy lifestyle education.

Students also lived together in community, and learned first-hand the impact of social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, and economic factors on individuals’ health. Through interaction with clinicians and staff members at Esperanza Health Center, Dr. Hussar said the students were able to observe an effective model of Christian primary healthcare.

Here’s a break-down of the recorded visits and activities completed by the students during SMI:

  • 630 visits to homes were conducted with health screenings provided
  • 787 blood pressure screens
    • 97 new positives for pre-hypertension were identified
    • 117 new positives for hypertension were identified
  • 756 blood sugar screens
    • 68 new positives for diabetes were identified
  • 737 BMI screens
  • 130 dental screens
  • 68 received in-home HIV testing
  • 200 people received asthma education
  • 917 people were prayed with
  • 87 people requested church follow-up

Following the conclusion of SMI, USciences students made follow-up phone calls to individuals with whom visits were made.  They also met with alumnus Neil Pitts P'73, PharmD'04 and visited the Miriam Medical Clinic that he started at Berean Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.


College-Bound Students: Don’t Forget to Pack These Necessities, Says USciences Prof

Hewitt-3189Thousands of students across Greater Philadelphia will soon start the next chapter of their lives as they begin their college journeys away from home. But with their new freedom comes the exposure to millions of germs while living and studying in close quarters with others, said Stacey Gorski, PhD, assistant professor of biological sciences at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

“Because students share many of the same spaces and items in places such as residence halls and dining areas, many germs can spread quickly and easily,” said Dr. Gorski, who specializes in immunology. “It’s scary when you think about it, but the more you know about their risks, the better you can protect yourself.” 

So as students pack their bags with necessities like clothing, bed linens, accessories, and electronics, Dr. Gorski also encourages them to remember to pack the following items to help minimize their contact to germs:

  • Flip flops for the shower. Communal bathrooms in residence halls—thanks to their generally moist nature—are breeding grounds for germs, such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Shower sandals can help protect students from catching viruses that can cause warts and fungi that commonly cause athlete's foot.
  • Laundry detergent. Students are probably unaware that they are sharing their bed with bacteria, yeast, and other fungi that can lead to skin infections and respiratory issues. Regularly washing bed linens, changing pillows, and showering at night can help reduce the number of germs in a student’s bed. Students should also avoid using their beds as seating areas for guests.
  • Disinfectant wipes. Viruses like the norovirus—commonly associated with gastrointestinal disease on cruise ships, but also a rising cause for concern on college campuses—can live and potentially infect a person for up to 7 days after being deposited on a surface. That’s why it is a good idea to wipe down shared objects, such as eating areas, desks, doorknobs, and keyboards, daily with disinfectant wipes.
  • Hand sanitizer.  Although soap and water works best for killing germs, alcohol-based hand gels can work in a pinch, especially for individuals who use public transportation, or do not have access to a sink for extended periods of time.

On a more serious note, Dr. Gorski also urges college-bound students to consider getting the HPV and influenza vaccinations. Both males and females should receive the three-dose HPV vaccine to protect themselves against preventable cervical, mouth, and throat cancers. She also added that flu shots are the best way to protect students against influenza and possibly missing weeks of class due to the highly-contagious virus. 


HealthAug. 21, 2015:
Add Germ Fighters to College Packing List


Jamaican a Difference: PCP Students Complete Interprofessional Medical Mission Trip

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.

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.”



Dr. Hussar's Column: Time Out!

Daniel A. Hussar is the Remington Professor of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences' Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. He serves as the author and editor of The Pharmacist Activist newsletter (http://www.pharmacistactivist.com) from which this editorial was taken.

HussarMy primary symptoms were fatigue and shortness of breath upon exertion that continued to worsen. A visit to my family physician in mid-April revealed abnormalities in my electrocardiogram (EKG) and a low hemoglobin concentration. I was referred to my cardiologist who ordered an echocardiogram and a stress test (that was very brief because of my acute shortness of breath). The results suggested probable blockage of blood vessels, a need for cardiac catheterization, and an expectation that I would need to have one or more stents inserted. My cardiologist responded to the results of the catheterization by observing that he was "thrilled but surprised." He was thrilled because the procedure did not identify any problem associated with my heart or blood vessels, but surprised because he expected otherwise. This was great news but not an explanation for my worsening symptoms, and an appointment with a hematologist was scheduled.

