On May 5, doctor of pharmacy students participated in Pacific’s chapter of the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO-Pacific) second annual Pharmathon. Seven teams of four members were given a theme and asked to propose a research question. Each team was tasked with conducting research and producing a proof-of-concept, all within 48 hours.

The IPhO-Pacific Executive Board, under the guidance of Sachin A. Shah, PharmD, FAHA, professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator for Travis Air Force Base, hosted Pharmathon weekend to give students the opportunity to expand horizons in critical thinking and creativity in relation to health care.

Technology continues to be a driving force of innovation in health care. This year’s Pharmathon theme challenged participants to use wearable technology and mobile health products to promote healthy living. “One of the most important aspects of the pharmaceutical industry is the speed in which innovation and creativity happens,” said Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD. Teams utilized a number of widely used technologies and applications, including Apple watches, Pokémon Go and Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant.

The teams presented their projects immediately after the 48 hours of research. Teams were evaluated by a panel of guest judges, which included residency and fellowship directors, as well as clinical scientists. This year’s panel of judges were Major Elizabeth “Liz” Tesch, of Travis AFB, Saranpreet “Sunny” Nagra ’16, PharmD, chief product officer at monARC Bionetworks, Jeremy Lim ’12, PharmD, senior clinical scientist at Genentech, Jessica Cromheecke, of Travis AFB, and Shelly Gulati, PhD, associate professor and chair of bioengineering at University of the Pacific.

After a long, debated discussion between the judges, Justin Chang ’21, Hilary Lim ’20, Elizabeth Levan ’21 and Haybie Wong ’21, from team Operation Relaxation, were awarded first place. The team focused their research on “app-based meditation as an adjunctive treatment to help clinical outcomes.”

“Pharmathon was a truly unique and rewarding experience,” said Chang. “It was amazing how much we accomplished as a team in just 48 hours.”

IPhO-Pacific hopes to continue its annual Pharmathon tradition and encourage students to challenge themselves through innovative thinking in the health care profession.

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By Katherine Hsu ’21
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