Diversity Perspectives: Violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community


The following article is a publication of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. Diversity Perspectives is a safe space for members in our community to share cultural insights from a personal perspective about current events.

Violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community

From the viewpoint of Jasmine Patel

Since the beginning of this pandemic, communities of color have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, especially the Black, Latinx and Native American communities. There is another community of color that has been impacted by the pandemic in a different way — not only attacked by the virus, but also attacked by hateful rhetoric leading to discrimination and physical violence. In many ways, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has been made out to be the villain in this situation, which has had very real, and in some cases deadly, consequences.

Being seen as the “other” or as perpetual foreigners is nothing new for Asian Americans. However, divisive and accusatory language such as calling COVID-19 the “China Virus” or the “Kung-Flu” has elevated the xenophobia and racism against Asian American communities over the past year. Searching for an outlet, some Americans have chosen to direct their anger and frustration regarding the pandemic toward those who were made out to be the face of the virus early on, the Asian American community. Consequently, violence against Asian Americans has skyrocketed in the past year. According to the legal and civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice, more than 3,000 hate incidents have been reported since April 2020. For context, the FBI noted 216 anti-Asian hate crime incidents in 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available).

More than 3,000 anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported since April 2020.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

In the past few months, there has been a spike in this violence in California’s Bay Area and other parts of the country, bringing a deep sense of pain in a season that is typically marked by joyful celebrations of the Lunar New Year. It has been particularly heartbreaking to see that so many of those who have been attacked have been elderly members of the AAPI community. In late January of this year, an 84-year-old Thai man named Vicha Ratanapakdee was assaulted while taking a walk in San Francisco; he passed away two days later. A 64-year-old Vietnamese woman was robbed and assaulted in San Jose. A 91-year-old elder was violently attacked in Oakland. These are just a few of the many deeply disturbing incidents that have occurred in the last several months.

These stories must be shared, and actions must be taken to pursue justice for impacted individuals and communities. However, as many community leaders have pointed out, the answer to protecting Asian Americans from discrimination and violence cannot be rooted in anti-Blackness. Given the history of racial bias in law enforcement contributing to disproportionate harm against Black and brown communities, the first and only response cannot be to demand more policing. The solution is not found in turning communities of color against each other. I am inspired and encouraged by organizations that are exploring alternative approaches. For example, Compassion in Oakland is working to connect volunteer chaperones with Asian American elders as a way to provide them with protection.

I believe that Pacific’s commitment to seeking and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion doesn’t stop at just our campuses. It extends to the cities that our institution calls home — Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento. It extends to the places that our students come from and to every place that our alumni go. We must not stay silent in response to hateful, xenophobic and racist rhetoric and actions.

My hope is that we can continue to be a community that is committed to learning alongside one another and protecting each other.

2020 Highlights and Holiday Greeting

2020 Highlights


Jie Du ’90, ’93, PhD donated $5 million to Pacific to launch the Jie Du Center for Innovation and Excellence for Drug Development


Class of 2020 PharmD graduates were accepted to a post-graduate academic program, matched with a residency or awarded a fellowship


Alumni presented at national conferences


Beneficiaries were served at a virtual Medicare Part D Outreach Clinics


Publications by faculty in peer reviewed journals


Faculty presented at national conferences


First-year PharmD students received immunization training and certification, readying them to assist in administration of the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine


Students presented at national conferences


New faculty members joined the School, three of whom are alumni

Pacific partnered with the United States Air Force to establish a new fellowship.

Reflecting the support of our generous donors, the School was able to name the following spaces: the Jonathan Chan and Megan Chan Auditorium (Rotunda auditorium, R103), the Guadalupe Chang Café and the Clark and Pamela Gustafson Auditorium (large lecture hall, room 115).

Alumni Sundeep S. Gill ’00, PharmD and Elaine Gill ’98, JD established the Powell-matched Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship.

Student Highlights

Phi Delta Chi, Alpha Psi chapter, received the 2020 Emory W. Thurston Grand President’s Award. This is the fifth time Alpha Psi has received this national award, the fraternity’s highest honor.

Pacific’s Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program hosted a virtual health fair in coordination with the 52nd annual Stockton Black Family Day and was featured on Good Day Sacramento and in The Record.

Zizhao Xu ’20, MS received a 2020 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Best Abstract Award.

