The WesternU class of 2018 and 2019 hosted our Annual Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday, November 25, 2016 for students, faculty and staff. The buffet consisted of the usual Thanksgiving fare such as turkey and mashed potatoes but also samosa, pizza and sushi. The desserts featured pies, donuts and candy. Thank you to the students for the great food and a chance to socialize before taking our Thanksgiving holiday.
On Saturday, November 21st, 2015, WesternU’s Office of University Recruitment hosted its Preview Day open house event for 800+ prospective health sciences students. The day began at 8:30am with check-in and was followed by a resource fair where prospective students can interact with admissions, student services, and clubs. Program-specific sessions and tours began at 9:30am and the day was concluded by 12:00pm. The College of Pharmacy had over 85 guests attend the information session which featured a presentation by Dean Daniel Robinson, PharmD, FASHP. Some very special guests also visited the room: Dr. Gary Gugelchuck, Interim President and Dr. Richard Bond, Board of Trustees Member and the first WesternU DO graduate. It was wonderful to have them stop by and speak to our prospective students about the foundation of all WesternU programs: Humanism. I presented the admissions portion of the presentation. Afterward, we had a student panel which consisted of four 2nd-year students: Beheya Ahmed, PharmD Candidate 2018, Brian Qu, PharmD Candidate 2018, Marvin Ortiz ,PharmD Candidate 2018 and Violet Valencia, PharmD Candidate 2018.
Overall, it was a successful event! If you missed this last Preview Day, come visit us at our next event. Or sign-up for our Preview Day in March!
Guest Post by:
University Recruiter | Liaison to the College of Pharmacy
Western University of Health Sciences
Office of University Recruitment and Strategic Enrollment Management
( (909) 469-5339 | ✉ email@example.com
Photos courtesy of Marvin Ortiz, PharmD Candidate 2018
Michael Cervantes from Congresswoman Norma J. Torres's office spoke to the CPhA/APhA Student Chapter on "The Legislative Process" and HR592 on November 18, 2015. The presentation is also part of the Noon Elective Seminar series and a couple of student reflections are posted below:
Reflection #1: Uyen Truong, PharmD Candidate 2019
Today, Michael Cervantes, a representative of Congresswoman Norma Torres, came by to speak to us about the legislative process and how we can get involved. He began by briefly explaining how our government works. He explained how the three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) each contribute to making a bill into a law. He then explained the process of a bill becoming law. All this information seems irrelevant to pharmacy, but he emphasized that in order to advocate for pharmacy laws, we had to know the legislative process.
After a brief lecture on how our government works, he gave us some pointers. What stuck out to me the most is when he told us to reach out to our congressmen. He kept saying that we might feel unimportant and feel like a regular civilian way over our heads, but our voices need to be heard and will be heard. He explained to us that every idea brought up to a congressman is taken down and looked at. I had never known an individual can make that much of a difference, but I’ve seen it in my life. My father and his friends are close to a former member of the California State Senate, Lou Correa. So I know a close relationship can be accomplished, and with that, our voices into law.
Reflection#2 Chanh M. Pham, PharmD Candidate 2019
Michael Cervantes is a district representative and he was talking about bills and the steps needed for it to become law. The players involved in this law-making process are Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court. First, members of congress introduces a bill, then the bill is assigned to a standing committee and decide if the bill needs any further revision. If a bill passes through a committee, it is then reported and debated on the floor of the house that it was introduced in where they decide if the bill will be voted on. A bill must be passed with the majority vote, and if it does get passed, then it will be sent to the other house to be assigned to another committee. The house and senate must agree on the same piece of legislation. If the bill passes both houses, then the president will then decide if it will be signed and passed, or vetoed. Only after the bill has passed the House of Representative, Senate, and President will it then become law. A keeper for me was learning about bill HR-592, which allows pharmacists to treat Medicare patients in underserved areas and populations and will get reimbursed for their services. It is relevant with my life because after pharmacy school, I want to work in third world countries that deals with underserved areas.
WesternU Associate Dean Sam Shimomura is a member of the Cerritos College Pharmacy Technician Advisory Board that met on November 16, 2015. There were also representatives from employers such as Target, CVS and PIH as well as from educational institutions such as Santa Ana College and San Bernardino Valley College (which both offer pharmacy technician programs). Cerritos College faculty Ralph Casas, PharmD, PhD and Nashiba Makarem, PharmD chaired the meeting. The agenda included discussions on curriculum changes, recruitment of prospective students, job placement and employment trends and partnership development. The meeting concluded with a tour of their facilities and a look at the new "clean room" they are in the process of installing.
