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SUMMER, 2017   facebook   linkedin   twitter   youtube   instagram   Google Plus
Dr. Lisa Deziel, Dean.

My sincere congratulations to the NSU College of Pharmacy Class of 2017 Pharm.D. and Ph.D. graduates! This graduating class included students who concurrently completed their Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics degrees! We are all so very proud of our students’ accomplishments and cannot wait to follow their professional successes. Four years ago, I was named dean; since then I have had the privilege of overseeing our students’ journeys and our college’s recognitions for the innovative and worthwhile work we do. This newsletter highlights achievements of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the NSU College of Pharmacy. I am continually amazed by the talent and passion of our team and hope you read this edition with similar pride and amazement.  To our alumni, please submit your news and keep in touch with us!

Shark Pride!
Lisa Deziel, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
College Pride

COP opens ICUBAcares Center


NSU’s College of Pharmacy recently teamed up with the Independent Colleges and Universities Benefits Association (ICUBA) and OptumRX, to create ICUBAcares – a resource which provides more than 15,100 employees of Florida not-for-profit colleges and universities and other educational institutions medication related services including Medication Therapy Management (MTM), drug information, and formulary review.   
As anyone who has started a new medicine recently will tell you, taking the drug properly, dealing with potential side effects and drug interactions as well as getting insurance approval can be overwhelming.  Imagine how challenging it would be if you’re fighting cancer or even simply caring for a sick child and dealing with medication questions or problems. Click here to read the press release and learn more how this new resource can help you.

College awarded Excellence in Education Award from NACDS Foundation

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation recognized NSU’s College of Pharmacy (COP) for its innovative education program submission, presenting the college with the Wayne Roberts Memorial Scholarship at the organization’s annual meeting. The $20,000 award, generously supported by Apotex Corporation, was one of only six scholarships given to accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy across the country. We are proud of our team at NSU COP who put this program together and look forward to transforming the profession. Read more about the Adherence Transitions of Care and Medication Therapy Management Center in our SharksRx 2017 magazine. To read more about the award click here.

Puerto Rico Campus kicks off Puerto Rico Pharmacist Week

PR Pharmacist Week

Faculty and students at the Puerto Rico Campus kicked off Pharmacist Week celebrating over 500 years of Puerto Rican pharmacy history. Ariel Tarraza (’19) did an outstanding job as Master of Ceremonies directing an evening of celebration, music, poetry, and history. Lcda. Gladys Montañez delighted the audience with readings from her book “Cuentos de Botica”, a compilation of folkloric short stories evoking pharmacy of the 19th century, followed by a journey through the history of the pharmacy profession housed at the Museum of the Puerto Rican Pharmacy by Sandra Fábregas, Ph.D., pharmacist and renowned Puerto Rican historian. Brenda Hopkins, pianist, provided a musical interlude, and Kalumi Ayala, Pharm.D., (’05) assistant professor, presented a musical number accompanied by Luis Taveras (’20) and Jonathan Corporán (‘20) on the guitar. First year student Wildalis Novoa (’20) was recognized as the recipient of the PR Pharmacists Association (CFPR) Scholarship. 34 pharmacists from diverse practices across the island were present and the college recognizes the support and presence of Lisa Dwyer, associate director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research, and Gary Grajales, Senior Regional Account Executive, from Boehringer Ingelheim.

SharksRx 2017 Magazine


The third edition of SharksRx 2017 magazine is now available on line. The magazine is full of interesting articles on innovations and entrepreneurship being done by our alumni, faculty, and students, and how the college is transforming the profession. Don’t forget to send in your contributions and suggestions to

Student Pride

Celebrating Our 2017 Graduates

Grads 2017

Each year the College of Pharmacy celebrates our graduating class, and this year is no different. We are proud of our 234 Pharm.D. graduates, consisting of 70% female and 30% male, mirroring the trend in the profession. Five graduates awarded the Doctorate of Philosophy in the Pharmaceutical Sciences degree were also recognized in this year’s ceremony, held at the Rick and Rita Case Area at the Don Taft University Center on the NSU campus in Fort Lauderdale.
Among the graduates was Paula Lopez-Trigo, Pharm.D. Lopez-Trigo was the victim of a near fatal accident when she was hit by a drunk driver, resulting in traumatic brain injury forcing her to take a one-year leave of absence to rehabilitate and recover before returning to complete her degree. Her grit and determination is an inspiration to us all.
The week’s events included the annual Awards Dinner Dance at the Broward Convention Center with faculty, students, and family members in attendance. The College recognized students with a number of awards acknowledging excellence in academics, leadership, community engagement, research, and service. Dean Deziel commended the class on their commitment to the profession and their responsibility as pharmacists to transform the profession for future pharmacists and continue to be involved in college and alumni events.
Graduates are moving on to exciting PGY-1 residencies and careers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico including the VA systems in Florida, Puerto Rico, and California. In addition, several former graduates have secured PGY-2 residencies in solid organ transplant, infection diseases, and cardiology and continue to impact the profession.

