Reza Taheri, PharmD, MBADean
Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Reza Taheri has over 25 years of experience as an educator and has been a licensed pharmacist for over 20 years. He joined West Coast University (WCU) in December of 2011 as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. He later served as interim Dean before being appointed as the Dean of the program in April of 2016. Prior to joining WCU, he served as faculty, Director of Experiential Education, and Chair in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science at Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy. Taheri has also served as faculty at Western University of Health Sciences, a clinical scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, and Co-Director of Lipid Clinic at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.
Taheri completed his undergraduate training as well as the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Minnesota and a fellowship in cardiovascular pharmacotherapy at the same institution. He earned an Executive Master of Business Administration at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. Reza is also a certified Emotional Intelligence Coach.
Sarian Bangura, PharmD, TTS, BCACPAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Bangura graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and minor in chemistry from Bowie State University and received her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2013. She completed a one year residency with a teaching certificate in Community Pharmacy Practice at Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy, practicing at the Center for Pharmacy Services and other ambulatory/primary care centers in the Pittsburgh, PA area. During her residency she was involved in various community outreach initiatives including providing preventative care in the community setting through health screens, involvement in a pilot program introducing health literacy to inner city high school students and as well as educating geriatric populations on safe and effective medication use.
Dr. Bangura currently coordinates and teaches IPC 3 Endocrine and Patient-Centered Care. Her areas of specialty are ambulatory care/community practice with a focus on medication therapy management (MTM). She practices at Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) as a clinical ambulatory care pharmacist managing chronic medical conditions under collaborative practice agreements.
Marina Dykhne, PharmD Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Dykhne graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from California State University Northridge and received her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from Western University of Health Science, College of Pharmacy in 2016. She then completed a PGY1 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice residency at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy. Through the residency training, she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate. Her teaching experiences include clinical and classroom settings and small group facilitation.
During her residency she initiated several clinical services in the community and ambulatory care settings including pharmacist’s provided pre-visit consult service, pharmacist’s ran Tamiflu clinic and pain management protocol. Her clinical interest and areas of focus include chronic disease management and disease prevention in the areas of cardiovascular health, dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes. She is also involved in community education initiatives for opioid addiction management and prevention.
Richard d'Assalenaux, PharmDDirector of Assessment
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. d’Assalenaux received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Irvine. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree was conferred by the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Dr. d’Assalenaux has developed pharmacy-level courses in Public Health and Communication. He has developed and instructed courses in Drug Development, Clinical Research, and Institutional Pharmacy Practice. His interests at the University include researching the medical needs of the underserved, and developing pharmacy-related programs to address those needs. Dr. d'Assalenaux leads a team of faculty and administrators in the assessment of student learning and program assessment in the School of Pharmacy's Comprehensive Assessment Plan.
Dr. d’Assalenaux is a licensed pharmacist currently practicing in California. Most recently he has been working as a Consultant Pharmacist for ambulatory surgery centers. Dr. d’Assalenaux performs medication inspections and provides advice on meeting accreditation standards. He has an extensive background in pharmacy leadership as a Pharmacy Director for several hospitals in Southern and Northern California. He has also managed independent retail pharmacies as well as having experience within the chain-store system.
Fred Farris, PhDChair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Farris earned his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Purdue University and completed a post doctorate training program at the University of Rochester. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he teaches in pharmaceutical science arena and serves on a variety of academic committees. He was most recently the Department Chair of Pharmacy Practice at Manchester College School of Pharmacy.
Prior to that, he served as the Department Chair of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy and as the Department Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Mercer University School of Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. He has nearly forty years of pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences teaching experience and twenty-five years of administrative faculty experience. He has overseen numerous graduate students and authored a large number of scientific papers.
Namita Giri, PhDAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Giri received her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Shri G.S Institute of Science and Technology and Master of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from Dr. H.S. Gour University in India. She subsequently earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Prior to initiating her doctoral studies, she worked at the Mahakal Institute of Pharmaceutical Studies (MIPS) in Ujjain, India as a Lecturer for two years where she taught pharmaceutical jurisprudence, biotechnology, and microbiology to students enrolled in the Bachelor and Master of Pharmacy programs. Her primary teaching area is pharmaceutics; her research interests include novel drug delivery, nanotechnology-based drug delivery, and mucosal delivery of microbicides. She currently serves as a reviewer for more than five peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Deborah Hass, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Deborah Hass received her B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Iowa, and her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida. Her career has encompassed a diversity of roles including working as an outpatient oncology infusion clinic pharmacist in Cambridge, MA., a bone marrow transplant pharmacist at Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, CA., a hematology/oncology clinical pharmacist at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, CA., and as a professor teaching Oncology Therapeutics at Midwestern University in Chicago, IL.
