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November 2020

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are rounding out the final few weeks of the fall semester and looking forward to the holidays where faculty, staff and students will have some respite from a very intense fall semester.

As many of you may already know by now, we have announced that spring semester will be largely virtual with the exception of certain labs and assessments. We have also made the difficult decision to cancel spring break—which was unwelcomed news, but the better of several bad options. As we wade through uncertain waters, what remains top of mind is to ensure our students stay on track to graduate on time. This year has been a tough one, but our students, faculty and staff have worked tirelessly together to ensure that our students will not suffer the consequences of falling behind. This has been an all-hands-on-deck effort and I’m grateful for everyone’s sacrifice in braving through these challenging times.

Though we are not out of the woods yet with this pandemic, there are still many reasons to celebrate. I congratulate all the recipients of the Washington State Pharmacy Association Awards of Distinction. It is great to see many well-deserved honorees on the list including many of our own college faculty and alumni on the list. Your passion and commitment to our community is inspiring and I thank you for always leading by example. We look forward to recognizing you at the award ceremony on November 19.

As previously mentioned, the college has reached an important milestone in external research funding exceeding over $10 million in the 2020 fiscal year. We have several researchers who are on the up and up with notable funding from the National Institutes of Health. However, one key person who has supported our efforts is Marnie Rogers, who was recognized by the University for her exceptional service in Grant and Contract Administration. I thank all our researchers and our supporting staff in the continued effort to put our college and university on the path to becoming a leading research institution.

Our students also continue to amaze me with their efforts to do good in the community during this pandemic. Several of our student pharmacists in Yakima came together to start creating a series of videos for nursing homes in central Washington. The videos will provide engaging education about common disease states that affect nursing home residents and present it in a way that is understandable. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our students have not been able to attend health fairs in nursing homes to advise patients. They hope to raise money to buy tablets so that nursing home patients will have access to these videos. If you are interested in contributing, you can learn more about their project here.

Thank you all for another great month in the books. It is Native American Heritage Month and a reminder to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories that our Native peoples bring to our college and community.

From my family to yours, we wish you all a well-deserved break to decompress from 2020!

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

A note from Linda Garrelts MacLean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

While we continue to be socially distanced, I’m amazed with the way our community has managed to stay connected. Face-to-face interactions will always be invaluable in building comradery and community; however, going virtual for us has also meant a very quick transfer of information and insight into the progression of pharmacy. This has been best illustrated with recent Career Seminar Series speakers Gabe Arguinchona (class of 2019), who is a Pharmacy Analytics and Business Intelligence Manager at Kaiser Permanente in Seattle, and Gerald Engley, Executive Director of Medical Affairs at Seattle Genetics. Not only did we have more students in attendance than our usual in-person events, but we also had insightful and engaged discussions each time. Gabe, it has been a tremendous honor to serve as your mentor and see you flourish in your career; Gerald, I look forward to continuing our work together and having our students learn from your experience.

Similarly, in opening this dialogue on the future of pharmacy, we have also been able to easily connect with our alums living outside of the Spokane area on their latest perspectives about pharmacy. Steve Riddle, class of 1984 and Director of Clinical Development at Wolters Kluwer, said it best in his recent interview with one of our student pharmacists: “When I think about where health care is going and where pharmacy’s at, I just see a lot of opportunity and a bright future…I really see the role of pharmacy moving now into broader scopes of application, such as population health management, using technology, virtual meeting technology, care protocols, virtual assistance.” While there was so much more information gleaned from this short interview, I appreciate that we can connect our students with alumni to catch a glimpse of the future of pharmacy and all the nuances that come with these conversations.

