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Message from the Head

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Message from the Head, Department of Pharmacy Practice

Janet P. Engle, PharmD, PhD (Hon), FAPhA, FCCP, FNAP

 UIC Department of Pharmacy Practice continues to thrive producing cutting edge research and clinical practice. The department embarked on a new strategic plan in 2017. Action plans were developed to assure that goals for the new plan will be met. This year, we began the process of reevaluating all residency and fellowship programs. Under the capable leadership of Drs. Kirsten Ohler and Eljim Tesoro, an ad-hoc committee of faculty representing all aspects of the department was appointed to evaluate current programs and make recommendations for the future. The committee issued their report in early 2018 and plans are being made to more fully vet and discuss the recommendations in the report with the full faculty. Other areas of emphasis for this year was to expand the department’s research programs with a focus on translational research. To achieve these goals, several new tenure track faculty were hired to enhance the college’s research program. In regards to research funding, the department ranked 34/136 for sponsored research expenditures at UIC in FY17, ranking higher than two out of the three other departments in the college. 

The Department of Pharmacy Practice continues to grow and mature. In 2017, the department recruited for several faculty positions in both Chicago and Rockford. Clinical faculty were hired in the specialty areas of solid organ transplant, drug information, hospital pharmacy drug diversion, HIV, emergency medicine, and family medicine. We also added to our tenure track faculty with the addition of four new faculty researchers. In 2017, Dr. Young Jeong was promoted to professor and Drs. Mitra Habibi, clinical pharmacist in neurology, and Kirsten Ohler, clinical pharmacist in pediatrics, were promoted to clinical associate professor. All promoted clinical faculty now receive multi-year contracts dependent upon rank.

The residency and fellowship program had another strong year. In 2017, the department sought and received American Society of Health-System Pharmacists accreditation for three of our residency programs: PGY2 Health-Systems Pharmacy Administration, PGY1 International, and the PGY1 Community with an emphasis in Specialty Pharmacy. The Resident Teaching Certificate Program was offered to all residents at UIC as well as approximately 51 other residents in the Chicago area. Supplementing the residents’ noon report was a leadership curriculum conducted by the department head and topics related to pharmacy administration and University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health) provided by the director of pharmacy. The Residency Advisory Committee met on a regular basis and oversaw the operations of the residency program. A residency retreat continues to be held to discuss and further improve our program.

The Department Advisory Committee, an elected committee consisting of faculty and administration, met on a monthly basis during 2017. The Advisory Committee completed and finalized the action plan that will be used to operationalize the department’s new strategic plan. In addition, the Advisory Committee reviewed several policies and initiatives related to implementing the new curriculum and made recommendations to the department faculty.  Recommendations from the Ad-Hoc Residency/Fellowship Evaluation Committee were also vetted.

Department faculty continue to engage in cutting-edge research. Several faculty have received large grants to support their research. Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty are world-renowned contributors to new knowledge through their research programs. The department is pleased to welcome several new researchers in 2017 to contribute to the department’s research mission. Competitive research funding continues to increase as faculty continue to receive funding in this competitive environment. The department’s total research funding for FY17 was $2,136,541. More information on faculty research projects can be found later in this report.

The Department of Pharmacy Practice along with the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy established the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research several years ago. The center is an interdisciplinary research unit of the College of Pharmacy. The department collaborates with the center to provide research assistance for the clinical faculty. Several successful research projects have been completed due to this collaboration. 

As in the past, the Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty continue to be active in international pharmacy. In 2017, faculty members were invited to give presentations at international meetings in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malta, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Faculty also continue to give lectures and recitations to pharmacy students in Hong Kong and Malta. The department also hosted many international pharmacists from partner schools arranged by Dr. Alan Lau for short-term visits to learn more about clinical pharmacy.  Andy Donnelly helped coordinate two visits for directors of hospital pharmacy from China to learn about clinical pharmacy services and education program development in the US. Drs. Christina Mactal Haaf and Jennifer Pham continued in their positions as the UIC coordinators for the collaborative degree programs that the college established with the University of Hong Kong and the University of Malta. Several of our faculty were awarded adjunct faculty status at University of Malta to recognize their contributions to the program. Dr. Nancy Shapiro continued as the program coordinator for our international summer program, Contemporary Pharmacy Practice and Education, for students and pharmacists from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other areas of Southeast Asia, which took place for one month during the summer. To give students the opportunity to experience pharmacy practice in another country, the department has partnered with Siriraj Hospital and Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand to offer an elective APPE rotation. Three students will be taking advantage of this rotation in the upcoming year.

Mentoring and faculty development programs continued to grow in 2017. Currently, 62 faculty have formal mentors assigned to them. Since mentoring and faculty development programs debuted in 2008, 22 clinical faculty have successfully achieved promotion to clinical associate or clinical professor. In addition, since inception 10 tenure track faculty have successfully pursued promotion to associate professor or professor. Faculty development programs this year focused on bringing in outside experts in various areas to not only speak but also to meet with the faculty in their area of expertise to provide more focused assistance to faculty. The annual preceptor’s conference organized by the department featured three external highly regarded speakers. The mid-career faculty development program continued in 2017 for the mid-level and senior clinical faculty in order to increase opportunities for scholarship in the department. One aspect of the program allows promoted or close to promoted faculty the ability to request to be taken off of service for four to 12 weeks to pursue or complete a scholarly activity such as a research project or writing a paper. Several faculty took advantage of the option and were able to complete manuscripts and/or research projects during their time off of service. 

