Update from the Dean - July 2004

Update from the Dean - July 2004

Dear UCSF School of Pharmacy Family and Friends:

Because of summer, the noise volume in the UCSF hallways is low, but the volume of activity within the school of pharmacy remains high.

Program Developments

A Bay Area Screening Center and Center for Chemical Diversity are under way due to the leadership of Assistant Professor Kip Guy, PhD. The combined work of these centers will make high throughput screening and chemical libraries available to the academic research community. Kip's goal is to increase the effectiveness with which we can identify novel chemicals with potential for biological application and increase the overall productivity of our drug discovery research.

Because of a 14-month partnership between Safeway Pharmacy and the school's department of clinical pharmacy, approximately 100 adults and children with asthma from San Francisco's "high-incidence" neighborhoods have been counseled on their disease and the best use of their asthma medications. The Breathe Easy Education Program -- or BEEP -- is spearheaded by Sharon Youmans, PharmD, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy, with the help of 4th-year student pharmacists who counsel patients during monthly asthma clinics set up in the pharmacy. BEEP is an example of the kinds of community outreach and potential new practice models the department of clinical pharmacy continues to develop and study.

In my last letter, I introduced Professor Andrej Sali, PhD, whose expertise is protein structure and function. Together with 20 faculty members in pharmacy and medicine, Andrej proposed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a Center for Computational Proteomics Research aimed at describing the interactions between biological molecules. While we have just learned that NIH did not fund this project this year, the project has catalyzed faculty to work together on center-related ideas, some of which will now be funded from other sources.

In the international arena, the school is organizing a conference this October in Hanoi aimed at expanding the role of pharmacists in challenging the growing AIDS epidemic in Viet Nam. Associate Clinical Professor John Inciardi, PharmD and Kate Nguyen, PharmD are leading this effort with 4 partners:

  • Hanoi University of Pharmacy
  • UCSF's new program in Global Health Sciences
  • UCSF's AIDS Research Institute, and
  • the U.S. Pharmacopeia.

New Faculty Members

We continue to welcome intellectually gifted faculty members to our community. Here are profiles of new faculty members who I have not yet introduced to you.

David Veenstra, PharmD, PhD, is now with the department of clinical pharmacy as assistant professor. His primary research interests are in the clinical, economic, and policy implications of drug therapies based upon the developing field of pharmacogenomics. David will tie our basic science work in pharmacogenomics to its real world application within health care. David received both doctoral degrees from UCSF. Before joining UCSF, he was on the faculty of the school of pharmacy, University of Washington.

Eleanor Vogt, RPh, PhD, joins the department of clinical pharmacy as the 2004 UCSF Presidential Chair. Presidential Chairs are awarded by UCSF on a competitive basis to encourage new or interdisciplinary program development or to enhance the quality of existing academic programs of the University. Ellie will focus her work on how pharmacists, working across disciplines, can more effectively promote the safe and effective use of medicines and prevent medication errors in community pharmacies. Ellie received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She most recently served as Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Advancement of Community Pharmacy in Virginia.

Glenn Yokoyama, PharmD, FCSHP, assistant clinical professor in the department of clinical pharmacy, will teach pharmacy administration to our doctor of pharmacy students beginning this fall. Glenn has extensive experience managing pharmacy services in varied and complex health care settings. Many of you know Glenn as a national leader in pharmacy professional organizations. Glenn received his PharmD from the University of Southern California. Before joining us at UCSF he was director of clinical services and residency director of Prescription Solutions, a pharmacy and medical management company in Costa Mesa, California.

Tanja Kortemme, PhD, joins the department of biopharmaceutical sciences as an assistant professor. Tanja's research explores the principles of how biological molecules recognize each other with defined specificity and how these interactions build up the complex networks responsible for biological regulation and complexity. Tanja's work will complement the systems biology work already under way here. Tanja received her PhD in biochemistry from the University of Hanover in Germany and most recently held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington.

Budget News

As you are aware, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's FY 2004-05 state budget proposal provided substantial cuts to the UC system as part of efforts to close the overall state budget shortfall. The budget further specified that a substantial portion of these cuts were to be offset by fee increases for all students. Beginning with the FY 2004-05 academic year, professional fees for UCSF PharmD students will have more than doubled from $4,875/year to $10,089/year. Taken together with other University fees -- such as education, registration, and student health fees -- the total annual fees for PharmD students will be $17,456/year. Total university fees for in-state graduate students have increased 20% raising the cost of attendance from $7,104/year to $8,133/year.