The pharmacy profession is changing rapidly, and I have always been a strong proponent in keeping my eye on the horizon to stay ahead of the profession. The silver lining to this destructive pandemic has been the exchange of ideas with a click of a button. One of the ways we continue to build on this dialogue is through our new HealthChats series, which is streamed live on YouTube. Last month, I had the honor to sit on a panel with fellow colleagues to discuss vaccines, flu season, and what that means for a COVID-19 vaccine. Next month, we have an exciting HealthChats line up on various topics. Dr. Darrell Jackson will discuss his journey to becoming a neuroscientist and his desire to set an example for future African American scientists and researchers. We also have Dr. Megan Undeberg with a special encore seminar on Pharmacy Goes to War, which discusses the role of pharmacists and pharmacies during World War II. It will be a dark, albeit interesting look into the past. Of course, we invite everyone in the community to join these discussions. The best thing of all is you can view it from the comfort of your own home.

As a closing note, and in the spirit of staying connected, congratulations to Jeff Rochon, CEO of WSPA, on his next endeavor at PACE Alliance. Thank you for fighting the long fight in moving the pharmacy profession forward. We look forward to what you will do next!

Until next time, I hope you all will be able to join us for these open discussions on pharmacy. Thank you all for reaching out and staying connected with the CougaRx community.

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

Industry Perspective

What is the future of pharmacy?
Shannon Patterson, a third-year student pharmacist at WSU, interviewed Steve Riddle, Director of Clinical Development at Wolters Kluwer. Some of the topics they cover include how the pharmacy profession is changing, his career advice to students interested in pharmacy, and how students can set themselves apart when interviewing for a position.

Watch the video

Pharmacy Careers

What does a pharmacy analytics manager do?
After his Career Seminar Series presentation to College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students, class of 2019 alumnus, Gabe Arguinchona, sat down with the college to talk about how he uses his clinical background from WSU in his role as a pharmacy analytics and business intelligence manager at Kaiser Permanente to improve pharmacy informatics and data.

Watch the interview

Win a can of Cougar Gold!

Refer a Future PharmD – We’ve extended the deadline!
Do you love our Doctor of Pharmacy program as much as we do? Share the love and help us grow our CougaRx Nation by referring a friend, colleague, student or family member for your chance to win a can of Cougar Gold just in time for the holidays!

To enter to win, simply fill out the referral form on our Refer a Future Cougar PharmD page in its entirety. We will randomly draw a winner from those who make a referral over the next month (between now and December 14, 2020). Odds of winning depends upon the number of entries but will be no less than one in ten.

Refer a Future PharmD Today!


Philanthropy Focus

We would like to express our appreciation this month to Crystal (Little) Bryan, class of 2012, and Robert “Farmer” Bryan, class of 2013, for establishing The Bryan Scholarship at the CPPS several years ago and continuing to fund it every year. Even as recent graduates with student loans, both Crystal and Robert felt compelled to pay it forward to future pharmacists. “We both received scholarships and know the difference it made to us financially, and also in building our confidence.” Their scholarship is awarded annually to a dynamic student leader (just as they both were active student leaders in pharmacy). Crystal and Robert have been married for six years and have four-year-old twins, Kinley and Chloe, pictured here. Congratulations to this wonderful CougaRx family and thanks from all of us at the CPPS for your philanthropic support!

Alumni Updates

We had a chance to visit with Rusty, class of 1987, and Sheri Crawford, class of 1988, during a recent visit to Tucson. Rusty and Sheri are both retired from the VA Hospital in Tucson, a career that Rusty praised as “the best he could have asked for.” During the pandemic, Rusty and Sheri are finding creative ways to stay busy. Literally! Check out these photos of their nifty craft projects…and yes, they do admit to enjoying a cocktail while creating them. Which leads us to wonder…what the rest of the CougaRx Nation is doing to stay busy and positive during the pandemic? Email your photos and stories to for us to share in the newsletter or on social media!

Randy Legg, class of 1987, recently celebrated 20 years with Astra Zenica. This milestone also brought memories of his work as an intern at age 19 (34 years ago) at Jones Pharmacy, the independent pharmacy that was formerly owned and operated by Vice Dean Linda Garrelts MacLean. We asked Randy to find a of photo of his 19-year-old self and wait until you compare the two!  Congratulations, Randy, on a successful career at Astra Zenica, and 34 years in the pharmacy world!