Sandra Le ’21 was named one of the top 10 recipients of the 2020 U.S. Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award and a recipient of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2020 Student Leadership Award.

Taylor Chan ’21 was selected for a rotation in the Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology at the Food and Drug Administration, starting February 2021.

Md. Rahatullah Razan ’21 was awarded the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Mentoring Network travel award to participate in the ASPET Mentoring Network: Coaching for Career Development program in April, in San Diego.

Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program students Yuntao Zhang ’21 received Pacific’s Graduate Seminarian of the Year Award, Peter Weidner ’20 was named the Graduate Seminarian of the Year Runner-up and Tre Andang ’21 received the Graduate Seminar Series Award of Merit.

Faculty Highlights

Stephanie Luu ’20, PharmD, assistant clinical professor, joined the Department of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry.

Andrew L. Haydon ’12, PharmD, associate clinical professor and director of professional programs, Cynthia Lee ’19, PharmD, MS, BCPS, assistant clinical professor, and Martha Ndung’u, PharmD, assistant clinical professor, joined the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Atefeh Rabiee, PhD, assistant professor, joined the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Bhaskara R. Jasti ’95, MPharm, PhD, professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry, was appointed the inaugural executive director of the Jie Du Center for Innovation and Excellence for Drug Development. Dr. Jasti established the Jasti Lecture Series in Biopharmaceutical Sciences and in February Dr. Du served as the guest speaker at the inaugural lecture.

Pacific pharmacy faculty were awarded a $105,000 contract as San Joaquin County Opioid Safety Program Consultant to support local efforts to reduce the number of opioid- and drug-related overdoses and deaths.

The School co-hosted Pacific’s COVID-19 and Your Health series. Speakers included Mark P. Walberg ’06, ’09, PharmD, PhD, CTH and Robert F. Halliwell, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology. Each week the featured topic was followed by CDC updates presented by Neel Prasad ’96, PharmD, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator for East Bay – Modesto/Sonora.

Melanie A. Felmlee, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry received a four-year $1.15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Program for research focused on the differences in the way males and females process GHB.

Carlos A. Villalba-Galea, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology, was awarded a $337,647 NIH grant for the proposal “Identification of Structural Determinants in Kv7 Open Channel Stabilization.”

Rajul A. Patel ’01, ’06, PharmD, PhD, professor of pharmacy practice, on behalf of the Medicare Part D Outreach Clinics, received a $10,000 grant in February and a $43,500 grant in August from the Human Services Agency of San Joaquin County. Dr. Patel and Dr. Halliwell received a $35,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente on behalf of the Medicare Part D Outreach Clinics to support improving opioid and prescription drug management with mental health assessment in Medicare beneficiaries.

Rajkumar Sevak, PhD, RPh, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, and Dr. Patel received a $9,300 grant from the Pacific Technology in Education Committee to support delivering of Part D and MTM interventions via telehealth.

Mamoun M. Alhamadsheh, PhD, associate professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry, received Pacific’s 2020 Faculty Research Lecturer Award.

Dr. Patel was named a recipient of Pacific’s 2020 Faculty Mentor Award and the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year.

Sachin A. Shah, PharmD, FACC, FAHA, professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator, director of pharmacy research and education at Travis Air Force Base, became a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Clifford A. Young, RPh, CGP, associate clinical professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator for Fresno, was elected president of the California Pharmacists Association. His term began Sept. 13, 2020.

Dr. Sevak received the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacist Foundation Strategic Goals Award for his research on mental health stigma.

William K. Chan, PharmD, PhD, professor, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry, received the 2019-20 Pacific Faculty Research Lecturer Award.

Research Was the Focal Point of the Pacific Experience for Recent Graduate


Starting as a pre-pharmacy student, Kyra Gong ’20, PharmD was involved with research under the guidance of William K. Chan, PharmD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry. During her time in Dr. Chan’s lab, she studied the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and its binding interactions. “Dr. Chan guided me throughout the project by showing me various techniques to analyze the receptor, including isothermal titration calorimetry and thermal shift assay,” she said. She also collaborated with pre-pharmacy and doctor of pharmacy students to create poster presentations that represented the team’s findings.

Dr. Chan has been studying AHR protein levels for over 25 years. In 2019, Dr. Chan received a $382,000 National Institutes of Health R15 grant for the proposal “Investigating the molecular mechanisms in controlling the aryl hydrocarbon receptor protein levels.” Dr. Gong admires Dr. Chan’s dedication to inspiring his students in the field of research. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside Dr. Chan,” she said.