WesternU has been partnering with Cerritos College for a number of years and several of their graduates have gone on to pharmacy school at WesternU and other colleges of pharmacy (about 10% of their graduates). Cerritos College and WesternU also partner on a "Sterile Compounding" continuing education program for pharmacists and technician taught by Drs Casas and Makarem at Cerritos College. The next course is scheduled for February 26-29, 2016. In addition, Dr Makarem is schedule to give a Noon Seminar Elective lecture at WesternU in the Spring semester on pharmacy technicians and their training and capabilities.
Ronald Jordan, Dean at Chapman University School of Pharmacy and Past President of APhA spoke to the CPhA/APhA student chapter on November 16, 2015. The presentation is also part of the Elective Seminar series and a couple of reflections from students are posted below:
Reflection #1: Hatu Nguyen, PharmD Candidate 2019
From Dr. Ronald P. Jordan, I learned the importance of taking an interest in policy and advocating for our career as pharmacists. The Patient Access to Pharmacy Care Coalition is an important organization that pushes for expanding the roles of pharmacists and helping them gain provider status, allowing us to bill for our services. California has just passed SB493, allowing pharmacists to prescribe travel medications, birth control, and smoking cessation drugs. However, the organization still needs help nationally to spread awareness about the role of the pharmacist, so that we can change the public perception that pharmacists merely count pills and dispense. I learned about some important avenues about how to take an active role in advocating for my position. Some of these ways include attending a board of pharmacy meeting, or visiting PharmacistProviderCare.com and write a letter to the senator. My “keeper” idea is to get involved in pharmacy legislation and get to know our local senators who can speak on our behalf. It is important to be active in legislation because our actions today influence our outlook tomorrow. I plan to partake in legislation by attending the legislative day seminars and by attending the upcoming conference in San Francisco.
Reflection #2: Shela Pournazari, PharmD Candidate 2019
In the presentation, Dean Ronald Jordan introduced himself as the former president of APhA and because of his former position Chapman University School of Pharmacy chose him to be their dean. From there, he delved into describing the importance of advocacy in the scope of pharmacy by mentioning that when he began pharmacy school, a facilitator mentioned to him as a pharmacist he had to “Get into politics or get out of pharmacy!” As of now, pharmacists have come a long way to gain provider status and it is astonishing that it has taken so long as we, as pharmacists, are the drug experts yet other healthcare professionals have little knowledge of drugs but are given prescriber authority. It has been a multi-decade goal for pharmacists to gain such status and $300 billion worth of medication related misadventures could potentially be prevented had pharmacists been involved in prescribing. In order to resolve the multi-billion dollars spent on medication errors, pharmacists must be involved on the healthcare professional team. Medications help with the management of symptoms however, if used improperly they are equivalent to any other poison that is lethal for the patient.
The bill SB493 was able to get passed because of pharmacists, Dean Robinson and various pharmacy school students who played an immense role in advocacy particularly WesternU students. Dean Ron mentioned that when there is an advocate for change, the field of pharmacy can progress immensely and as pharmacists this is essential because we must be able to free up regulations so that we can practice effectively. Due to SB493 pharmacists can now prescribe travel medications, prescribe smoking cessation and contraceptive medications. Getting involved in politics is essential and various coalitions exist which are collectively known as Patient Access to Pharmacist Care Coalition. My keeper from the seminar was when Dean Ron mentioned that as he began pharmacy school his facilitator said as a pharmacist you either “Get into politics or get out of pharmacy!” This idea stuck to me because it made me realize how much of a difference I can make on the individual scale if I were to go visit my Congress man, write a letter or go to Capitol Hill to have my voice heard. It is reassuring to know that in a democratic government we are able to have our voices heard and that changes can occur in the profession from our activism. Some of the practical applications that I made to my life are that if I were to visit these locations to have my voice heard I must dress professionally with my white coat, bring business cards and a camera.
UCI is always one of the major feeder schools for WesternU as well as many other pharmacy schools around the country. They have an excellent Pre-Pharmacy Society and around 30 of their members visited WesternU on November 13, 2015. The event was organized by Susie Fang and Kelly Williford from University Recruitment with support from Associate Dean Sam Shimomura and student pharmacists Marvin Ortiz, PharmD Canidate 2018 and Priscilla Seo, PharmD Candidate 2018. The evening included dinner, presenation, tour and a long question and answer session.