Congratulations to Natasha (Heimbigner) Olson, class of 2014, for her selection as one of two 2020 “Living the Mission” award recipients for the National Community Oncology Dispensing Association. The award was presented at the NCODA Fall Summit, which took place virtually last month. Natasha is an oncology pharmacist at Summit Cancer Centers and serves as Adjunct Faculty at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Read more about her award

Sue Merk, class of 1976, is enjoying living full time at her beautiful cabin in the woods in Easton, Washington. Following her retirement from OneHealth Port in Seattle, Sue stays busy by entertaining family and friends who visit her at the lake, crafting homemade greeting cards, volunteering for activities at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences such as the Dean’s Advisory Council and the CougaRx Nation board, and she’s also organizing a class reunion for her pharmacy classmates to coincide with the 2021 Pharmacy Crimson Gala. In fact, next year marks the 45-year anniversary of the class of 1976’s graduation from the college! To get in touch with Sue, please email her at

Congratulations to Steve Riddle, class of 1984, for winning Cougar Crest wine in the trivia contest during the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences virtual homecoming celebration last month. Steve has been staying busy during the pandemic working from home for employer, Wolters Kluwer, and is also volunteering for the college to help with curriculum enhancements related to data/informatics. Thank you, Steve!
Check out Steve’s recent interview with third-year student pharmacist Shannon Patterson on the future of pharmacy.

We received this wonderful note from Loan Lam, class of 2019:
“I recognize it has been a tremendously tough time for many of us during these unprecedented times. From what seems to have been a long time coming, I am beyond ecstatic to have recently accepted a position as an ambulatory oncology pharmacist! Since the age of 9, I have vivid memories of joking with my pediatric oncologist that we would share a practice together someday (and perhaps this vision will still come into fruition). I feel extremely fortunate to have the support system including my personal health care providers, family, friends, mentors, and the incredible Cougar ‘pharmily’ who helped pave this professional path. I sincerely thank all of you. Upon embarking on this journey and moving forward: ‘I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy’ as we continue to adapt to the paradigm shift in our profession and health care system. I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and as always–Go Cougs!”

We recently visited with Meridee Febus, class of 1988, in Tucson, Arizona. Meridee serves as hospital pharmacy director at Oro Valley Hospital, and sent the snake photo to show it’s never a dull moment at their pharmacy. “We recently had an uninvited visitor upon opening in the morning. He didn’t even get his temp taken at the door or put on a mask. Sheesh, the nerve of some snakes!”

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

November 2020 Updates



Allen I. White Distinguished Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy Joshua Neumiller and co-presenters lead a virtual town hall titled, “Focus on the evolving role of GLP-1 receptor agonists,” for Postgraduate Healthcare Education on October 15, 2020. The topic examined the role of GLP-1 receptor agonists in the management of Type 2 diabetes is continually evolving, challenging pharmacists to stay current with the latest science.


Josh Neumiller served on the Steering Committee for the IDEA 2.0: Innovating Decisions and Empowering Action in Diabetes Management program on use of continuous glucose monitors (CGM) sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE).
» More …

Other News

Staff and faculty recognized during Research Week 2020 awards ceremony
Marnie Rogers, a fiscal analyst for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS), was recognized for her outstanding work on grant and contract administration with the Grant and Contract Administration Service Recognition Award during the Washington State University Research Week.
Read more from the WSU Insider

Historic agreement opens new doors in Indian country for health sciences students
Thanks to the new partnership between the WSU Native American Health Sciences and Indian Health Services (IHS), students from pharmacy, medicine, nursing, nutrition and exercise physiology or speech and hearing sciences will be able to complete clinical rotations in six outlying IHS service areas across the Pacific Northwest.
Read more from the WSU Insider

Hospital awards three students with scholarships
Third-year pharmacy student, Kayla Leland was awarded the Pullman Regional Hospital Gaskins Scholars Program scholarship for her interest in serving rural areas once she graduates.
Read more from the Daily Evergreen