Her service activities have included serving as Residency Director for the PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy residency program at Stanford, and she is currently an oncology specialist member of the Board of Pharmacy Specialty's Oncology Specialty Council. She has contributed to the oncology sections of several textbooks, casebooks, and continuing education materials. She is the associate editor for the oncology section of the Tarascon Pharmacopoeia. She holds board certifications in oncology and pharmacotherapy.
Shih-Ying (Audrey) Hsu, Ph.D., RPhAdjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Audrey Hsu received her PhD degree in Social and Administrative Sciences in Pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 and MS degree in Pharmacy Administration from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2005. She was involved in teaching throughout her graduate study and has more than 7 years of teaching experience. She taught several professional courses in the PharmD program, including those in the areas of professional ethics, communication, health system and service arrangement as well as statistics. Moreover, Dr. Hsu has extensive experience in research and was involved in several research projects, including two research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and one funded by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to these nationally funded projects, Dr. Hsu independently conducted two studies of her own and presented research findings at many professional conferences. As to her research focus, Dr. Hsu is interested in studying teamwork in health care organizations, evaluating pharmacy services, and investigating new ways to enhance safety in patient care and medication use. Currently, she is a registered pharmacist in California and has practice experience in both hospital and retail settings in the US.
Keri Hurley-Kim, PharmD, MPH Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Keri Hurley-Kim received her B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Sonoma State University, and then earned her Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health degrees from Touro University-California in 2013. She completed a PGY1 Outpatient Pharmacy Practice residency at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy with clinical practice in independent and institutional outpatient pharmacies as well as ambulatory care. During her residency, she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate. Dr. Hurley-Kim has experience teaching students both in the didactic and clinical settings, and has worked with students from multiple health care disciplines.
Dr. Hurley-Kim is a licensed pharmacist in California and holds an international certificate in travel health. Her areas of clinical interest include primary care, immunizations, HIV, travel health, and tobacco cessation. She practices as a clinical pharmacist in primary care at a federally qualified health center, and serves as a steering committee member for the Immunization Coalition of LA County. Additionally, Dr. Hurley-Kim is involved in research in pharmacists’ scope of practice and immunizations.
Mohammed Amirul Islam, PhDAssistant Dean of Academic Affairs
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Mohammed Islam is an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the West Coast University School of Pharmacy and possesses over twelve years of research and teaching experiences at various levels. Prior to joining WCU, he served as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at LECOM School of Pharmacy in Bradenton, Florida.
After receiving his MPhil and PhD degrees in Pharmacology from Toyama University, Japan, Dr. Islam completed postdoctoral trainings at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dr. Islam’s primary teaching interests include pharmacology, dietary supplements, and drug discovery and development. Dr. Islam possesses extensive research experiences in the areas of cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure with proven record of publications in high impact journals and presentations in American Heart Association Meetings. He was a recipient of American Heart Association grant. His current research interests include of dietary supplements, curricular development and global pharmacy education. In collaboration with colleagues from other institutions, Dr. Islam is leading several educational research projects examining PharmD curricula in pharmacy schools/colleges across the country.
Dr. Islam possesses over 6 years of pharmacy practice experiences. He is a licensed pharmacist in the State of Florida.
Adam Kassan, PhD Assistant professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Kassan graduated from the Lebanese University in Lebanon with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and worked for several years as a clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) in Lebanon. He is currently a licensed CLS in the state of California. Subsequently, he went on to earn his Master’s and PhD degree in Cell Biology and Biomedicine at the University of Barcelona, Spain. His research during these graduate years focused on lipid involvement in liver regeneration. Following this, Dr. Kassan moved to the University of California, San Diego to work in research as a postdoctoral fellow. The main focus of his research was the cellular mechanisms involved in ischemic heart disease. He also led research projects studying neuroscience in the field of mental health and neuronal regeneration.
