Tag Archive | Texas

UH Secures First Runner-up for NCPA Chapter of Year

Student Chapter Ranks No. 2 in Nation for Second Year in a Row


The UH College of Pharmacy Chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association took home its second consecutive First Runner-up finish for the Chapter of the Year competition at the NCPA’s 115th Annual Convention & Trade Exposition Oct. 12-16 in Orlando, Fla.

In addition, UHCOP chapter member Esther Thomaswas among 32 students recognized as the NCPA Student Chapter Outstanding Members of the Year. The chapter award, which includes $1,000 in support, and outstanding member award are presented by the NCPA Foundation with support from McKesson.

The UHCOP chapter has undergone a major resurgence in recent years, including having three consecutive students elected to two-year terms on the Student National Leadership Council – one of whom was elected National SLC President.

Chapters vying for national honors are evaluated based on such critieria as program originality/innovation, number of chapter members involved, impact on the community, benefit to student chapter members, and collaboration with independent pharmacies and health care organizations.

“Being named first runner-up two years in a row is a huge accomplishment for us,” said current Chapter President Ally Thrall. “It goes to show how involved our students are and it definitely feels good to be recognized for all of our hard work. The past few presidents Zeke Medina, Bobby Clay and Tam Nguyen have set a standard of excellence for our chapter and I have big shoes to fill this year.

“In my opinion, independent pharmacy is the life of pharmacy. I think UHCOP students are passionate about all of the different opportunities within pharmacy and are interested in learning about all of the different options they have in the future.”

The UH chapter’s 2012-13 academic year activities — upon which the awards are based — included hosting its 3rd Annual Meet and Greet to connect students with independent pharmacy owners; offering dual membership in the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists and NCPA; participation in the Day at the Dome/TPA Leadership Symposium; and organizing a three-part Legislative Workshop Series featuring speakers from the Texas Pharmacy Association and Texas Pharmacy Business Council and covering such topics as how to communicate effectively with lawmakers.

In addition, NCPA members provided health education and wellness screenings at several large health fairs throughout the year, including the Diabetes Awareness Day at a south Houston YMCA; Well Woman Extravaganza, UH Health Awareness Day/Drug Take-back and Frontier Fiesta events at UH; and the Festival of Life Stroke Education and Health Fair at the Houston Zoo.

“The UHCOP NCPA Chapter’s ranking is a direct reflection of the strong work ethic in our membership and support from our independent pharmacists,” said Tam Nguyen, 2012-13 chapter president. “Our ranking helps build momentum and excitement for the new school year, especially for our new officers and incoming P1 students. Being ranked First Runner-up two years in a row is a validation that we got it ‘right’ here at UHCOP.”

“My term as the 2012-2013 Chapter President was a blessing due to the support of our alumni and other independent pharmacists. For example, Mr. Bruce Biundo, co-chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council and immediate past chair of TPA PharmPAC, has been one of our strongest supporters. He reached out to NCPA members and officers to be more involved with Texas pharmacy legislation and sponsored us to attend conferences. Last but not least, I have to mention the support from Dr. Lynn Simpson, NCPA chapter advisor and UH alumna. Her passion and enthusiasm for students involvement in organization are contagious.”

Thrall credited Nguyen for the development of the “Daily Dose,” a biweekly addition to the UH NCPA email, that discussed issues facing independent and Texas Pharmacy.

“Not only did this help promote independent pharmacy, but it also spread political awareness of on going issues that were very important to our profession as a whole,” Thrall said. “We are continuing to implement the Daily Dose into our emails this year to keep encouraging interest in independent pharmacy as well as political advocacy.”

The Chapter of the Year honorees were congratulated at the event by Sharlea Leatherwood, PD, NCPA Foundation president.

“NCPA student chapters help future pharmacists become future pharmacy owners through entrepreneurial-based programs during their collegiate experience,” Leatherwood said. “Amazingly, many of our 2013 honorees were recipients of the same awards in 2012, which is clearly an indication of the ongoing commitment to excellence of these schools. We applaud all the NCPA student chapters for their dedication to community pharmacy.”



Lisa Merkl



January 30, 2013-Houston-

The University of Houston System Board of Regents took a bold step Wednesday to address changing health care needs by unanimously approving the creation of a Health Science Center at UH.

With University of Houston (UH) programs in the health sciences as one of the primary drivers in its move to Tier One status, the board agreed that the university must further develop these resources to achieve the next level of success. UH offers a wealth of health science programs, including undergraduate and graduate academic programs to prepare students for health-related careers; research programs addressing health-related scientific, engineering and policy issues; and clinical programs directly involved in patient care.

Enrolling nearly 11,000 students in 97 health-related degree programs, UH conferred more than 1,800 degrees in these fields in 2011. This represents 23 percent of the health degrees awarded in the region, which is more than any other single institution in Texas.

