Update from the Dean - Spring/Summer 2006

Update from the Dean - Spring/Summer 2006

Dear UCSF School of Pharmacy Family and Friends:

The summer is winding down, yet the pace here at the School never seems to slow markedly, regardless of the season. We have a lot going on, and I have a lot to report to you.

PhD Programs

I will be devoting more space to our PhD graduate programs in future Updates as issues are emerging that I feel all members of the School's family need to know well. The issues revolve around funding limitations that could hamper the viability of our graduate programs and our ability to compete into the future on the same par with our well-funded private school counterparts. As a reminder, early this decade the School reformulated its single graduate program in pharmaceutical chemistry into two multi-departmental graduate programs—one in chemistry and chemical biology (CCB) and one in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics (PSPG). We also are heavily involved in the graduate programs in biological and medical informatics (BMI), which we revitalized; biophysics; and bioengineering, among others.

Like science graduate programs across the United States, we must fund the education of our PhD students to ensure a steady stream of talent into important health sciences research fields that are not high paying. About 30% of graduate student fees campuswide are funded from principal investigator grant monies, 31% from internal and external fellowships, 20% from federal training grants; and the rest from gifts as well as School and campus funds. As grant and fellowship monies tighten, we must look for other funding sources to support graduate education.

I will discuss this more in future letters, but I wanted to put this concern on your radar now. I look for possible solutions everywhere, one important reason being the tremendous impact of our PhD graduates. Take Victoria Hale, PhD, as an example. She received her doctorate here in pharmaceutical chemistry in Les Benet's laboratory. Now, she is the founder and CEO of the [Institute for OneWorld Health][link defunct], the first United States non-profit drug company, which is focused on finding affordable drugs to fight neglected diseases. Five years after Vicki began OneWorld Health, it is on the verge of getting approval from India for a drug to treat black fever, the second largest parasitic killer after malaria. Other drugs will surely follow. Michael Marletta, PhD, who received his doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry under research advisor George Kenyon, was elected this spring to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). As many of you know, election to the NAS is one of the highest honors in American science. Mike's research has always been at the intersection of biology and chemistry. He was a pioneer in discovering the role of nitric oxide, a critical player in communication between cells. Mike became chair of the department of chemistry at UC Berkeley in 2005.

Alumni Support

Thank you sincerely to our PhD and PharmD alumni for all of your contributions this past fiscal year in support of the School's many and various needs. I allocated $120,000 of your total gifts in direct support to students—$40,000 to PhD students and $80,000 in direct support to PharmD students. Your generosity is a clear signal that alumni care.

Meeting with PharmD Alumni in Industry

We held a good and productive meeting this past May with PharmD alumni who now work in industry. Bruce Kreter '85 (Bristol-Myers Squibb) wrote to me some time ago about the idea of a meeting to explore how we might marry the interests of our students and faculty members with those of our alumni working in drug development. Mike Dudley '80 (Mpex Pharmaceuticals), Mark Shaefer '85 (GlaxoSmithKline), and Steve Barriere '73 (Theravance) endorsed the idea, and the result was an insightful day with Bruce, Mike, Mark, John Flaherty (former resident and former faculty, now at Gilead Sciences), Grace Fong '81 (Aventis), James Nickas '80 (Genentech), Stephen Rossi '90 (Roche Laboratories), Robert Stagg (former resident, now at PDL BioPharma, Inc.), Brad Stolshek '86 (Amgen), and Ray Townsend '77 (Elan Pharmaceuticals). Steve Barriere, Rebecca Coleman (former faculty, now at Theravance), Denise Dickson '79 (Lilly), Lisa Sutton Pisenti '83, and Alvin Wong '76 (Novacea) will participate in the future with the group but were unable to attend this meeting.

We agreed to review the PharmD curriculum for key competencies needed for PharmD graduates to enter industry, and the group will suggest industry-related projects that might fit well into each of our 3 PharmD curriculum pathways. The group will also explore the possibility of clerkships within Pharma and Biotech. In turn, we will keep the group apprised of the seminars and coursework we offer to industry, our drug pipeline-related work in the lab, and our work with the United States FDA.

Thanks to Bruce for the time he invested in making the meeting happen and to Marie Parfitt Pattie, our director of development and alumni relations, for the meeting details and follow through.

Faculty Honors and Awards

Many of our faculty members received national recognition for their work since I wrote to you last. (See Ortiz de Montellano, Voigt, and Wells Recognized for Their Science.)

Paul Ortiz de Montellano, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, received the Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The award recognizes Paul's extensive research and strong reputation in drug metabolism and his expertise in biological organic and inorganic chemistry. It is sponsored by Abbott Laboratories.