Dr. Kassan’s involvement in many projects has given him extensive experience in research. He was awarded a grant by the National Institute of Health (NIH) for his works. Dr. Kassan has contributed to the scientific community through publications of many papers and presentations of his research at many national and international meetings, and has mentored many undergraduate students interested in research. He is currently serving as a reviewer for peer-reviewed scientific journals such as The British Journal of Pharmacology.
Su Young Lee, PharmD, MS, BCPS-AQIDAssociate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Lee received her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. She completed an ASHP accredited pharmacy practice residency at University of Minnesota Medical Center, and a two-year ACCP accredited fellowship in the Center for Anti-Infective Research and Development, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT. For the last 10 years, Dr. Lee has taught Pharmacotherapy in Infectious Diseases and Oncologic Disorders and Clinical Pharmacokinetics at University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Appalachian College of Pharmacy. She has also practiced Antimicrobial Stewardships and trained numerous students at Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, MD and Holston Valley Medical Center, Kingsport, TN, as a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist with Added Qualification in Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Lee obtained her Bachelor and Master of Science in Pharmacy at the Seoul National University, College of Pharmacy, Seoul, South Korea, and completed two-year residency at Seoul National Hospital including Therapeutic Drug Monitoring/Total Parenteral Nutrition and Pediatric Oncology.
Dr. Lee won Clinical Excellence of Teaching Awards and a Preceptor of Excellence award from Appalachian College of Pharmacy, a Young Investigator Award from Connecticut Infectious Diseases Society and has published articles in peer-reviewed journals including Annals of Oncology, Journal of Infections, and Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. She presented numerous original research posters in international meetings including Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Dr. Lee has been a member of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Society of Microbiology, and Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Her research/practice interests include antimicrobial pharmacodynamics and Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs.
Jessica Louie, PharmD, BCCCP, APhAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Jessica Louie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and her Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Southern California. Dr. Louie completed an ASHP accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency and a PGY2 Critical Care Specialty Residency at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. During her residencies, she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate. She is a Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist (BCCCP) and Advanced Practice Pharmacist (APh). Additionally, Dr. Louie also holds certifications in advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS) and basic life support (BLS). Dr. Louie has taught students both in the didactic and clinical settings, and provided patient care along with fellow residents and practitioners in an interprofessional team setting.
Dr. Louie’s research experiences are in the areas of critical care and cystic fibrosis with prospective and retrospective studies showcased at international meetings. Her research interests include sedation, post-ICU syndrome, infectious disease, and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics in the intensive care units (ICU). She is a licensed pharmacist in California and Utah.
Sarah McBane, PharmD, CDE, BCPS, FCCP, FCPhA, APhChair, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. McBane received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2003. She completed a Pharmacotherapy Specialty Residency in Family Medicine in 2004 at East Carolina University/Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC. Dr. McBane served on faculty at the School of Pharmacy at Campbell University from 2004 to 2009, and was also an Assistant Professor with Duke University School of Medicine in the Department of Community and Family Medicine during that time. She is board certified as a Diabetes Educator through the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. In addition, she is Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy through the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties. Her expertise includes numerous topics within ambulatory care family medicine, including diabetes, women's health, and tobacco abuse. She is extensively involved in professional pharmacy organizations, and has held positions at the local, state, and national levels. Dr. McBane co-chaired the task force that developed state legislation to recognize pharmacists as providers and expand the scope of practice for pharmacists in the state of California. Prior to joining West Coast University, Dr. McBane was an associate professor at University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, where she taught in the core curriculum while maintaining an ambulatory care clinical pharmacy practice at UCSD Family Medicine. As part of a collaborative practice agreement, Dr. McBane managed patients with various chronic diseases in a successful and sustainable practice model.
Glenn Morataya, PharmDAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Morataya completed his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at UC Irvine and received his Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from Touro College of Pharmacy. His many years of management experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry prepared him for an extensive administrative role at his current clinical practice sites. He most recently developed and implemented Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs at institutions including Glendora Community Hospital and Chino Valley Medical Center, where he is an active member of the ASP Committee and the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. His experience and qualifications recruits his activity during surveys conducted by California Department of Public Health, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the California State Board of Pharmacy.
