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  • sam patrick posted an article
    Lecture hall in new facility to be named for donor see more

    A lecture hall in the college’s new pharmacy facility will be named the Bobby Gene ‘63 and Barbara Harter Rippy Lecture Hall.

    Noted Union, South Carolina, philanthropist Barbara Harter Rippy has made a $1 million commitment to the College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The donation will support the mission and vision of the college.

    In recognition of this major gift, the college is naming the lecture hall in its new pharmacy facility the Bobby Gene ‘63 and Barbara Harter Rippy Lecture Hall. A virtual groundbreaking for the new facility was held in April.

    “The Rippys exemplify the best characteristics of independent community pharmacy ownership,” said Philip Hall, Pharm.D., dean of the MUSC College of Pharmacy. “Trusted caregivers, community leaders, dedicated to customers, good businesspeople and great models for our students. We’re delighted the Rippy name will have such a prominent place at MUSC.”

    For 34 years, the Rippys owned and operated Smith Drug Store on Main Street in Union. In 1959, Bobby Rippy enrolled at the MUSC College of Pharmacy while Barbara Rippy continued to work, supporting the family until her husband earned a pharmacy degree that would eventually enable them to buy Smith Drug Store in 1969.

    The Rippys became community leaders and benefactors, supporting civic and church organizations as well as sponsoring a Dixie Youth baseball team for 44 years. They retired in 2004 and continued to be vibrant and active parts of Union civic life, participating in and supporting more than a half dozen organizations. Bobby Rippy passed away in 2012.

    The Rippys have long been known for their generosity of spirit; they were giving back when they barely had anything to give. Barbara Rippy credits God first for her ability to give so generously. Not long after opening the pharmacy, when a customer had charged children’s prescriptions four times in a row, Bobby Rippy said, “As long as I live, and I’ve got any money, no child will go without their medication.” They stuck by that maxim, and when they closed, they were still owed $75,000.

    “We didn’t miss one dime of that,” Barbara Rippy said. “When you’re good to people, they are good to you. After all the professors did for Bobby to help him become a pharmacist, I told Larry  that I wanted to give the College of Pharmacy $1 million so that students for years to come would have the same opportunity to fulfill their dreams of becoming pharmacists as well,” she explained, recounting her conversation with Larry Craine, her longtime financial advisor.

    The lecture hall named after the Rippys in the new pharmacy facility reflects that special bond between student and professors. The state-of-the-art lecture hall is dedicated for pharmacy instruction, making it a vital and highly visible site of shared experience for every MUSC pharmacy student and faculty member.

    “Having a dedicated lecture hall for them to learn and interact is essential,” said Chris Wisniewski, Pharm.D., professor and nationally acclaimed expert in pharmacy education. “New space with new technology allows faculty to experiment in the educational realm and identify new ways to educate our students.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    USC earns award of excellence see more

    In recognition of their dedication and innovations in overcoming the challenges of delivering the experiential curriculum during the past year, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Experiential Education Section has bestowed the Award for Excellence in Experiential Education upon the faculty and staff of experiential offices at the colleges and schools of pharmacy, including the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy.

    The Experiential Education team of Jennifer Baker, director of experiential programs; Whitney Maxwell, associate director of experiential programs; Kathryn Kenard, student service program coordinator; and Nancy Blaisdell, administrative assistant, received certificates of recognition from the AACP during a presentation by Julie Sease, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy.

    The AACP Experiential Education Section Award of Excellence in Experiential Education is normally presented each year to an individual, but this year, the organization chose to recognize programs across the country.

    When the University closed in March 2020, the Office of Experiential Education for the College of Pharmacy mobilized to a virtual unit overnight as there could be no pause in operations to keep students progressing through the Pharm.D. curriculum. With the status of hundreds of rotations changing on what seemed like an hourly basis during the spring and summer of 2020, Baker and Maxwell navigated rotation rescheduling while Kenard and Blaisdell tirelessly worked through site onboarding requirements to efficiently move students on and off rotation without missing a beat.

    “Through the hard work and commitment of our preceptors and practice sites, we were able to successfully graduate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on time,” says Baker. “Our team was dedicated to our students even while serving on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. While our experiences were not unique, as everyone’s worlds were turned upside down during the pandemic, I can confidently say that our students and College are blessed with the best preceptors and faculty.

    “We are so grateful for the unwavering support from College administration and for this recognition by the AACP Experiential Education Section. It was incredible to see the collaboration that occurred within our profession at the local, state and national level to support all pharmacy students.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    USC College of Pharmacy hosts special event for minorities see more

    Compliments of WIS-TV Columbia
     

    The University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy held a COVID-19 vaccine education event at the Juneteenth Freedom Fest. Instructors and students from the college offered science-based information to passersby who had not been vaccinated yet.

    DHEC data suggests that minorities make up approximately 43% of South Carolinians who have received at least one COVID-19 shot. Data from DHEC also shows that Black South Carolinians make up just 19.5% of people with at least one dose.

    “We feel like we can do better,” said clinical associate instructor and infectious diseases pharmacy specialist Dr. Julie Ann Justo. “We want to protect individuals and their loved ones from contracting COVID-19.”

    The college hosts similar community education events regarding various public health issues such as penicillin allergies and flu shots at events like Soda City Market. The program chose to host the COVID-19 vaccination information booth at the Juneteenth event to target specific groups that may be hesitant to get their shot.

    “Juneteenth is the place to be this weekend; there’s a lot of joy here, a lot of celebration and remembrance and respect for history,” said Justo. “We’re really excited to be here with the community and listen to their concerns as they relate to COVID-19 vaccination, and hopefully give a little bit of helpful information as well.”