Several days later I experienced a minor cut while shaving with bleeding that would typically stop within seconds. However, the bleeding did not stop and continued for 10 minutes, 15 minutes. . . , and still did not stop. My wife Sue indicated that we should go to the Emergency Department of our local hospital but I did not feel that was necessary, primarily because I thought we would be viewed as over-reacting for going to the Emergency Department for a shaving cut. Fortunately, Sue's better judgment prevailed. My evaluation revealed a further reduction in the hemoglobin concentration and other hematologic abnormalities. I was admitted to the hospital and the hematologist ordered additional blood studies and a bone marrow biopsy. A diagnosis was determined – acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The hematologist informed me that the best hospital to be treated for AML was the Abramson Cancer Center (established through the generous philanthropy of healthcare management leader and pharmacist Leonard Abramson) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), and insisted that I be admitted the next day.


Following admission to HUP, the diagnosis of AML was quickly confirmed. A treatment "team" with extensive expertise and experience met with me and thoroughly explained the treatment plan they were recommending. I was very impressed with the approach they took in discussing the treatment they proposed. They wanted Sue and me to thoroughly understand it and to agree with it and approve it. We quickly agreed with the recommendations and I made the following observations:

I have a strong faith in God. To not agree with the proposed or another treatment plan would mean that my faith was not strong enough to believe that God could use this strategy to enable His will to be accomplished.

Although I have some knowledge about AML and the drugs used in treating it, I was fortunate to be under the care of a team of health professionals that had such extensive expertise that I had no questions about their recommendations and judgments, nor would I seek another opinion. I would note that the recommendations of the treatment team were in the context of the numerous uncertainties pertaining to the disease, patient risk factors, and the medications that make it impossible to predict treatment outcomes for an individual patient.

Induction chemotherapy was initiated that afternoon and, coupled with monitoring and the management of complications, I was hospitalized for more than 4 weeks. The ramifications of the disease and treatment resulted in much of my hospitalization being characterized by extreme fatigue and, at times, disorientation and confusion. Everything else, even reading and responding to emails, was put on hold.

Notwithstanding the inevitable challenges, I can't say enough about the excellent expertise and quality of the treatment and services provided by the health professionals, and the caring manner in which they provided them. These qualities were also exhibited by the support staff and I was impressed by how many of them had worked at HUP for many years.

Of special interest and importance to me was the fact that pharmacists, most of whom were my former students, were members of the treatment teams and had an important role in the recommendations and decisions regarding drug therapy. In my discussions with the physicians and nurses, it was a pleasure to hear how much they respected and valued the participation of the pharmacists as members of the team.

My hospitalization was anything but uneventful. In addition to the anticipated challenges presented by the disease and chemotherapy, I experienced unexpected events including a severe allergic reaction, an acute gout attack, impaired kidney function, and a twisted colon.

Discharge and readmissions

Following more than four weeks in the hospital, I was discharged to my home. However, three days later I experienced a fever and was readmitted to the hospital for treatment of an infection. Following a week of intravenous antibiotic therapy, I was discharged again. Three days later I again experienced a fever and was readmitted to the hospital. The infections were thought to be originating at the PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter). A 7-day course of vancomycin via intravenous infusion was initiated and the PICC line was removed. Within four days the infection had cleared but it was considered important to complete the 7-day course of antibiotic therapy. However, there was another option that would avoid staying in the hospital for a longer period to receive vancomycin infusions. Linezolid (Zyvox) has a similar antibacterial spectrum as vancomycin and is effective following oral administration. Switching to linezolid should provide no change in the effectiveness of the antibiotic treatment and would permit earlier discharge from the hospital by as much as three days.