Pharm.D. students receive AFPE Gateway to Research Award

Katie McCrink (’18), and Dana Holger (’19) were selected from a highly selective pool of applicants to receive the 2017 American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) Gateway to Research Award. This scholarship award provides a unique opportunity to participate in faculty-mentored research and encourages students with the aptitude and desire to pursue a career in research and continue their education in a Ph.D. program. The stipend award will be used for research related expenses in support of the student’s research interests.
McCrink is conducting cardiovascular research under the guidance of faculty mentor Anastasios Lymperopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, on the study of certain neurohormonal receptors that control cardiac function, in an effort to come up with new and better drugs for heart failure. Specifically, her scholarship-awarded project focuses on developing a novel drug to combat high levels of aldosterone, a toxic hormone in heart failure, by suppressing its production from the adrenal glands.
Holger conducts research alongside Malav Trivedi, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences exploring how the environment, nutrition/diet and exercise regulate genes in the body, and how epigenetic changes turn genes off and on – a modification of the DNA called methylation in neurological diseases like Autism, Alzheimer’s and drug addiction.

28 Dean’s Ambassadors inducted

Dean's Ambassadors

Each year the College of Pharmacy (COP) selects students to serve in the Dean's Ambassador Program. The program was founded in 2009 at the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus and later expanded to the Palm Beach Campus and the Puerto Rico Regional Campus. Student ambassadors are selected based on academic achievement, Shark pride, and commitment to excellence. Ambassadors represent the college and university at on- and off-campus events, among alumni, preceptors, constituents, affiliated organizations, professional communities, and the general public. In addition to engagement, students are mentored by faculty in leadership, networking, presentation skills, teamwork, and business protocol to better prepare them as future role models and leaders in healthcare. This year 28 new members were inducted. A complete list of Dean’s Ambassadors can be found on the Dean's Ambassadors web page.

PharmaCon 2017


The college is proud of its outstanding students who presented their innovative ideas as this year’s third-year seminar PharmaCon 2017. Students in the Class of 2018 were challenged to come up with unique ideas which would transform the profession and to present them to faculty and guest judges. Ideas encompassed four categories: Technology/App-Based, Pharmacy-Based Services, Academic/Teaching-Based, and Pharmacy-Based Products. For a complete list of topics and winners visit PharmaCon 2017. Read more about how the idea got started in Sharks Rx magazine – Pharmacy Students Dive into Innovative Projects.

Third year student honored as Guest Speaker

Yana Vorontsova

Yana Vorontsova (’19) was chosen from among hundreds of students to be the student speaker at the annual The Big Thank You, a special luncheon for NSU scholarship benefactors and recipients. Subsequently, she also presented to the NSU Ambassador’s Board, where she similarly entertained and educated the audience. In addition to studying for her Pharm.D., conducting research with Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, Ph.D., associate professor, department of pharmaceutical sciences, on epinephrine sublingual tablets, she is also concurrently enrolled in the M.B.A. program with a concentration in business analytics. Yana is also the 2016 recipient of the William D. Hardigan Endowment Scholarship. For the full transcript of her presentation click here.

Fourth year student attends Cardinal Health Student Leadership Conference


Farley Saint-Louis (’18) was selected to represented NSU COP at this year’s Cardinal Health Student Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas. The all-expense paid conference joins the top pharmacy students from across the country in a two-day program preparing student pharmacists to assume leadership roles in health-systems pharmacy. Saint-Louis was one of 38 passionate, hard-working, and inspiring student leaders from over 25 pharmacy schools nationwide. He states “I never imagined how just two days could have such a substantial impact on my future and equip me with unique leadership skills, knowledge, and confidence, that will allow me to further grow as an individual and professional”. This is just one of the ways Cardinal Health expresses gratitude to the profession. Saint- Louis is shown here (2nd left) with some of the student attendees at this year’s conference.

Student Docs Care

Docs Care

The Student National Pharmacist Association (SNPhA) in association with the Health Professions Division (HPD) Asian Student Association held an inter professional health fair entitled Student Docs Care at Immanuel Mission Church (Korean) in Pembroke Pines. Members of the church and the Asian community were counseled on blood pressure, blood glucose, and bone density screening. In addition to student pharmacists, students from the College of Optometry, College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Department of Physical Therapy, provided eye examinations, osteopathic manipulation and physical therapy techniques. Also present were Scott Kjelson, Pharm.D., (’14), director of student transitions, and Tina Joseph, Pharm.D., assistant professor, pharmacy practice, who provided medication counseling and guidance to the student pharmacists.