The research on AHR has the potential for broader application as the receptor is involved in cancer, autoimmune diseases, lung diseases and diabetes. “A greater understanding of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor will influence the direction of drug development for impactful diseases such as cancer,” Dr. Gong said.

Actively engaging with research had a profound impact on her professional development as a pharmacist. “Research helped me understand and analyze information in a very different way than didactic learning,” she said. “Instead of always having a correct answer in front of me, I have been trained to think creatively and critically in order to figure out a solution.”

In July, Dr. Gong started a PGY1 residency at Kaiser Permanente in the Diablo Service Area. Inspired by her research experience, she hopes to become an ambulatory care pharmacist at an oncology clinic.

The Advantage of a Pacific Pre-Pharmacy Education

More than 4,000 Pacific doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) alumni have something in common: they started their journey to becoming highly skilled, patient-centered pharmacists as undergraduate students at Pacific.

“The Pre-Pharmacy Advantage Program has been around since 1955,” said Marcus C. Ravnan ’94, PharmD, FCSHP, FASHP, professor of pharmacy practice and associate dean for student affairs and enrollment management. “The School has more than 10,000 pharmacy alumni and approximately 4,000 of those were Pacific pre-pharmacy students.”

Starting the first semester, pre-pharmacy students are assigned a pharmacy faculty member as their academic advisor. “The faculty advisors are specifically focused on pharmacy education, pharmacy school prerequisites and pharmacy curricular outcomes achievement. In many cases, we have pharmacists bringing up pharmacists,” Dr. Ravnan said.

“Having a faculty advisor who currently teaches at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy is a great asset in working through my undergrad years and making sure I’m prepared for that next step in my education,” said current pre-pharmacy student Olivia Laprade ’24. “I’ve received a lot of advice, all of which has helped me to learn how to more effectively plan ahead, whether it be figuring out my classes for the next semester or the steps I should be taking now to prepare for my future career.”

Christopher Ha ’23 was torn between a career in nursing or pharmacy until he was accepted to Pacific’s Pre-Pharmacy Advantage Program. Having completed his pre-pharmacy studies, this year he is starting the PharmD program. “My advisor was a reliable resource who gave me guidance throughout my undergraduate experience and made the process of advancing into the PharmD program clear and less daunting,” Ha said.


For more than 25 years, John Livesey, PhD, associate professor of physiology and pharmacology, has served as a pre-pharmacy faculty advisor, offering guidance to more than 600 students. “It is rewarding to see the students mature,” Dr. Livesey said. “The transformation from newly minted high school graduates to professional health care students advancing into the PharmD program can be quite a big change, sometimes with significant challenges along the way. It is great to see those students later in the classes I teach and then to see them at commencement, ready to launch into their pharmacy careers.”

Dr. Ravnan and the Office of Pre-Pharmacy staff maintain an open-door policy to provide additional assistance and support to students. As a freshman, Laprade often visited the staff to help her adjust to college life and understand the intricacies of the fast-paced curriculum. “Everyone in the office is always friendly and willing to help,” she said. “I was able to get very thorough answers for all my questions, whether they be about transferring coursework or registering for classes.”


“My advisor was a reliable resource who gave me guidance throughout my undergraduate experience and made the process of advancing into the PharmD program clear and less daunting.”

– Christopher Ha ’23

In addition to academic preparedness, students also must develop and apply habits that will help them succeed in the program. Dr. Ravnan encourages students to be disciplined with time management and make a commitment to their academics. “Students need to practice intense studying and create a learning atmosphere so they can learn with purpose,” he said. “They should surround themselves with people who have similar learning and personal achievement goals and convictions.”

Drs. Ravnan and Livesey also encourage students to take advantage of campus life. “Some of the most successful students are exploring courses and co-curricular activities that tickle their curiosity and inspire their creativity and passion for service,” Dr. Livesey said.

“There are countless opportunities to get involved on campus like the Pre-Pharmacy Society, the four pharmacy fraternities and multiple student-run committees,” Ha said. “I can say with certainty that I am confident in my career choice because Pacific has provided me the opportunity and guidance to learn about the industry and get hands-on experience working in a pharmacy.”

