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Updated April 28, 2020

The Auburn Pharmacist Online is an electronic newsletter providing news, events and updates from the Harrison School of Pharmacy. Have something you would like included? Email


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Share Your Story

Many of our alumni and friends are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping us all safe and healthy. We would like to celebrate stories of your work during this crisis and welcome submissions of news, notes, and photos to We would like to celebrate those that are working so hard at this time and spotlight innovative practices you may have adopted during this time.

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HSOP Establishes Resource Center for Pharmacists and Practitioners

In an effort to assist pharmacists and practitioners throughout the state in navigating these new and unique times with COVID-19, the team from the Harrison School of Pharmacy's Division of Clinical Affairs and Outreach has developed a resource center at Check out the frequently asked questions and best practices. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out at

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New Items Available in the HSOP School Store

New items are available in the HSOP School Store, including an 8x10 picture frame that is ideal to display your state pharmacy license. Launched in partnership with the Auburn University Bookstore, the online store also includes apparel, drinkware, and other items. All proceeds from the HSOP store will be used to support student success through various programs. To learn more, click HERE or visit

HSOP Supports Community With Production of Hand Sanitizer

In the wake of COVID-19, items such as hand sanitizer, cleaning solutions and other household essentials have become coveted commodities. In an effort to ensure those in the Auburn community continuing to serve are protected, faculty, staff and students at the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy came together to compound, package and deliver hand sanitizer. Read the full story.

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HSOP, VA Partner to Provide Innovative Care to Veterans in Alabama

Embracing technology, students and faculty at HSOP are fulfilling their commitment to care for those in Alabama and deliver accessible healthcare through the Population Health Clinic. The clinic is a collaboration between the Auburn University Pharmaceutical Care Center, located within HSOP, and the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Learn more about this innovative clinic and how it assists veterans and their families around the state.

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James Harrison, Jr. Passes Away

James I. Harrison, Jr., who made the generous donation in 2002 to name Auburn’s School of Pharmacy after his father, James I. Harrison, Sr., passed away Feb. 24 at the age of 87. Harrison was an extremely generous and gracious person, and a dedicated supporter of the profession of pharmacy. His father started what became Harco Drugs with one store in Tuscaloosa and grew that to five stores by 1967 when they opened their first “out-of-town” store in downtown Auburn. Harco grew to more than 150 stores before merging with a national retailer in 1997. The Harrison School of Pharmacy is a perpetual reminder of Harrison and his family’s significant contributions to Auburn University and to the profession of pharmacy in the State of Alabama. Harrison and wife, Peggy, have five children, Jim III, Cissy, Ronnie, Cheri and Kie, and 15 grandchildren. Ronnie is a 1980 graduate of the Harrison School of Pharmacy.

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Tiger Giving Day Project Surpasses Goal

For the 2020 Tiger Giving Day, HSOP raised money for a project to educate and vaccinate teens in Alabama. Led by Dr. Spencer Durham and P2 Lauren Hart, the project sought to raise awareness of and funds to purchase vaccines for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap); Meningitis (MCV); and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). With goal of $10,000, the project surpassed the target with $10,250 from 163 donors. To learn more, visit the Tiger Giving Day project page.

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Eiland Selected as ASHP Presidential Candidate

Dr. Lea S. Eiland, Clinical Professor and Associate Department Head of Pharmacy Practice, was recently selected as a candidate for president-elect of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). The full slate and online voting are available on the ASHP website. Voting begins July 6. Additionally, Dr. Nathan Pinner, associate clinical professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, is a candidate for Director-at-Large in the Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists. ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s nearly 50,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians.

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Tips and Best Practices Offered to Pharmacists and Patients

In recent months, pharmacists and patients have adjusted to a new way of operating in the wake of COVID-19. HSOP has compiled a list of tips and information for both pharmacists and patients as you navigate these new and challenging times.

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More Than 55 From HSOP Match With Residencies

For the fourth year in a row, more than 50 Harrison School of Pharmacy graduates and soon-to-be-graduates were accepted to residency programs. In all, 57 found their place among the best and brightest to begin or further their career in hospitals, clinics and universities around the country. Learn more and see the full list.

HSOP Contingent Wins Awards at CNSi Retreat

HSOP was well represented in the poster awards at the inaugural Center for Neuroscience Retreat on Friday, Feb. 28. The all-day program, directed by Drs. Miranda Reed and Vishnu Suppiramaniam, welcomed neuroscience experts and speakers from around the world to Auburn.