Phi Delta Chi educates the community on healthy eating habits

Happy Plate

Phi Delta Chi (PDC) Pharmacy Fraternity at NSU’s College of Pharmacy participated in NSU’s 14th Annual CommunityFest in Febuary, to educate and raise awareness about healthy eating for children. Childhood obesity is a concerning problem in our country, and children from low-income families are the most affected. In an effort to educate children to eat healthier, PDC created a booth designed with interactive and educational games for the community. Read more.

Faculty Pride

Dean’s Innovation in Teaching Award 2017

Dr. Valdes

Jose Valdes, Pharm.D., (’12), assistant professor, pharmacy practice, was selected as this year’s winner of the Dean’s Innovation in Teaching Award. The award recognizes and promotes teaching innovation among faculty members in the college. Valdes created an educational game similar to Heads Up! on his smartphone to use with his APPE students. The goal is to improve learning, confidence, and develop medication knowledge. Students are given charades-like clues to identify drugs used during their APPE Neurology experience. The game is popular with the students and Valdes hopes to expand its use in the future.

David Gazze, Ph.D., receives Golden Apple Award

Dr. David Gazze

David Gazze, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, was awarded this year’s Golden Apple Award. The award honors professors who demonstrate teaching excellence and is voted on by the graduating class. Gazze demonstrates high enthusiasm and is recognized by students as dedicated to student learning. Other finalists included Young Kwon, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, Jose Valdes, Pharm.D., (’12) assistant professor of pharmacy practice, and Elizabeth Sherman, Pharm.D., (’07), assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Pictured on the left are David Gazze, Ph.D. and Rochelle Nappi, B.A., M.S., Ed.D., assistant dean, Palm Beach campus.

Robert C. Speth, Ph.D. named World Class Faculty

Dr. Speth

Robert Speth, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences, was presented with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s 2017 World Class Faculty Award. Speth’s research projects have received more than $1 million in grant funding and includes an inter-professional team of diverse practitioners and students. Speth was also named the recipient of the 2016 NSU Provost’s Research and Scholarship Award which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated significant achievement in support of the university’s mission to foster scholarship, intellectual inquiry, and academic excellence. Click here.

Alumni Pride

Alumnus appointed to HHS

Tuan Tong

John Michael O’Brien, Pharm.D. (’00) was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Trump Administration.  Responsibilities include conducting policy, economic and budget analyses, assist in the development and review of regulations, budgets, and legislation, and publish research evaluations, and analysis of key health policy priorities.

Alumnus increasing student's involvement in FLASCO

Dr. Garcia

Jorge Joanh García, Pharm.D. ('10), M.S., M.H.A., M.B.A. ('10), director of pharmacy, Oncology Services, Memorial Healthcare System is working with the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology (FLASCO) to increase pharmacist involvement in the organization.  As a result of that effort, pharmacy professionals can now become FLASCO members. In collaboration with other community partners, FLASCO also led very successful annual pharmacy education programs during the fall meetings. A part of our pharmacy growth strategy includes increasing pharmacy students' and pharmacy residents' attendance. With that goal, FLASCO worked hard to gain support to sponsor pharmacy students for this meeting and they succeeded in that regard.  Thanks to his efforts, Pharm.D. students from four Florida universities, including Aixa Guadarrama ('17), Ahmed Seweid ('18) and Kevin Corneille ('20) from NSU COP were awarded Travel Awards to this year's FLASCO Spring Session.

Preceptor of the Year Awards


Each year the graduating class selects four outstanding preceptors and recognizes them at the annual Senior Awards Dinner Dance. This year four NSU COP alumni were recognized as outstanding preceptors: Rhoda Alarachi, Pharm.D. (’03), IPPE Community at Walgreens, Caroline Zacur Taazieh, Pharm.D. (’97), BCPS, BCCCP, IPPE Health Systems/Pharmacy Services at Jackson North, Chay Reid, Pharm.D. (’05), BCPS, BCCP, APPE at Jackson South, and Kalumi Ayala, Pharm.D. (’05), AAHIVP, TTS, APPE Faculty Preceptor at Nova Southeastern University. Award recipients are pictured above with Jennifer Steinberg, Pharm.D., director of experiential education, and Stacey Maravent, Pharm.D.('02), director of experiential education.

LeadersRx Speakers Series


The college held its second Leaders Rx Speakers Series in April. The series engages students in opportunities within the pharmacy profession, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Alumni speakers Armando Bardisa, Pharm.D. (’97), founder and CEO, SMP Pharmacy Solutions and Cristina Celdran, Pharm.D. (’07), customer care operations clinical manager, Walgreens Clinical, shared their valuable insight and knowledge with students. The series will continue throughout the year to provide opportunities for speakers and students to share ideas, innovations, and network.

