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March 2023

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

With the equinox on the horizon, spring is just around the corner and a return to warmer days. Our students are in the thick of their studies, but for our fourth-years, graduation and the first step into the pharmacy profession is closer than ever. Our students will be entering a workforce impacted by  the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Retirement, which has led to an acute decline in health care workers across the country and in Washington state. Recruiters from chain and independent pharmacies to health care systems have repeatedly expressed the dire need for pharmacists—particularly in rural and urban underserved areas in Washington. We also know that the peak impact of declining health care providers, including pharmacists, has yet to be felt.

Solving these long-term health care issues is at the core of our mission at the college. With help from donors and the university, we are bolstering our programs to ensure Washington and the country has a steady stream of specialized and highly trained health care workers.

One way we are meeting this growing demand is reaffirming our commitment to the Yakima Valley. Our Doctor of Pharmacy program in Yakima aims to meet students where they are, ensuring that students from every corner of the State have access to premier training and resources—whether they are in underserved urban centers or rural areas. Unlike traditional PharmD programs, WSU pharmacists are armed with the knowledge to play a bigger role in patient care, such as counseling and educating patients, monitoring medication use, or collaborating with other health providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

To counter the impending shortfall in health care workers, we will also launch a new pathway to fast-track students who show potential in the health sciences. Working with the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, we will be launching a bachelor of science in pharmaceutical and medical sciences degree with our first cohort to start fall 2024. The new program will create a pipeline for various health related degrees, including our Doctor of Pharmacy program. The degree will help to launch students into health care-focused professional programs, strengthen WSU’s existing graduate program, serve as a catalyst for biotech workforce development in Spokane, and provide a path for graduates of Community Colleges of Spokane who want to stay close to home.

While this is a great start for us, more needs to be done and we need everyone’s help. The decline in health care workers affects us all. Currently, Washington state has one of the highest demands for pharmacists in the nation. The only states with higher demand than Washington are Vermont, Connecticut, and Alaska. That’s good news for graduates who will be in high demand. The bad news is we are nowhere near supplying this growing need for pharmacists. Along with our colleagues at the University of Washington, we are actively working to meet the needs of our state, however current enrollment trends mean that only 200 Doctor of Pharmacy students will be seeking employment this year.

You can help to reverse this trend by recruiting promising students into the pharmacy profession, offering financial and professional support for students in our PharmD program, and partnering with us on pathways into pharmacy. Our focus in the next few years is singular – recruit the best talent and provide access to a broad and diverse group of students that want to make a difference, and ensure they have the financial support to thrive.

The Coug spirit puts Cougs first. I know we can ensure a healthier future for all Washingtonians by working together towards this common goal.


Mark Leid, Professor and Dean
WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

A note from Julie Akers

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

February was a great month—mostly because we brought in two new members to the Advancement team! We are thrilled to be joined by Claire Forster, our new Senior Director of Development. She has years of experience at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and is just the right person to lead the development team to success! Gayle Bayne has also joined us as the new Administrative Assistant to the Office of Advancement. She replaces Sue Lutz who retired and both Gayle and Claire have hit the ground running. Please join me in a warm welcome to both of them!

Doug Crafton (’78) spoke at our Career Seminar Series on February 15. As Founder and Chief Pharmacy Officer of Medication Review, Inc, he spoke about his background, career path in pharmacy, and his entrepreneurial spirit that led to the creation of Medication Review, Inc. The company offers a range of services from telepharmacy to pharmacogenomic testing. The work he and his team do aligns with our Rural Health Initiative, and our students absorbed every word. We have two speakers scheduled in March and look forward to sharing more about their presentations in next month’s newsletter.