The university’s research awards in the health sciences totaled $40.5 million – accounting for 38 percent of total UH research – in fiscal-year 2012. Additionally, last year’s royalty income from two UH drugs – one to treat epilepsy, the other to treat cancer – was $12 million, ranking UH 17th nationally among public universities for royalty income.

Another strong point taken into consideration by the board was UH’s clinical programs of optometry, pharmacy, clinical psychology, speech language pathology, and social work, which collectively treat more than 30,000 patients annually, generating more than $3 million in revenue.

“The creation of a Health Science Center at UH, which would include patient care, workforce training, research and community outreach, is critical to the economic and social well-being of the region and state,” said UH System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator. “With numerous academic, research and clinical programs in the health sciences, our university plays a vital role in meeting these needs. Formal creation of this Health Science Center brings a new level of synergy and focus that will broaden the impact of our research and education programs, and provide a clear point of access for the community.”

A major impetus for UH to create this Health Science Center is to address regional and state health care needs. Health care is the largest, fastest-growing industry in Texas, employing 1.3 million workers in more than 200 careers, and the number of health care jobs in the state is expected to grow 44 percent during the course of the next five years. Organizing UH’s programs and resources through this proposed Health Science Center would enhance the university’s ability to help meet this demand.

What’s more, the training of professionals and delivery of services in health care is moving away from traditional medical school and doctor-patient models, largely due to unsustainable costs and increased patient demand. UH leaders agree a broader spectrum of professionals and expertise is needed to solve the myriad challenges of efficient, effective delivery of these services. With a diverse array of programs, UH is well positioned to be at the forefront of developing fresh, innovative models for educating health care professionals and providing patient care.

With opportunities for innovation more likely to grow out of collaborative programs and external funding becoming increasingly directed at interdisciplinary programs, another benefit of a formal Health Science Center at UH would be an increased ability to identify and support opportunities for collaboration both inside and outside the university. Ultimately, this would elevate UH’s visibility and reputation as a leader in the health sciences, enhancing awareness in the community, the Texas Medical Center and beyond.

Results would include increasing program enrollment and reputation, research partnerships and number of patients served. This enhanced visibility, standing and innovation in the health sciences would enable UH to recruit and retain high-quality faculty and students, as well as increase research productivity, all of which support the university’s Tier One goals.

As funding for higher education becomes increasingly scarce, universities must develop alternative means of securing resources. A Health Science Center would put UH in a position to increase tuition dollars through expanded enrollment in professional training programs, federal dollars through pioneering research programs and third-party payments for clinical services. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, in particular, will provide an influx of new resources into the health care arena, and UH must be positioned to get the most out of this new law.

The university’s next steps are to seek approval of the Health Science Center from the Texas Legislature during its current session. If legislative approval is secured, the university will plan for an official launch of the center in fiscal-year 2014.


The University of Houston System is a comprehensive system of higher education institutions serving to further the intellectual capital and economic strength of the Gulf Coast region. The UH System includes the University of Houston, a nationally recognized Tier One public research university; the University of Houston-Downtown, a four-year undergraduate university expanding into graduate programs; the University of Houston-Victoria, a four-year university with undergraduate and master’s level degree programs; and the University of Houston- Clear Lake, an upper-division and master’s level institution. The system also includes three branch campuses, UH-Clear Lake Pearland, UH System – Northwest and UH Sugar Land, as well as a multi-institution teaching center, UH System Cinco Ranch. In addition, the System owns and operates Houston Public Media (HPM). HPM comprises KUHF-FM, Houston’s National Public Radio station; KUHA-FM, Houston’s 24-hour classical music station; and KUHT-TV, the nation’s first educational television station. To learn more about the UH System, visit http://www.uhsa.uh.edu/.

Why Meningitis Vaccination Is So Important For College Students


August 14, 2012 

By now most parents and college students in Texas know that incoming college freshmen under age 30 years have to get the meningitis vaccine before attending class. What you might not know though is why it’s so important to get the vaccine.

It’s important to get the meningococcal meningitis vaccine because the infection can be severely debilitating and even fatal. Teenagers and college students are at an increased risk for meningitis, which is spread through respiratory secretions transmitted from coughing, sneezing, kissing and sharing beverages or cigarettes.

I know parents want to do what’s best for their child and have peace of mind that their student’s college experience will not be interrupted by a potentially life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease. Of course we know that students also don’t want to be robbed of the joy of their college years.

This, however, was not possible for Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams. Schanbaum is a University of Texas student who contracted meningitis during her sophomore year and is now a double amputee because of the effects of the disease. Nicolis Williams, on the other hand, died of meningitis in 2011 during his junior year at Texas A&M University.

Both of these stories are featured in the above video, “Facing Meningitis,” which my colleagues and I at the Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research produced to drive home the importance of college students receiving the meningococcal meningitis vaccine.

It’s my hope that “Facing Meningitis” will convince parents and students that the vaccine is the best choice to prevent potentially life-threatening meningitis.

Please visit collegevaccinerequirements.com for more information about the meningitis vaccine and its availability and cost.