In the undergraduate competition, Anna Solomonik finished second while Teja Ramapuram placed third. Solomonik’s worked under Drs. Tim Moore and Murali Dhanasekaran while Ramapuram worked under Drs. Jay Ramapuram and Dhanasekaran. In the graduate student competition, Manoj Govindarajul, who works under Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam, took second place with Manjusha Annaji and Sharay Setti earning honorable mention honors. Annaji works under Dr. Ramapuram while Setti works under Dr. Miranda Reed. Additionally, Dr. Maksimenko Andrey took second place in the junior faculty ddivision. Andrey is a visiting scholar in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development.

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Two From HSOP Recognized by SGA

Each year, the Auburn University Student Government Association recognizes outstanding faculty and students who are nominated by leaders in their schools and colleges. This recognition gives every school and college at Auburn the opportunity to honor outstanding individuals for their accomplishments. This year, HSOP’s Outstanding Student is Jackson Spradlin, a member of the Class of 2021 from Cullman, Alabama. Receiving Outstanding Faculty Member honors was Dr. Spencer Durham, associate clinical professor and director of alumni & professional affairs.

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HSOP Receives Alumni Engagement Innovation Grant

The HSOP Office of Development and Alumni Affairs recently received an Alumni Engagement Innovation Grant from the Auburn Alumni Association. The $5,000 award will support the Pharmacy Family Alumni Reunion. Awarding for the second year, these grants are one of the ways the Auburn Alumni Association meets its strategic goals, particularly its efforts to increase meaningful alumni engagement across the university enterprise. The grants provide seed funds for new alumni engagement programs or funding to expand existing programs to increase capacity and impact.

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Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Dr. Garrett Aikens

A recipient of the 2019 Excellence in Innovation Award from the Alabama Pharmacy Association, Dr. Garrett Aikens has made a significant impact at the VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa while also incorporating HSOP students into a program that reaches patients with telehealth. Learn more about this 2011 graduate in the Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight.

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HSOP Alumnae Recognized Posthumously by AACP

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Pharmacy Practice Section has renamed one of its awards to the Anne Marie Liles Distinguished Service Award. Liles was a 2005 graduate of HSOP and served on faculty in the Department of Pharmacy Practice from 2006-14. Liles, who passed away Aug. 23, 2018, was beloved by students and colleagues and recognized by her peers as a national leader in pharmacy practice. The award is presented to a nominee with 20 or more years of experience in academia who holds a faculty position within an AACP member college or school of pharmacy, and who continues to make positive contributions within the pharmacy profession through pharmacy practice, research, leadership and service.

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HSOP Grad Kicks Off White Ribbon Campaign

Dr. Corrie Stewart, a member of the HSOP Class of 2005 and former HSOP facilitator, recently reached out to The Flower Store in Auburn about making white ribbons to honor hospital staff. The idea was spawned from Gov. Kay Ivey’s “Ribbons of Hope” campaign and has since brought the presence of white ribbons around Lee County. Learn more about the project in this story from the Opelika-Auburn News.

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HSOP Alums Named Patient Champions

HSOP alums Jim Gann, Jr. and Dale Johnson were recently recognized as Patient Champions by the American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc. (APCI). Gann is owner of Douglas Pharmacy in Horton, Alabama and is a 1989 Auburn pharmacy graduate. Johnson, a 1969 graduate, is owner of Boaz Discount Drugs in Boaz, Alabama. Read more in the Sand Mountain Reporter.

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We Want to Hear from You

One of our favorite things around the Harrison School of Pharmacy is when we hear from our alumni and friends. We would love to hear from you with updates on your practice, career, or life in general. Please send any updates or news items you have to

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Chao Li Earns PhRMA Foundation Fellowship

Chao Li, a graduate student in the health outcomes research and policy option, was recently awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship by the PhRMA Foundation. Li is advised by Dr. Jingjing Qian. The award, which is $25,000 per year for up to two years, provides support to promising students during advanced stages of training and thesis research and for the career development of scientists prepared to engage in health outcomes research. The PhRMA Foundation supports young scientists in disciplines important to the pharmaceutical industry by awarding them competitive research fellowships and grants at a critical decision point at the outset of their careers.

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Beck Selected as President’s Award Winner

HSOP Class of 2020 member Samantha Beck was recently selected for the Auburn University President’s Award. The award recognizes one graduate in each school or college who has completed at least three semesters at Auburn with a minimum grade-point average of 3.40 and possesses outstanding qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability.Beck has accepted a position with Walgreens in the Auburn-Montgomery district.

