Town Hall: Return to on-site work

School of Pharmacy Interim Dean Thomas Kearney, PharmD, announced the recipients of the Mary Anne Koda Kimble Seed Award; Liana Crosby, MFA, provided guidance on the upcoming Gallup survey; and Alesia Woods, associate dean of administration and finance, led a discussion of the return to on-site work at UCSF with representatives from the School’s departments and units.

Video transcript

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[Tom Kearney]
Welcome, everybody, to the School of Pharmacy town hall. I appreciate your participation. We have really an information-packed session today. The thing I would like to open up with, by the way: my heart goes out to those of you who have family and friends in the Ukraine that are undergoing this Russian invasion on top of a pandemic. So I think we need to sort of keep that in mind.

Today, one of the main themes is going to be return to on-site work. And we've got a panel put together. We also have some other items that we're going to be covering. But the first thing I'd like to do is just again, introduce myself, Tom Kearney, the interim dean. As you know, our former Dean, Dean Joe Guglielmo, retired last December, and the Chancellor asked me to fill in while we are undergoing a search for a permanent dean. And that search is underway. And they're doing interviews for the finalists, which should be completed in about two weeks.

I've been a faculty member here for 33 years. I was a student here. And I was really happy and engaged to do this, to make sure that we don't miss a beat and our school continues. So it's definitely my pleasure. And I'm humbled to serve as your interim dean.

A couple of things. One is that I think a lot of us are anxious about what's going on with COVID. And coming back to work, fortunately, that the surge seems to be declining. And by virtue of that, that the chancellor has said that, firmly, that March 1 will be designated as a day that we set up to come back with our telework agreements and hybrid. So we'll be talking about that later. Also going to be talking about the Mary Anne Koda Kimball Seed Awards, which kind of showcase some of our learners and the innovations that they're doing and some of the broad array of research projects that are underway.

In addition, we'll be talking about the upcoming Gallup survey, and how it's important that any organization, the strength of an organization really belies in terms of its staff. And I think this is our sort of CQI [continuous quality improvement] in getting feedback from our staff.

And so with that, and just as a preview of what's going to happen is, I'm going to talk about the seat awards, we're talking about the Gallup survey, and then we will have a moderated panel. And by the way, the question and answer session will occur afterwards.

And finally, just two big wins for our organization I just like to highlight is that we were fully accredited for the maximum period of eight years. And that also, for me, was an affirmation of our whole curricular transformation. And my thanks to all the staff and faculty that made that happen. And also again, we were recognized as the number one NIH-funded pharmacy school in the nation. And again, that's another sort of kudos to our research group, one of our other important enterprises.

So with that, Eric, could you move on to our Seed Awards. So this is Mary Anne Koda Kimball, by the way, she is an icon in our school. She actually served as my department chair and the dean, and through her generosity, and in partnership with the Dean's Office, we have now provided funds to proceed for Seed grants. And looking at those projects that have originality, novelty, and involve our learners and faculty and staff as well.

And if you can move on to the next slide, so I'd like to just highlight some of these awards. Now, the first one you're looking at. Please don't be turned off by the technicality and the acronyms in there. But I like to say, when you look at these awards and the projects that they're doing, particularly basic research, is like a stepping stone to something that might generate some major breakthroughs in medicine, in therapeutics. And in this first case, this is an award [for] Emily, who is a PhD graduate student in one of our graduate programs, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics. And really one of the areas that this is leading to, this line of research, could elucidate the molecular underpinnings of multiple disease states, like cystic fibrosis, and maybe give us insight into novel therapeutics.

Then we have a project by Aiko, who's a PharmD... student, and this is a pilot study on looking at sustainability, you know, recycling pharmacy stock bottles, and looking at the economics of that. And again, maybe contributing to our climate issues and sustainability.

And then we have one by Sukhmanpreet, who is another pharmacy student, who is actually looking to develop... how to use videos that are non English, using our students to develop these, that will be put on YouTube. So helping with the area of health literacy.

And then finally we have a project by Benjamin Orr, who is a PhD student in biophysics, who's looking at improved design of protein functions by deep learning. And this is actually an area of research where they're developing, from scratch, de novo proteins, therapeutic proteins, and the treatment of various diseases like cancer, diabetes, anemia, infections. By the way, there is like 100 currently approved therapeutic protein drugs by the FDA. And using very sophisticated means of computational research, such as deep learning in artificial intelligence.