Additional Benefits of the Pre-Pharmacy Advantage Program

Pharmacy Orientation Course

The Pharmacy Orientation course, known as PharmO, provides pre-pharmacy freshmen a glimpse into a PharmD education. Students learn basic pharmaceutical calculations and practice skills such as sterile compounding, aseptic technique and prescription interpretation and filling. They also hear from guest speakers who discuss the various pharmacy career specialties.


Curriculum Vitae Workshop

The workshop focuses on helping students create a curriculum vitae tailored to their career aspirations.

Pharmacy Residency Panel

Recent Pacific PharmD graduates who are currently completing residencies are invited to campus to share their experiences and advice on how to pursue postgraduate training opportunities.

Social Events

The Office of Pre-Pharmacy hosts social events throughout the year to build relationships between students, faculty and staff.

Pre-Pharmacy Society

The student-run Pre-Pharmacy Society hosts pharmacy guest speaker events, advancement panels with former pre-pharmacy students, PharmD program mock interviews, mentor-mentee mixers and other networking opportunities.

OASIS Director Shares Stress Management Strategies

These are stressful times. To stay healthy and safe, we must face the challenges that come our way both individually and as a community. These time-tested strategies can help you stay grounded in the face of unforeseen obstacles.

Keep some semblance of normalcy in your daily routine

Even though you may be having trouble sleeping these days, try to go to bed and wake up at your usual times. The same is true with meals. If you had a regular meal schedule before, try to keep to the same rhythms. Have an afternoon walk planned? Make sure to take that walk. Not only will these habits help you stay physically healthy, they will help keep your brain active and contribute to your mental health.

Re-establish your study habits

It can be tempting to skip a virtual lecture or not follow through with your plan to review your notes for an upcoming quiz. I challenge you to stay focused on your studies. Take the time to review the study habits you have developed thus far. Which study strategies are still effective and which ones need to be adapted? You will likely need to be strategic, find creative ways to stay focused and productive. If you haven’t done so already, connect with study partners to help keep each other on-track and engaged academically.

Set a study schedule and stick with that plan

Don’t worry if you find yourself needing to take frequent breaks or if you have trouble concentrating. You are trying to accomplish difficult tasks during difficult times. Be patient, but also be consistent and abide by the guidelines that you set for yourself.

Stay connected

You may not be in the same room as your classmates, but rest assured you are not doing this alone. There will be times when you feel frustrated or sad, it is important to not face those daunting feelings in isolation. There will also be causes for celebration and you will want to share those moments with others. Keeping in touch with the people who are important to us may be more difficult, but the benefits of staying connected will be worth the effort.

We will get through this experience. Sometimes you will need to rely on others, and in turn, others will sometimes need to rely on you. Even in this time of social distancing, there are still many ways we can come together to support each other and achieve our goals.


Tips for Students for Adapting to Online Learning

As University of the Pacific transitions to online instruction, this change may lead to questions and feelings of uncertainty. Here are five tips to help you adapt to this unexpected change.

Be patient — with yourself and others

Remember that we are all adjusting to this change. There will be a learning curve and it may take time to adapt.

Be intentional

Check your Canvas notification settings and check into your courses often. It is also very important to regularly check your email for announcements from Canvas, as well as time-sensitive messages from faculty, the School and the University. Keep in mind, projects and assignments may have been adapted for an online environment, but course expectations remain the same. Read announcements and assignment details carefully before reaching out to the faculty member. Faculty are likely fielding a high volume of questions and may need time to respond.

Expect more written exchanges

Be prepared to communicate in writing more than before. Ask detailed questions; you may need to create context in a way that would be unnecessary in a face-to-face setting.

Remember teamwork is more important than ever

If you start to get overwhelmed or are struggling with a concept, pick up the phone, use FaceTime or your preferred method of communication to connect with a classmate. Rest assured, your network of support is still in place. Pacific’s faculty and staff are diligently working behind-the-scenes to help you become a highly competent health care professional.

Be positive

We are in unprecedented times, but we are facing this situation together. By working as a team, we can build strategies and apply creativity to overcome these unexpected challenges. A key characteristic of successful individuals from all realms of health care is their ability to think on their feet. This situation is an opportunity to hone valuable skills, from adaptability to problem solving.

Canvas Support

Canvas Support is available 24/7 to all students, faculty and staff. When you are logged into Canvas, navigate to the “Help” option found in the left-hand navigation bar. You can live chat with Canvas Support or call the Canvas Support hotline for students at 844.698.7483.

