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SPRING, 2019   facebook   linkedin   twitter   youtube   instagram
Dr. Michelle A. Clark, Interim Dean.

The Winter Semester has been filled with great moments and wonderful accomplishments. From the great honor of having one of our faculty members, Albert Wertheimer, Ph.D., earn the prestigious Donald E. Francke Medal from the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) to 60 NSUCOP students attending the ASHP national meeting in Seattle and the long list of college of pharmacy finalists and recipients for the STUEY Awards, NSU COP has been dominant. We pride ourselves on providing our students the NSU Edge from opportunities to attend open houses at area hospitals to visiting the State Capitol for Legislative Days and supporting our students with new initiatives like Bounce for Autism benefiting NSU’s Autism Institute.

As the college continues to flourish, all the exciting accomplishments our students continue to achieve fill me, our faculty and staff members with optimism for the future of the pharmacy profession. Please enjoy the recap of some of these accomplishments in this newsletter and we encourage you to submit your accomplishments at

Shark Pride!
Michelle A. Clark, Ph.D.
Students First

Carla A. Luque, Pharm.D., Joined NSU COP as Assistant Dean of Student Services

Carla Luque

The NSU College of Pharmacy (COP) is relentless in its pursuit of providing a student-centered learning environment.  As such, we are proud to announce Carla A. Luque, Pharm.D., M.S., CPh (’94), has joined NSU COP as the assistant dean of student services.  In this role, she is responsible for leading all aspects of student services including student recruitment and retention, student organizations, career development, event planning, and alumni relations.

Luque completed a PGY1 residency in pharmacy practice with an emphasis in pharmaceutical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Miami, FL. She brings to NSU over 25 years of experience in a variety of practice and academic settings including managed care, consulting, clinical practice, academia, hospital and community pharmacy.  She is currently the president of the Dade County Pharmacy Association. Luque has a keen interest in promoting the pharmacy profession leading to the implementation of policies to increase the role of pharmacists as health care providers. Moreover, she has a passion to mentor and promote students resulting in their professional growth and success. Luque’s leadership and experience will undoubtedly be another NSU edge to help our students dominate.

A Prescription of Love, Compassion and Teamwork Dominates in the NSU College of Pharmacy

Varun Soti

Varun Soti joined the NSU College of Pharmacy (COP) as a Ph.D. student with a specialization in Molecular Medicine and Pharmacogenomics in August 2013. He was enthusiastic about traveling from his native country of India, to pursue his graduate studies in the prestigious NSU College of Pharmacy. He made excellent progress, but less than two years into his studies, he’d receive news no one ever wants to hear; cancer. Soti experienced a sequence of intermittent vision loss and severe headaches which prompted him to seek medical attention. After many tests, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme—the same form of brain cancer that claimed the lives of Senator John McCain, Senator Edward Kennedy and Beau Biden. Doctors said he had four and a half months to live.

According to David Arons of the National Brain Tumor society, “Glioblastoma is one of the most complex, drug-resistant, and adaptive cancers there is.” That grim fact did not deter Soti. He underwent his first brain surgery in July 2015 and a second in September 2015, as a result of complications from chemotherapy and radiation. He endured months of continued chemotherapy and radiation and had two reconstructive surgeries. With no relatives in the US, his NSU family stepped up. His fellow Ph.D. students, college of pharmacy staff members and friends, created schedules to ensure someone was available to sit with him for every day that he was in the hospital; including overnight stays post-surgeries. Read more..

Caring for our Students – Beyond the classroom

Dr. Robert Speth

In January 2019, Maha Mobasher, an MSPS student, went to class like any other day, but something was wrong. She had an incessant cough during her 9:00 a.m. Pharmacodynamics class. Her professor, Robert Speth, Ph.D., knew it wasn’t just a cough. He insisted she go to the clinic and had a student accompany her. After not being able to be seen at the clinic, Mobasher decided to go to the library as to not disturb her classmates and rest for a while. The other student returned to class. Speth was not convinced this was the right course of action, called Public Safety, insisted they find Mobasher and take her to the emergency room. She was transferred to an area hospital via ambulance.