Dr. Morataya also played an integral role in the west coast expansion of an MTM business model integrated into specialty pharmacy sites for east coast based affiliates. His passion for direct patient interaction has sustained a long-lasting rapport and affiliation with his east coast colleagues for numerous years.
As a native Los Angelino, he is excited and committed for the opportunity to work alongside West Coast University pharmacy students to support the Los Angeles community through public health services and community outreach functions.
Aida Oganesyan, PharmD, BCGPAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Aida Oganesyan completed her undergraduate training from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy in Pomona, California. Dr. Oganesyan continued her post-graduate training at Western University of Health Sciences with an ASHP accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency within the geriatric population. Through the residency training, she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate. Dr. Oganesyan’s pharmacy practice experiences include outpatient and inpatient pharmacies, ambulatory care clinics as well as children’s outpatient clinic in a mental health facility. She is a registered pharmacist in California and also had training in pharmacy-based immunizations delivery.
Dr. Oganesyan’s research experiences and interests are in the areas of improving medication adherence and patient education in the geriatric population, providing patient-centered care in an interdisciplinary team approach, and investigating health outcomes in the continuum of care.
Rahul Nohria, PharmDAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Rahul Nohria earned his pharmacy degree from Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy. He then completed a two-year fellowship at American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The first year of the fellowship was dedicated to developing an interprofessional education video game called MIMYCX.
The second year of his fellowship was focused on student affairs at the AACP headquarters. In addition, he obtained a teaching certificate through Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy. His current research interests include active learning strategies, interprofessional education, and communication.
Busuyi Olotu, BPharm, MSPharm, PhDAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Olotu received his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. After over 7 years of pharmacy practice in Nigeria in academia, retail, and hospital settings, Dr. Olotu immigrated to the US where he received his Masters and PhD degrees in Health Outcomes and Pharmacy Practice (formerly Pharmacy Administration) from the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. Soon after, Dr. Olotu completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in Health Economics and Outcomes Research at the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy.
Dr. Olotu’s primary teaching area is Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Science. His research interests are in the area of health outcomes such as pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, comparative-effectiveness research involving drug utilization and assessment of safety and risks, health outcomes of patients with chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and renal disease, survey research, retrospective database analysis, and retrospective chart reviews using electronic health records.
Dr. Olotu has served in various capacities including as reviewer for International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE), Academy of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Dr. Olotu is a member of the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society.
Michael Pondrom, PharmD, BCPPAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Pondrom received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He completed a psychiatric pharmacy specialty practice residency at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Pondrom has been in practice for 16 years and has worked in clinical practice, community pharmacy, ambulatory care mental health, inpatient mental health, managed care, pharmacy benefits management and the pharmaceutical industry. He was previously a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy and has also served as clinical pharmacy specialist at the Southern Nevada Veterans Administration Health System. Most recently, he was a medical science liaison for Otsuka Pharmaceutical. He is board-certified in psychiatric pharmacy and is a member of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. His areas of interest include behavioral health outcomes, psychopharmacology, and pharmacotherapy of mood disorders.
Ettie Rosenberg, PharmD, Esq.Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Ettie Rosenberg earned her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the University of Southern California, and Juris Doctor (JD) from Southwestern University School of Law.
Dr. Rosenberg is active in AACP and was awarded Honorable Mention for her 2017 AACP Innovations in Teaching portfolio submission on “Implementation and Lessons Learned from a Mock Trial as a Teaching- Learning and Assessment Activity”. At the state level, Dr. Rosenberg is active in California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) as a Board Member for the CPhA Academy of Pharmacy Educators, and a member of the CPhA Legislative Committee.
Dr. Rosenberg led a WCU student/faculty initiative to launch the first Vote and Vax® Immunization Clinic in California on Election Day in November 2016. She is a Faculty co-Advisor for WCU School of Pharmacy APhA-CPhA –ASP student chapters.
Gauri Sabnis, PhDAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Sabnis received her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in India from the University of Poona and Ph. D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Her doctoral and post-doctoral training efforts focused on the endocrine therapy of breast cancer. Dr. Sabnis has over 15 years of research experience. Prior to joining WCU, Dr. Sabnis was grand-funded Assistant Professor at University of Maryland, School of Medicine, where she worked on the strategy of re-sensitizing endocrine therapy resistant breast cancer through combination with targeted therapy. She has received numerous awards for her research from organizations such as American Association of Cancer Research, Endocrine Society and has published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals such as Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Endocrine Related Cancer. She also serves as a reviewer for over 10 peer-reviewed international journals. Dr. Sabnis has taught pharmacology to medical students, graduate students, and dental hygiene students for over 5 years.
