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May 2021

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

And just like that, we are FINISHED! The class of 2021 has graduated and is off to make us proud and we are on to summer. First, congratulations to the class of 2021. You made it. It has been a long and difficult year, but there is nothing more rewarding than to see our students don their caps and gowns to share with their loved ones the pride and joy of earning their degrees. While this year’s commencement was not traditional by any means, it still made for heartfelt memories. The college hosted a virtual awards ceremony honoring all our Doctor of Pharmacy graduates, and a successful drive-through ceremony last week. On behalf of the college, we are all so proud of our graduates.

Seeing our students cross that stage would not be possible without the support of people like Jim, class of 1957, and Diann Robbers, who recently made another significant gift to the James and Diann Robbers Pharmacy Student Research Fund. This endowment, which has been supporting student travel and research for more than ten years, is now being expanded to help us recruit the best and brightest students to the college, and expand the Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. We are so grateful to have such committed alumni who are willing to invest in our students so that the next generation of Cougar pharmacists can succeed

Another great win: thanks to your support for this year’s #CougsGive virtual event, the college raised nearly $14,000. This too will also go far in helping to support our students in their education. During this pandemic, our students have stepped up to volunteer their time and effort to vaccinating thousands. I’m grateful we can show our appreciation for all the work they are doing to protect the health of their communities. Though the pandemic continues to devastate communities around the world, hearing your stories has continued to be the guiding light as we feel our way through this pandemic. In particular, this recent story about class of 2008 alumni Ahmed Ali and his pharmacy which caters to the diverse community of South Seattle reinforces our mission as educators in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.

Finally, it is with a very heavy heart, I announce that Vice Dean Linda Garrelts Maclean, professor, mentor, and longtime advocate for the pharmacy profession will be retiring on June 30. While this is bittersweet news for everyone at the college and the pharmacy community at large, we wish her the best as she moves to the next phase in her life. Despite her busy schedule, Linda has mentored students and colleagues, and selflessly lifted others up to help them achieve their full potential. She is truly one of a kind, fearlessly optimistic, with a personality which instantly brightens any room and her impact on the profession has been felt far and wide. If you know Linda, then you know that she’s always on the move. While she will be stepping back from her daily duties in the college, she will continue to advocate on behalf of the college and profession in her appointment as Emeritus Professor, which she details in her note below. On behalf of the college, thank you, Linda, for your decades of service. We are so honored and privileged to have you in our community and wish you the best in this next chapter of your life. Please join me in congratulating Linda on her retirement.

Thank you all for another wonderful academic year in the books.


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

Editor’s note: This is the final newsletter for the 2020-21 academic year. The next CougaRx News will be published in August 2021. Have a great summer!

Congratulations, class of 2021!

All of us at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences wanted to take a moment to recognize your perseverance and celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

In recognition of all of the hard work it took to get here, we’ve set up a Virtual Celebration page. Check it out to see the messages from keynote speaker Tyler Fischback, and your chosen student speakers, as well as a list of everyone graduating this year, recognition of award winners and honors students, and the Oath of a Pharmacist.

Kennedy Erickson, class of 2023, was elected the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists National President-Elect!

A note from Linda Garrelts MacLean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Though I look forward to the next phase in my life, it has been bittersweet announcing my retirement. There has been an outpouring of love, support, and gratitude from colleagues and friends of the college, and I feel so thankful to have been able to serve WSU and the pharmacy profession for over 25 years. I will truly miss seeing you all daily, hearing about your successes personally and professionally, and working with you in the trenches. Above all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your lives and helping to advance our mission as a college.

While a retirement announcement may sound like the conclusion of a long career, it is really just the start of a new chapter in my life. In my new capacity as Emeritus Professor, I will continue to advance the mission and vision of the college and profession by serving on the boards of BAVI Health, Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, Pharmacy Quality Alliance, and Community Pharmacy Foundation. It is my personal charge to ensure that our college and faculty have opportunities for leadership roles so that they can continue to develop and enhance the reputation of our institution as a leader and visionary for the practice and program. So, while I may not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the college, I’m very much invested in paving the way for future generations of leaders in pharmacy.

Thank you all for coloring my life with your ideas, wisdom, unwavering commitment to our college and students, and everything in between. I’m grateful to have had this privilege to serve with you.

In the meantime, the college will be hosting a virtual alumni reception at the Northwest Pharmacy Convention on June 11 from 5:00-5:30pm PST. This event will be open to all alumni, regardless of whether you register for the Northwest Pharmacy Convention. It will be a great opportunity to catch up and see some familiar faces.

With best regards and much respect,

Linda Garrelts MacLean

Linda Garrelts MacLean, Vice Dean of External Relations
WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Spotlight on Success

PharmD News

Pharmacy student recognized as Woman of Distinction

Health care professionals by nature are in the field of helping others, often giving their time and energy to improving the lives of their patients. Even so, there are those who truly go above and beyond to serve the need of others, putting the lives of those around them above their own to make the world a better place. Third-year pharmacy student Misty Lefler is just such one of those people.

WSU Awards

CPPS students and faculty recognized by University

Across the Washington State University (WSU) spring is a time to recognize those who go above and beyond, making an impact in their programs, the University, and their communities. It is with great pride the college announces the WSU President’s Awards for Leadership and WSU Health Sciences Chancellor’s Excellence Awards received by CPPS students and faculty.