Pacific Technology Support

Pacific Technology is also here to help. To submit a question to Pacific Technology, go to servicenow.pacific.edu

Stockton Helpdesk
Monday – Friday | 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
209.946.7400 | helpdesk@pacific.edu

San Francisco Helpdesk
Monday – Friday | 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
415.929.6514 | pchelp@pacific.edu

Rae Matsumoto Named Dean of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy

The University has appointed Rae Matsumoto, PhD as the new dean for Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy. Dr. Matsumoto comes from Touro University California, where she has served as the dean of the College of Pharmacy since 2014. She has more than 20 years of administrative experience building collaborative, multidisciplinary educational programs and brings a deep and broad perspective of changes in pharmacy practice to ensure Pacific’s pharmacy program meets the educational and research needs of students and faculty.

“I am looking forward to being a part of the future of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, and building on the legacy of pharmacy education and practice for which University of the Pacific is known,” said Dr. Matsumoto.

Prior to her position at Touro, Dr. Matsumoto was the associate dean for research and graduate programs in the School of Pharmacy at West Virginia University. Dr. Matsumoto’s experience also includes faculty and administrative roles at University of Mississippi, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and University of California, Irvine.


She earned her bachelor of science in biology and psychology from Creighton University. She earned her master of science in psychology and doctor of philosophy in psychology from Brown University. Dr. Matsumoto completed postdoctoral training in psychology and biochemistry at Brown University and postdoctoral training in physiology at Northwestern University. She has been actively involved in the accreditation process of doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education at four institutions.

“I am looking forward to being a part of the future of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, and building on the legacy of pharmacy education and practice for which University of the Pacific is known.”

Her extensive research experience has focused on the development of pharmaceutical treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, in particular the relationship between cellular mechanisms and therapeutic effects. Over the course of her career she applied for seven patents.

Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer, who has served in the role of dean since 1997, announced his plans for retirement last February. He will continue to serve until Dr. Matsumoto joins us on July 1.

New School Name – Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy

The School has been renamed the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy where the Pre-Pharmacy Advantage Program, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program will continue to reside.

The School of Health Sciences currently houses three inaugural programs: master of science in nursing, master of science in clinical nutrition and master of social work. In addition to the inaugural programs, the School of Health Sciences will be home to Pacific’s programs in Athletic Training, Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Speech-Language Pathology.

Connecting with Health Care Academies

Pacific is connecting with health care academies across Northern California to help high school students experience the array of dynamic career possibilities within the realm of health care. “Speaking from personal experience, I understand the limited perception many people have when it comes to health care careers,” said Marisella Guerrero ’98, PharmD, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice. “Having worked in various areas of pharmacy myself and also witnessing colleagues branch out within our field, provides me with a unique perspective on how diverse a health care career can really be. Even if students are unsure whether a health care career is for them, there are so many opportunities within health care, they are bound to find something they enjoy and are passionate about.”


Benjamin Reece ’01’08, MS, CCC-SLP, director of clinical education and assistant clinical professor of speech-language pathology, is excited to introduce students to his field. “There is not a general understanding of what a speech-language pathologist does or the different settings in which we serve,” he said.

Echoing his sentiments, Preeti Deshpande Oza, PT, PhD, NCS, assistant professor of physical therapy, shared how students have responded after her presentation on physical therapy. “Some have remarked that they did not know physical therapists worked in the hospital or intensive care unit,” said Dr. Oza. A common misconception is physical therapists work almost exclusively with injured athletes. Through these tours, students become aware that therapists are movement specialists who work with patients in many different settings.

A highlight of the tours is the interactive virtual reality demonstrations. With the help of Innovation Spaces Coordinator Jeremy Hanlon, who supervises The Cube, and Health Sciences Librarian Kate Finnegan, students dissect virtual healthy and unhealthy organs or explore neurological and skeletal systems. Students also learn how audiology is at the intersection of science, technology and patient care from Gail Amornpongchai, AuD, clinical director of audiology for Stockton, and Jan de la Cruz ’18, AuD.


Finnegan believes the rich cultural diversity found in the Central Valley is a valuable resource for the future of health care. Exposing high school students to a wide range of careers within health care removes the mystery that may surround these professions. Reece shared, “Based on my experience working in the public-school system, I know many students do not see themselves as future college students or as future health care practitioners. It is important to show them how accessible Pacific is and that they can pursue higher education, specifically in health care related fields.”