Three speakers from wholesaler Cardinal Health, Daniel Rim, Dave Ellis and Judd Wilstead discussed the pros and cons of "Pharmacy Ownership" on November 12, 2015. The presentation was hosted by the NCPA Student Chapter at WesternU and is part of the Elective Seminar series. A couple of student reflections written by students are posted below:
Reflection #1: Neeki Mirkhani, PharmD Candidate 2019
This lecture focused on the topic of pharmacy ownership. The speakers were from Cardinal Health and they gave us information and comparisons between working for a retail pharmacy and being an owner of a pharmacy both in terms of the money you will be making and how much work will be involved. Working for a retail pharmacy is good for someone who is happy with the idea of going into work and performing their duties as a pharmacist and then going home and not having anything to do related to work. For a pharmacy owner, the work will follow you even when the work day is over because it is a business that needs to be run and taken care of consistently and the pharmacy owner is the CEO, CFO, CIO, CAO, CCO, etc. It is a big financial and time commitment. To be able to actually buy and open your own pharmacy you need to at least have $250K to begin with at the least. Opening your private pharmacy next to a larger retail store is actually a smart idea.
From this lecture, I can personally say that I learned a lot. This is what I see myself doing once I finish pharmacy school and first get some experience at retail stores prior to opening my own. I will make a detailed business plan prior to starting the project of opening my own pharmacy. I will also make sure to be in a good convenient location and form relationships with my patients to keep them coming back. I hope to also provide other services in my pharmacy that the large retail stores do not offer to have an edge against them, like specialty compounding, for example. This lecture really motivated me to pursue opening my own pharmacy and I am excited for a bright and prosperous future.
Reflection #2: Venus Vahdati, PharmD Candidate 2019
Today’s seminar by Dave Ellis & Judd Wilstead was about pharmacy ownership and who are really interested in opening their own pharmacy. They started their presentation by asking people if they have any question and It was more like a question and answer session than a presentation which I really enjoyed because I got all my questions answered. Dave and Judd talked about how much money is needed in the beginning to open a pharmacy and they said you need $200-$300 but you can also put a small amount of cash and have bank to take care of the rest.
Four most important questions that were asked are as follows: 1) How would you pick your location to open your own pharmacy? And they said it’s better to be right next to the Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreen because they already have established their business there and you can use their resources to grow your business. 2) What are the laws to buy your own pharmacy? They said, there is no law and everyone can buy their own pharmacy. 3) How long will it take to have a net income? They answered it will take at least 6 months to a year and you start at least processing 80-100 prescription per day. 4)What are the steps necessary in order to open your own pharmacy? They answered, first develop a business plan then find a mentor and ask them questions about what they exactly did to have a successful business.
My keeper for this seminar was, it takes a lot of effort and hard work to open your own pharmacy but if you can offer a good quality of service you can have a very successful business. In the beginning you might need to work 70-80 hours per week but it will all worth it when you see your patients happy with your service.
Dr Chan gave a presentation to the first year student pharmacists about the Inland Empire Health Plan and managed care pharmacy practice on November 9, 2015. The presentation is part of the Elective Seminar series. A couple of reflections written are posted below:
Reflection #1: Ngocquynh Nguyen, PharmD Candidate 2019
In this presentation, Dr. Chan encouraged student to explore the different fields of pharmacy, particularly managed care. Manage care is a relatively new field that a lot of student don’t know too much about so having this presentation was very helpful. I learned that one of the main thing manage care tries to do is to lower costs yet still improve health outcomes. Manage care contracts with health care providers to provide care for their member at a lower cost. Dr. Chan then went on to talk about the Inland Empire Health Plan and what the future of pharmacy holds. For once, the profession of pharmacy will be very saturated in the future and so Dr. Chan encouraged students to pursue residency as doing so will put students at an advantage when compared to their peers. Nevertheless, Dr. Chan doesn’t believe that there is a residency program that is specific for managed care and so he suggested that student should pick a residency program that have broader scope of practice. I think it’s a bit scary to think about the future of pharmacy now mainly because I’m still a first year pharmacy student but I’ve been hearing that the profession will be very saturated 3-5 years from now. However, I have also heard that although it is saturated, this is also a good time to be in pharmacy school mainly because of the passage of SB493. Overall, I think that Dr. Chan was being very realistic but at the same time, I think being positive about the future is a good thing too.