In addition to faculty development seminars and workshops, the department also held a faculty poster and awards networking event where faculty could display their posters presentations from state, national, and international meetings. Events also recognized department faculty who had received significant awards. The awardees recognized included:

  • Hyun-Young Jeong: ASPET Early Career Achievement Award.
  • Rodrigo Burgos: P2 Teacher of the Fall 2016 Semester 
  • Isaac Cha: P3 Fall Teacher of the Semester, 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award, Raymond B. Allen Golden Apple Award
  • Karen Sweiss: 2017 HOPA Oncology Pharmacy Practice Literature Award
  • Nazia Babul: Visionary Award by Community Health
  • Charles McPherson and Juliana Chan: Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence (HOPE) Award from Campus Housing
  • Sheila Allen: 2017 Golden Apple Award
  • Bryan Zobeck: 2017 UIC Preceptor of the Year Award
  • Scott Wirth: P3 Spring Teacher of the Semester
  • Chris Schriever: P2 Spring Teacher of the Semester
  • Rob DiDomenico: Fellow of the Heart Failure Society of America
  • Jeff Mucksavage and Eljim Tesoro: Presidential Citations from the Neurocritical Care Society
  • Scott Wirth: 2017 Rising Star Award UIC Alumni Association
  • Scott Benken: PGY1 Preceptor of the Year
  • Maya Campara & Ryan Rodriguez: 2017-2018 Teaching Recognition Program (TRP) award


Not only did the faculty have the opportunity to network with each other but also had the opportunity to celebrate our faculty successes and learn about research and other projects in the department. In addition to the award event, the department also organized a summer networking mixer barbeque for faculty.

The department also continued holding Partners in Practice networking events for faculty, preceptors, donors, and alumni. Events were held at the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco and during the summer at the Crosstown Classic, where the Chicago White Sox take on the Chicago Cubs at US Cellular Field. Attendance was great at both events. These functions celebrate important partnerships including those with preceptors who support department educational programs and give the gift of their knowledge, time, and energy with our students; generous donors who make many of the department’s activities and scholarships possible; and alumni who continually give back to the department in a variety of ways. Over the years, department preceptors have donated approximately $100,000 to the college and for that the department is very grateful. A full list of preceptors can be found later in this report.

The department Educational Policy Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Kristen Goliak, continues to meet on a regular basis. The committee established a course coordinator folder accessible to faculty in the UIC Box allowing coordinators access to a variety of documents and policies and procedures that are relevant them. Other topics discussed by the committee in 2017 include the standardization of the therapeutics series of courses, recitations, grading and attendance policies. The committee also focused on ACPE Standards 2016 to ensure the department is meeting necessary standards. As in previous years, EPC members continued to track scores on all faculty members teaching evaluations and peer evaluations. The department has a commitment to ensure that we provide the best teaching possible. Each faculty member also receives the feedback and evaluations. The Educational Policy Committee also tracks teaching assignments to assist the department with teaching loads and determining who is in need of teaching opportunities.  Additionally, the committee reviews all of the concerns that arise as part of the fall and spring course coordinator meetings and addresses the issues as appropriate. 

Providing the highest level of pharmaceutical care to the patients that seek care from our seven ambulatory pharmacies continues to be an important focus for the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Three clinical faculty members who have completed community pharmacy residencies and have expertise in community pharmacy continue to enhance clinical services provided at the Wood Street Pharmacy. Two of these faculty also provide care to underserved patients at CommunityHealth, a free clinic on the west side of Chicago run completely by volunteers. In 2017, the department continued various marketing strategies for its pharmacies, including a blog covering a variety of topics supported by the Drug Information Group, maintaining a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, and developing new marketing pieces for our pharmacies. The department’s specialty pharmacy service continues to grow and provide services to UI Health patients.

Department hospital pharmacy faculty continue to expand the services provided to UI Health. The Pharmacy Value Analysis Committee has identified approximately $3 million in medication expenditure savings since its inception. Additionally, the process for credentialing and privileging of clinical pharmacists has begun. Faculty also developed an opioid public service announcement video for UI Health, called Improving Opioid Safety. Pharmacy protocols continue to be developed, which allow pharmacists to initiate and/or modify therapy. Likewise, new medication related clinical guidelines were developed and implemented. Several successful Zero Harm Program initiatives were created related to increasing the use of the drug library on IV pumps and ensuring the appropriate use of opioid therapy. UI Health’s Pain Committee restructured with a Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty member serving as co-chair.

Department ambulatory pharmacies as well as faculty continued to be very active in providing flu shots to the university community via our pharmacies as well as through a partnership with the State of Illinois. As in the past, department faculty, residents, and P4 students worked together to administer flu vaccine to as many eligible state employees and retirees as possible. Approximately, 900 vaccinations were administered during the 2017 flu fall season as part of this program. 

Many Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty are active in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. In 2017, several faculty had leadership positions. These include:

  • Melissa Badowski: Publications Committee
  • Juliana Chan: Credentials, Fellowship Committee
  • Jan Engle: Chair, Educational Affairs Committee
  • Mike Gabay: Certification Affairs Committee
  • Frank Paloucek: faculty liaison to the Residency Advisory Committee
  • Paul Stranges: Educational Affairs Committee
  • Bryan Zobeck: Annual Meeting Program Committee

It has been a busy and productive year for the department in many ways. Below is a brief summary of some of the activities of the department for 2017: 

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Finally, activities continue to engage and promote the department, faculty, and the department’s many activities on social media. The Department of Pharmacy Practice continues its presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Check us out at:

The department’s website is also routinely updated with much of this information and more. Visit to keep up-to-date on department news and events.  

While not all of the Department of Pharmacy Practice accomplishments in 2017 could be featured in this report, these highlights are just a few of the contributions the department has made to the college, university, and the profession of pharmacy on a local and world-wide scale. Many thanks to the faculty, staff, residents, and fellows for their hard work in achieving the goals in the department’s strategic plan and bringing the department’s mission statement to life.