These tours help students picture themselves as future athletic trainers, audiologists, pharmacists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists. “Each visitor receives a personal experience on campus with students, faculty and staff,” said Stephanie Anderson-Barroso, recruiting specialist. “Guests share their positive impressions and memories of Pacific with their family, friends and communities, creating a priceless ripple effect.”

Student Spotlight: David Carranza ’19

Doctor of pharmacy student David Carranza ’16, ’19 has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to study health care policy in Finland. “I was looking at countries that have generous health care benefits with reduced cost of medication, reduced cost of health services and better access overall,” said Carranza. “Finland is at the forefront in the utilization of health technology and empowerment of pharmacists.”

The Fulbright Scholar Program was established in 1946 to fulfill the vision of Sen. J. William Fulbright of increasing mutual understanding between the United States and other countries. The program currently collaborates with 155 countries and is overseen by the U.S. Department of State. Carranza is one of approximately 1,600 students from the U.S. who received a scholarship this year.

As an undergraduate student at Pacific, he double majored in pre-pharmacy and economics. Carranza will leave in August to study at the University of Tampere in Finland where he will pursue a master of science in public and global health. Carranza plans to immerse himself into Finland’s health care system to better understand the patient experience. His goal is to apply what he learns to help Americans get access to the health care they need by advocating for changes in public policy.

In Memoriam: Donald L. Sorby, PhD


Donald L. Sorby, PhD

Aug. 12, 1933 – Feb. 16, 2019

Educator, mentor and world traveler, Dean Emeritus Donald L. Sorby, PhD served as dean of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences from 1984 until his retirement in 1995.

He earned his bachelor of science from University of Nebraska in 1955. He earned a master of science in 1958 and a doctor of philosophy in 1960 from University of Washington.

He taught at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Pharmacy from 1960 to 1972 and University of Washington from 1972 to 1974. While at UCSF he contributed to the development of the clinical pharmacy education by helping establish a program where pharmacy students joined physicians and medical students on their hospital rounds. Dr. Sorby served as dean of University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), School of Pharmacy from 1974 until 1984.

He joined the Pacific family in 1984. Under his leadership the Department of Physical Therapy was established within the School. He served as dean during a time of swift technological advances and was an early adopter himself. His strong ties to community partners included Thomas and Joseph Long. He served on the Longs Drugs board of directors from 1995 to 2006.

Throughout his career, he was actively involved in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and served a term as president from 1980 to 1981. He encouraged faculty and students to participate in professional organizations. During his tenure as dean, Pacific’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) earned the Chapter Achievement award three times and five students received the California Pharmacists Association Student of the Year award. Dr. Sorby received the Linwood F. Tice Friend of APhA-ASP Award in 1995.

“I met Dean Sorby many years ago when he was a faculty member at UCSF and I was student,” said Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD, dean of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “He tried very hard to help me learn pharmacokinetics. When I came to Pacific as dean he was very supportive and helped significantly with the transition to becoming dean.”

William A. Kehoe, PharmD, MA, FCCP, BCPS, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, shared the impact Dr. Sorby’s mentorship made on him personally. “He was a kind and wise leader,” said Dr. Kehoe. “I had no experience as a faculty member until joining Pacific. Dean Sorby provided great support in so many ways that really launched my career.” Reflecting on Dr. Sorby’s leadership, Timothy J. Smith, RPh, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology, described him as “quiet and calmly confident.”

“Dean Sorby was a very bright, kind, humble person,” said his former Pacific colleague Katherine Knapp, PhD. “He was delightful to work with and always unassuming about his achievements. He emphasized building the academic reputation of the school of pharmacy by encouraging and supporting faculty scholarly works, faculty research and postdoctoral fellowships. He was always accessible to students and interested in their achievements. He and his wife, Jacquie, provided some lovely, memorable receptions for faculty at their Stockton home. […] He retired from Pacific with many friends and much admiration.”

Dr. Sorby and his wife, Jacquelyn Jeanne Burchard, were married for 59 years. Together they raised her two children, Thomas Burchard and Sharon Lynn Sorby.

He and his wife traveled extensively. From Antarctica to the Amazon, their travels included trips to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Tibet. They were also self-proclaimed “rock hounds.” Emeriti faculty may remember the boxes of rocks stored in the basement.

