MU Connections
MU Home
Especially for Alumni
Alumni Notes
Class Photos
Past issues of Manchester
Manchester print version
@Manchester e-newsletter
Manchester news
Giving to Manchester

Manchester magazine
Home Page

“The pharmacy profession is watching. You will set the bar.”

Pearl Pfiester ’16 of Fort Wayne, Ind.,
in Pharmaceutics I lab.
(Click on photo for enlargement)
Related links:
Read all about it: MU pharmacy research
White Coat Ceremony news release August 2012
MU College of Pharmacy website

More pictures from this article:

KATHRYN SNYDER ’16 is a northeast Indiana native who has worked as a pharmacy
technician in both the retail and hospital settings. She has high expectations.

Hong Dao ’16 comes from a family of pharmacists and knows her way around the retail side of the profession. She thrives on multi-tasking.

Jacob D. Clendenen ’16 is older than most MU students, with nearly 15 years in community pharmacy and a family of his own. His sights are on pharmacy management that nurtures patient care.

Andrea Hopper ’16 is a product of Manchester’s pre-pharmacy undergraduate program. Her Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree in four years will set her on track for more study, residencies and research.

Manchester’s first 64 pharmacy students comprise the most-diverse class in its history. Many – as state and area economic development leaders hoped for – are Hoosiers. Yet 16 other states across the nation also
are home to these students.

  • 44 percent are Asian, African-American, Latino or Pacific Islander

  • 20 to 41 is their age range, averaging a mature (or swiftly maturing) 25

  • 56 percent are women

  • 71 percent have degrees already (two have master’s degrees)

  • 7 are former Manchester University students

“As the first pharmacy class at Manchester, you will set the bar,” Indiana Sen. Ron Grooms, a registered pharmacist and former drugstore owner, challenged MU’s first pharmacy students at an August ceremony that set them on their four-year path to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.

“The pharmacy profession is watching,” Sen. Grooms said. “Employers, graduate schools and residency programs will compare the first Manchester graduates to graduates from Butler, Purdue and other colleges of pharmacy across the country.”

Jacob Clendenen faces the challenge with the confidence of experience in the field. He is a pharmacy tech trainer for CVS. “I am looking forward to being and setting an example for future classes in the role of pharmacy,” says the Fort Wayne resident, who with his wife is raising a 6½-year-old and a 5-year-old.

Right now, the students spend most of their school day in the classroom or lab on the new Fort Wayne campus – learning the basics, getting comfortable with their faculty mentors and study teams, and learning how to study at the graduate level.

They are intense, very intense.

“I spend all my free time studying. It has taken over my life,” says Class President Kathryn Snyder. But don’t think for a minute that she is complaining. “Everything I learn is relevant to patient care. To be a
competent pharmacist, it’s important to learn and retain as much information as I can.”

Classes in pharmaceutics, communications in pharmacy practice, biomedical sciences, drug information and labs fill this semester. Later
curriculums cover patient safety, gastrointestinal care, nutrition and much more.

Gradually, their lessons will become more personal, with interactions and experiences with patients. “Experientials” is what pharmacy students and
faculty call these very structured internships under the guidance of scores and scores of area pharmacy practitioners.

They’ll begin in the community pharmacy setting this winter, but throughout their MU careers, they’ll also have opportunities in managed care, marketing, distribution, research, poison control and toxicology, organizations, government agencies, home infusion, administration, radiopharmaceuticals, and, of course, academia.

“Our graduates are going to have real-life experiences,” says Tracy Brooks, assistant professor of pharmacy practice whose expertise (and clinical practice) is in hospice and palliative care. “They will be learning how to talk with patients, how to interact with patients.”

That’s important in this new age of pharmacy. In “real life,” Brooks, for example, uses her pharmaceutical expertise to manage the challenging
symptoms of end-of-life: the nausea, the depression, the insomnia, the pain, the anorexia, the anxiety.