But there was another factor. My insurance coverage for medications requires prior authorization for the use of linezolid because of its cost (approximately $1,000 for the 6 tablets I would need). Prior authorization was requested and approved, but not for more than 24 hours after the request was initiated. Yet one more example of a broken prescription drug insurance system that would deny or delay the use of a drug that would avoid the much greater expense of several additional days of hospitalization.

I received the linezolid, was discharged from the hospital on a timely basis, and have been infection-free at home while experiencing significant improvement in my strength and mobility.

Treatment results

Following the completion of the initial chemotherapy, an appropriate interval of time is permitted to elapse and a bone marrow biopsy is then conducted to assess the effects of the treatment. The biopsy results provided the best news I could have hoped for – no evidence of leukemia cells! Approximately 3 weeks later, another bone marrow biopsy was performed and provided the same encouraging results. I am very thankful to report that I am now in remission! Because leukemia cells often recur, additional chemotherapy treatments (consolidation therapy) are recommended to reduce the risk of recurrence, and I am tentatively scheduled to have two of these treatments.

The support system

Sue was at the hospital for most of every day and our children and their families visited frequently. They were a wonderful source of love and encouragement. Close friends brought Sue to the hospital many mornings and picked her up in the evenings to spare her from dealing with the traffic, parking, etc. as part of the 45-minute trip. Many prayers were offered on my behalf. I also received very kind and gracious messages from many friends, colleagues, and current and former students via cards, emails, and on the Caring Bridge website where my son provides updates regarding my status (www.caringbridge.org/visit/danhussar). These greetings have been a great source of encouragement and I appreciate them very much. I am not in a position to personally acknowledge the numerous communications I received. However, many of those who sent them receive The Pharmacist Activist and I hope that they will accept these comments as evidence of my deep appreciation.

Looking forward

The results of my initial chemotherapy are very encouraging but I am realistic in recognizing that the disease can return and have a very different outcome. Even more importantly, I have experienced an even greater appreciation for the value of my faith, and for the prayers, love, support, and encouragement provided by my family, friends, and many others whom I have had the privilege of coming to know.

This experience has been a "time out" during which I have had much more time to think about my priorities. I feel that God has more for me to do which will include showing greater support and encouragement for others with needs in the manner that they have been provided for me.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him and I am helped."
Psalms 28:7

Daniel A. Hussar



PCP Student Says 'Pharmacists Play Vital Role in Health Care'

Deanna_BAs a Philadelphia College of Pharmacy student, Deanna Bauerlein PharmD’16 witnessed the value of pharmacists playing a greater role in direct patient care. In fact, she even had the opportunity to administer a vaccine to a patient during a recent clinical rotation at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"Because Veterans Affairs facilities operate under federal law, their pharmacists have the authority to prescribe patients’ medications and manage their chronic diseases,” said Bauerlein. “I shadowed a pharmacist who specialized in the therapeutic treatment of diabetes, so it was interesting to see him interact with his patients and prescribe medications to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol.”

By expanding the role of pharmacists in the healthcare setting, Bauerlein said she noticed that patients were more likely to understand their medications, ask questions about their health, and adhere to their therapeutic regimen.

The collaborative approach to healthcare delivery is a very familiar concept to Bauerlein. Over the past few years, she has participated in University of the Sciences’ interprofessional education program with Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Cooper Health System. This program is available to approximately 30 pharmacy students per class and spans the first three professional years of the PharmD program at USciences.

During the program, Bauerlein and her PCP classmates worked alongside Cooper medical students to run several free community health clinics for low-income residents in Camden, as well as shadowed healthcare providers in various settings, such as a women’s health center, an HIV clinic, and a nursing home.

“This was an eye-opening experience because I interacted with Spanish-speaking patients and it really pushed me to try and break the communication barrier,” said Bauerlein. “I provided them with free healthcare, but they helped me gain practical skills that can’t be taught in the classroom.”

