Outstanding UH Hilo Pharmacy Preceptors & Faculty Honored

The end-of-year award ceremony for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy was held online recently to honor the Preceptors of the Year and teaching award winners.

The Preceptor of the Year award is given to a professional pharmacist who does an exceptional job of mentoring pharmacy students. This year’s recipient is Bonnie Bennett, Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE, at Tripler Army Medical Center on O`ahu, where she has been precepting DKICP students since 2017. She previously worked at Hilo Medical Center and Makalapa Navy Clinic before moving to Tripler in 2016.

“Along with 13 years of experience as a practicing pharmacist, Dr. Bennett is also a certified diabetes care and education specialist,” said Dean Carolyn Ma. “One of her passions is motivating patients to improve their health by learning self-care skills to effectively manage their chronic diseases.

“She is very good at what she does and very caring with her patients. She encourages students to think outside-the-box and to work hard to learn as much as possible during their rotation,” she added.

The 2020 Faculty Preceptor of the Year is Allen Shih, Pharm.D., BCPS and assistant specialist in the department of Pharmacy Practice at DKICP. After receiving his doctor of pharmacy from the University of Utah, Shih did his residency at Multicare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, WA. When he joined DKICP in 2014 he brought with him more than seven years of practice experience in emergency medicine and critical care.

“Dr. Shih is very patient and does an amazing job of guiding students through their thought processes,” Ma said. “He creates a great learning environment for students and keeps them engaged by using real-life applications and his humor. His rotations are among the students’ favorites.”

Each class also elects its favorite teachers of the year. This year’s Student Choice Awards for Teaching went to:

Class of 2023: Dr. Abhijit Date, Pharmacy Science, and Dr. Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit, Pharmacy Practice

Class of 2022: Dr. Dianqing Sun, Pharmacy Science, and Dr. Jarred Prudencio, Pharmacy Practice

Class of 2021: Dr. Daniela Guendisch, Pharmacy Science, and Dr. Chad Kawakami, Pharmacy Practice

UH Hilo Pharmacy Student Awards Presented in Online Ceremony

Faculty and staff of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy gathered virtually with students recently in an online version of its annual end-of-school-year awards ceremony. Along with presentations of many awards and scholarships, a slideshow recapping highlights of the many student activities that took place earlier in the year was shown.

“While this has been a challenging spring semester for students, making the transition to all online classes and dealing with the stresses brought on by the pandemic, they have continued to work hard and perform well,” noted Dean Carolyn Ma. “Their achievements in the face of adversity speak well for their potential accomplishments and contributions to the pharmacy profession.”

The following student awards were announced:

• Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment Highest Test Score: Qixin (Sandy) Li
• Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award: Josephine McDonald
• Mylan Pharmaceuticals Excellence in Pharmacy Award: Stacey Nguyen
• American Pharmacists Association Senior Recognition Certificate: Gregg Tam
• NCPA Outstanding Student Member of the Year: Brittany Luna
• Kahele Student Leader of the Year: Clifford Agcaoili
• UH Hilo DKICP Alumni Association Scholarship: Kalen Niimi
• Aloha Shoyu Pharmacy Scholarship: Katrina Jardine and Trisha Nobriga
• CVS Health Foundation Pharmacy School Scholarship: Nina Cardoza, Tran Dinh and Daijiro Oshitari
• Elwin & Valerie Goo Endowed Excellence Scholarship: Yun Soo Park
• Grace Mizuko Miyawaki Pharmacy Scholarship: Travis Hirayama
• Haga Family Endowed Scholarship: Tyler Branco-Hedke
• Hawaii Independent Pharmacies, Inc. Endowed Excellence Scholarship: Roanne Deabler and Cleighton Lagmay
• Edwin and Georgiana Kam Endowed Excellence Scholarship: Ashley Fukuchi
• Molokai Drugs, Inc. Scholarship: Kendrick Justin Dalmacio and Matthew Neumann
• Mr. Nagakatsu Kumao Otsuka and Dr. Raymond Masashi Otsuka Memorial Scholarship: John Jacob and Sasha Nealand
• Albertsons Safeway Pharmacy Scholarship: Alysha Cosier
• Walgreens Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship: Nadra Nour
• Walgreens Multilingual Scholarship: Danh Ronald Nguyen
• John M. and Mimi F. Pezzuto Excellence Scholarship: Qixin (Sandy) Li, Duy Nguyen and Henry Quach

Recipients of the DKICP Merit Awards were chosen based on academic achievement and leadership success. This year’s winners include:

Class of 2021
Sean Domingo, Qixin (Sandy) Li, Brittany Luna, Jaymee-Rae Pang, Johnson Siu, Donald Waddell

Class of 2022
Alysha Cosier, Tran Dinh, Ashley Fukuchi, Leia Hasegawa, Brian Petrone, Donald Sachs, Melanie Sacro

Class of 2023
Selin Cross, Jasmine Curiel, Emily Tu Le, Kalen Niimi, Sung Mi Yoon

Student Organization of the Year was presented to Hawaiʻi Student Society of Health Systems Pharmacy and Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

UH Hilo Pharmacy Student Wins National Competition

A third-year student pharmacist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy recently won the national American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Patient Counseling competition. 

