Pharmacy alumna develops innovative low-carb product

Pharmacist and entrepreneur Karine Wong ’97, PharmD has married her passion for patient education with her love of dessert. In addition to her role as a clinical pharmacist she is the chief executive officer for My Guiltless Treats.

She established My Guiltless Treats in 2013. Her direct-to-consumer products were inspired by her work as a pharmacist. “My ‘a-ha’ moment came to me when I was counseling a diabetic patient about carb-counting and what to eat on a diabetic diet,” said Dr. Wong. “Today My Guiltless Treats offers healthy desserts for diabetics, pre-diabetics and those who struggle on a low-carb diet.” In 2018, she developed a healthy panna cotta, which currently comes in four flavors.


Dr. Wong serves as an adjunct professor for the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy. She recognizes students can feel overwhelmed during their clinical rotations. She has found encouraging students to “think like a PharmD and act like a PharmD” helps boost their confidence. Dr. Wong also uses humorous videos to promote healthy lifestyle choices and teach key health care concepts. For example, one of her TikTok videos uses dance moves to help pharmacy students remember how to respond during a code blue when a patient is experiencing ventricular tachycardia.

“My ‘a-ha’ moment came to me when I was counseling a diabetic patient about carb-counting and what to eat on a diabetic diet.”

Dr. Wong champions work-life balance. Her advice for current students and alumni is to take one hour a day for yourself. Setting aside time allows for creativity and can lead to innovation. “You could be the pharmacist that paints murals for non-profits,” she said. “You could be the pharmacist that owns their own concierge pharmacy service. You could be the pharmacist who created and patented the first collagen-based mascara that helps grow eyelashes.”

Dr. Wong is a clinical pharmacist at Santosha Health, a remote-based telemedicine clinic. “As a certified pharmacogenomics pharmacist, I evaluate patients for genetic testing,” she said. “If they qualify, I order and interpret the results. Results are discussed with the patient and forwarded to the prescriber.”

She is also passionate about writing. She published the novel “Call Me Doctor” and the children’s book “Don’t Sit on Her.” In 2020, she launched the quiz-based Pharmacy Pearls application on the Apple Store to help pharmacy and medical students prepare for rotations. She currently hosts the podcast “Girl Talk” to offer advice on navigating personal and professional relationships.

Creating a legacy of brotherhood


From the pledging process to their professional careers, the Kappa Psi Gamma Nu chapter aims to create “lifelong bonds and friendships” for its brotherhood.

The Kappa Psi Gamma Nu Education Foundation Endowed Scholarship was established by the chapter’s education foundation to provide financial support for deserving pre-pharmacy and doctor of pharmacy students who are members of the chapter.

“With the incentive of Pacific’s Powell Match program, the foundation board recognized the excellent opportunity to achieve our goal of creating a lasting legacy by establishing this scholarship,” said Edlen Wong ’07, PharmD, FCPhA, chair of the Kappa Psi Gamma Nu Foundation. “Our hope is that by providing this scholarship, students can spend less time worrying about the financial part and more time on their studies, serving and volunteering in the community, maximizing their time bonding with their brothers and getting the full Pacific experience.”

“From the leadership, to the pillars that this fraternity was founded upon, everywhere we go, we know a brother is close by and always willing to lend a hand.”

— Edlen Wong ’07, PharmD, FCPhA

Established in 2012, one of the foundation’s goals is to create a culture of philanthropy. “Through the guidance and mentorship along with the great experiences we received as brothers in the fraternity, we would like to build a community where future generations perpetually pay it forward and support the generations to come,” Dr. Wong said.

The foundation is also dedicated to providing their alumni brothers opportunities for leadership development and continuing education.

“Our board members are dedicated to the growth and well-being of our fraternity and the University,” Dr. Wong said. “It is this passion and dedication that encouraged us to establish the foundation to provide future generations of brothers the opportunity to expand their influence and support them in developing their future careers. From the leadership, to the pillars that this fraternity was founded upon, everywhere we go, we know a brother is close by and always willing to lend a hand.”

Established in 1960, the Gamma Nu chapter is one of the strongest chapters in the nation. They are proud to call Pacific their home and believe Pacific students are “hungry to be involved in all facets of pharmacy.” Throughout the year, Gamma Nu hosts a variety of events to engage their brothers in social and professional activities, including health fairs, chapter dinners and retreats.


Pharmacy students play a crucial role in COVID-19 vaccination efforts



University of the Pacific partnered with San Joaquin County Public Health Services to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics on the Stockton campus. The Operation Immunization health care outreach committee led the effort to vaccinate the Pacific community as well as local community members.

In addition to their educational commitments, the four Operation Immunization co-chairs worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help plan the clinics. First-year doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students Carissa Leung ’23 and Talar Yetenekian ’23 were supported by second-year co-chairs Kyle Vo ’22 and Woo Jin Lim ’22.

Hosting the drive-through clinics required the students to navigate a myriad of logistics, including managing the vaccine supply, designing policies and procedures, creating training modules, coordinating volunteers and handling traffic flow, while following legal requirements.

“I received the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our clinics on the Stockton campus and it filled me with pride to see our students in action.”

— Christopher Callahan, University President

“It is about more than the one shot in that two-second time frame, it is about the whole process and remembering the patient is at the center of the process,” said Veronica T. Bandy ’00’08, PharmD, MS, FCPhA, FCSHP, BCACP, Operation Immunization faculty advisor, clinical professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator for Sacramento.

At first, Leung and Yetenekian were overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility and the size of the undertaking, but through the mentorship of Dr. Bandy and their fellow co-chairs, they embraced the challenge. Between January and July, Operation Immunization hosted 25 clinics and administered 7,525 vaccine doses on the Stockton campus.