Christopher Voigt, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, was named one of 15 Pew Scholars for Biomedical Sciences for 2006. The honor and research support go to the most promising early-to-mid career biomedical researchers in the United States. Chris, who is a pioneer in the emerging field of synthetic biology, seeks to develop a basis by which cells can be programmed to perform complex tasks for pharmaceutical and industrial applications. His laboratory is engineering new sensors in bacteria to extend their capabilities.

James Wells, PhD, the Harry Wm. Hind and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, has been named recipient of the David Perlman Award, given by the Division of Biochemical Technology of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The lecture will be presented at the national ACS meeting, to be held in San Francisco September 10 to 14, 2006.

Pamela England, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, and expert in the areas of neuroscience and memory formation, will receive one of four Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Awards for 2006-2008. The award is from The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience and supports the development of new tools and techniques in neuroscience research. Pam and her research group explore what memories are and how they are formed. Their approaches incorporate synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, and electrophysiology. The McKnight Endowment Award will fund research on the trafficking in living cells of AMPA receptors, which are thought to be important in regulating communication between neurons. (See the [McKnight press release][link defunct as of December 10, 2012].)

C. Anthony Hunt, PhD, department of biopharmaceutical sciences, was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

I am also pleased to announce that Lisa Bero, PhD, department of clinical pharmacy, has been appointed to the World Heath Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Policies and Management. Increasingly, the impact of our faculty members and students is international in scope.

Many of you who read this update will remember Bob Day, PharmD, as the energetic advisor to our student branch of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). Although Bob is not retiring as our associate dean, he did surprise me and others last spring when he signaled that he would step down as student advisor after some 40 years of service—wow! It was Bob who fought for student recognition within the APhA and encouraged so many of us to speak out on professional and patient care issues that mattered to us. He gave us confidence in ourselves and validated our ideas. Bob's impact on developing future leaders at UCSF and nationally is immeasurable, but certainly significant. For these and many other contributions, Bob was given the 2006 Linwood F. Tice Friend of APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists award. Please join me in thanking him.

Global Reach

I mentioned in the February 2006 Update that student pharmacist Bryan McGee (Class of 2006) traveled to Uganda in October 2005 for 6 months as the recipient of a Fulbright Student Fellowship to study the optimum dosage and bio-equivalency of antiretroviral generics as well as optimum dosages of anti-malarial drugs in children. Troy Drysdale (Class of 2008) continued Bryan's research in Uganda this summer with support from a UCSF Pathways to Careers in Clinical and Translational Research (PACCTR) fellowship. Nguyen Nguyen (Class of 2007) spent a good part of the summer in Ho Chi Minh City where she undertook an externship in drug information and completed several special projects contrasting western and Vietnamese pharmaceutical care. At least two elective clinical rotations outside the US are in the planning stages now.

The department of clinical pharmacy welcomes two Fogarty Fellows from the University of Zimbabwe who are being mentored by Chair Joe Guglielmo, PharmD. Mr. Luther Gwaza and Ms. Tsitsi Monera are learning in vitro methods used in the evaluation of herbal-drug interactions. The 4-month training experience will be carried out in collaboration with Les Benet, PhD and Alan Wolfe, research assistant, department of biopharmaceutical sciences.

Our international focus is shared by UCSF as a whole. Interestingly, in a report released August 13, 2006 by Newsweek International, UCSF was ranked 9th among the top 100 global universities. The ranking was based on specific criteria that ranged from the number of highly cited researchers in various academic fields to the percentage of international students. Clearly the colleagues with whom we work are increasingly international and the public we now serve is increasingly a global public. Ultimately we all benefit from the exchange of different ideas, approaches, and insights. (See [UCSF Ranked Ninth Among Top Global Universities][link defunct].)

Li Foundation

I am very pleased to announce a new partner in our research in systems biology—the Li Foundation. The Li Foundation was established by the late  Mr. K. C. Li, who was an international authority on tungsten, a successful businessman, and a philanthropist.

The Foundation, which has been supporting the science training of Chinese scholars at UCSF for more than 15 years under the able guidance of department of pharmaceutical chemistry emeritus faculty member Chin-Tzu Peng, PhD, will now provide funding for scholars from Peking University to train at UCSF in the field of systems biology. Chao Tang, PhD, department of biopharmaceutical sciences, who oversees a new systems biology partnership between Peking University and the University of California, will also oversee the Li Foundation fellowship program. Chao holds faculty positions at both Peking University and UCSF, and thus bridges our academic institutions. Chao believes that the "scientists we train in systems biology will become leaders in an era of science that flourishes without boundaries." I agree and sincerely thank the Li Foundation for its vision and for the global impact on science its support will surely make.