Her day begins with 7 a.m. rounds at Parkview Regional Medical Center, visible from the College of Pharmacy. She serves on palliative care teams that set goals for care. She has conversations with patients and their families about “where do we go from here,” and assists them with their decisions.

Then, she’s on the MU campus, teaching cultural communication, non-verbal communication, and that “you can make a difference not only in how people live, but in how they die. Here’s how.”

“We are learning in a format that has patient care at the center,” says Snyder, who has retail and hospital pharmacy technician experience and is “leaning toward” intensive care practice. “We are learning now information that would be reserved for the second or third years in other (Pharm.D.) programs. We are building our skills from the beginning.”

“I am most excited for next year, when we will be in a hospital setting. That is where I probably will end up after pharmacy school,” says Hopper, but she’s keeping an open mind. She likes the process: “I think it helps expose me to other atmospheres that a pharmacist can be a part of, and who knows, maybe I will just fall in love with something else!”

While students are adapting to the intensity and rigor of professional doctoral-level study, their teachers are facing daunting challenges, too: a new generation of technically advanced – and demanding – students.

And, much smaller classrooms and lecture halls than these faculty members studied in at their alma maters.

Manchester’s pharmacy program is designed for an optimum class of 70 students, with its largest lecture hall totaling 140 seats. “At Purdue, we had 700 students in our pre-pharmacy class,” recalls Brooks.

“This building has already proven to be an exceptional working and learning environment,” says Whitney Caudill, associate dean for administration and finance who also teaches pharmacy law and ethics. “The building design gives our students classrooms designed specifically for integrated and collaborative learning, study and working together
on projects in teams.”

Dao is a big fan of MU’s pharmacy technology on the Fort Wayne campus. “It is the most efficient way to learn,” she says. “We submit our papers online and take our exams on our laptops.” And really great: “We get to find out how we did on an exam right away.”

“These students are different from many undergraduate students,” says Greg Hetrick ’05, director of student services. “Most are extremely driven. They have lots of deadlines, assessments. We have a lot of leaders. They have lots of opportunities to get involved.”

Dao is a great example. “The majority of the time, what I’m doing is pharmacy study, eat, sleep and repeat. On the other hand, the weekend is when I get to practice my pharmacy skills. The weekend is when I go to work at a retail pharmacy.”

She’s also a leader. Every Friday, she sends out “weekly academic updates,” reminding her classmates of what assignments are due when.

MU Pharmacy faculty members are just as intense as their students about their expectations and intentions. They are focused on making sure their
students are:

  • tested and proven in pharmacy practice

  • exhibiting strong values and ethics

  • envisioning opportunities in the pharmacy profession

  • prepared to assess and improve pharmacy systems

  • passionate about helping people be healthier

  • ready to deal with diversities

  • committed to service

While the current students, faculty and staff are settling in, recruiting is well under way to build the next class of Pharm.D. students, says Hetrick. The task is dramatically different for the next class, as are the applicants. “For the current class, we were recruiting without students, without a building, without accreditation.”

With a new $20 million building designed for pharmacy study, a full class of students (many are recruiting ambassadors) and classes in session,
applicants don’t need to imagine an MU College of Pharmacy like the Class of 2016 did.

All is changed, and it shows. “We’re ahead of pace on applications,” says Hetrick. Faculty members are evaluating the applications, with the first interview evaluations to begin this month. “We are confident we will fill our next class of 70 students,” says Hetrick, who cut his enrollment incisors recruiting students for the Manchester undergraduate program.

Qualified Manchester pre-pharmacy students get a guaranteed interview with the College of Pharmacy enrollment team. While 11 percent of this Pharm.D. class is from MU, that percentage may increase.

Currently, about 75 students are enrolled in or have indicated plans to enroll in pre-pharmacy undergraduate study at Manchester’s North
Manchester campus, says Registrar Lila VanLue ’79 Hammer.

While MU’s program receives considerable attention in northeast Indiana health care circles and media, faculty members are making new friends and connections.