Reflection #2: Michele Hagopian, PharmD Candidate 2019
On November 11, 2015, Dr. Chris Chan was the guest speaker at the seminar sponsored by AMCP. His discussion was regarding managed care, more specifically the Inland Empire Health Plan pharmaceutical services (IEHP). He started his discussion by asking us a question about the duties of a pharmacist in any managed care organization. According to Dr. Chan, the answer is that pharmacists do many things, like set up formulary criteria, handle and manage prior authorizations, create clinical programs and interface with healthcare stakeholders. He then told us about his personal life and how he graduated and obtained his PharmD from USC. He started off doing retail pharmacy where he was in charge of managing different stores and improving those under-servicing locations. For instance, he assisted the district manager by monitoring the different stores, furthermore bringing the pharmacies back on track. He decided to leave that job where he was offered a job at Kaiser. Then he got into managed care and he has been in IEHP for 12 years. There Dr. Chan started working on prior authorizations, clinical based tasks, etc. After listening to Dr. Chan’s discussion, I realized how managed care may be an option for me. Based on that there are a few keepers from Dr. Chan’s seminar that I believe were significant. For example, he explained to us how if one wants to be a managed care pharmacist, then he/she needs to have a strong clinical care knowledge across all disease states. That pharmacist needs to understand how the industry works, therefore he/she needs to be motivated, eager to learn, be flexible, be independent, and have self discipline. Managed care is something that interests me therefore, a lot of the things he went over helped me decide how I could be successful in that field. He then explained how there are many positive outlooks in the field of pharmacy more specifically technologically based advances. Overall, this seminar on managed care has prepared me on how I can improve myself as being a potential managed care pharmacist.
Dr Glen Tao, Pharmaceutical Consultant for the Health facilities Inspection Division of the Los Angeles County Department gave and excellent presentation on preparing for a disaster as an individual and as a health care professional on November 9, 2015. He generously donated emergency back packs and equipment for those who signed up to volunteer for future disasters. The lecture is also part of the Seminar Elective and a couple of reflections written by students are posted below.
Reflection #1: Jonathan Choi, PharmD Candidate 2019
This lecture dealt with ways to be prepared in the event of a disaster. The most important first step is to secure yourself and family. Before helping others, it’s important to make sure that your family is safe first and that means preparing food, water, and toiletries to be able to last you for a few days. As a health care professional, it’s important to be even more prepared, since you won’t want to be worrying for your family while you are helping others. So a major take home point is to develop an emergency plan with the family. By having a designated meeting area, it can ensure that everyone in the family is accounted for.
After the immediate family is accounted for, health care providers can then offer care for others. There are stockpiles that are stored in secret locations for the event of disaster. Licensed individuals will be the only ones who can access and dispense these medications and supplies.
As a health volunteer, we will be immune to law suits and we will get liability protection. Health care providers should be pre –registered and can be deployed in the local area. In the event of a disaster, the goal of treatment is to see as many people as possible. The system is designed to maximize efficiency and the goal is 1500 clients per hour in a high school gymnasium!
Reflection #2 Chanh Pham, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Tao informed us about disaster preparedness and how to prepare for an emergency in times of natural or human disasters. It is wise for everyone to stockpile essential resources in both their homes and their cars in case of an emergency in which resources would become scarce due to supply lines being cut off. Some of these essential items are, but not limited to, one gallon of water per individual as well as one gallon of water per pet, warm clothes, canned foods, comfortable shoes, and tools. You should also keep cash on hand. Also, the number one highest demanded item during a natural disaster is a power generator, so having one of these is also a very good idea because many people nowadays will need portable electrical power. Not only should we stockpile resources, but we should also make these resources mobile. For example, it is better to have reservoir five gallon jugs of water that could be carried around than to buy a huge reservoir of water that is stationary. A keeper that I took away from this informative lecture is that as a healthcare professional, I should be prepared and be able to survive for more than the average individual, which is for 3-5 days, during a disaster. This is because I should not only be able to help myself, but I should be able to help everyone around me survive for a longer period of time during a disaster.
It was also interesting to learn that we are due for an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that will most likely cause massive damage to infrastructure and utilities, and cut supply lines. There are giant fault lines that run through LA county and also one that runs through Pomona. Knowing this, I will want to better prepare for this disaster.
A dozen Seward Johnson sculptures return to the esplanade of WesternU.
He is famous for creating sculptures of ordinary people doing ordinary things. His grandfather is Robert Wood Johnson, co-founder of the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. Seward Johnson, an heir to this immense family fortune, was fired by his family company but gained recognition as a world famous artist. For more information, click here.