Six VCU School of Pharmacy alumni have been recognized by the school for their exemplary work as preceptors in 2014-15. Rebeccah Collins (Pharm.D.’00/P) was named Preceptor of the Year during the school’s annual Senior Banquet. Since then, five more alumni have been recognized individually with Outstanding Preceptor Awards: David Flammia (B.S.’94/P), Tana Kaefer (Pharm.D.’04/P), Margaret Rowe (B.S.’76/P; Pharm.D.’06/P), Joan Sok (Pharm.D.’99/P), David Wyatt (Pharm.D.’05/P). Learn more about all of this year’s winning preceptors.
- Dave Dixon discussed the new statin guidelines with Richmond Newsradio 1140’s Jimmy Barrett.
- Dave Dixon and Evan Sisson (B.S.’92/P; Pharm.D.’94/P; M.S.H.A.’96/AHP) presented “Lipid Guidelines: What is Best for My Patients?” at the American Association of Diabetes Educators 2015 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
- Dean Joseph T. DiPiro was interviewed by Pharmacy Times for a story on pharmacy deans’ advice to graduating students.
- Betty Dobbie, an experiential learning specialist with the Office of Experiential Education, received the 2015 School of Pharmacy Employee Recognition Award. A reception was held at the school in celebration of her award as well as three faculty promotions.
- Leigh Anne Gravatt (Pharm.D.’03/P) was interviewed by Pharmacy Times about the prevention and treatment of Legionnaires’ Disease.
- Additional evidence supports David Holdford’s research on the effectiveness of appointment-based medication synchronization.
- Rafael Saenz (Pharm.D.’03/P) has been appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy.
- Brigitte Sicat (Pharm.D.’98/P) left her faculty position after 15 years to work with her husband’s endocrinology practice in Richmond.
- Benjamin Van Tassell has been named a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.
• Sallie Mayer has been named the School of Pharmacy’s first ASPiRE Faculty Fellow.
• Doug Sweet has been promoted to full professor.
• Benjamin Van Tassell received the School of Pharmacy’s 2015 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Ron McFarlane (B.S.’80/P) of Raleigh, N.C., has been appointed a member of VCU’s Board of Visitors. McFarlane is group president, Specialty Infusion Services, for Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. He joined Diplomat last year when it acquired MedPro Rx, the specialty infusion pharmacy he and his wife, Nancy McFarlane (B.S.’80/P), established in 2002.
VCU Alumni’s African-American Alumni Council launched in April a new initiative to promote the benefits of networking to current undergraduate students.
The Mentoring Circle event, held during Reunion Weekend 2015, connected VCU African-American alumni with current students. Ten alumni participated with 16 students in a mock networking event at the Hippodrome Theater in Richmond, Virginia.
“The goal was to educate students on the importance of networking and to show them how to best utilize the process,” said AAAC member Gail Coles Johnson (B.S.’86/B).
The Mentoring Circle event not only allowed students to interact with professionals with shared career interests, but the program was also an opportunity for board members to identify students for the AAAC’s mentorship program. Through the mentorship program, alumni members will provide students who attended the event with direct career insight, connections and referrals.
“I’m a first-generation college student,” said Judy Branham, VCU junior and psychology and African-American studies double major. “This isn’t information that I have access to at home. I can’t ask my parents, aunts and uncles about this.”
The event featured two rounds for networking: one designed to assess the students’ communication skills and the second to provide tips to improve their skills.
“They had an impressive level of engagement and willingness to learn,” Johnson said of the students.
Alumna Deborah Porter (B.S.’87/H&S) agreed.
“I think they’re smart. I think they know themselves better than I did at that age. They each have an idea of where they’re going and what they want, and that they have some level of initiative and skill to accomplish their goals,” Porter said.
Both the students and alumni say they look forward to the next alumni-student networking event. AAAC members are already strategizing ideas for next year.
“Next time, we may ask students to bring in their resumes to have them evaluated,” said AAAC member Jeffrey Roberts (B.S.’87/E).
U.S. News & World Report has placed Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU in the new 2015-16 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.
The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight U.S. News’ top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology. Based on a combination of clinical data and reputation surveys of pediatric specialists, 83 hospitals ranked in at least one specialty.
“It is an honor to once again be ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals for pediatric kidney care,” said Leslie G. Wyatt, senior vice president of children’s services and executive director of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. “Our continued presence in the rankings is a reflection of the expertise of our nephrology team, CHoR’s full bench of pediatric specialists and staff required to provide comprehensive care to children with kidney disease, and our commitment to advancing children’s health.”
About 30 percent of the VCU School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. Class of 2015 will go on to complete pharmacy residencies in a variety of locations nationwide. Nearly 1,200 pharmacy residency programs in this country now offer advanced training in professional practice and management for more than 2,800 Pharm.D. graduates.
Braveen Ragunanthan has been interested in public health and social justice for as long as he can remember. After witnessing extreme poverty in Sri Lanka and India on family trips as a young boy, he began to think about the systems that created such hardship and, more importantly, ways to combat it. These experiences, he says, “ultimately showed me that working in public health closely aligned to my moral sense of purpose.”
In recognition of his dedication to serving the less fortunate, Ragunanthan was honored by the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee with its 2015 Excellence in Public Health Award. The national award recognizes medical students who demonstrate their commitment to improving public health. He received the award at the School of Medicine’s student Honors Day ceremony in May.
Since those childhood trips, Ragunanthan has traveled widely to learn more about what it takes to make a difference in communities around the world. As an undergraduate student at Duke, he spent summers in the Mississippi Delta, at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa and battling neglected tropical diseases in Ethiopia. He says that these trips instilled in him the belief that “all people of all backgrounds, regardless of their circumstances, deserve a chance to enjoy a healthy life.”