And the final set of awards that we were provided. One is looking at the effectiveness of oral anticoagulants and this is by Zhixin, who is a postdoc. And in this case, it's kind of interesting, they're going to mine a patient database, Medicare database. And it's kind of intriguing to me that they're looking maybe, as you know, older patients can develop atrial fibrillation, require anticoagulants to prevent emboli. And they've now shown that there might be an association that the use of those anticoagulants may reduce the risk of developing dementia, so sort of an unintended benefit of the drug. And so they're going to look to see whether or not there's any association with the use of those anticoagulants.

And then we have Dmitry, who's a postdoc in BTS. [He] is looking at targeting drug tolerant persister cells. And the significance of this is that this addresses the issue of tumor relapse after being treated for cancer, in mechanisms of that, and may lead to underlying causes that actually, when you treat patients with cancer, it's somewhat akin to some of the resistant drugs that we have with antibiotics and bugs are resistant to that. And so there's sort of a parallel there with that. So again, leading to maybe some significant findings later on.

And then finally, we have actually a collaborative team of Emma, who is a staff in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Chase, who's a PhD student in PSPG. Looking at a program, it's interesting, it's a series of lectures, an internship, and maybe a college application boot camp, where it's addressing the needs in overcoming the historical exclusion of underrepresented populations that target into, from secondary school into developing, becoming PhD students and graduate students. And so addressing sort of DEI issues and inequities.

So again, I just like to highlight that, we couldn't fund everybody, there was a limit of $100,000 that we had to give. But now we're really looking forward to the implementation of these research projects. So again, kudos to all these individuals that took the time. And by the way, each of them are sort of they're collaborating with various faculty members. Next slide Eric.

So now I would like to introduce somebody that I depend on heavily, and that's Liana Crosby, who's the Executive Assistant to the Dean, who actually has been helping with onboarding in my position, as well as making sure that I properly execute my daily responsibilities. So I'm going to turn it over to Liana, thank you.

[Liana Crosby]
Thank you so much, Tom. I hope you all can see and hear me... So I just wanted to give you a heads up that the next Gallup survey is coming up for 2022, April 12. So please keep an eye out for announcements from campus about that. And a reminder that the survey gets sent out to staff only. If something happens and you feel that you should have received this survey and you end up not receiving it, please contact me. So you should receive it exactly on April 12, it should open. So if you don't get it, please let me know. And I want to let you know that each of your units has an ambassador per Gallup. So these are the people that can help answer questions about the Gallup process and basically, keep your team engaged in the Gallup process, not just the survey itself, but the action planning and then making sure that the action items are being worked on and that there's progress being made.

I hope that all of your teams have created action plans and that you have been actively working on it. If you want to check on the status of that, check with your manager and check with the ambassadors listed here. And the last thing I will say is that we have the performance evaluations. The deadline is coming up March 15. And I really encourage you to get those done for staff. And if you have not received a performance evaluation, check in from your manager, please reach out to them. This is a very important part of the staff experience. And it's tied very much to Gallup because the Gallup survey actually asks you whether someone in the past six months has talked to you about progress, and whether you have everything you need to do your work. So if your manager is not checking in with you about those things, and if you're not doing the performance evaluation, you do not know what you need to be doing, and you may not have the equipment you need to do your work. So please, please make sure that you have a performance evaluation in place by March 15, and reach out to your manager if that process has not started yet. So thank you so much. Thank you, Tom, back to you.

[Tom Kearney]
Thank you, Liana. So I'd like to introduce the next moderator, somebody that's important who handles the dollars. And that's Alesia Woods, who's our Associate Dean of Administration and Finance, who is going to lead a very important discussion about coming back to campus. And just to share a quick story with you that, I had to come back, and I feel your pain that I had to think about coming back. I hadn't been on campus for a long time. And I had to think about okay, how am I going to catch BART. And then secondly, to link with the shuttle service to get to the Parnassus campus and also waking up early in the morning to do my health screen. And then how I'm going to badge in, and then having masks available, how I was going to eat. And I gotta tell you, it really took some thought and planning. And then once I even got in the office, I hadn't updated my laptop for some time, it took 30 minutes for the thing to set all the patches. And so I think people are probably thinking about how am I going to go through all these steps. And I'm thinking this is gonna be a very useful session session. So Alesia, thank you very much for doing this. I'm gonna allow you to take it away.

