Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Rachel Collins

Rachel Collins presents poster Rachel Collins presents a poster at the 2016 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting

December 20, 2016

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.Periodically, the Harrison School of Pharmacy will highlight one of its students, faculty members, staff members or alums. This month, we will feature Rachel Collins.

Rachel Collins, a member of the Class of 2017, recently had the honor of having research that she worked on published through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). What made the publication even more special was the fact that it was research she worked on with her mother, Dr. Angela Collins-Yoder, a clinical professor with the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing.

The article, titled “Drug-Induced Liver Injury,” discusses a number of drug classes that have been associated with Idiopathic Drug Induced Liver Injury.

RELATED: Read the full article in the AACN journal

Collins is a native of Hoover, Alabama, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Mississippi State in 2012. Upon completion of her time at HSOP, she would like to pursue a PGY-1 residency in the southeast that focuses on critical care and infectious disease.

What got you interested in doing research?
“I have always been interested in learning, researching, and writing. I was able to aid in some research in my undergraduate studies that was trying to determine the mechanisms behind atypical antifungal agents including various dyes and medications. This research is what initially directed me toward pharmacy school as opposed to my prior plan of veterinary medicine. I thoroughly enjoyed that experience, although it did not involve writing, and I planned to pursue research while in pharmacy school. I am proud of the work I have been able to complete while in pharmacy school. With the help of Dr. Emily McCoy and Liz Ezell (HSOP Class of 2017 member), I was able to complete a research project on how vitamin D deficiency correlates to HbA1c levels. I presented this research at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting 2016 in Las Vegas. I would enjoy further research opportunities regarding patient outcomes due to policy changes. This is a frequent topic among the hospitals I have spoken with, and as antimicrobial policies and disease management guidelines change, patient outcomes need to be reassessed.

“The article that I was able to co-author this year is an important accomplishment for me and I hope that in the future I can continue to work with other faculty and colleagues to develop and publish similar review articles. I would potentially like to speak at conventions on research topics in the future as well.”

How did you get involved in the research for this article?
“This article is more of an elaboration on a clinical discussion. It would be considered a review article, so the research is primarily literature searching. My role was as a secondary author.

“The AACN reached out to my mother following her presentation at a conference in May, 2016 about drug-induced liver injury and asked her to write a follow up article on some of the additional drug classes and distribute the information to a larger audience. The AACN wanted to publish the article in their fall edition so there was a significant time crunch. We had approximately four weeks to complete the article. Since the timeline was so tight, and luckily I was on my off block of P4 year, my mom asked if I would be interested in contributing to the article. My mom spoke with Dr. Leslie Hamilton (former HSOP faculty member and current faculty member at Tennessee) at a conference last year and had worked with her previously. Dr. Hamilton’s specialty is critical care and neurology, so she had a good amount of experience with DILI.  We were able to complete the article on the timeline and it has been extremely well received so far.”

Tell us about the article.
“This article outlines drug-induced liver injury (DILI). The article reviews a number of drug classes known to be associated with idiopathic DILI and their proposed mechanisms. We also briefly discuss acetaminophen induced liver injury which is fairly well studied and has been shown to be dose related. Overall this article is meant to be a quick resource for practitioners to learn and review common drugs that can cause liver injury.”

What was it like working on a project like this with your Mom?
“My mom has always been an inspiration to me and a professional role model. She has published many articles in peer reviewed nursing journals throughout her career and I was able to watch her process of developing, writing, and editing articles as I was growing up. We work very well together professionally, and are able to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses better than most colleagues. Also, we speak very casually with each other since we are family; that kind of candor can be very helpful when on a tight deadline as we were. The most memorable part of writing this with my mom was on the day the submission was due, we were sitting in her office at her house and throwing ideas and revisions back and forth. We accomplished more in that afternoon prior to submission than I could have imagined. I hope to be able to work on other projects and articles with her during my professional career.”

You’re now in your P4 year and nearing graduation. How are you liking your rotations that you have been on? What does the future look like for you?
“I have learned an immense amount on my rotations so far this year. I have completed Ambulatory Care with Dr. McCoy, Medicine at West Florida Hospital, Health Systems Practice at Thomas Hospital, Community at Lakeview Pharmacy, and Medicine with Dr. Bobby Helmer at USA Medical Center. I have enjoyed my rotations, and they have helped me learn what aspects of pharmacy appeal to me. Every practice site and preceptor is extremely different and offer a very diverse experience. Hopefully a PGY-1 residency is in my future for next year, but either way I hope to work in a hospital pharmacy and be able to research and publish more articles in the future.”

Rachel Collins with her mother
Rachel Collins with her mother, Dr. Angela Collins-Yoder.
Rachel Collins on the winning APA Self-Care Challenge team
Rachel Collins (second from left) on the winning APA Self-Care Challenge team. Also pictured (from left) are Lindsay Guttuso, Emily Hailstone, Ali Stringberg, and Frederique Dunham.


About the Harrison School of Pharmacy
Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit

Making Medications Work Through Innovative Research, Education and Patient Care

Last Updated: December 20, 2016