Pharmacy student in labs

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Newsletter

2019 | Volume 1

Message from the Dean 

Dean Russell DiGate Headshot

Dear members of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences community,

There are different ways to measure the success of an academic institution. For all of us in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS), the most important way is whether we help our students grow and thrive personally and professionally.

I would like to welcome you to a new academic year and look forward to sharing your success stories. Every semester the College will publish these newsletters to highlight new initiatives and events—as well as the many accomplishments of our students, faculty, and alumni. 

Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Message from Student Congress President

Alexander Cheung

Dear Students, Faculty, and Alumni,

I had the honor of serving as the President of the CPHS Student Congress during the 2018–19 academic year. The congress is comprised of the presidents and vice presidents from various organizations within the College, as well as each elected class representative. Our mission is to foster students' academic, professional, and personal goals as members of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

When I began my term as President, the congress was only one year old and had just started to develop its structure. While I had served as a leader in many different capacities at St. John’s, I knew that this experience would be different. I had the opportunity to work with incredible student leaders within the College to create the framework for our collective voice, and I knew I had to be a part of it!

The 2018–19 academic year was one of profound changes for the congress, and I am proud of everything we have accomplished together. Through many drafts, the student congress constitution was codified and set the framework for a congress capable of bolstering our students and organizations. We raised more than $3,000 for student scholarships during our annual Giving Tuesday fundraiser. We competed against each other in the second annual Battle of St. Albert’s to raise money for Project Hope. We collaborated on events, and helped our organizations hold more than 100 academic, professional, and social events to create a lasting impact on our student body.

As I step down from my role as President of the congress, I have spent time reflecting on its future. While I would love to think that the constitution we wrote will last a lifetime, I know that is not likely. The words represent the goals for the congress of today; as the years pass, the evolving needs of our students and our organizations will require new goals. A lot may change, but I am confident that St. John’s will always have passionate students who are eager to make a difference. 

As you enter the new year, I encourage all of you to step outside of your comfort zone to make a difference in your community. Whether it is volunteering at a health fair, taking on a new role at work, or joining an organization, strive to make a positive impact on others. I wish you all the best in your academic year, and look forward to everything that you will accomplish.

—Alexander Cheung '20Pharm.D.
President, Student Congress 2018–19

Student Organizations

Pharmacy Students with Girl Scouts

Pharmacy Students Enjoy Community Outreach Programs

Our students collaborated with community partners on education and outreach programs.

Female Student Laughing in Lab Coat

Lambda Kappa Sigma Supports Women in Pharmacy

The St. John's chapter of Lambda Kappa Sigma held several events this past year to support women in pharmacy.

ASCP Hosts Medicare Part D Workshop

On October 17, Judith L. Beizer, Pharm.D., BCGP, Clinical Professor of Clinical Health Professions, led the Medicare Part D workshop hosted by the St. John's chapter of the American Society of Consultant PharmacistsAt this cocurricular event, students learned more about Medicare Part D and how to optimize the internet to help their patients.

Poison Control Awareness Focus of ASCP/SSPP Event 

On March 18, the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) and Student Society of Pediatric Pharmacy (SSPP) chapters hosted the first-ever Poison Control Awareness Panel for National Poison Prevention Week. Esteemed speakers included Mary Ann Howland, Pharm.D., DABAT, FAACT, Clinical Professor of Clinical Health Professions; Maria Mercurio-Zappala, R.Ph., MS, DABAT, FAACT, Associate Director of New York City Poison Control Center (NYCPCC); and Lauren Schwartz, M.P.H., Director of Public Education at New York City Poison Control Center (NYCPCC).

SSPP Students Learn about Neonatal Pharmacy 

Dimitrios Saava '17Pharm.D., Neonatal Intensive Care Clinical Pharmacist at NewYork–Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, was the guest speaker at a Student Society of Pediatric Pharmacy (SSPP) event on September 24, 2018. Dr. Saava and the more than 30 students in attendance discussed pediatric pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, apnea in premature infants, and patent ductus arteriosus. It was a great experience for SSPP members to learn about these very important topics and to hear Dr. Saava’s firsthand experience in dealing with them.

Phi Delta Chi Alumni Raise Funds for St. Jude’s Hospital 

Phi Delta Chi raised funds for children’s cancer by organizing an accredited continuing education event for Phi Delta Chi alumni. Joseph V. Etzel '88P, '90PharmD., Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Clinical Professor in the Clinical Health Professions department, presented on the topic of medication errors and patient safety. Alumni were required to donate a minimum of $20 to St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital in order to attend, and the event raised just under $1,200. The program was held on November 11, 2018.