College Awards

Celebrating college excellence

As COVID-19 spread across the globe, colleges found themselves pivoting to distance learning experiences leaving students, faculty and staff to adapt to a rapidly changing environment while navigating the implications of a global pandemic. Though everyone in the college deserves to be recognized for persevering through this difficult year, several have been recognized by their peers for their outstanding leadership, teamwork and service.

Philanthropy Focus

Kudos to Professor Emeritus Gary G. Meadows and his wife, Kathleen, for continuing to support the Mortar and Pestle Scholarship at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Gary and Kathleen have funded this annual scholarship for many years while Gary was on faculty at the college, and we’re grateful that they are continuing with their support. The Mortar and Pestle Scholarship is awarded annually to a single parent with financial need who is pursuing a pharmacy degree at WSU. Thank you, Gary and Kathleen for your generosity and your long-term investment in our students. Your support truly makes a difference! For information on philanthropic opportunities at the college, please contact Kelly Sylvester, Director of Development, at 509-368-6675 or email

Alumni Updates

Sally Hughes PharmD, RPh, BCMAS, class of 2020, is currently in her two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Management with HealthTrust and Belmont College of Pharmacy. Over the past year, during the fellowship, she was hired as a drug information and analytics contract pharmacist for HealthTrust, completed a teaching certificate program in which she co-instructed Biomedical Literature and Health Assessment to Belmont pharmacy students, precepted fourth-year APPE students on rotation, and worked in the Christy Houston Drug Information Center. Recently, she was mentored by WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences J. Roberts and Marcia Fosberg Distinguished Professor of Pharmacotherapy and Director of the Drug Information Center Danial Baker, PharmD, FASHP, FASCP to pursue a board certification as a medical affairs specialist to further her experience and career options in the pharmaceutical industry with the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA). She achieved the Board-Certified Medical Affairs Specialist (BCMAS) certification from ACMA in May of 2021 and believes that it will open new doors and provide her with more in-depth industry training that is needed to excel in the medical affairs career path. By the end of the fellowship, she aims to be a Medical Science Liaison for a pharmaceutical company back in Washington state.

Ahmed Ali, class of 2008, owner of Seattle’s South End’s Othello Station Pharmacy was recently featured in the Seattle Times for his work in helping to educate and vaccinate the diverse community about COVID-19. A lack of access to the internet and computers, as well as difficulty using the state’s vaccine eligibility tool has been a hurdle to vaccine access for many in the community. Ahmed hopes to address this issue by encouraging patients to call the clinic to book their appointments. Additionally, his staff’s knowledge of multiple languages has helped to bridge the communication barrier. Ahmed has also helped to establish the Somali Health Board in Seattle which has sought to make COVID-19 vaccines easier to access for people of color in the Rainier Valley , many of whom are immigrants and refugees.

Joe Samek, class of 1992, is working long hours administering COVID-19 vaccines to scores of patients in North Spokane for Rite Aid, and is “loving it” he said. Being on the front lines of the pandemic is hard work but rewarding. The one drawback? Not getting a lot of time to interact with patients. Joe, who spent 19 years with Shopko before they declared bankruptcy, said he grew very close to many of his patients at the Shopko pharmacy. Many of those patients come see him at Rite Aid to seek his health care advice. Patient interaction is the reason he has stayed in community pharmacy all these years and loves it, especially during the pandemic. Thank you, Joe, and to all of our WSU pharmacists for your service to the community during COVID. We are so grateful to you!

Robert (Bob) Scheidtmann and Sam Deliganis, class of 1966, are taking the lead on setting up a Fireside Chat with Dean Mark Leid. The meet-and-greet with the dean will take place via Zoom next month, and interested classmates can email Kelly Sylvester at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences ( for details. Bob and his wife Deborah recently moved to Bend, Oregon, from the bay area to be closer to family, and he’s happy to be back in the Northwest.

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

The class of 1966 celebrated its Golden Grads reunion in 2016 on WSU’s Health Sciences Campus in Spokane.

May 2021 Updates



Pharmacotherapy Associate Professor and Director for the Center for Pharmacy Practice Research Kimberly McKeirnan and five co-authors published, “Improving pneumococcal vaccination rates among rural older adults through academic detailing: medicine, nursing and pharmacy partnership,” in the Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) Journal in March 2021.

Research Fellow Sorosh Kherghehpoush and Kimberly McKeirnan published, “Pharmacist-led HIV and hepatitis C point-of-care testing and risk mitigation counseling in individuals experiencing homelessness,” in Elsevier’s March 2021 Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy Journal.

Kimberly McKeirnan, Vice Chair and Allen I. White Distinguished Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy Joshua Neumiller and one co-author published, “<a ... » More …


More upcoming events

Other News

WSU women honored for their accomplishments
Misty Lefler, class of 2022, was recently chosen as the Washington State University Graduate Student Woman of Distinction.
Read more from the Daily Evergreen

Newly discovered protein helps rheumatoid arthritis symptom
Pharmaceutical sciences researchers discovered a protein that will help treat chronic inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
Read more from the Daily Evergreen

There’s a lot of buzz about potential benefits of vitamin B-12. Do I need to take a B-12 supplement?
According to Pharmacotherapy Chair John White it’s unlikely. Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from their regular diet.
Read more from the Inlander’s Health and Home Magazine

Asking for support made emergency contraceptive fundraiser a success
Students from WSU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held a fundraiser to purchase emergency contraceptives, which will be provided to students for free.
Read more from the Daily Evergreen