Births Babies

baby1 baby2 baby3
Leroy Koh, Pharm.D. (’17) and wife Lisa, welcome a son, Landon, in Singapore.  This is the first child for Koh and Lisa. Shirin Madzhidova, Pharm.D. (’13), clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, welcomed her princess Ayala Sofia on May 22. Shima Werdy, Pharm.D. (’17) gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Sunday May 21, days after receiving her degree.  This is the second daughter for Werdy and husband Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences.
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Global Engagement Pride

College hosts exchange visiting professor and student from Slovakia


This spring, NSU COP, in collaboration with the Erasums Programme, hosted Magdaléna Kuželová, Ph.D., from Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Kuželová spent two weeks alongside Ana Castejon, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, giving lectures, meeting with faculty, residents, and students sharing her experience and research activities. Read more.
This Summer NSU COP will continue its commitment to global education hosting Ph.D. student Erik Puchoň from Comenius University in Bratislava. Erik will spend 3 months under the tutelage of COP faculty conducting research, attending lectures, and participating in college activities which will enhance his clinical education and lend towards his doctorate thesis “Pharmacotherapeutic risk in relation with prescribing”. Puchoň will also have the opportunity to attend the Florida Pharmacy Association and the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists meetings in Orlando this summer. The Erasmus Programme provides exchange options for faculty and students to study abroad for a period of up to three months.

Students Shine on Guatemala Inter Professional Mission Trip

Seven COP students participated in this year’s mission trip, in collaboration with Jose’s Hands, Emmaus Medical Mission, Inc., and Misioneros Del Camino. The mission provides outreach opportunities for medical professionals serving orphaned, abandoned, and malnourished children of Guatemala. This five day inter professional experience provided students the opportunity to use their pharmacological and patient counselling skills and knowledge to help over 1,100 patients and provide medication and vitamins free of charge. Alex Miranda, founder and executive director at Jose’s Hands, said “the doctors continue to say how much smoother the entire mission” was with the participation of the COP students. Hetal Patel (’18), said the experience was life changing. The team was able to counsel patients, recommend medications, and provide information and guidance to the medical and dental teams on drug therapies, in addition to helping with projects around the compound. This July students will have the opportunity to serve once again in the Dominican Republic with the organization.

Connecting with Alumni in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and director of the Center for Drug Discovery and Development (CD3) represented the College at the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in April.  In addition to meeting prospective students interested in programs at NSU and the College of Pharmacy, he connected with alumni from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.   Pictured are Anthony J. DeNapoli, Ed.D., associate dean of international affairs, alumnus Ahmad Noor, Ph.D. (’15), assistant dean, King Abdul Aziz University, and Rawas-Qalaji.

NSU news

U.S. News & World Report ranking


U.S. News & World Report ranked NSU #214 out of the National colleges and universities in the U.S. Additionally, the publication ranked three of the university’s online programs among the top in the country: nursing, criminal justice, and education.  Read more.

NSU on Forbes’ America’s Best Employers 2017 List


Several South Florida companies have landed on Forbes America’s Best Employers 2017 list. The list looks for companies with the most satisfied employees. Forbes divided the list into two groups: midsize employers with 1,000 to 5,000 employees and large employers with more than 5,000 employees. Nova Southeastern University was ranked No.133 on the midsize employers list. Click here to see the full list.

Realizing Potential

Realizing Potential

Help support the College of Pharmacy student scholarships and research.  To find out more about what the college is doing click here.
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Upcoming Events
  • June 3 -7 -American Association of Health-System Pharmacists Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN
  • July 13-16 - Florida Pharmacy Association 127th Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida  (NSU COP Alumni Reunion 5 – 7 pm, July 14, J.W. Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes)
  • July 15-19 - American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN
  • July 21-23 – Continuing Education: Physical Assessment Institute in Patient Care Management, Fort Lauderdale, FL Click for information and to register
  • August 4 – 6- Florida Society of Health System Pharmacists 51st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL  (NSU COP Alumni Reunion 6-7:30 pm August 4, Sea World Orlando Resort)
  • September 16-17- Continuing Education: Initial Consultant Pharmacist License, Fort Lauderdale, FL - Click for information and to register
  • November 4 - College of Pharmacy Alumni Homecoming Reunion, Fort Lauderdale, FL  Aiman Rahman
  • November 4-5 - Continuing Education: NSU Fall Classic 2017, Fort Lauderdale, FL   Click for information and to register

Calendar Alumni Calendar of Events

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College of Pharmacy Health Professions Division Nova Southeastern University
3200 S. University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328
Phone: (954) 262-1300 or 1-800-356-0026, ext. 21300, Fax: (954) 262-2278