Category Archives: FAMU News

Pharmacy Practice Faculty Member Receives Board Certification for Pharmacotherapy
10 Dec

Pharmacy Practice Faculty Member Receives Board Certification for Pharmacotherapy

Dr. Madison Como of the FAMU CoPPS, IPH Durell Peaden Jr. Rual Pharmacy Campus has recently received board certification with a specialty in Pharmacotherapy (BCPS) through the Board of Specialty Pharmacies.

Dr. Como, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice, is the first to receive a certification on the Peaden campus, according to Dr. Margareth Larose-Pierre, Founding Campus Dean, Director, and Professor of the Durell Peaden Jr. Rural Pharmacy Education Campus

“Dr. Como has been a wonderful addition to the Peaden Campus. As a board-certified pharmacist, in the area of pharmacy practice, she brings a wealth of knowledge and clinical experience to our learners in the area of pharmacy,” Dr. Larose-Pierre said.

Dr. Como said, “BCPS certification gives me the knowledge and skills necessary to both teach and provide patient-centered and evidence-based care at a higher level. The BCPS certification can also allow for further opportunities to be integrated as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team to provide optimal patient care.”

There are currently 15 board-certified pharmacist faculty in the College including Dr. Como.

To learn more about FAMU CoPPS, IPH, and the distinction of its faculty, visit http://pharmacy.famu.edu/faculty-staff-tallahassee/ .

CoPPS,IPH Introduces a New  Colorful Circular Logo With Nods To Its History
09 Dec

CoPPS,IPH Introduces a New Colorful Circular Logo With Nods To Its History

With the announcement of the renaming of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (FAMU CoPPS, IPH) in June 2020, there is also the unveiling of a new patch circular logo for the College.

According to the brand assets information released by CoPPS, IPH the logo shown here will be primarily used for the pharmacy white coat design. Its secondary use is for items where the standard block logo will not fit the design. Examples include shirt design, certificates, awards, and others.

The new logo is an updated take of the circular logo that was produced in 1972. A variety of existing brand elements and the basic shape and form come from the 1972 era logo. The new circular logo continues to use the University branding colors of orange and green, however, it also comes in additional variations of only one color (orange, green, white, and black) if needed for various backgrounds. The new circular logo includes the Institute of Public Health in its name.

The College has a block logo that is standard and used for most branding purposes.

FAMU Partners With Florida Universities and Health Centers on COVID-19 Community Engagement, Research
20 Nov

FAMU Partners With Florida Universities and Health Centers on COVID-19 Community Engagement, Research

Florida A&M University (FAMU) is among several universities and health care entities from around the state collaborating in a $1 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant on community outreach and engagement to ethnic and racial minority communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by population health experts and physicians with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the effort is titled “Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities” or the Florida CEAL Team, and includes a group of partner experts at Florida International University, the University of Florida, FAMU, Moffitt Cancer Center and Health Choice Network.

Both the University of Florida and the University of Miami are part of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, a statewide network of academic health systems, hospitals and clinics established in 2015 to help facilitate and accelerate health research in Florida.

FAMU’s project is led by principal investigator Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D., director of the FAMU Institute of Public Health and associate dean of the FAMU College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health.

In collaboration with UF, FAMU will conduct community outreach and promote community engagement to determine the level of awareness and understanding of COVID-19 in the African American community. University researchers will identify corresponding solutions to increase engagement by utilizing Community Health Workers (CHWs) focusing on African American communities in Leon, Wakulla, Gadsden, and Jefferson counties.

FAMU also will work with communities to understand and promote participation in clinical trials and implement and evaluate the impact of strategies that increase the enrollment of African Americans into COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic trials, Harris said.

“Given the devastation, COVID-19 has caused on African Americans and other communities of color, all of these projects are vital,” Harris said. “If we are to end the tragedy of this pandemic, we must be proactive in our outreach and understand the disproportionate challenges faced by communities of color.”

Researchers attribute elevated COVID-19 prevalence and mortality rates in underserved communities to structural inequalities and social determinants of health. The statewide CEAL initiative —comprised of several projects led by regional partners—is aimed at devising strategies to counteract misinformation about COVID-19, understanding and overcoming barriers to care, and promoting minority participation in vaccine and therapeutic clinical trials.

“We are privileged to lead a coalition that will address one of our state’s most pressing public health concerns,” said the project’s principal investigator Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., M.P.H., professor, Department of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at UM.  “Disparities in COVID-19 infections are a concern, as African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans account for more than half of all reported cases in the United States. We want to counteract misinformation about COVID-19, understand barriers to care, and promote minority participation in vaccine and therapeutic clinical trials.”