After many tests, it was discovered that Mobasher’s lungs had been filling with fluid from her gallbladder which had ruptured. She needed emergency surgery. Doctors said she had about six hours to live. Had Mobasher gone home to sleep, she would have died. “Had Dr. Speth just not cared and not gone out of his way to help, I would be dead,” said Mobasher. “He was not just a professor; he was a human being. He recognized there was something wrong and he cared.” Speth’s actions are a shining example of the stellar faculty and staff members who are part of the NSU College of Pharmacy family.

Faculty Pride

NSU COP Faculty Is the Recipient of the Donald E. Francke Medal

Dr. Albert Werheimer

Albert Wertheimer, Ph.D., professor of sociobehavioral and administrative pharmacy was named the recipient of the Donald E. Francke Medal by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). The Donald E. Franke Medal was established in 1971 to honor individuals who have made significant international contributions to advance pharmacy practice. Of the honor, Wertheimer says, “It is a big honor for me and a source of confirmation that the many hours, days, years involved in international pharmacy activities by me must have had some impact on some others.” The award came as a surprise to Wertheimer, who was not even aware he was nominated. The award is decided by the board of directors of ASHP, the largest pharmacy organization in the world according to their website. This accomplishment is a culmination of years of service to the pharmacy profession around the world. “I have been active in the International Pharmacy Federation (FIP) as the president of two sections; social and administrative pharmacy, and the academic section,” he explained. “I was a vice president of the organization for the maximum of two terms (8 years) and a member of its governing council.” He adds, “I have directed about 100 PhD students with about one-half from many other countries.” Wertheimer’s achievement is a source of pride for the College of Pharmacy and further proof of the caliber of faculty are students learn from. Congratulations Dr. Wertheimer!

Faculty Receives Acceptance of His 200th Peer-Reviewed Publication

Dr.Robert Speth

Robert Speth, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences received acceptance of his 200th peer-reviewed publication. The research is supported by a President’s Faculty Research Development Grant. Speth looks forward to seeing it in print as it challenges the relative importance of an alternative signaling process mediated by angiotensin II receptors, which are a major focus of his research.

Welcome New Faculty

Dr. Sonia RIvera

Sonia Rivera, Pharm.D., CPh, was appointed clinical pharmacist/clinical assistant professor, department of pharmacy services. In this role, she will be practicing in the community pharmacy environment and providing services to patients in the NSU anticoagulation clinic. Dr. Rivera will also be precepting APPE Advanced Community Pharmacy students.

Living the Values

The Living the Values program recognizes employees who are living one of NSU’s eight core values.

  • JANUARY- ACADEMIC EXELLENCE:  Alexandra Perez, Pharm.D. (’05)
  • FEBRUARY - INNOVATION: Scott Kjelson, Pharm.D. (’14)
  • MARCH - STUDENT CENTERED: Jennifer Todisco, Administrative Coordinator I
College Pride

Student Life Achievement Awards

The 21st Annual Student Life Achievement Awards, also known as the STUEYs, is a university-wide event that allows us to recognize outstanding contributions in Academic Excellence, Student Centeredness, Integrity, Innovation, Opportunity, Scholarship/Research, Diversity, and Community. The college is proud to have a long list of STUEY recipients, finalists and nominees this year. The ceremony was hosted at the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center in April 2019. We are delighted to recognize the following nominees and recipients.

STUEY 2019

Nominee: Anna Maria Castejon, Ph.D., Interim Chair Pharmaceutical Sciences, Associate Professor - WINNER
Dr. Anna Castejon

Nominee: Osmel “Ozzie” Delgado, Pharm.D., M.B.A., FASHP (’02) and NSU Distinguished Alumni Achievement Honoree, (’13) FINALIST
Nominee:CVS Health FINALIST
Nominee: Andrea Levin, Pharm.D., BCACP, (’09), Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice FINALIST
Nominee: LaTia Willis, Coordinator, Student Services/Recruitment FINALIST
Nominee: Jeanette Alava (P4 - Fort Lauderdale) FINALIST
Nominee: Cristofe D. Rodriguez Santiago (P2-NSU Puerto Rico Campus) FINALIST
Nominee: Kristin Golshani (P3-NSU Palm Beach Campus) FINALIST
Nominee: College of Pharmacy Student Government Association FINALIST

Legislative Days

Legislative Days

Thirty-three students, six faculty members, and two residents boarded a bus on their way to Tallahassee in March where they participated in the “Florida Pharmacists Legislative Days and Health Fair.” During the visit, faculty members and students provided health screenings and spoke to legislators about what pharmacists do and what issues, pharmacists as a profession, are advocating for. They also presented educational posters on current pharmacy-related bills including collaborative practice, test and treat, and pharmacy benefits managers (PBM).