[Alesia Woods]
Thank you, Tom. Good day everyone. I'm going to jump right into the booster vaccine deadline, [which] is March 1 2022. Last week, the chancellor solicited the help of the deans and their leadership team to assist with outreach efforts. We reached out to the CAOs and the chairs. We received a list of all the SOP employees out of compliance, and we have notified the chairs and the CAOs. If you don't have your COVID or booster vaccine, you need a UCSF approved exemption on file. If you don't have this by March 1, you will be placed on indefinite leave without pay. I encourage everyone if you need assistance, please work with your CAO or your department's HR liaison. Or you can contact Angelie Khu, who is the dean's office HR administrator at 50%.

Adhere to campus COVID rules. Today we received a campus communication, an email went out, I think it was around 1:48, to provide us with information on the return to [on] site for March 1. So please make sure you read this email. We must adhere to campus COVID rules, including the daily health screener and mask requirements. Although the state of California retired the indoor mask mandate on February 15, UCSF will maintain masking as required by the California Department of Public Health. So all employees, learners, and staff employees must wear a mask or covering at all times, while on site indoors.

We will move on to the what to do if I have a positive test. Eric has listed the website. We encourage you to continue to check the websites weekly or a couple of times weekly as advice is constantly changing. So just maybe, link this as one of your favorites and stay in touch with the websites. Next is the telework agreements. Telework agreements should be completed by now. If you have not completed your telework agreement, I'm encouraging everyone to do so ASAP. These telework agreements are stored in PeopleSoft, and they will be used to help the campus Space Committee in making space assessments. I would encourage everyone to start viewing space differently. If you are returning to site two days a week, and working teleworking three days a week, you could very well be asked to share an office or to use hotel space. Next, I'll go with office etiquette, masking, eating, sharing workspace all of these topics. We have had conversations in the managers meeting. And I would encourage you to work with your manager. Consult with them in regards to spaces that you'll be eating in, in the building that you will be in terms of where to find masks. I've encouraged all the managers to provide masks in cleaning, sanitation cleans for people to use when they share spaces or just to use while you're indoors. Facility Management has beautified seating areas outdoors at Mission Bay and at Parnassus. So that will help with social distancing, and eating outdoors, socialization. So please, if you're at Mission Bay or Parnassus, check out some of these sites. I've also requested that managers work with employees. There's been a lot of conversation in regards to employees having some reservations about returning to site. Particularly there's people that have communicated that they have some health challenges, and they don't want to necessarily share spaces. So I've encouraged managers to work with staff on an individual basis. Okay, I think that's it, Eric. I think I've covered pretty much all the topics.

[Eric Davila]
Alright, so next up, we'll have Kimberly come on and tell us about specifics in Pharm Chem. We'll go through each of the departments, then circle back for questions.

[Kimberly Cantero]
Great, thank you. So I'm going to give a brief overview today of Pharm Chem's administrative staff return to work plan. There were a variety of factors that were considered including space, job function, and staff engagement. After consideration of these factors, we decided on a hybrid model with staff working on site two days a week. If you can advance, next slide, please... So, staff will be working on site two days a week. One of these two days on site will be fixed. It will be Tuesday of each week. So all staff will be in the office on Tuesday. We will use these days for one-on-one meetings, team check-ins, staff engagement activities and other meetings that may benefit from an in person meeting format. The second day on site will be variable by employee. For example, person A may be working on site Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Person B may be working on site Mondays and Tuesdays and person D may be working Tuesdays and Thursdays. This allows for flexibility for staff and also consistent on-site staffing levels each week. We will also have a shared calendar that will be made available that will have this information so that it is transparent who's working on site at any given time during the week. So those are all the updates that I have for Pharm Chem.

[Eric Davila]
All right, and Marley tell us about Clinical Pharmacy

[Marley Quirante]
Thanks Eric. So for Clinical Pharmacy, you can advance to the next slide. We are also going with the two days a week hybrid work model. On March 2, we are doing a return to work kickoff, with hosting a little welcome back engagement event. We're going to start off with a light breakfast, we'll watch the Dean's candidate presentation, and we'll have a catered lunch on the rooftop patio. And for our fixed days it will be Wednesdays. Two Wednesday's out of the month we will all meet on campus for engagement activities and professional development and Gallup action planning and other connection activities. And then the second, other two Wednesdays will all be at our primary work locations connecting with faculty, students, and others that we share the space with. The second day on site will be the choice of the staff. And we will also post that schedule on our Clinical Pharmacy calendar. And we do have two remote workers who we will continue to engage in support. Let's see next. And then we're just preparing our staff for coming back to work, to you know, please remain flexible and to sign up for your commuter benefits and to re-establish any type of aftercare or childcare or any type of care for your family. And that's it. And I just want to thank all of our staff who've demonstrated pride values along with being so flexible and resilient the past two years. Thank you.

