Pharmacy: Fall picnic fosters fun


First-year Pharm.D. students reigned supreme in the School of Pharmacy fall picnic’s tug-of-war contest … while Dean Joseph T. DiPiro discovered that one of his new responsibilities was to serve as judge in this important rite of passage.

For the first time in recent memory, a faculty team won the volleyball rivalry against students. Hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers helped fuel competitors.

See photos from the School of Pharmacy’s fall picnic at Shields Lake Shelter in Richmond’s Byrd Park.

Pharmacy: Alumni participate in VSHP Fall Seminar and Residency Showcase


The 2014 Virginia Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists Seminar and Residency Showcase attracted a number of VCU School of Pharmacy students as well as some familiar (and recent) alumni faces. Among the residency locations represented were Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News with Lindsay Fournier (Pharm.D.’14/P), VCU Health System with Natalie Nguyen (Pharm.D.’14/P) and WellPoint with Jeremy Landsheft (Pharm.D.’14/P).

Several SOP alumni are 2013-14 VSHP officers: Brian Baird (Cert.’01/En; Pharm.D.’03/P), president; Jerry Martin (B.S.’88/P; M.B.A.’01/B), immediate past president; Bob Stoneburner (B.S.’74/P) and Emily Dyer (Pharm.D.’07P), members at large. (If we missed anyone, please let us know! Email Ashley Street is president of SVSHP, the student chapter of VSHP, and the faculty advisor is Leigh Anne Hylton Gravatt (Pharm.D.’03/P).

See the entire VSHP roster, including regional officers and committee chairmen.

Pharmacy: School wins national community engagement award


MagrathFourteen VCU School of Pharmacy (seven alumni among them), 35 residents and more than 500 students contributed to a program that won the 2014 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award.

The Pharmacist Collaborative Care and Outreach in the Community program covers the school’s community partnerships and outreach programs since 2001, which have resulted in more than 20,000 patient care encounters.

The award, sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, was accepted at APLU’s 127th Annual Meeting by Cathy Howard, vice provost for the VCU Division of Community Engagement. This is the first time VCU has won an APLU award.

School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph T. DiPiro said, “This is a terrific recognition of our efforts and a great incentive to build these programs further.”

SOP faculty alumni who have worked closely with PCOC are Krista Donohoe (Cert.’10/AHP; Pharm.D.’10/P), Kelly Goode (B.S.’89/P; Pharm.D.’94/P), Sharon Gatewood (B.S.’97/H&S; Pharm.D.’02/P),  Brigitte Sicat (Pharm.D.’98/P), Evan Sisson (B.S.’92/P; Pharm.D.’94/P, M.S.H.A.’96/AHP), Patty Slattum (B.S. ’85/P; Cert.’92/AHP; Ph.D.’93/P) and Tyler Stevens (Pharm.D.’06/P). Hundreds of students – too many to name! – who now are alumni also served as part of the program.

Learn more about the Magrath Award.

Pharmacy: Medicinal Chemistry faculty win innovation award


Martin Safo

Current and former members of the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry have been honored for their research on sickle cell disease with VCU’s Billy R. Martin Award for Innovation.

The ninth annual Invented at VCU reception recognized Martin Safo, associate professor of medicinal chemistry; emeritus professor Don Abraham; and Richmond Danso-Danquah, former assistant professor. Together they developed Aes-103, a compound to treat sickle cell disease, at the VCU Institute for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery. (Abraham is also emeritus director of the institute.)

Read more about the award and reception.

Pharmacy: Department chair co-PI for $1M grant


Don Brophy

Don Brophy (M.S.’04/M), chairman of the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, is co-principal investigator for a $1 million Department of Defense grant.

The grant will allow researchers, including co-PI Ramesh Natarajan, VCU School of Medicine, to test the use of vitamin C in preventing hemorrhagic shock-induced death. The leading cause of death in people who suffer traumatic injuries is the body shutting down because of heavy blood loss.

Learn more about this grant.

Pharmacy: Associate dean retires


Jeffrey C. Delafuente, VCU School of Pharmacy associate dean

Jeffrey C. Delafuente, VCU School of Pharmacy associate dean for academic affairs, has retired after 16 years with the school. Before arriving at VCU, he worked for University of Florida Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, St. Louis University School of Medicine and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Former SOP Dean Victor Yanchick said he originally hired Delafuente to “establish a geriatrics program second to none.”