Bauerlein said she has taken full advantage of USciences’ resources by building strong faculty relationships, joining professional organizations on campus, mentoring younger pharmacy students, and participating in hands-on educational experiences, such as the Cooper program.

She especially values the advice and guidance she continues to receive from her faculty adviser, Dr. Anisha Grover, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at USciences.

As for now, Bauerlein is set to begin her next rotation in the behavioral health unit at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, NJ, and is eager to graduate in the spring with her doctor of pharmacy degree.

Bauerlein discusses the most rewarding experiences from
pharmacy school in this 
Pharmacy Times clip:



Recent PCP Grad Says 'Post-Grad Life is Golden'

JoseenWhile many students dread entering the real world after college, recent grad Joseen Chundamala PharmD’15 couldn’t be happier. The young pharmacist had a job lined up with Penn Medicine shortly after graduating in May, recently signed the lease to her very own apartment, and even purchased her first piece of furniture that was not from IKEA or Craigslist.

As far as Chundamala is concerned, post-grad life is golden.

After working towards her doctor of pharmacy degree over the past six years, Chundamala is now employed as a clinical pharmacist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Some of her responsibilities include preparing and dispensing medications, as well as designing, recommending, monitoring, and evaluating patient and age-specific pharmacotherapy regimens.

ChundChundamala said she felt confident and prepared entering the workforce because she spent the past three years as a pharmacy intern with Penn Medicine, as well as held various externships with Walgreens, Columbia University Medical Center, BioCentric, Inc., New Castle Rx, and Crownpoint Indian Health Services. She also values the strong pharmacy education and network opportunities she received as a student at USciences.

During her time at USciences, Chundamala was an active member in several on-campus organizations, such as the Alpha Sigma Tau National Sorority, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.


Dr. Cathy Poon Assumes New Leadership Roles at USciences

PoonWith nearly 25 years of pharmacy and higher education experience, Cathy Y. Poon, PharmD, has been named the chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice/Pharmacy Administration and associate dean of interprofessional education for Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences. Dr. Poon is no stranger to the University, as she has held several positions since she began teaching at USciences in 1992.

“Dr. Poon brings a wealth of experience and a broad range of accomplishments as an administrator, educator, and clinician,” said Heidi M. Anderson, PhD, provost and vice president for academic affairs at USciences. “Her experience in service from the university to college to department level is exceptional.” 

Dr. Poon enters her new role having served as the University’s associate provost of interprofessional education and clinical programs for the past two years. She has also served in various leadership roles, including vice chair for didactic education, executive vice chair, and interim chair on two occasions for the Department of Pharmacy Practice/Pharmacy Administration and vice dean of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

Her expertise in pediatrics and interprofessional education has led to ongoing partnerships with Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Cooper University Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

Dr. Poon, of Philadelphia, received a PharmD from Medical University of South Carolina and her BS degrees in pharmacy and toxicology from St. John’s University. She also completed a hospital pharmacy residency at Medical University of South Carolina and a specialty residency in Pediatric Pharmacotherapy at Oklahoma University Health Science Center.


Alumna's Pharmacy/Diner featured on Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible

ImpossiblePharmacy alumna Marybeth Sniadowski-Cole P’86 had a rare opportunity to work closely with the Food Network’s bold and energizing host, Robert Irvine, to revamp her family-owned business, Lyon’s Pharmacy of Elkton.

In this new era of chain pharmacies and mail order prescriptions, Sniadowski-Cole was uncertain in which direction to take Lyon’s Pharmacy after her father, Tony Sniadowski, passed away last year. After all, he was a devout pharmacist who served the Elkton, Maryland community for more than 50 years.

Part old-school luncheonette and part functioning pharmacy, Sniadowski-Cole felt the double-duty business needed some new direction if it was to have any hope of lasting success. And that’s where Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team gave Lyon’s the second chance it deserved.