Students Cohost Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Event

Phi Delta Chi hosted a cocurricular event on mental health awareness and suicide prevention for pharmacy students on September 24, 2018. This event was cosponsored with the College’s American Pharmacist Association–Academy of Student Pharmacists and the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacist chapters. A total of 87 students from across CPHS attended. The invited speaker was Pat Breaux from the Suicide Prevention Center of New York State. 

Brown Bag Event Held at Deepdale Cares Senior Center

Phi Delta Chi participated in a "brown bag" event at the Deepdale Cares Senior Center in Little Neck, NY, to help senior citizens sort and manage their medications. Judith L. Beizer, Pharm.D., BCGP, Clinical Professor in the Clinical Health Professions department, supervised the fraternity brothers as they gave free consultations and medical advice.  

IPhO and DIA Host Internship Panel 

On November 29, 2018, the Industry Pharmacist Organization (IPhO) and Drug Information Association (DIA) held their annual internship panel featuring current pharmacy students who completed summer internships. This event aims to provide students with more knowledge on the process for applying to industry internships and how to find internship opportunities. Panelists shared their challenges with the process, what they found most beneficial from their internship experience, and what kinds of work students can expect while completing an internship. 

The panelists for this year’s event included Katherine Russo '22Pharm.D., medical writing intern at Merck; Jennifer Soffing '21Pharm.D., intern at Novartis; Mursal Noory '21Pharm.D., global regulatory affairs intern at Bayer; Andrew Kwong '20Pharm.D., Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmacy services intern; Joan Chung '20Pharm.D., intern in the New York City Department for the Aging Program Development Unit; Farah Pragga '21Pharm.D., medical affairs intern at Pfizer; and Namosha Mohite '22Pharm.D., medical quality oversight intern at Pfizer.

Professional Years Prep Focus of APhA–ASP Event 

In collaboration with the Office of the Dean, the American Pharmacist Association–Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) held its first Dean’s Hour: Guide to Pharmacy Professional Years for the undergraduate first- and second-year pharmacy students. The Guide to Pharmacy Professional Years will be an annual event focused on reaching out to undergraduate students to prepare them for progression toward the professional years. 

Amisha Jaimon '23Pharm.D., Pre-Professional Vice President, shared with students what to expect over the next four years in the pharmacy program. She also discussed the importance of participating in cocurricular events, approaches to optimize performance in the Drugs and Disease course, and the progression interview process. Amisha also provided an overview of CPHS student organizations and student resources. This event provided an opportunity for students to network with members of APhA-ASP and ask questions.

Departmental Highlights

St. John's Faculty Working in Lab

Pharmacy Administration and Public Health

The Department of Pharmacy Administration and Public Health continued to make contributions in scholarship, teaching, and service activities during the Spring 2019 semester.

Pharmacy Students with Anatomy Dummer

Clinical Health Professions

Faculty from the Clinical Health Professions Department were recently awarded a 2019 National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation Scholarship for Excellence in Education Award.

Pharmacy Student Microscope

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty have recently been awarded several prestigious grants.

Community Service and Engagement

St. John’s University is an institution that celebrates a rich tradition dedicated to its Catholic, Vincentian, metropolitan, and global mission. The commitment to its Vincentian value that “one finds God and oneself in service to others” echoes throughout the University and the curricula of the individual programs within each College.

Central to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ service mission is our commitment to “devoting our intellectual and physical resources to helping the underserved populations, including those lacking economic, physical, and social advantages, addressing both human and community needs”; our belief that “through service, students develop the skills, knowledge, and capabilities necessary to engage reciprocally with their communities”; our understanding that “through thoughtful reflection, integrated learning, and empowerment, students will work with others to lead, envision, and create change in our community and society in general”; and our sense of responsibility to provide “service programs that are transformative as they will be grounded in reflection, which creates a community of learners who embrace differences and diversity and improves their disposition towards civic responsibility, citizenship, and civic agency.”

Pharmacy students with lab coats

Community Outreach and Engagement Initiatives

The College demonstrates its commitment to addressing unmet community needs, especially those in the underserved urban populations, through education, practice, and research. We continue to take pride in and live out the University's Catholic and Vincentian mission and values.

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