Student Council Officers Elected

Officers for the upcoming year for the HSOP Student Council have been selected. Assuming new positions on the executive board are Lauren Campisi (President), Megan Cullip (Vice President-Auburn), Hannah Bricker (Vice President-Mobile), Jayson Hairston (Secretary), Brianna Whitfield (Treasurer-Auburn), and Holly Wiggins (Treasurer-Mobile). Kaitlin Beyler will serve as HSOP’s senator to the Auburn University SGA.

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Foster Selected for NCPA Leadership Council

Zuri Foster, a P2 from Montgomery, Alabama, has been selected by the National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) to serve for the upcoming year as a member of the NCPA Student Leadership Council. Only eight students are selected each year to serve on SLC from chapters across the country. HSOP’s chapter has been recognized as one of the top-three chapters in the country for the past several years, including winning Chapter of the Year in 2018. The chapter also has had several students over the past several years on SLC.

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HSOP Student Researcher Contributes to COVID-19 Test

Doctoral candidate Richard Cullum, who has conducted research under and is co-advised by HSOP’s Dr. David Riese, is part of a group of scientists that has developed a test for COVID-19. Working as part of a team at Assurance Scientific Labs in Birmingham, the group brought a test from development to clinic in less than two weeks. Learn more in this story from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

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Murphy Earns Darden Scholarship

Ashley Murphy (pictured in the center with Dr. Paul Jungnickel and her grandmother), a P1 from LaGrange, Georgia, was recognized as a recipient of the Darden Foundation Scholarships presented at the Foundation’s Black Tie Gala Event at the Opelika Marriott on Saturday, Feb. 1. The scholarships, which include a cash award, are presented annually to outstanding students enrolled in advanced health degree programs (Medicine, Advance Practice Nursing, Pharmacy, Dietetics, or Physical Therapy). Criteria for the award are scholarship, activities, character, and demonstrated service in meeting the needs of the underserved in the East Alabama area. Learn more in the story from the Opelika-Auburn News.

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Chung, Brobst and Cater Visit Ghana

Dr. Allison Chung, associate clinical professor on the Mobile campus, along with P1 Haley Brobst and P4 Shavonne Cater (both pictured in orange shirts) traveled to Ghana in early March with Auburn University Outreach as part of the Ghana Healthcare Program. As part of the program, the group hosted health clinics, participated in volunteer opportunities at hospitals and clinics, visited educational institutions, museums and attraction sites, and visited national reserve parks.

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Fahim Elected Graduate Student Council President

Shahariar Fahim, a Ph.D. student pursuing the Health Outcomes Research and Policy option, was recently elected as the president-elect for the Auburn University Graduate Student Council Executive Committee. Fahim will begin his term in the fall semester. The Auburn University Graduate Student Council (GSC) was conceived in recognition of the necessity for an organization that would strive to fulfill the unique needs of graduate students. It exists to provide a collective voice for its members, acting as the official graduate student representation in university affairs and the Student Government Association (SGA).

HSOP Students Stand Out at VCOM Research Day

Several HSOP students were recognized for their work at the Third Annual VCOM Research Day. In the Undergraduate/Graduate Student category, P1 Caroline Jackson took top honors for her poster titled “Predictable Hematological Markers Associated with Cognitive Decline in Valid Rodent Models of Cognitive Impairment.” Graduate student Priyanka Pinky finished second with her poster titled “Polysialylated Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule Mimetics are a Potential Therapeutic Target for Prenatal Cannabinoid Exposure-Mediated Learning and Memory Deficits,” while fellow graduate student Manjusha Annaji was honorable mention with her poster, “Design and Fabrication of Novel Dosage Forms Via Thermoplastic 3D Printing to Improve Patient Care.” In the Education Research category, graduate student Mohammad Alaghrabi was honorable mention with his poster titled "Elucidating the Risk of Parkinsonism by Designer Drugs: Investigating the Neurotoxicity Piperazine Class of Designer Drugs on Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells.”