During the health fair students and faculty members participated in blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), glucose and cholesterol screenings. Participants completed 268 screenings, which is a record high for Legislative Days. Legislators, lobbyists, the FPA Executive Vice President and CEO, and the general public were among the patients that the students cared for during the health fair.

Bounce for Autism

Bounce for Autism

Bounce for Autism took place in the Miami Dolphins Training Facility in March 2019. It was a Class of 2022 initiative led by Ashley Dalbasa, class of 2022 president, and her mentor, Ana Maria Castejon, Ph.D., interim chair of pharmaceutical sciences and associate professor. The event exceeded its original goal of raising $5,000 for NSU’s Autism Institute with a final tally of over $7,000 and over 500 people in attendance. To get there, university-wide collaboration was needed to ensure all the requirements were followed. Dalbasa and Castejon worked with The Interdisciplinary Council for the Study of Autism (ICSA) to gather different university faculty, students and staff currently involved with autism conducting unique service and educational activities. Read more...

Open House Tour at Area Hospitals

Open Hourse

Stacey Maravent, Pharm.D. (’02), director of experiential education, advanced pharmacy practice experiences organized a series of hospital open houses to expose college of pharmacy students to the opportunities available locally. This NSU Edge is of benefit to students who are looking to learn more about specific practice areas, while allowing the area hospitals to expose their offerings and grow their IPPE and APPE programs. Broward Health Medical Center, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Baptist Hospital and Cleveland Clinic, who were part of the tour, welcomed and engaged our students. Always being student-centered, each open house was scheduled around exams and IPPE and APPE scheduling to provide exposure to the sites before schedules were finalized.

Open House Tour
Many students attending the open house events have never stepped foot in a hospital; and to see each hospital’s layout, pharmacy, PIXUS machines, technology, specialized services, etc., has been eye opening and exciting. For the NSU Experiential Education team, the open house events have been a learning opportunity as well. Maravent said, “Seeing the passion from the preceptors’ perspective; getting a tour of so many different areas along with the students is something great to experience first-hand.” Maravent is working toward holding more open house events at hospitals, community/independent pharmacies and innovative practice sites.

PharmaCon 2019

PharmaCon 2019

PharmaCon, now in its fourth year, was introduced to incorporate innovation into the curriculum and quickly evolved into one of the most exciting events of the academic year. It is a culmination of a semester-long course during which students hone their skills in literature research, writing manuscripts (literature reviews), creating posters, and presenting. Students use the skills they gained in their previous management course, in which they were assigned a business plan project, to determine feasibility, logistics, and finance. They are also expected to consider how their innovation would be marketed and to whom. Many students have gone on to present their posters at local and national conferences, not limited to pharmacy, and there are some who are in the process of pursuing patents.

This year, the college received a generous scholarship donation from Life Extension for $500 to be given to the winning group. A final competition will be held during the summer, in which the presentation finalists will create promotional videos and selected judges will determine a final winner. For the course coordinator, Jaime Riskin, Pharm.D. (’03), clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, it is a labor of love. She said, “it’s a lot of work and can become somewhat daunting at times but honestly, this has been one of the most exciting, rewarding opportunities of my life. I have learned so much and look forward to this event every year.” She concludes, “The event is electric - I can’t describe it any other way.” Click here to see the list of Finalists

Palm Beach Students Make an Impact in the Community and the Future of the Profession

Palm Beach Students

NSU College of Pharmacy in Palm Beach collaborated with the Diabetes Coalition of Palm Beach County to host ten events throughout the county and screened approximately 250 patients. This organization is a voluntary nonprofit alliance of more than 50 healthcare organizations and community partners working together to prevent diabetes and improve the lives of people living with the disease, and those touched by it through; awareness, education, advocacy, and access to care.

