Office of Education and Instructional Services receives Boyden Staff Service Award

Training the next generation of pharmacists takes a village. Since 2012, the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Office of Education and Instructional Services (OEIS) has been critical to the School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, most recently shepherding students and faculty through a curriculum overhaul as well as an abrupt transition to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 17, all 16 staff on the OEIS team were acknowledged with the Jaclyne Witte Boyden Staff Service Award by the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators at UCSF. The award “honors and recognizes exemplary service by staff in support of health professions education,” with a particular emphasis on the “unsung heroes … who directly impact a school’s education mission.”

"The contributions of OEIS have been the ‘secret sauce’ to the success of our delivering the PharmD curriculum,” wrote Vice Dean Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH, in her nominating letter. “A quote that I hear over and over again from the faculty at the end of each [curriculum] theme is, ‘I would not have been able to do this course without OEIS.’”

OEIS is led by Interim Director Cynthia Zarate. Her colleagues at OEIS are Stephen Bruer; Rodney Yun; Sara Hoover, MDiv; Evelyn Garcia; Cali Nguyen; Tuan Nguyen, MA; Shezar Saifee, MA, MBA; Alexa Tan; James Ferguson; Kylie Leung; Rickey Lee Bauman, MA; Erin Harrison; Elbert Brooks; Tia-Jane Desplancke; and Neha Narayankar, MS.

OEIS works behind the scenes with faculty to ensure that all aspects of PharmD education can be delivered smoothly. The team helps coordinate lectures and assessments, place students in clinical environments as part of the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) blocks, and manage pharmacist residencies in the School.

In 2018, OEIS helped inaugurate the School’s revamped PharmD curriculum, a three-year, year-round program that challenges students to apply a scientific mindset to all aspects of pharmacy practice. At the same time, the team also ensured that current students, taking the legacy PharmD curriculum, continued to receive the high quality of pharmacy education they had signed up for.

“OEIS has truly been the glue in our success switching to a novel, year-round, integrated curriculum unlike any in the world,” said Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD. “Delivery of not just one but two concurrent curricula these past few years requires dedication, professionalism, patience, all of which OEIS has in spades.”

OEIS has been crucial for the School’s adoption of technology in pharmacy education, introducing tools that streamlined the scheduling of lectures and laboratory courses, management of student assessments, and meeting virtually. These tools proved their worth many times over when the team oversaw the abrupt transition of the PharmD program to distance learning in March.

Zarate took the helm of OEIS in February. Weeks later, as the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, she rallied the group to keep the PharmD curriculum afloat remotely just as San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order went into effect.

As the PharmD community acclimated to remote education over the spring, OEIS went on to develop a nine-part video tutorial “to teach the faculty, the residents, other staff on how to utilize Zoom to be more engaging,” according to Zarate. The tutorial was such a success that OEIS shared the videos with the UCSF Library and the Schools of Nursing and Medicine.

“This award is a testament to the team’s ongoing dedication to our students and faculty and all the good work they do in health professions education,” said Zarate. “I’m so proud of them.”


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.