The episode, entitled “Prescription for Failure,” aired on the Food Network on Wednesday, April 22. In the episode, Irvine updated the luncheonette’s design and also added new selections to the menu, including a crab cake. Sniadowski-Cole’s mother, Bernadette Sniadowski, had a visible role on the episode and shared the origin to some of the luncheonette recipes. The crowning achievement of the show, however, was the installation of Lyon’s new business sign, which now boasts an image of long-time leader in the Elkton community, Mr. Sniadowski.    

“The episode provided a snapshot of our family-run pharmacy and luncheonette and also portrayed the close-knit community of Elkton,” said Sniadowski-Cole. “My husband, Ed, and our children, Taylor, Maddie, Allie and Jack; are my biggest supporters.”

Reflecting on this experience, Sniadowski-Cole said she learned three key elements: “1. I can run multiple businesses at the same time. 2. A community pharmacy is only as successful as the community that is willing to support it. 3. My dad had a great run, but now it’s my time.”

She also said there’s been a vast improvement in the communication between the luncheonette and the pharmacy staff because they now have daily meetings to discuss sales, concerns and plans to keep going forward.

Click here for a recap on the episode.

Submitted by Grace Earl, PharmD, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at USciences and former PCP classmate of Marybeth Sniadowski-Cole.


2015 Donor Dash

What do you do at the first sign of spring? WALK! A group of students from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy joined the Hahnemann University Hospital team to participate in the 20th Annual Donor Dash.

The students who participated answered the announcements given in PA244 Introduction to Pharmacy & Health Care. Several students in the course participated as well as other friends. The students were: Chris Dorian PharmD'19, student leader; Melissa Nguyen PharmD'19; Aishani Patel PharmD'19; Leena Pang PharmD'19; Ami Shah PharmD'19; Gina Yi PharmD'19; Aakash Gandhi PharmD'17; and Darshan Patel PharmD'20.

P1010809The students met Dr. Grace Earl, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy, and traveled to the event held at the Eakins Oval at the Art Museum. Dr. Grace Earl has a practice site at the Center for Advanced Heart Failure Care at Hahnemann University Hospital. She introduced the students to Desiree Morasco, RN, manager of the Center for Advanced Heart Failure Care at Hahnemann; Janet Lovely, quality improvement specialist at Hahnemann; James Bullard, president of the Second Chance Transplant Support Group; and Melissa Coleman, physician liaison for transplant at Hahnemann. The students were helpful in supporting the Hahnemann team by joining the group for the walk and also were part of the team picture.

You can learn more about Donor Dash and supporting patients who have had a transplant at http://www.donors1.org.

Click here to see more photos: http://usciencesblogs.typepad.com/photos/2015_donor_dash/p1010809.html


PCP grad is a jack-of-all-trades and successful in many

AminPharmacy alumnus Mayank Amin PharmD’09 is a jack-of-all-trades—and successful in many. After all, he is a pharmacist, community advocate, celebrity body double, and owner of an event-planning firm whose clients include the Phillies.

Soon after Amin earned his doctor of pharmacy degree in 2009, he began his work as a full-time rotating pharmacist for Walgreens, where he was assigned to various store locations spanning Philadelphia to Lancaster. His responsibilities, however, included more than just filling prescriptions. That's because he volunteered to do community outreach, including delivering immunizations at nursing homes, and played a key role in boosting immunization rates among underprivileged patients.

But pharmacist work involves weekend hours, which interfered with something else Amin is passionate about—teaching kids at his temple in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. So while continuing with Walgreens on a per-diem basis, Amin secured a traditional 9-to-5 job as a safety surveillance associate at Pfizer in 2011.

By 2014, however, the highly-motivated pharmacist was ready to launch his very own business; one that had nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry. Growing up as the son of a successful businessman inspired Amin to start his event-planning business, Platinum Dream Events, L.L.C. 

Here are some other fun facts about Amin:

  • He will complete his MBA from Villanova University in May 2015.
  • During his last semester at USciences, he was selected as the body double for actor Dev Patel in the 2010 movie, The Last Airbender.
  • As a young pharmacy student, he co-founded the USciences Dhamaal dance team. British singer-songwriter Jay Sean used them as his background dancers during his 2005 summer tour.


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