The largest event, “Know Your Numbers Health Fair at the Palm Beach Outlets” occurred in January 2019 and in addition to the Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) tests that were conducted, the event also featured educational booths, tasty and healthy treats, children’s activities, and gift certificates and prizes. Oren Elharar, Pharm.D. (‘14), Miriam Metzner, Pharm.D., and Genevieve Hale, Pharm.D. (‘13) supervised 20 students, comprised of P1s, P2s, and P3s as they conducted the screenings. Current Pharm.D. students in the Palm Beach Campus are also supporting the future of the profession by participating in presentations to high school students in Palm Beach county. The events were for those registered in medical science magnet programs, specifically, those in pharmacy technician courses. The presentations are geared for high school students and in almost all of the visits, a current PharmD student accompanied the faculty to share their journey from high school to pharmacy school, as a way to better connect to the audience. Visits were made to Forest Hill, Jupiter, Palm Beach Lakes, and West Boca Raton Community High Schools.

Students Pride

Residency and Fellowship Matches

Residency Matches

Congratulations to our newly matched residents and fellows! NSU COP students are being noticed across the country with a third of those who matched going into programs outside of South Florida. They are also being recognized at prestigious Fellowship programs. NSU now boasts the second COP student to accept a fellowship at Rutgers University. In total three NSU students received fellowships and one student accepted a position in a newly emerging residency program. We are also proud to have 12 PGY2 students matched during this match season. NSU COP students are ready to dominate!

NSU COP Student Earns Second Place in National Compounding Competition

National Compounding Competition

For the fourth year in a row, the NSU COP local compounding competition winning team, comprised of class of 2021 students, Natalie Marie Lopez, Jacob E. Johnson, and Yulia Nieto Vazquez, headed to the 9th Annual National Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition (SPCC) in March 2019. The students earned second place in one of the competition categories. Michael Shafor Pharm.D. (’99), also served as a one of three distinguished judges for the event. This rigorous competition includes hands-on compounding of two formulations based on different patient scenarios, a game-show challenge (trivia) and an innovation challenge to present a revolutionary technology that can influence the compounding industry. Lopez represented NSU COP in a separate compounding class competition where one student from each team competed head-to-head for an hour. During this competition, Lopez was required to justify and prepare a non-sterile dosage form which they deemed to be the most suitable based on a patient scenario. Lopes did a great job and helped NSU COP bring home second place in this challenge. David Mastropietro, Ph.D. (’14), organized the local competition and was with the team during the national competition to help coach and support the students. Mastropietro also facilitated a 3-hour ACPE accredited workshop on performance measures in pharmacy education for faculty members of other colleges in attendance.

Mental Health Awareness Festival

Mental Health Festival

The NSU student chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists’ (CPNP) hosted the 4th annual Mental Health Awareness Festival in March with the goal of creating fun activities while providing resources that could help individuals obtain a more positive outlook on mental health. The second goal was to help end the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses by bringing awareness to the topic. There were about 250 people in attendance, which is over double the number of attendees from last year. The first year of the festival there were only about 60 people in attendance, which show how much the festival has grown since it first started.


Ethics Bowl

Ethics Bowl

NSU COP had TWO teams represented in this year’s Ethics Bowl, Team Pharmacy - Fort Lauderdale and Team Pharmacy - Puerto Rico. This is the first year our Puerto Rico Campus has participated in the event and Ashley Guzmán, Cristofe Rodriguez Santiago, Cristina Vazquez Cabrero, Getzabeth Bosques Gomez, Coralys Melendez Tur with advisor, Blanca Ortiz, Pharm.D., had great enthusiasm! Our Fort Lauderdale students, Balsam Elajouz, Ricardo Gines, Ashley Graham, Angelica Milla, Berlange Valmeus and advisor, Barry Bleidt, Pharm.D. made it to the second round of competition. Congratulations to all our students on a job well done!