Such fee increases with relatively short notice make it difficult for all UC students and their families to plan their future educational costs. As a result, the governor and the University have reached an agreement or "Compact" to establish a minimum level of state funding necessary to preserve the quality of and access to the University for the next several years. As part of this Compact, UC and the school will be developing a budget plan to specify what its professional school fee increases will be over the next several years. UC's PharmD educational fees remain some 55% of what other California pharmacy programs currently charge; however, they will undoubtedly increase. I will keep you posted as these plans develop.

Students

Pharmacy Students

Beginning with the 2004 admissions cycle, we were one of the 43 schools of pharmacy participating in the new Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS). PharmCAS is a centralized application service that enables applicants to use a single web-based application to apply to multiple PharmD degree programs. All of the schools of pharmacy in California are participating in this new service. Most health professions programs offer and utilize a similar centralized application service.

Procedurally, the change went well. Because of the volume increase, however, it took a great deal more faculty and staff time to review applications. We saw 1,229 applicants this year compared to 854 applicants last year. We admitted 122 students. This year, compared to last, we saw a higher percentage of women (75% vs. 67%) and out-of-state (16% vs. 13%) admitted students and a lower percentage of admitted underrepresented minority students (11% vs. 17%). In 2002, the percentage of admitted under-represented minority applicants was 22%. This trend is troubling, and we are working hard to reverse it.

Graduate Students

The caliber of our PhD graduate students remains exceptionally high. We compete with the top science schools for these students. But the picture nationwide for graduate program training grants is not good. Of particular importance to the makeup of our graduate student body is the state funding situation. Because we are receiving less from the state we will not have the funding necessary to support international students. If this situation continues, the strength of our international network could be compromised into the future.

Honors and Awards and Standings

There are too many to list completely here. This is just a sample:

Kathy M. Giacomini, PhD, professor and chair of the department of biopharmaceutical sciences and Professor Leslie W. Benet, PhD were honored this summer at the Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress, held in Kyoto, Japan. For her exceptional presentation skills, Kathy received the Distinguished Lecturer in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Award from an international pool of nominees. Les received the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Achievement Award for his significant, career-long contributions to the advancement of worldwide pharmaceutical sciences. Les was also honored this summer with the Career Achievement in Oral Drug Delivery Award given by the Controlled Release Society at its annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Christopher Voigt, PhD, assistant professor, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, was awarded a $50,000 prize to hold a conference to explore the idea of engineering microbes to conduct special tasks on Mars. The award is from the National Academy of Sciences Keck Futures Initiative. The conference will be held January 13 to 15, 2005 at UCSF.

Assistant Professor Matthew P. Jacobson, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry received a Sloan Research Fellowship awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowship supports young scientists who demonstrate exceptional potential for enlightening science with new knowledge. Recipients are often in their first appointments to university faculties. Matt uses computational chemistry to predict protein modeling.

The Center for Consumer Self Care, department of clinical pharmacy, received a Visiting Lecturer Award from the Pfizer Clear Health Communication program. This award will support lectures and workshops this fall by Rima Rudd, ScD, senior lecturer on Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health. Rima's current work focuses on health literacy.

The school continues again to receive more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any pharmacy school in the nation. As shown in the 2003 data recently released, we received more than $19 million in NIH grants and contracts. This ranking reflects the quality of our science. (See 2003 NIH Rankings.)

The UCSF Medical Center moved up a spot to tie at 6th in the "America's Best Hospitals" ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

The UCSF Medical Center again received accreditation by the Joint Commission of the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations. This intensive review is conducted every 3 years. The report has no recommendations for improvement -- a truly noteworthy accomplishment.

Lewis Sheiner

We were saddened by the premature death this spring of Professor Lew Sheiner, MD, who held a joint appointment in the department of biopharmaceutical sciences. Lew was known internationally for the mathematical models and simulations he developed to enhance the efficiency of drug development. He had just won the prestigious Oscar B. Hunter Memorial Award in Therapeutics from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and was on his way home from Europe where he had been teaching with his colleagues. Lew died on April 22 in Switzerland after falling into a coma caused by heart problems. He is profoundly missed by us all.

Homecoming

This year's Homecoming will be held on Saturday, October 30 on campus and at The Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco. Activities will include class reunions, a luncheon for alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more, and a dinner-dance. Invitations will be mailed soon. Homecoming details are on the Pharmacy Alumni Association Web site. (See [Homecoming 2004][link defunct].)

Strategic Planning

We are well on our way in developing the school's next strategic plan, which is slated for completion this fall. Our growth, movement of many of our faculty to the new Mission Bay campus, a changing health care environment, the globalization of our expertise -- all of these and more will influence our activities over the next 5 years. I look forward to sharing our plans in detail in the next Dean's Update.

Until then, I send you my warmest regards.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD
Professor and Dean
Thomas J. Long Chair in Community Pharmacy Practice


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.