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Faculty Earn Promotion and Tenure

A number of HSOP faculty members were recently awarded with promotion or tenure, recognizing their outstanding efforts to the school. The promotions are effective Oct. 1, 2020. In the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Dr. Heather Whitley was promoted to Clinical Professor. Whitley has been with HSOP since 2006. Additionally, Drs. Katelin Alexander, Allison Helmer, Bobby Helmer, Kaitlin Lisenby, and Nicole Slater were promoted to Associate Clinical Professors. Bobby Helmer joined HSOP in 2012, followed by Allison Helmer in 2013. Alexander, Lisenby, and Slater all joined in 2014.

In the Department of drug Discovery and Development, Dr. Jianzhong Shen was promoted to Professor while Dr. Miranda Reed received tenure. Shen has been with HSOP since 2008 with Reed joining in 2015.

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Durham Named to Governor’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force

Dr. Spencer Durham, associate clinical professor in the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, has been named to Alabama’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force by Gov. Kay Ivey. The task force is a collection of cabinet and state agency officials, as well as disease specialists in the state of Alabama. Durham, who also practices as the infectious diseases clinical pharmacist with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, is a board certified infectious diseases pharmacist. Read more about Dr. Durham and the task force.

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Slater Spotlights Pharmacists as Essential Healthcare Providers

During these trying times, pharmacists consistently make significant impacts in their communities. Even still, the profession can sometimes be overlooked as essential healthcare providers. Dr. Nicole Slater, assistant clinical professor on the Mobile campus, penned a commentary for to shine light on the importance of pharmacists.

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Learning Healthy Habits is Vital in the Time of COVID-19

With the news of COVID-19 spreading throughout the United States, most look to healthcare providers for information on how to treat or cure the disease. Just as important, according to HSOP’s Dr. Jan Kavookjian, is learning new preventive healthy habits in our daily lives. Kavookjian, an associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy, is an expert on human health behavior when it comes to making healthy decisions and taking medication properly. Learn more about healthy habits and ways to motivate others.

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Hester and Penzak Published in JACCP

Drs. Kelly Hester and Scott Penzak were recently published in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Titled “Impact of team‐based care on appropriate statin therapy prescribing in ***HIV‐infected patients,” the researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of 114 patients in an HIV primary care clinic. Eighty-nine of the patients had received team-based care while 25 had received standard care. They determined that the team-based patients received appropriate statin prescribing at a higher rate than those receiving standard care.

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COVID-19: Potential Pipeline Medications

While there are currently no FDA-approved treatments for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), experts are evaluating and testing a variety of antivirals and medications as potential therapies. Learn more about these existing medications in a Pharmacy Times article by HSOP’s Dr. Marilyn Bulloch.

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Gamston Tests Pharmacist-Led Gamification

Dr. Courtney Gamston, HSOP’s professor of practice-experiential and an ambulatory care pharmacist in the AUPCC, recently tested the use of gamification among patients. The study used a custom web-based intake form that requested standard information while also asking optional questions about the patients’ health. Learn more about the study in this feature from ASHP.

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Bhattacharya Joins DDD Faculty

Dr. Subhrajit Bhattacharya recently joined the faculty in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development as an assistant research professor. Located in the Pharmacy Research Building, he will conduct research in neuroscience and electrophysiology. Dr. Bhattacharya received his bachelor’s in pharmacy from the Institute of Pharmacy in West Bengal, India in 2009 and earned a master of science in pharmaceutical sciences from Butler University in 2011. In 2015, he completed his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the Harrison School of Pharmacy. Since leaving HSOP, he has completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Emory University, working under Drs. Stephen Traynelis and Ray Dingledine.

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Eiland and Chung Win Scholarship-in-Teaching Award from PPA

Dr. Lea Eiland and Dr. Allison Chung's project titled "Impacting Student Pharmacists’ Learning through the use of Pediatric Simulation" received a Scholarship-in-Teaching Award from the Pediatric Pharmacy Association (PPA). Dr. Julaine Fowlin also a collaborated on the project.

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DeRuiter Presents at ADURS Meeting

Dr. Jack DeRuiter, Hill Crest Professor in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development, recently presented at the American Drug Utilization Review Society (ADURS) Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Speaking on Novel Drug Therapies, he touched on defining the function of the genome, gene expression and genetic defects; describing the different types of gene therapy; describing the viral and non-viral vectors used for DNA delivery; describing the currently approved gene therapies and their efficacy and safety and investigational gene therapies; and identifying the financial impact associated with gene therapy. ADURS is a non-profit entity that supports individuals active in drug utilization review (DUR) from the 50 State and District of Columbia Medicaid programs. The mission of ADURS is to provide a forum of leadership and support for members.

Last Updated: April 28, 2020