    Dr. Justo says the pharmacy students that talked to community members are vaccine experts. She says they have been studying all vaccines for at least four years and they also have extensive knowledge about the COVID-19 vaccines.

    Dr. Jordan Cooler, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy and psychiatric pharmacist, says she hopes the event helped the community understand both the vaccine and the role of pharmacists better. She says pharmacists are among the most accessible medical professionals as they typically don’t require appointments for consultations.

    “This is an opportunity for our students to get out into the community and hone those skills, as far as educating individuals and interacting,” said Cooler. “We’re coming and we’re meeting them where they’re at.”

    Cooler says the event served to boost vaccine confidence in the community and if people felt more confident getting their shot after speaking to the students, they were able to go get their shot at a vaccine tent that was also at the festival.

    The college plans to continue educating the public in the coming weeks about the COVID-19 vaccine to help increase vaccination rates across the state.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC spinoff helps to manage pharmacy costs for hospitals see more

    Compliments of Post and Courier

    A Medical University of South Carolina spinoff that built a software platform to help health care systems monitor and manage their pharmaceutical costs has raised more capital.  

    QuicksortRx Inc. did not disclose the size of the investment round  in a written statement issued June 15, saying it was a private transaction. 

    The company, which has moved its headquarters to the recently completed Charleston Tech Center on Morrison Drive, also has added two local industry veterans to its board.

    The new directors at QuicksortRx are Shawn Jenkins and Steve Swanson, who provided the investment capital. 

    Jenkins is co-founder and the former CEO of Benefitfocus Inc., a Nasdaq-listed traded software firm based on Daniel Island that he helped take public in 2013. He also became a primary benefactor of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital after he pledged to donate $25 million toward the $390 million project in 2015.

    Swanson ran Automated Trading Desk in Mount Pleasant before selling the financial technology business to Wall Street giant Citigroup for $680 million in 2007. He currently serves on the boards of the Bank of South Carolina, YESCarolina and the College of Charleston, among other organizations.

    “We are excited to welcome two of Charleston’s great tech business leaders who have shown not only their expertise in building amazing companies, but also their commitment to the Charleston community,” said Jonathan Yantis, CEO of QuicksortRx.

    Yantis and co-founder Matt Hebbard launched the company within the MUSC Innovation Center in 2016. The early goal was create a software platform that would allow the sprawling health system to track its pharmaceutical supply chain in real time and make purchasing adjustments to help lower medication expenses.

    It was later spun off as AscendRx before being renamed last year.

    “Our tools are helping health systems around the country realize millions of dollars in pharmacy purchase savings without increasing workloads for staff,” QuicksortRx said on its website.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Lindsay Cobbs named to head KPIC at USC see more

    Compliments of Midlands Biz

    The Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center (KPIC) announced that James Lindsay Cobbs has been named chair for the center.

    In his role, Cobbs will focus on creating a regulatory affairs program for students in the College of Pharmacy, including classroom, cocurricular, experiential, and post-graduate opportunities, as well as supporting Nephron Pharmaceuticals in regulatory affairs.

    “My priorities will hone in on developing experiential training opportunities that will enable our students to build skills for both traditional and nontraditional pharmacy roles, developing key partnerships that can support training for our students and to identify ways that will make the College of Pharmacy stand light years apart from other colleges across the country,” says Cobbs.

    Cobbs brings a wide array of career experiences to KPIC, ranging from clinical pharmacy to global policy development in the pharmaceutical industry. After graduating from the UofSC College of Pharmacy in 1992, he launched his career as a staff pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. After four years, he entered public service as a regulatory affairs professional at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where he served as regulatory project manager, special assistant and lead project manager in the Office of Compliance and later as associate director for regulatory affairs (ADRA) in the Office of Translational Sciences.

    Cobbs then transitioned to the corporate sector at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson as a policy lead in the Americas, Global Regulatory and Policy Intelligence Department. Cobbs later became the head of US Policy, Global Regulatory Policy and Intelligence for UCB (Union Chimique Belge translated as Union Chemical of Belgium), a multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

    Cobbs says his various roles have led him to this next challenge. “My experience as a pharmacist at a major teaching institution, working as a public health servant, co-leading drug review teams for novel drug products, and regulatory policy and intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry have prepared me for this unique role,” he says.

    Patti Fabel, Pharm.D. and executive director of KPIC is looking forward to joining efforts with Cobbs. “Our faculty, staff, and students can learn a great deal from him due to his background, experience and skill set,” Fabel says. “He will broaden the scope of what KPIC can offer our students and alumni by developing a regulatory affairs program. I’m excited to see the impact he has on the center and college.”

    Dean Stephen J. Cutler says Cobbs is an exceedingly accomplished expert in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. “His addition to our faculty will bring added depth and breadth to our educational program as we launch our college’s latest initiative, the Regulatory Affairs Academic Program,” Cutler adds. “This academic program will offer regulatory education to our pharmacy students, provide postgraduate education for residents and fellows, and give another educational track to our graduate program. Our partnership with Nephron Pharmaceuticals will afford us a working laboratory for the development of future pharmacists and scientists serving in regulatory affairs. We are thrilled that Lindsay Cobbs will shepherd this initiative for the College of Pharmacy.”

    Cobbs will begin his role on July 1, 2020.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Nine Nephron employees to earn their Community Pharmacy Technician certificates at no cost... see more

    Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. is partnering with Apprenticeship Carolina to provide nine Nephron employees a chance to earn a Community Pharmacy Technician certificate at Midlands Technical College.  Apprenticeship Carolina is a division of the S.C. Technical College SystemRead on for full details.