Recent Accolades Showcase USJ Pharmacy Program 

This fall the University of Saint Joseph’s Pharmacy program celebrated numerous distinct achievements each worthy of separate note but taken together provide an even more impressive view of the program’s stature in the professional community. 

American Pharmacists Association Award to USJ Students 

The American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA_AP) awarded the USJ APhA-ASP Chapter for “outstanding development and implementation of Operation Substance Use Disorders” for the 2021-22 academic year. The APHA_AP provides educational programming to address the variety of issues and topics which reflect the changing needs of student pharmacist members. The USJ chapter received this honor during the Midyear Regional Meeting in November 2022.  

USJ Pharmacy students did impressive work to garner this award. They partnered with several noteworthy organizations including the Wolcott Police department, the West Hartford Police Department, Wolcott–The Citizens Against Substance Abuse (CASA) Coalition, and the Connecticut Harm Reduction Coalition (CTHRC).  

Students also partnered with the police departments to host two drug-take back events for community members to properly discard their unused or expired medications and supplied the participants with free COVID-19 test kits. They volunteered and promoted drug-free events with Wolcott CASA like the Annual Car Show, events that not only consisted of cars, raffles, and snacks but also supplied resources and information about overcoming substance use disorder. Through their work with the Connecticut Harm Reduction Coalition the students assisted in making fentanyl test kits, safe sex kits, Narcan kits, COVID-19 Protection kits and safe smoking kits to be distributed to areas affected by substance use disorder.  

USJ Alumnus Patrick Filkins, Pharm.D.’19 Joins Small Group of Pharm.D. Toxicologists to Pass ABAT Exam 

USJ graduate Patrick Filkins, Pharm.D.’19, was welcomed into the toxicology family as he received his Diplomate of the American Board of Applied Toxicology (DABAT) certification, one of only eight candidates to pass the exam since 2020. The American Academy of Clinical Toxicology website gives a hint at the notorious difficulty of the ABAT by encouraging students to begin studying 8-12 months in advance, 1-2 times per week, for the 11-hour written exam. To credential for the exam, one also needs to have performed a minimum of 50 bedside consultations and published in the toxicology literature, among other requirements. In the 11-hour written exam each candidate answers 100 questions, performs a real-time journal critique, and completes 16 blue essay books with an open-ended approach to toxicologic scenarios.  

“This exam is notoriously difficult and has historical pass rates as low as 25%,” explained Filkins, who in becoming part of that small group of Pharm. D. toxicologists, also became one of approximately 136 to successfully pass the ABAT exam since 1987. (USJ Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration Dayne Laskey, Pharm.D. is also DABAT-Certified.) Filkins is working in Atlanta in poison center administration and as an ED pharmacist. 

 USJ School of Pharmacy Students and Faculty Honored at The Connecticut Pharmacists Association’s (CPA) 2022 Annual Awards Ceremony and Board Installation 

This Fall, at the Connecticut Pharmacists Association’s 2022 Annual Awards Ceremony and Board Installation USJ had a strong showing. Four USJ School of Pharmacy students, all in their last year, received awards at the annual ceremony: 

Anna Capparella of Meriden, Conn., William J. Summa Scholarship 

Victoria MacLelland of Moosup, Conn., Murray Abraman Scholarship 

Esteban Fallas of Bridgeport, Conn., Milton S. Camilleri Scholarship 

Madeline Kravitz of North Haven, Conn., Steven J. Kruzshak Scholarship 

The students receiving awards was a fantastic tribute to the program, but not the end of USJ’s distinctions that evening. Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration Lisa DeGennaro, Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE continues her tenure for another year as at large board member of CPA. She is a  Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). 

USJ alumna, Dr. Lydia Tran, Pharm.D.’16. was installed as board president of CPA for 2022-23. Dr. Tran, Pharm.D., BCPS is Senior Clinical Pharmacy Specialist for Heart and Vascular Services, Yale New Haven Health. In 2017, Dr. Tran completed her PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and joined the YNHH HVC pharmacy team as a Multispecialty Clinical Pharmacist, predominately in the Heart and Vascular ICU and surgery service lines. Her areas of interest include cardiology, anticoagulation, transitions of care, educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. 

Learn more about USJ’s School of Pharmacy and Physician Assistant Studies here.