He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer Announces His Plans for Retirement

After 22 years as Dean of University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and 46 years in academia, Phillip R. Oppenheimer has announced his plans for retirement.

“I have been blessed to work with many talented faculty, students, and staff, as well as with dedicated alumni and donors as a part of the Pacific community that welcomed Teri and me over two decades ago.  We have made Stockton and Pacific our home and family, and we look forward to our continued engagement with the university community. I am very proud of the School and the professions we serve, and I am thankful for the opportunity to have served as Dean,” said Oppenheimer.


The University will conduct a national search following the formation of a search committee and identifying a search firm. Dean Oppenheimer has been asked to remain in his position until a new Dean is selected and hired and assumes the role on campus.

Dean Oppenheimer attended University of California, Berkeley from 1966 to 1968 and earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1972. He completed a postgraduate residency in clinical pharmacy at UCSF in 1973 and immediately began his academic career at University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy. During his 24 year tenure at USC, he held several administrative appointments including Director of Continuing Education, Associate Dean of Professional and Student Affairs, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, and Director of Graduate Programs. In 1997, Dean Oppenheimer was appointed Professor and Dean of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences where he oversees six programs: Doctor of Pharmacy and Pre-Pharmacy Advantage programs, Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Master’s and Doctorate programs, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Speech-Language Pathology, Master’s Degree in Athletic Training, and Doctor of Audiology.

Among his many outstanding accomplishments at Pacific, Dean Oppenheimer has transformed the School into a robust health sciences campus with all programs receiving full accreditation and positive revenue through enrollment and fundraising. Together with his team at Pacific, he has been involved in garnering over $50 Million in donation funds for programs, scholarships, facilities, research, and new initiatives which have transformed the School and the University beyond measure. Funding has resulted in an increase in endowed and immediate need scholarships, facility enhancement, program support, and the securing of valuable equipment for research programs. He has increased the School’s budget by $11,783,800, increased the faculty from 56 to 76, and increased support staff from 19.8 to 36. Additionally, he helped raise funds to build the University’s biology building, renovate and name a major residence hall, build and name a health sciences learning center with clinics, and name the School.

Dean Oppenheimer has led several programs through strategic planning in alignment with the University’s strategic plan, and has supported budget and curricular enhancements of all programs in the School. He has expanded the School’s award-winning experiential and co-curricular programs, raising the bar for pharmacy programs nationwide. An additional innovation is the development of the Chan Family Office of Academic Success and Instructional Support which provides students in the School with individualized strategies for academic, personal, and professional success.

Dean Oppenheimer has been an important University leader, serving as the chair of the search committees for the current Provost, Dean of McGeorge School of Law, and Dean of Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Additionally, he served on the search committees for the Vice President for Business and Finance, the Vice President for Advancement, and the Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications. He also chaired the President’s Task Force on Budget and provided leadership for investigating new budget models and innovations in educational financing. His professional service includes many internal and external committees and advisory boards, and he recently chaired the California Pharmacy Leadership Council, whose makeup includes the deans of all pharmacy schools in the state as well as the CEOs of major pharmacy associations and the Board of Pharmacy.

He has contributed to the profession and the academy through his service on professional and academic boards, through numerous publications, research papers, professional presentations, and consultantships. Dean Oppenheimer has served the academy and the profession as a member of the American Pharmacists Association; California Pharmacists Association (President, 1992) and local affiliates; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; California Society of Health-System Pharmacists and local affiliates; and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

He is the recipient of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation’s Research in Practice Award, California Legislator Leadership Award, and the National Community Pharmacists Association Leadership Award. He was named Pharmacist of the Year by the California Pharmacists Association in 2004 and received the Dean’s Recognition Award from the American College of Apothecaries in 2005.  In 2014, Dean Oppenheimer was selected as the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Most Outstanding Dean of the Year for his contributions to the APhA-ASP Chapter and active promotion of student welfare through various community service, leadership and professional activities. Dean Oppenheimer was also named University of California, San Francisco Alumni Excellence Award in 2015 and the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists-Central Valley Pharmacists of the Year in 2016. In 2017, he was inducted into the California Pharmacists Association Hall of Fame in recognition of his inspiration, distinguished service and innovative contributions to the practice of pharmacy in California. Dean Oppenheimer is recognized as an experienced, outstanding and innovative leader throughout the state and the nation. He has directly impacted the education and success of over 12,000 health sciences alumni, hundreds of faculty and staff, and innumerable administrators in his 46-year career.