Working with community organizations, the Florida CEAL Team will develop community-based outreach activities aimed at promoting evidence-based COVID health promotion practices and participation in clinical trials. They will also implement and evaluate the impact of strategies that increase the enrollment of minorities into COVID vaccine and therapeutic trials.

“We know that this virus does not discriminate,” said Folakemi Odedina, Ph.D., University of Florida joint professor in radiation oncology, pharmacotherapy and translational research and director of the CaRE2 Health Equity Center.  “We also know that COVID-19 significantly impacts minority communities. Joining together with our partners around the state to support some of the hardest-hit communities is a crucial step in achieving our common goal of eradicating coronavirus in Black and Latinx communities.”

“When the pandemic hit, many of Florida’s minority and ethnic communities were already coping with serious health disparities, including higher rates of cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease,” said Elizabeth A. Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida Health, whose expertise includes quality of care and improving health outcomes for Florida’s publicly insured residents. “COVID-19 added one more.”

Shenkman, who is also the principal investigator of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, said the statewide network of health systems, hospitals, and clinics was able to quickly mobilize to provide outreach and resources for these communities, especially those with limited access to health care services and support for COVID-19.

 

Media Contact

Andrew Skerritt

850-544-2675

Andrew.skerritt@famu.edu

FAMU Launches Call the Shots to Encourage the Flu Vaccine
13 Nov

FAMU Launches Call the Shots to Encourage the Flu Vaccine

For Immediate Release  

FAMU Launches Call the Shots to Encourage the Flu Vaccine

Tallahassee, FL (November 13, 2020) – Today the Florida A&M University and its College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (FAMU CoPPS, IPH) launched the Call the Shots campaign to urge the community to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation for everyone age six months and older to get an annual flu vaccine. The initiative kicked off with FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. and the FAMU CoPPS, IPH Dean Johnnie L. Early II, PhD, RPh, Fellow NPhA getting their flu shot on campus

FAMU is a pillar in the community and is using its network of students, alumni, and community partners, like Immunize Florida—a grassroots network of neighbors, community leaders, and healthcare professionals—to encourage and ensure equal access to flu vaccines this flu season as our community continues to fight COVID-19.  

“It is always important to get your flu vaccination, but as our community continues to fight COVID-19 it is especially important for anyone six months and older,” said Claudia Blackburn, MPH, RN, Health Officer, Leon County Health Department. “In 2019, we lost 2,703 Floridians to influenza and pneumonia. Pneumonia is often a complication from the flu. Compounded with a global pandemic, our bodies and healthcare systems could use all the protection we can possibly get this year. I’m thankful for the work of FAMU and Immunize Florida, and excited to promote this initiative to ensure community access to vaccines for preventable diseases, like the flu.” 

FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said given the threat posed by the global pandemic, everyone should take advantage of flu shots.  

“COVID-19 has put a spotlight on what can happen to communities and persons of color where there are underlying health disparities when faced with a major public health threat. Call the Shots provides an opportunity for individuals to protect themselves, their families and their communities. That’s the truly important message,” Robinson said.  “COVID-19 is disrupting households, communities, and businesses, even how we operate at Florida A&M University. This flu season can compound those issues. That’s why I am urging everyone to go out and get their flu shot.”  

According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Call the Shots hopes to bridge the gap and offer science-backed education on the importance of immunizations and how the community can gain access to these preventative services.

Local partners at Southeastern Center for Infectious Diseases, Leon County Health Department, Neighborhood Medical Center, Bond Community Health Center, and CVS Pharmacy will be administering the flu vaccine throughout flu season. The full list of community partners that will administer the flu vaccine, as well as other vaccines, will be updated here: http://pharmacy.famu.edu/call-the-shots-community-partners/.

###

About Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (CoPPS, IPH) has a rich history of producing high-caliber graduates capable of providing exceptional pharmaceutical care. The CoPPS, IPH unique program focuses on academic excellence, research superiority and community service which allows us to prepare students for leading roles in the practice of pharmacy, research, and public health. Founded 69 years ago (in 1951) the CoPPS, IPH graduate more 60% of the nation’s Ph.Ds in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Today, the Blue Ridge Institute ranked the college number 12 among the top colleges and schools of pharmacy in the nation. In keeping with the FAMU’s mission, the college is dedicated to Academic excellence, research superiority, and community service. The college is accredited through the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education. Learn more by visiting pharmacy.famu.edu.

About Immunize Florida:

Immunize Florida is a grassroots network uniting parents, educators, students, healthcare professionals, and community leaders dedicated to achieving and maintaining full immunization to protect Floridians from vaccine-preventable diseases. By promoting awareness, education, and advocating for science-based immunization policies, Immunize Florida is working to keep Floridians healthy. Learn more by visiting ImmunizeFL.com.