This fall, the College of Pharmacy hosted a diabetes and blood pressure awareness “brown bag,” one of several health care events for the local community, supported by a grant from the Edward D. and Ione Auer Foundation, says Ahmed Abdelmageed, associate director of experiential education. “We conducted our first event at the Universal Education Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that caters to a variety of ethnic backgrounds that practice the Islamic faith.”

Seven students participated, mentored by pharmacy practice faculty Dustin Linn, who also is on the critical care team of Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, and Tom Smith, a psychiatric pharmacist on the Parkview
Behavioral Health team.

Pharmacy faculty members also are serving on community teams. Özlem Ersin and Tracy Brooks, for example, co-chair an Allen County Health
Department subcommittee focused on helping to curb prescription drug abuse in the county.

Many are “on call” as media sources about pharmacy – from helping TV viewers understand the significance of recent Opana narcotics robberies to appearances on a popular NPR affiliate about health issues.

“Our science and clinical faculty are doing research with faculty at other institutions in the region and with clinical practitioners at regional hospitals and medical groups,” says Dave McFadden ’82, executive
vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy. “We are connecting with programs and care providers that serve needy populations.”

Manchester’s Drug Information Center fields inquiries from area health care providers, particularly those who will provide experiential rotations, says Rob Beckett, drug information specialist and clinical assistant professor of pharmacy. The queries are right up his alley: A local chain retailer wants to know the effects of different dosages of the same kind of medication and hospitals are asking the Center to review patient medications.

While students use the Center now for their own studies and fledgling research, in time they will partner in the drug research with Beckett or another faculty member.

“I wanted to be part of the first class,” says Snyder. “It gave me a
chance to build more personal relationships with staff and faculty. There are more resources available when only 64 students are in a building. It also gives me a chance to have an input in my education, because we are constantly evaluating our program and we get to see the change we ask for. It’s not a program that is set in its ways. It will adapt to meet the needs of students,” she says.

“Plus, because this is a new program, everyone has high
expectations. I rise to the occasion when expectations are higher.”


Read all about it: MU pharmacy research

“I JUST WANTED TO SHARE the good news with you, that I had the research from my graduate work recently accepted for publication …”

It’s a common thread in e-mails at the College of Pharmacy: this one from Mary Kiersma, director of assessment. Her peer-reviewed article, “A Graduate Student Mentoring Program to Develop Interest in Research,” recently was published in American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

The journal Neurotoxicology plans to publish a research article of Swati Betharia, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences. She wrote to her MU colleagues: “I’d like to thank you for your encouragement and support to all our research faculty. Hopefully, in the near future we will be able to produce many more publications based directly on research here ...”

That’s the plan, and why Manchester designed great research facilities into its pharmacy campus.

“We have ample and significant laboratory space to conduct basic and applied biomedical science says MU toxicology specialist Sidhartha Ray, who has 28 years of academic experience and national awards in
pharmacy research and teaching.

Ahmed Abdelmageed, associate director of experiential education, created a webinar, “Islam and Caring for the Muslim Patient,” for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

The August issue of Pharmacotherapy contains research by Trent Towne, associate professor of pharmacy practice (infectious deseases).

Rob Beckett, who manages the MU Drug Information Center, co-authored research calling for pharmacist oversight in managing inpatient medications. The article appeared in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

The Drug Information Center fields research requests about patient medication and drugs from northeast Indiana health care practices. Its primary users are MU College of Pharmacy faculty and students.

In this issue
Some of our finance lessons really touch where we live
from the president

BCA Abroad
A 50-year learning journey around the globe

We are U
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same

Classes are under way for Manchester's newest class and faculty

Lessons in Finance
How Manchester helps students curb debt

Friends for 50
Every year like clockwork, they've reunited

Philanthropy 101
Dr. Philip '48 and Mary '50x Orput invest in Manchester

Profiles of ability and conviction

A headless skeleton, old pictures and a theory

Alumni Office | 888-257-2586 |