Mark A. Sherman, PhDAssociate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Sherman received a B.S. degree in Botany and a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Miami University. He earned a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California, and completed post-doctoral training in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Sherman has over 25 years of research experience. Prior to joining WCU he was a grant-supported Associate Research Professor at the City of Hope, where he specialized in physical biochemistry, molecular modeling, and antibody engineering. His findings are documented in 70 publications and 3 patents. For nearly 20 years he served as a part-time lecturer and Adjunct Associate Professor at the USC School of Pharmacy, where he taught medicinal chemistry to Pharm.D. candidates and pharmacology to graduate students. His current research interests include antibody humanization, cancer immunotherapy, and computer-assisted drug design.
Priyanka Singh, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Priyanka Singh received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Singh completed an ASHP accredited PGY 1 residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She also obtained a teaching certificate during her residency. Her passion for working in emergency medicine stems from her desire to work with critically ill patients in a fast-paced environment.
After completion of her residency, she has established a role of a pharmacist in the emergency department at two different hospitals in New York and California. She is determined to expand the role of pharmacists further by mentoring students interested in emergency medicine. Dr. Singh also implemented several quality improvement projects to provide optimal patient care when she served as a Clinical Pharmacy Manager in a community hospital. She educated other healthcare professionals as well as students on various policies and procedures as well as drug information. Her areas of research interest include transitions of care, patient safety, toxicology and cardiology.
Dr. Singh is a licensed pharmacist in California, Illinois and New York. She holds board certifications in pharmacotherapy and critical care.
Kyle M. Sousa, PhDAssistant Dean of Student Affairs
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Sousa received his B.S. in Microbiology from Pennsylvania State University and earned his Ph.D. in Medical Biochemistry from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
He completed his post-doctoral fellowship training at both the University of Michigan Medical Center and City of Hope National Medical Center where he worked extensively in discovery efforts to identify novel drugs targeting metabolic disease.
Dr. Sousa has published 23 research articles and is the co-author and co-inventor of 5 patents. His research has been published in Science, Cell Stem Cell, and Nature Chemical Biology and he has presented at national meetings. His current research efforts focus on the examination of bile acid signaling pathways and their role in mediating the effects of bariatric surgery. He currently serves as a reviewer for several internationally, peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, and has been the recipient of several research grants.
Dr. Sousa is a student advocate, scientific mentor, and avid aviation enthusiast. For the past four years, he has served as a judge for the Division of Biological Sciences at the CalTech Summer Undergraduate Fellowship (SURF) program.
Rick Sylvies, PharmDAssociate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Sylvies earned his PharmD from the University of Southern California and completed an accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California. He has worked in various sectors of the profession, including inpatient acute care, home health and hospice, specialty pharmacy products (hemophilia), industry, academia and most recently health information technology. He has also been a preceptor for a number of schools of pharmacy for 30+ years.
Dr. Sylvies was Director of Experiential Education at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy for seven years. He taught a number of subjects and was the American Pharmacist Association (APhA) certified trainer for the pharmacist immunization program. Currently, he is a certified analyst/builder for Epic System’s electronic medical record (EMR). He works with physicians, pharmacists, and nurses to design, build, and validate the EMR to best fit their needs and make their work as efficient and safe as possible.
Diem Thai, PharmDAssistant Dean, Experiential Education
Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Thai graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Biology then earned her Doctor in Pharmacy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Thai is a licensed pharmacist in both California and Maryland and brings over ten years of practice experience to the Office of Experiential Education.
Prior to joining the School of Pharmacy, Dr. Thai worked in the community to promote public health and improve the communities she serves. Dr. Thai’s interest include mentoring West Coast University School of Pharmacy students so that they may one day give back to the communities they serve.
Catherine Van, PharmDAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Catherine Van received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with summa cum laude from University of California, Irvine. She then earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Western University of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Rho Chi Honor Societies.