Dr. Lee Awarded $2.8 Million in Distinguished NIH Research Grant
18 Aug

Dr. Lee Awarded $2.8 Million in Distinguished NIH Research Grant

Florida A&M College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (CoPPS, IPH) professor, Ensook Lee, Ph.D., has received a $2.8 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) research project grant (R01). The NIH R01 grant is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH. The R01 supplies support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH. 

The five-year R01 grant which title and focus is the “Mechanisms Associated with Neuroprotection from Manganese (Mn) Induced Neurotoxicity.” The goal of this grant is to investigate the potential neuroprotective role of a gene called REST [Repressor Element1 (RE1)-Silencing Transcription factor] in Mn neurotoxicity. 

Dr. Lee says, “Although Mn is an essential trace element in our body, its overexposure from the environment in areas such as air pollution and contaminated water as well as occupational settings such as welding is known to cause a neurological disorder, like Parkinson’s disease (PD), this is referred to as manganism.”

Since Mn is considered a significant contributing factor to PD development, and given the similarities between manganism and PD, investigating REST’s protective mechanism against Mn’s neurotoxicity will also aid in PD therapeutic research. 

In this grant, Dr. Lee is collaborating with Michael Aschner, Ph.D.,  of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York, as a Co-Investigator. Other collaborators include Bruce Yankner, M.D., Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, and Jenny Hsieh, Ph.D. from the University of Texas in San Antonio, who will serve as consultants on the project. FAMU faculty and students round off the team of collaborators. This list of local collaborators includes CoPPS, IPH research assistant professor, Edward Pajarillo, Ph.D. and three Pharmacology/Toxicology graduate learners (Asha Rizor, Ivan Nyarko-Danquah, and Getinet Adinew). Finally, Ashvini Chauhan, Ph.D., from the FAMU School of Environment and Matthew Dutton, Ph.D., from FAMU CoPPs, IPH. will aid in bioinformatics and statistics.

Dr. Lee says, “I am honored to receive this R01 award from the NIH-NIEHS and truly grateful to FAMU and CoPPS, IPH, for supporting my research at FAMU. I am grateful that this funding will allow me to adequately support and sustain my postdoctoral research fellows so they can operate at their fullest potential in these difficult times.”

Dr. Lee, who is a FAMU CoPPS Ph.D. graduate, was recruited back to the University as a faculty member in 2018.

“I appreciate the support of Dr. Carl Goodmann on transitioning to FAMU and providing a great research environment and Dr. Karam Soliman, Associate Dean for Research for his endless support on my research activity at FAMU”, says Dr. Lee. “I also would like to thank my lab members for their hard work and dedication to the sciences.”

CoPPS IPH Faculty Recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials
27 Jul

CoPPS IPH Faculty Recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials

Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health Northeast Pharmacy Practice Center Assistant Professor, Samantha Thompson, PharmD, was recently recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) as having a Promising Practice program.

NACCHO is a Washington, DC-based organization representing 3,000 local public health departments in the United States. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities by coordinating programs and services that make it easier for people to be healthy and safe from public health emergencies. The Promising Practice designation means the practice has demonstrated exciting approaches and strategies to local public health issues that are on track to becoming Model Practices, NACCHO’s highest recognition for replicable and exemplary programs.

The designation of Promising Practice means that Dr. Thompson has a program that shows exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a local public health need.

Dr. Thompson’s program application entitled, “The Impact of Pharmacist Implemented HIV Medication Adherence in Minority Communities,” was selected. This year, 36 health department programs around the country were recognized as a Promising Practice. In the state of Florida, Dr. Thompson’s program was one of ten programs recognized.

In Dr. Thompson’s award letter, the Council said that her program reflects a robust local health department role, collaboration, and innovation.

Applications go through a vigorous peer-evaluation process by NACCHO’s workgroup members. Dr. Thompson’s accomplishment was celebrated during the NACCHO 360 event, which was held virtually this year.

CoPPS, IPH Faculty Ablordeppey Awarded U.S. Patent
26 Jul

CoPPS, IPH Faculty Ablordeppey Awarded U.S. Patent

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued the exclusive protection and approval for FAMU CoPPS, IPH Professor and Eminent Scholar Chair in Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Seth Ablordeppey’s patent titled: “Alkylated tetrahydroisoquinolines for binding to central nervous system receptors.” Patent number: 10525050 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 750,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose, and two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid pain killer. Overdose deaths involving opioids have increased almost six times since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed nearly 47,000 people in 2018, and 32% of those deaths involved prescription opioids. Thus, there is an urgent need to find new targets for drug development as alternatives to opioids as pain medications. 