Medicare Part D

Before the May 15, 2006 close of the first federal Medicare Part D open enrollment period, members of the department of clinical pharmacy faculty were focused on developing and implementing new approaches to helping seniors make the best Part D choices. Much of their effort was on helping underserved seniors—those with low incomes, limited or no English language proficiency, and those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal. (See [Pharmacists Clarify the Medicare Part D Fog][link removed as of April 30, 2013].)

Marilyn Stebbins, PharmD and Tim Cutler, PharmD piloted a Part D community pharmacy rotation. With a corps of trained and dedicated student pharmacists, they helped more than 2,500 seniors enroll in Part D by holding many community meetings and workshops in multiple languages. Their success strengthens our resolve to move ahead aggressively with our Part D work. We will design studies that help us make evidenced-based decisions about how to proceed most effectively for the benefit of the communities we serve.

Helene Levens Lipton, PhD added innovative sections to her required Health Policy for Pharmacists course. She used case studies to teach students the benefits, costs, and complexities of the legislation by having them present Part D from the perspectives of 6 stakeholder groups. Five of her students then went on to teach Part D to 90 graduate-level nursing students in their health policy course. The evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. One response: "It was positively inspiring to see student pharmacists serving as advocates for patients! I had never thought of pharmacists in this role before!" And another: "Please, please take your fabulous presentation on the road and help spread the word about the challenges of Part D and how pharmacists are overcoming them."

Center for Consumer Self Care (CCSC)

Under the guidance of Bill Soller, PhD, department of clinical pharmacy, our Center for Consumer Self Care is making significant contributions to the health and well-being of our neighbors across the United States. Target Stores funded the Center to study its new retail drug packaging and labeling system. The "ClearRx Study" showed overwhelming consumer preference for ClearRx compared to the conventional cylindrical bottle and label. The results have been submitted for publication and were presented at a special hearing of a subcommittee of the California State Senate dealing with medication safety.

The Oliver and Jennie Donaldson Charitable Trust renewed its support to expand last year's award-winning national awareness programs on breast and prostate cancer screening. This screening is part of the work of the California Health Communication Partnership (CHCP), which Bill was instrumental in forming.

The Center began a new residency program that cross-trains pharmacists in academia and industry. PDL BioPharma, Inc. is our industry partner for the first resident.

A telepharmacy service, which was conceived by Clifton Louie, RPh, DPA, department of clinical pharmacy, and executive director for clinical services at the UCSF Medical Center, is now up and running. The clinic connects, via live video, patients at the Saint Anthony Free Medical Clinic in downtown San Francisco with student pharmacists at the Center for Consumer Self Care's Drug Information Analysis Service on our Parnassus campus. Our students, under the guidance of faculty and resident preceptors, counsel diabetes patients one afternoon per week. My thanks to department of clinical pharmacy faculty members Bill Soller, PhD; Candy Tsourounis, PharmD; Christine Cheng, PharmD; and student researcher Amy Hawkins for getting this project up and running. We are just now looking at patient and physician satisfaction measures, and we hope to next assess clinical outcomes. If this model proves successful, we have the potential to open other telepharmacy services at Saint Anthony's, such as a cardiovascular diseases service. I thank the McKesson Foundation for its grant support of this new practice model. Not surprisingly, Clifton was awarded the Chancellor's Award for Public Service last year for his work with community clinics that provide care to the underserved. He volunteers at several health clinics in San Francisco, assisting them with licensing requirements and in providing medicines and consultation to patients who do not have health benefits.

Accreditation

It will soon be time again—in early 2008—for another accreditation review of our PharmD program by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). We take the attitude that accreditation is a continuous process that must be addressed as accreditation standards change, as the health care marketplace changes, as science changes, and as our students change. Heading our accreditation team again is Barbara Sauer, PharmD, department of clinical pharmacy. I created a new and important post for Barbara and named her Associate Dean for Assessment and Accreditation. Joining her on a core accreditation planning committee are department of clinical pharmacy faculty members Robin Corelli, PharmD; Sharon Youmans, PharmD; Steve Kahl, PhD; and our new department chair, Joe Guglielmo, PharmD.

40th Anniversary of Clinical Pharmacy

It is hard to believe that September 7 marks the 40th anniversary of pharmacy as a clinical profession. It was on September 7, 1966 that the first satellite pharmacy on a hospital floor opened for service. The place was the 9th floor of UCSF's Moffitt Hospital, which was then dedicated to surgery patients. Now, pharmacists are integral and essential members of the health care team throughout the country and the world. I can only imagine the roles pharmacists will play on September 7, 2046 and how our School will be involved. That, my friends, is a story to be recounted by future deans.

I look forward to writing to you again this winter, when I know there again will be much to share. As always, please write or e-mail me with your thoughts, questions, and concerns.

With warm regards always,

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.

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