As Dean Oppenheimer embarks on his retirement, he will spend more time with his wife Teri and his family. The pharmacy community and University of the Pacific salute his stellar career, dedication to students and the health programs he led, and his commitment to excellence. He has left an indelible mark on the academy and the health profession. His legacy of doing “what is best for the students and patients, what is best for the school and university, and what is best for the professions” will live on through those he mentored and influenced over his remarkable career.

Dean Oppenheimer’s Accomplishments

Phillip R. Oppenheimer was named Dean.

The Department of Communicative Disorders, which was renamed the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, became a part of the School of Pharmacy. The Department established a partnership with the local Scottish Rite, which has provided additional training space for students and dramatically increased the number of patients who can be seen at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center.

The School transitioned the master of science in physical therapy degree to a doctor of physical therapy degree. The first class graduated in the fall.

Dean Oppenheimer’s leadership resulted in the construction of the Health Sciences Learning Center and Clinics, which was later renamed the Chan Family Health Sciences Learning Center and Clinics, reflecting the Chan Family’s many contributions. It provided much needed classroom, lecture and clinical space for all academic programs.

Dean Oppenheimer was named the California Pharmacists Association Pharmacist of the Year.

Under Dean Oppenheimer’s leadership, with support from the Hedco Foundation, the Hedco Audiology Suite was established on the Stockton campus. Thanks to the generosity of Rite Aid Corporation, the School established the Rite Aid Information Commons to provide a health sciences library for pharmacy and health sciences students.

Dean Oppenheimer was named the American College of Apothecaries Dean of the Year.

Alumni funding supported the renovation of the dispensing labs in the Edward and Alice Long Memorial Hall and named the pharmaceutical care labs for Professor Emeritus Donald Y. Barker, PhD who, during his tenure at Pacific from 1955 to 1989, taught and mentored thousands of pharmacists.

Rajul Patel ’01, ’06, PharmD, PhD spearheaded the Medicare Part D Outreach Clinics to help beneficiaries evaluate their options and select a plan to save money on their medications. As of 2018, students have volunteered more than 20,000 hours and assisted more than 8,600 beneficiaries with their Medicare Part D plans, saving consumers more than $8 million on potential out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.

With generous support from ScriptPro, the ScriptPro SP2000 equipment was donated to the Barker Lab, enhancing technology and education for the doctor of pharmacy program.

The School launched the combined master of science in pharmaceutical and chemical sciences and fellowship in pharmacy practice. The School also instituted the bachelor of applied science degree.

Dean Oppenheimer was selected as the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Most Outstanding Dean of the Year for his contributions to the Pacific APhA-ASP Chapter and active promotion of student welfare through various community service, leadership and professional activities.

Dean Oppenheimer’s leadership resulted in funds to refurbish Brookside Hall, which was renamed Chan Family Hall.

Dean Oppenheimer was named a recipient of the University of California, San Francisco Alumni Excellence Award.

The Audiology Clinic on the San Francisco campus began treating patients, providing audiology and hearing aid services through patient visits and community outreach events. The inaugural White Coat Ceremony marked the launch of the doctor of audiology program.

Under Dean Oppenheimer’s leadership, the Chan Family Office of Academic Success and Instructional Support was launched. It provides students in the School with individualized strategies for academic, personal and professional success.

Pacific’s doctor of pharmacy program received full eight-year accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Dean Oppenheimer was named the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists-Central Valley Pharmacist of the Year.

Dean Oppenheimer was inducted into the California Pharmacists Association Hall of Fame. Thanks to the generosity of the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation and the Chan family, the School was able to renovate the second floor of the Chan Family Health Sciences Learning Center and Clinics (following the relocation of dental hygiene to the San Francisco campus) to include three high-tech large classrooms, a quiet study area, several conference rooms, a telehealth center, 19 faculty offices and a pharmacy care clinic space.

The School secured a significant gift from the Chan Family to support the renovation of the Rotunda building, including the construction of new exterior ADA-compliant and gender-inclusive restrooms.

Regent Clark and Pamela Gustafson provided significant funding to support student scholarship, community outreach programs and sustainability for the School and the University.