“I received the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our clinics on the Stockton campus and it filled me with pride to see our students in action,” said University President Christopher Callahan. “Our outstanding students, under the guidance of dedicated faculty, navigated the complex logistics that came with planning and hosting the vaccination clinics. My heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers who gave their time to help keep our community safe and healthy.”















The clinics also offered students a way to engage in experiential, hands-on learning at a time when classes were being held virtually.

“Through these clinics, we are able to provide students with the opportunity to not only interact with patients, but also with their faculty and classmates,” said Leung.

All 600 of Pacific’s PharmD students hold intern licenses as well as a nationally recognized certification that allows them to immunize the public; the same certification held by licensed pharmacists.

“Participating in vaccination clinics really helps students mature in their role as vaccinators and helps them to become even stronger pharmacists for the future,” Dr. Bandy said. “Not only do they learn how to screen a patient to make sure that they are eligible to receive the vaccine, they learn about the monitoring process and how a person’s disease state or previous allergies affect them.”

Operation Immunization received the 2021 Student Organization of the Year Award

During a time of rapidly changing guidelines and limited vaccine supply, the strength of longstanding partnerships with local health care agencies paved the way for Pacific to host the clinics. Faculty and students also drew upon their experience organizing health care outreach events; specifically, influenza vaccination clinics. In addition, when the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was first distributed, the guidelines required the vaccine to be stored between minus 112 degrees and minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Provost Maria Pallavicini, PhD played a critical role in securing an ultra-cold freezer.

The clinics were a collaboration of Pacific’s three campuses and they brought together students, faculty, staff, emeriti faculty and alumni from across the University. The interprofessional teamwork of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and School of Health Sciences demonstrates the necessity of partnerships between health care professionals to work together to respond to a public health crisis.

“It takes a village, and it takes the Pacific Tiger pride, in order to help end the pandemic,” Dr. Bandy said. “Our students, faculty and staff as well community volunteers who spent their weekends helping us run the COVID-19 vaccine clinics are the true heroes.”


Taking steps toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion


This year, the School established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee made up of students, faculty, staff and alumni to initiate and support DEI initiatives across Pacific.

Marisella Guerrero ’98, PharmD, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice, who serves as chair of the committee, identifies herself as Mexican American. During her first year as a Pacific faculty member, a group of students told her they were grateful to interact with a Latina faculty member. The conversation gave her a heightened awareness of the opportunity — and responsibility — to use her perspectiveto provide advice and guidance for students with a similar cultural background.

Doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) student Adam Aboubakare ’22 wanted to join the DEI Committee because of his passion for creating inclusive spaces. “No matter what the setting is, whether it is on your campus, in your organization, in your workplace or at home, every place can benefit from incorporating more DEI values,” said Aboubakare. He is the founding president of Pacific’s chapter of White Coats for Black Lives, a nationwide movement dedicated to dismantling racism and promoting the health and well-being of people of color by educating future health care professionals.

“We’ve seen that it leads to numerous health care disparities and can literally lead to people losing their lives because they don’t get the right care.”

— Marisella Guerrero ’98, PharmD

Adam Aboubakare ’22

Aboubakare said there are two facets of DEI within health care: patient care and representation.

“When we consider DEI from a patient care aspect, we think about serving every patient to the best of our abilities no matter their background, race, sexuality, gender or other demographics,” he said. “We must put aside our own biases to provide them the best care they can receive.”

He believes it is also important for health care professionals to ask themselves, “How does my team embody diversity?”

The lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in health care can have life or death consequences. “We’ve seen that it leads to numerous health care disparities and can literally lead to people losing their lives because they don’t get the right care,” said Dr. Guerrero. “In the same way we place value and importance on learning about medications, pharmacists need to be committed to learning about inequities, biases and racism because of how much they affect a person’s health and well-being.

As one of their first initiatives, the committee examined the language used in the Oath of a Pharmacist and the School’s Pledge of Professionalism. The pledge is recited by first-year PharmD students at the annual White Coat Ceremony and universities have the freedom to modify the pledge. The School’s DEI committee recommended and received approval to modify the School’s pledge to include: “I will advocate for equitable health care for all.”

The oath is recited by graduates during commencement ceremonies at universities throughout the United States. The committee contacted the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the American Pharmacists Association to revise the oath. As a result, the Oath Revision Committee was created and Aboubakare was selected as the student representative. The revised oath is expected to be voted on in November, with the hope of being incorporated into the commencement ceremonies of the Class of 2022, which holds special significance to Aboubakare as he is a member of that class.

This year, the committee launched Diversity Perspectives, a newsletter that provides a safe space for members in the Pacific community to share cultural insights from a personal perspective about current events. They also implemented a training course that will equip faculty and staff to become agents of change who feel empowered to lead transformative social justice initiatives within and beyond the School.

Dr. Guerrero and Aboubakare encourage people to explore how they can promote DEI values in their communities. “Being open to learning, being compassionate and having empathy is really all you need,” Dr. Guerrero said.


School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2020-21 Committee

Adam Aboubakare ’22
Aasim Ahmed ’22
Iris Chang ’20, PharmD
Suzanne Galal, PharmD
Marisella Guerrero ’98, PharmD
Athena Hagan ’23
Stephanie Luu ’20, PharmD
Chi Nguyen ’93, PharmD
Jasmine Patel
Shannon Quijano ’15, PharmD
Mark Stackpole, MA, EdD
Melany Thomas ’21, PharmD
Alyssa (Hobby) Wu ’13, PharmD

Champion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award

Jasmine Patel, administrative assistant III in the Office of the Dean, received Pacific’s Champion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award for her exceptional work and embodiment of the University’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion.


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

Stockton Helpdesk
Monday – Friday | 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
209.946.7400 |

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

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.