[Eric Davila]
Alright and Lisa Cabahug if you could let us know what to expect in BTS.

[Lisa Cabahug]
Good afternoon, everyone. This is Lisa, I'm the interim CAO for BTS. Our department is undergoing many changes, as is the school and other departments. BTS's return to work principles mirror those of Pharm Chem and Clin Pharm. The department decided on two days on site and three days off site for administrative staff with flexibility for lab staff who have mostly really returned to full-time, on-site work. We have also instituted an officer of the day system to cover any urgent and immediate issues that need physical presence for resolution. We will also continue with a biweekly hybrid coffee hour and engagement activities that we started during the shelter in place. There are on site relocations for BTS staff at this time mainly from Parnassus to Mission Bay, from Parnassus to Wayne and Gladys Valley Vision Center and Byers Hall. So the provision of ergonomic equipment at these new locations are a priority. All staff were provided with laptops for remote work when we started shelter in place, and these laptops will replace the desktops for those moving into this new spaces. At the same time, adequately sized monitors will continue to be provided for off site work as needed. This was a realization from the year of working remotely, the need for more powerful laptops and larger monitors to execute the various university online programs more efficiently offsite. Since January, our staff have been coming to campus based on need with proper screening and testing. And with proper coordination for alternate presence on campus, the official return to work will not be a big change for us. But being on site at the same time will be the major adjustment and the most welcome one. To celebrate this milestone, BTS will be hosting lunch for faculty and administrators staff on March 1, to reset our minds to the new normal. Thank you. To you, Eric.

[Eric Davila]
All right, back to Alesia for any specifics regarding the Dean's Office.

[Alesia Woods]
Thank you, Eric. Wow. I mean, that was beautiful. Everyone, just the presentation of how you're preparing. I'm super excited. The Dean's Office administration team is excited to be returning. We are a small group. So some of us will be sharing our time between Parnassus and Mission Bay. And so one of the things that we're doing is we're making sure that there's coverage at both sites at all time Monday through Thursday. Friday, everyone will telework remotely. But we're overlapping. And we're trying to ensure that there's at least two people on site in the office, at both locations. You know, the Dean's Office, it's sort of like a mixed bag in terms of the administration and then the education side. So what we did is we did a lot of collaboration and talking. We wanted to make sure that we were treating these agreements equitably. We wanted to make sure that the nature of the work and the job families were consistent in creating these telework agreements. So for the most part, we all agreed that a minimum of two days back in the office is what everyone selected. However, people could come more than two days and there are some people that will come more than two days a week. But everyone, you know, continued to be excited about the return back.

In preparation, we have started sanitizing space, having deep cleaning in the Dean's Office and a lot of the other spaces there. Because it's been close to two years, I think, since some of the space has been utilized. So there was a lot of dust. We're also looking at laptop monitors, to make sure that everyone have the adequate tools and equipment that they need. Mission Bay is a new space for most of the finance team that's going to occupy that space, the Vision Valley Center. So we've ordered monitors, this space, pretty much is already set up in terms of ergonomically, with a desk and with chairs. But right now we're going through ordering monitors and keyboards and things just to make sure that everyone is comfortable.

We're also looking at sharing space. We're encouraging everyone, if you're going to be in the office two days a week, and then others that come on the odd days, if they need an office, because they're going to be doing Zoom, we're opening up the offices so that people don't own the office space, that it's a shared office that any given time, there is hotel space at Mission Bay and at Parnassus for anyone to drop in and to use that space. So that's it. And we have not unfortunately, we have not planned any gatherings. I think we, as I said, we're a small group, and there's a few reservations with people. And so we want people to be comfortable in having a face interactions. So we have not moved to have any type of lunching or outings at this time.

[Eric Davila]
Thank you and I got slightly out of order. So we would also like to have Pam Schultz, who is going to give us a brief update about what's going on with education as we look at the staff returned to campus.

[Pam Schultz]
Good afternoon, everyone, I just have a brief update. So as far as students returning to campus, we're still in hybrid mode. But come spring, we're trying to bring back as much in person as possible, especially for the small group learning sessions. And we'll keep evolving from there. As far as some exciting news and announcements that I can give as we just received approval last week, is that we will be able to have an in-person commencement ceremony which will be held Friday, May 27 at Davies Symphony Hall. So we are now going to be working on an accelerated version of planning and will continue to provide more details to the School and the students as we get more information. And last, I just wanted to highlight that the P3's have been busy doing all of their residency applications and the match results will be coming in, Phase One will be coming in March 16. And Phase Two results will be coming an April 13. Just so you can be aware of that and support our students through that process. And that's all I have. Thank you.