Dr. Ablordeppey’s research laboratory has been working on finding new drugs that target a receptor demonstrated with the potential for developing novel pain medications, medications to treat drug abuse and addiction, and even certain sleep disorders. 

The present invention refers to the discovery of 5-HT7 receptor agonists with the potential to treat pain and the symptoms of pain, especially certain subtypes of pain like neuropathic and inflammatory pain and even certain sleep disorders. The specific compounds are novel agents that selectively activate the 5-HT7 receptor with a significant bias for recruiting β-arrestin to the receptor. These compounds have laid the foundation for further characterization of the 5-HT7 receptor and its potential use in multiple treatments, including replacement of current pain medications, treatment of drug abuse and addiction, psychiatric illnesses, and certain types of sleep disorders.  

Dr. Ablordeppey holds five U.S. patents, including this one, and two WIPO patents.

CoPPS Faculty Published Article on COVID-19
23 Jul

CoPPS Faculty Published Article on COVID-19

Last month, The Phylaxis Journal recently published an article by Marlon Honeywell, PharmD, Executive Associate Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health. The article was entitled, “RESPONDING TO COVID-19: DOING WHAT’S RIGHT OVER WHAT’S EXPEDIENT”.

In their article, Dr. Honeywell refers to the world’s current fight with COVID-19 as war and refers explicitly to battles during World War I and II. He states that “While we are not physically at war with another country, we are currently in the battle of our lives. Nevertheless, we can win if we choose to learn from the inherent and dynamic lessons of World Wars I and II.

Dr. Honeywell also states that “Responsibly correcting the negligent actions of others (exposure to CDC recommendations, donating disinfectants and supplies, wearing and recommending the wear of covers for nose and mouth, etc.) may save the lives of those who come into contact with infected or potentially infected individuals.”

The Phylaxis Journal is a publication for the Prince Hall Masons.

CoPPS Faculty Collaborate on Cancer Research
23 Jul

CoPPS Faculty Collaborate on Cancer Research

The scientific journal, “Molecules,” recently published a journal article authored by Dr. Karam Soliman and Dr. Kinfe Redda. The article is named “The Antiproliferative Effects of Flavonoid MAO Inhibitors on Prostate Cancer Cells,” and it is based on their collaborative research work. 

In an earlier study, the research group synthesized a group of compounds, referred to as flavonoids. These compounds also had potent antiviral activities, including the Anti-HIV virus, which was more effective than the common Anti-HIV drug, AZT. Dr. Redda and his research group received a US Patent for discovering the structure and biological activities of some of these flavonoids. 

To make the results more interesting, Dr. Soliman and his research group studied these same compounds. Dr. Soliman’s group concluded that the same flavonoids have a unique combination effect of anticancer and anti-depression. The association between advanced prostate cancer and vulnerability to depression among men is prevalent. Possible main contributors include the frustrating cancer symptoms and the depressive side effects of the current prostate cancer therapies.  

“Fortunately, our studies on these newly discovered flavonoid compounds held a great promise as an alternative therapy for their potent effects as anticancer and anti-depression agents,” said Dr. Redda. “The published results are fascinating.” 

To learn more, the article can be accessed at https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/9/2257 .

Pharmacy Building Courtyard Complete
20 Jul

Pharmacy Building Courtyard Complete

This summer, the Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health, moved forward with its recent completion of the long-awaited learner courtyard, which is in the east wing of the pharmacy building.

The courtyard project includes new comfortable outdoor furniture and is enough square feet for learners to meet while social distancing. This courtyard fills the need for a secure outdoor space for learners to relax, assemble, and study.

Comments from faculty:

“I am extremely excited about the College’s courtyard. This space will allow for faculty, staff, and learners to take a break from academia if only for one moment. In addition, it will supply a relaxed atmosphere that will catch on quickly. I look forward to meeting you at the Courtyard.” – Dr. Debora L. Taylor, Interim Associate Dean for the Office of Student Affairs

“The Courtyard furniture looks fantastic!” – Dr. Sandra Suther, Division Director for Economic, Social & Administrative Pharmacy

“This Courtyard is excellent timing in this era of social distancing!” – Dr. Nathaniel Eraikhuemen, Division Director South Florida Pharmacy Practice Center

Special thanks to CoPPS, IPH staff: Mrs. Annette Dawson-Nelson for her business acumen, and Mrs. Verretta Young for the name “Courtyard”. Also, thanks to Mr. Terence Hightower for heading the project, which includes selecting the type of furniture for the Courtyard. The purchase was charged to the start up fund of Dean Early.

The College is excited to offer title sponsor naming rights to the Courtyard. If you are interested in learning about this naming opportunity, please contact the Director of Development, Dekywan Debose at dekywan.debose@famu.edu.