Henry Quach, who competed against students from pharmacy schools across the country, will receive a plaque and $1,000 prize.

The national counseling competition is designed to encourage student pharmacists to develop their skills as healthcare providers and educators. The contest mimics a patient picking up medication for the first time and requires pharmacy students to counsel the patient on safe and effective drug use. This year’s final round of competition involved the scenario of a mother picking up medication for her young son.

“She showed some signs of concern and anxiousness but was very responsive to learning about the medication,” Quach said.

Quach added that Dr. Jarred Prudencio, DKICP assistant professor of pharmacy practice, played a big role in helping him prepare for the contest. 

“I don’t think I could have done it without all of his help and encouragement,” he said.

Quach achieved some of his counseling skills working with the Pacific Island Mobile Screening Clinic, an organization manned by DKICP students to conduct health screenings and educate local residents about issues relating to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This past year, Quach served as lead on-site chair for the group.

As this year’s national winner, Quach will return to help judge next year’s APhA competition.

Walgreens Helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy with Diversity Initiative Funding

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy received a $7,000 check from retail pharmacy Walgreens to fund a diversity initiative. An additional $5,000 will go toward scholarships to students in the PharmD professional program.

From left, Quinn Taira, Eleanor Wong, Carolyn Ma, Amy Song and Heidi Ho-Muniz

This is the ninth year the college has received funding from Walgreens for diversity. The funds have sponsored educational programs such as a tour of healthcare facilities at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

Walgreens began the diversity program in 2009 to donate $1 million annually toward diversity initiatives at all of the accredited pharmacy schools nationwide.

Eleanor Wong, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor for the San Francisco Peninsula/Hawaiʻi region, presented the check to Dean Carolyn Ma at Walgreens specialty store on Oʻahu. Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy alums Quinn Taira and Amy Song, who both work at the retail store, were in attendance along with Heidi Ho-Muniz, district manager for Walgreens Pharmacy and Retail Operations.

“We are grateful for this initiative that has helped our student pharmacists through the years and strengthened our own commitment to promoting and embracing diversity,” Ma said.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations www.uhfoundation.org.

Collaboration Between the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and Wilcox Hospital Formed to Help Combat Infectious Diseases on Kaua`i

A collaboration between the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and Wilcox Hospital has formed Hawai’i’s first interdisciplinary Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP) to help combat infectious diseases on Kaua`i.

UH Hilo MonikerASPs are programs designed to improve the utilization of appropriate antibiotics with the goals of improving patient outcomes and lowering healthcare associated costs, as well as slowing the development of antimicrobial resistance.

“The management of infectious diseases is a constant arms race, and, as medication experts, pharmacists are uniquely qualified to help drive ASPs,” said Roy Goo, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, who is based on Kaua`i. “As new antimicrobial agents are developed, bacterial, viral and fungal organisms evolve with new resistance mechanisms that confer immunity to even our best medications. Even with proper medication, it is estimated that 50 percent of antibiotics are used inappropriately.

“The practice of infectious diseases is the art of using only what is necessary to cure the infection and nothing more,” added Goo. “One of the basic principles of infectious diseases is the more antimicrobial agents we use, the faster resistance develops.” He points out that in recent years multiple strains of bacteria have arisen that are resistant to all currently available antibiotics.

In Hawaiʻi, Goo shows how the College of Pharmacy has played an integral role in the development of these programs across the State. With support from Wilcox Hospital’s inpatient pharmacy department and the hospital’s infectious disease physician Dr. Jimmy Yoon, students screen for patients who are on high-cost or high-risk antimicrobials. They then assess the appropriateness of the antimicrobial regimen for each patient and present their recommendations to the entire infectious disease team, who makes changes to optimize therapy.

“The Center for Disease Control strongly recommends that hospitals perform some form of antimicrobial stewardship, and it is likely that it will become mandated by the Center for Medicare/ Medicaid Services (CMS) in a couple of years,” Yoon said. “At Wilcox Memorial Hospital, we like to be ahead of the curve. Right now we are lucky that we have very few resistant bacteria, and we want to keep it that way. There is a clear correlation between bacterial resistance and increased morbidity and mortality as well as healthcare costs.”

Recognizing the importance of training pharmacists to fill this growing need, Yoon often spends time with students and tests them on their drug knowledge. Students consult with members of Wilcox Memorial Hospital’s Radiology staff, who also volunteer their time to go over chest X-rays and other imaging studies to point out abnormalities that serve as possible indications of infection.

“The drug pipeline for antimicrobial agents is dry so we need to save the agents that we have,” Yoon said. “My anticipation is that for pharmacists this is going to be a huge area for growth.”

This positive experience has led to other collaborative programs at Straub Hospital and Pali Momi Medical Center (PMMC) on O`ahu. Pharmacist Melissa Yoneda, a DKICP alumni from the Class of 2013, is currently helping to establish a pharmacy-driven ASP at PMMC in collaboration with the PMMC pharmacy, nursing and physician staff.

The release of an ASP module and guidance statement from the CDC indicates that ASPs will likely become a requirement across the United States. Certain states such as California have already made it mandatory that hospitals that enjoy Medicare reimbursement have an established ASP in place.