[Eric Davila]
Okay, from here, I think we can go to Levi to moderate any questions that have come in.

[Levi Gadye]
Alright, so I think the first question that we can address is from Robin Corelli, will the in person graduation ceremony include graduate family and friends. Pam, do you want to answer that?

[Pam Schultz]
Yes, at this time, we're planning for a full ceremony with family and friends as well. So that's how we're moving forward. There will be some additional requirements as you might have guessed, with COVID, as far as masking and vaccination records, and we are getting that compiled right now and we'll be putting that together for everyone.

[Levi Gadye]
There's also a question that I don't know if anyone here can actually answer it. But can we have a party with everyone in the School of Pharmacy? Tom, can you address that? I don't know.

[Tom Kearney]
Well, it would be wonderful if we could. I don't remember maybe Alesia knows, or Liana, what is the current constraints in terms of gatherings that have come out in terms of direction from the Chancellor's Office and whether you can even have food?

[Alesia Woods]
I think the email today, I have to, I didn't take a deep dive. But it does have, I'm trying to pull it up. It does have some restrictions there in terms of gatherings. And... Hosting event approvals are based on the state's current transmission risk level, defined by the US Centers of Disease in Control and Prevention. While in the red tier, events are limited to less than 100 attendees indoors, with no food or drinks. So I can assume outdoors, but indoors, 100. Does that help?

[Tom Kearney]
Yeah, thanks, Alesia. So my view on it is, I'm certain as things progress. Me, hopefully this is an inflection point, right with the virus. And as things open up more and more, I think it's still a fluid situation. It is important to me, both from faculty, staff and students, that there is, we evolve into something and have more connectedness. And we do actually see one another, we're now debating about future meetings, that, you know, maybe having an in person option now, more so as rather than what we did in the past with just Zooms, I think there's some advantage to that. So I think it remains to be seen, we'll just have to follow what the recommendations are. And I know people are just right now, there's a lot of anxiety about the change and coming in and the planning to do it. And I just really ask everybody to be patient, and to sort of abide by what the policies are at the time. And hopefully, we can come to some kind of new normal in terms of dealing with this virus and continue the sort of strong relationship we have with one another.

[Levi Gadye]
Alright, so are there any more questions relating to getting back to in person? Seems like there aren't. Tom, we just learned that Katherine Krebs is retiring next week, would you mind saying a few words?

[Tom Kearney]
Well, I think that's wonderful. 16 years of service. Is Katherine, I guess you can't be on. So for anybody that sort of spent that amount of time and contribution to the School. I really appreciate that. And I'm one of those I actually retired 20 months ago, and I'm still here. So anyway, yeah, please. Thank you, Katherine, for all your service. And hopefully that your unit will provide some other note of recognition for what you contributed to us.

And, and also, finally, I just like to thank everybody for their participation, and particularly to the panelists, and to the staff, and to the faculty as well. And hopefully, we'll have a productive upcoming year. And, again, as I mentioned, hopefully, we'll also have identified a dean in the next few months, it's very possible, and I've signed on for up to six months. So hopefully, that'll be resolved by then. But I certainly want to share everybody, I won't leave the school in a lurch. It's been my privilege to actually work with the School. And I really appreciate the warm welcome that I've gotten from everybody. So I think we're a strong unit. And I just finally like to say that, you know, change is inevitable, right, in any organization. And we've got a lot of change that's occurred at the leadership level, in the department chairs. But sometimes there's a silver lining there that people bring with them a new perspective. And I think that can, you know, contribute to growth of an organization. So, having said that, I'd like this to sign off and everybody please stay safe and healthy. And hopefully, maybe we'll get to see each other face-to-face in the upcoming months. So thank you, Levi, thank you, Eric, and everybody.


File PowerPoint: February 24, 2022 Town Hall School of Pharmacy Return to On-site Work

Wed Nov 15, 2023 Town Hall: AI in Pharmacy
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Wed Nov 16, 2022 Town Hall: leadership spotlight
Thu Jun 30, 2022 Town Hall: Gallup Survey results and introducing the next dean
Thu Mar 3, 2022 This page:
Town Hall: Return to on-site work


School of 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.