Pinning and Awards Ceremonies Mark Milestone for Students

Pinning Ceremonies

The Pinning and Awards Ceremonies took place across all NSU campuses marking the end of the didactic coursework for our P3 students and the beginning of their year-long experiential education. We are so proud of what our P3 students have accomplished so far and look forward to hearing of their achievements as they apply the learnings from the classrooms into real-world pharmacy settings.

Residents take Prestigious Step Forward

We are so proud of NSU College of Pharmacy residents who have taken significant steps in furthering their careers. Their time at NSU will now, for some, transition into careers in prestigious institutions while others choose NSU to continue the next phase.

Nichelle Logan, Pharm.D., will start a career in ambulatory care with the University of Pennsylvania Health System/Penn Medicine as a clinical pharmacy specialist.

Andrew Karas, Pharm.D., will start a career at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts as a clinical operational pharmacist in psychiatry.

Gary Burdge, Pharm.D., will start a career at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas as a psychiatric pharmacist.

Elaina D. Rosario, PharmD accepted a position as a clinical pharmacist at Accountable Care Options in Boynton Beach, Florida and will be part of the post-discharge/chronic care management home visit team.

Rucha Acharya, Pharm.D., matched with the recently accredited PGY2 ambulatory care residency program at NSU with Tina Joseph, Pharm.D., as her residency program director and is excited to continue at NSU for another year.

Huy Pham, Pharm.D., will be extending his PGY1 Community-Based residency program by 6 months with hopes of completing a PGY2 psychiatric residency program. He also has plans to enroll in the master’s in informatics program at NSU.

Congratulations to all, we can’t wait to see how you go out there and dominate the pharmacy world!

Alumni Pride

Keeping in touch with our alumni and providing them opportunities to network, learn and share what they have learned since their time at NSU, is something the College of Pharmacy takes as a duty and a privilege.

Join us on our new Alumni FaceBook page facebook ( to stay up to date on upcoming events and network with fellow alumni.

Below are some recent highlights of visits to our alumni, networking events and the return of alumni to NSU COP events.

Alumni Networking

Alumni Networking

Alumni Networking

Alumni Networking

Alumni news

Dave Lacknauth, Pharm.D., (‘02) was selected as NSU’s alumni leaders representative to the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida organization.

Betty Harris, Pharm.D., (‘94) received the APhA Bowl Hygeia Award representing the state of Maine.

John Michael O’Brien, Pharm.D., M.P.H., (’00) was named senior advisor for drug pricing reform at the U.S. Department of Health.

Richard Ashworth, Pharm.D. (’99) was elected National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) vice chairman.

If you would like to share an update of the wonderful things you are achieving or would like to give of your time to share your experiences with our current students, please emails us at

We would like to thank the following alumni for staying active with the NSU COP Pharmily by coming for visits, presentations and mentoring our current students. Also thank you to our faculty alumni for your continued support: Pablo Aponte, Pharm.D. (‘08), Alyssa Baet, Pharm.D. (’14), Gregory Blake, Pharm.D. (’18), Frank Blanco, Pharm.D. (’04), Laura Bobolts, Pharm.D. (’07), Phanna Chhuor, Pharm.D. (’12), Diana Christie, Pharm.D. (’17), Nicole Elharar, Pharm.D. (’12), Jessica Greenwood, Pharm.D. (‘18), Alexander Jones, Pharm.D. (’11), Jessica Justiz, Pharm.D. (‘18), Christopher Lynch, Pharm.D. (’97), Andrew Mahrer, Pharm.D. (’15), Jon Main Pharm.D. (‘14), Ioana Margelu, Pharm.D. (’03), Cristina Medina, Pharm.D. (‘00), Ginelle Moya, Pharm.D. (’07), Michael Nash, Pharm.D. (’03), Kaveh Rabeti, Pharm.D. (’16), Sharon Reizner, Pharm.D. (’92), Michel Rizo, Pharm.D. (’05), Denise Santiago, Pharm.D. (‘05), Juan Santos, Pharm.D. (‘05), Daven Sawh, Pharm.D. (’11), Adam Steinberg, Pharm.D. (’17), Dorel Suboni, Pharm.D. (‘01), Monica Tadros, Pharm.D. (‘18), Melanie Trigo, Pharm.D. (’94)

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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