The Fred Meyer Alumni-Student Mentor Program held its second annual virtual Meet and Greet event on February 21. Thank you to Fred Meyer for your generous sponsorship of this program and for attending and providing an update on the value of mentorship. We had many alumni mentors and their student mentees in attendance, allowing them time to get to know one another and begin what will hopefully be lifelong mentor relationships. If you are interested in serving as a mentor in the future, please reach out to me (

Also, I look forward to seeing everyone at the APhA Annual Meeting in Phoenix later this month. Several faculty, students, and residents will be speaking and presenting research posters. Stop by, take a picture (don’t forget your Coug flag) and send those to us! In addition, two of our alums, myself (’00) and Leon Alzola (’93) will be voting members representing Washington state in the APhA House of Delegates again this year. If you know either of us, then you can be confident your profession is being well represented, in a vocal way, at the national level. If you are going to be in Phoenix, Dean Mark Leid will be hosting a CougaRx Nation Alumni and Friends event with beverages and bites at The Pub at Thunderbird. Please RSVP if you plan to join us! We look forward to seeing you there! For all upcoming Coug pharmily networking events near and far, please check out our events calendar (we have several coming up!).

As always, Go Cougs!

Julie Akers, Associate Dean of External Relations

April 12, 2023

Learn More

Gerald Danquist with his daughter Jenny, son Craig, and three granddaughters, on a recent vacation to Florida.

Philanthropy Focus

Gerald Danquist (’65) is celebrating two milestones this year. On March 14, he turned a very young 80 years old, just a few months behind his best friend and classmate John Oftebro, who turned 80 last October. This year also marks Gerry’s designation as a Crimson Benefactor of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, an elite circle of donors with less than 20 members at the college.

Gerry started his philanthropic journey at the college a little over 10 years ago, when he established the Gerald A. Danquist scholarship endowment. His endowed scholarship has helped more than 30 students and will support future students in perpetuity. Gerry’s impact is vital to what truly matters most for the college – our students – and will have a ripple effect for years to come. Gerry also named the Gerald Danquist Innovator’s Conference Room in the pharmacy building and he serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. Congratulations, Gerry and thank you for your philanthropic investment in our college and our students!

Alumni Updates

Steve Boulanger (’88) with Quynh Nguyen Au (’20).

Steve Boulanger (’88) owns Mercury Pharmacy Services, a very busy and successful independent pharmacy in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. Steve has owned the business since 1996 and employs several Cougar pharmacists, including Quynh Nguyen Au (’20).

Former faculty member Colleen Terriff (’96) gave an inspirational talk to pharmacy students on March 1 as part of the college’s Career Seminar Series (sponsored by STCU). Terriff, who worked at the CPPS for nearly 20 years as a clinical associate professor, is now the Regional Medical Scientific Director for Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Merck.

Kylee Shriver (’20) is working at Kurt’s Pharmacy and Hallmark, an independent pharmacy that focuses on compliance packaging for long-term care facilities and mental health services, as well as serving the rural community. Kylee is also the instructor for the pharmacy technician program at the College of Southern Idaho, a local community college where she enjoys teaching future pharmacy technicians and encourages them to become pharmacists.

Karl Nacalaban (’18) with his wife and family.

Karl Nacalaban (’18) is continuing in his career at CHI Franciscan St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where he currently serves as a clinical pharmacist. Karl started at the hospital as a PGY-1 resident and was hired on at the hospital to work in the ambulatory primary care environment. He was a former pharmacy tech who came to WSU after attending UW for his undergraduate studies and served as WSU Spokane’s student body president while in pharmacy school. Congratulations, Karl!

Want to be listed in our alumni updates? Send us your career information or let us know what you’ve been up to at!

March 2023 Updates



Pharmaceutical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Associate Dilip Singh, Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate in Research Guihua Yue, Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate Professor Bhagwat Prasad  with Pharmaceutical Sciences and Molecular Medicine Graduate Students Sheena Sharma and Deepak Ahire and three other co-authors published, “Quantitative characterization of clinically relevant drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters in rat liver and intestinal segments for applications in PBPK modeling,” in Molecular Pharmaceutics in February 2023.

Bhagwat Prasad with Pharmaceutical Sciences and Molecular Medicine Graduate Student Sheena Sharma and one other co-author published, “B. Interplay of breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp/Abcg2), sex, and fed state in oral pharmacokinetic variability of furosemide in rats,” in Pharmaceutics in January 2023.

» More …


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