The school’s Pharm.D. program now requires a geriatrics rotation and offers a Certificate in Aging Studies. The current Geriatric Pharmacotherapy Program is dedicated to improving drug therapy outcomes in older adults and being a nationally recognized leader in the field.  Professor Patty Slattum (B.S.’85/P; Cert.’92/AHP; Ph.D.’93/P) directs the program; faculty specializing in geriatric pharmacotherapy include K.C. Ogbonna, Emily Peron and Krista Donohoe (Pharm.D.’10/P).

Delafuente served as 2013-14 president of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, an international professional organization devoted to optimal medication management and improved health outcomes for older individuals. Among other achievements, he was elected a fellow with ASCP, a Distinguished Practitioner and fellow in the National Academies of Practice and served as secretary of the Commonwealth Council on Aging. He also worked with ASCP and the American Pharmacists Association to develop a national medication therapy management certificate program.

Delafuente is retiring to his new home in Fort Myers, Florida.

View snapshots from Delafuente’s last two weeks at the School of Pharmacy.

Pharmacy: Team IHARP reports on Carilion-SOP partnership project


Gary Matzke, the School of Pharmacy’s director of pharmacy practice transformation initiatives, and assistant professor Leticia R. Moczygemba presented a poster on the Improving Health for At-Risk Rural Patients program at the 2014 American College of Clinical Pharmacy Annual Meeting.

IHARP was funded in 2012 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. It was created to allow pharmacists to better assist chronically ill patients — who lived in an underserved region of southwestern Virginia — after leaving the hospital. The program has garnered an estimated cost savings of $1.2 million in its first 14 months.

Read more about how IHARP — a partnership of VCU School of Pharmacy, Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and selected community pharmacies – has progressed.

Pharmacy: Pharmacy Today stars SOP alumna


The November 2014 issue of the American Pharmacists Association’s Pharmacy Today magazine features SOP alumna Cheri Garvin (B.S.’90/P).

The article, “Mixing It Up: Garvin Thrives on Diverse Duties at Compounding Pharmacy,” showcases her career as president and CEO of The Compounding Center in Leesburg, Virginia.

A Leesburg native, Garvin had planned to become a teacher. But a conversation with a community pharmacist persuaded her to consider pharmacy school. After college, her various jobs included practicing at Leesburg Pharmacy with the pharmacist whose career suggestion she had taken; working at a hospital; working with third-party payers for a disease management company; and serving as a lab instructor at her alma mater, teaching practical and compounding skills.

She received the School of Pharmacy’s Preceptor of the Year Award in 2003, and her pharmacy was a featured site in the April 2007 edition of the Preceptor Newsletter.

VCU researchers to study vitamin C as treatment for hemorrhagic shock


The Department of Defense has awarded a $1 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University researchers to test the use of vitamin C in preventing hemorrhagic shock-induced death.

Hemorrhagic shock occurs when the body begins to shut down due to heavy blood loss. It is the leading cause of death in people with traumatic injuries.

VCU researchers will determine whether high doses of vitamin C can normalize platelet function, the blood cells that are involved in clotting, after hemorrhagic shock has occurred. In addition, it is hoped that vitamin C will slow down the process of organ failure and restore normal organ physiology.

“This has significant implications at the battlefront and in subjects with penetrating trauma,” said co-principal investigator Ramesh Natarajan, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, VCU School of Medicine.

Since vitamin C is water soluble, it is easy to carry in pouches on the battlefield for intravenous, intramuscular or intraperitoneal administration.

Read more.

Pharmacy: Join us at the ASHP Midyear Virginia Reception


ASHP Midyear 14If you’re planning to attend the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists 49th Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, don’t miss the Virginia Reception!

The reception begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at McCormick and Schmick’s Grille, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, California.

Brought to you by: Carilion Clinic, University of Virginia Health System, VCU Medical Center, VCU School of Pharmacy and VCU School of Pharmacy’s Inova Campus.

Questions? Contact or (804) 828-3016.