Dr. Van completed an ASHP accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice residency at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, where she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate. During the residency, her focus was on inpatient glycemic management service. Besides that, she served as a preceptor for both IPPE and APPE pharmacy students while contributing to patient care in collaboration with other health care professionals. Dr. Van also has outpatient experiences through practicing as a staff pharmacist at community pharmacies where she provides medication therapy management service and immunization. Her areas of interest include glycemic management, cardiology, transitions of care, and interprofessional education.
Amber Verdell, PharmD, BCPS, BCNSP, APhAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Verdell received her undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University and her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Tennessee. She completed an ASHP accredited Pharmacy Practice residency at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Dr. Verdell then practiced as a clinical pharmacist at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Missouri. She completed an ASHP accredited specialized residency in Nutrition Support Pharmacy at the University of Arizona Medical Center, along with the Teaching Scholars certificate program. Dr. Verdell is board certified in both Pharmacotherapy and Nutrition Support.
Dr. Verdell’s practice sites have included large academic and small community hospitals , outpatient clinics, and home care, with the opportunity to teach pharmacy residents and students from several schools of pharmacy. Dr. Verdell’s research interests include parenteral nutrition safety, micronutrient status, drug-nutrient interactions, and transitions of care.
Celeste M. Vinluan, PharmD, BCPSDirector, Experiential Education
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Celeste M. Vinluan received her Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology from University of California, San Diego. After practicing research in antibody purification for three years, she earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. After pharmacy school, she completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, New York. She also earned a teaching certificate from Long Island University Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Prior to joining West Coast University, Dr. Vinluan was a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Texas at El Paso Cooperative Pharmacy Program in cooperation with the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. While maintaining a clinical practice site, she served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor for Texas Tech University’s Department of Internal Medicine and precepted fourth-year pharmacy students on their acute care rotation. She was awarded UT Austin College of Pharmacy’s El Paso Regional Preceptor of the Year for 2015-2016. Her research interests include transitions of care of elderly patients, interprofessional education, and impact of pharmacy practice outcomes in the inpatient setting.
Cheryl Wisseh, PharmD, CTTSAssistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Wisseh received a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. Afterwards, she worked for several years in the biopharmaceutical industry in the areas of infectious disease testing and quality operations. She earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and completed an ASHP-accredited PGY-1 Community Pharmacy Practice residency with a focus in ambulatory care at Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and Center for Pharmacy Care in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Wisseh provided medication therapy management, chronic disease state management and travel health consultations within an interprofessional setting at her residency site. She was also involved in several immunization clinics, community health outreach events, and delivered tobacco cessation classes on a group and individual consultation basis. She completed a teaching and learning certificate through Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and has teaching experience in both didactic and clinical settings. Dr. Wisseh has been involved in health literacy research in both ambulatory care and community pharmacy practice settings and her research interests include chronic disease management in underserved populations, the social determinants of health and non-profit organizations’ role in both areas.
Jennica Zaro, PhDAssistant Dean, Assessment and Scholarship
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Zaro earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining WCU, she was a Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy, where she lectured in both PharmD and PhD/MS graduate student programs. Her research is focused on targeted drug delivery applications utilizing protein-drug conjugates or recombinant fusion proteins, for which she has received numerous grants from the NIH National Cancer Institute and the Ming Hsieh Institute. Dr. Zaro has published more than 30 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters, and is the co-inventor of several U.S. and international patents. In addition, she has held several roles in the pharmaceutical industry and served as a Director of the Translational Research and Histology Laboratories at the USC School of Pharmacy. Dr. Zaro serves as a reviewer for many peer-reviewed science journals as well as national and international grant review panels including the National Institutes of Health and the United Kingdom Medical Research Council.
Desirae HarperExperiential Education Coordinator
Before joining the WCU School of Pharmacy family in 2016, Desirae graduated with a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology with aspirations of going to medical school. She has worked as a health assistant for elementary and middle schools in Long Beach, CA and an EMT in the Los Angeles County area. Priorities and passions shifted when she became a mom in 2014. She began seeking out opportunities that allowed her to make a difference in healthcare without sacrificing time with her daughter Malia. She had never even considered Pharmacy as a field of interest but began work as a Pharmacy Clerk for OptumRx later that year. Today, she continues on in the field of Pharmacy here at WCU hoping to makes a difference by assisting the future of Pharmacy navigate through their clinical rotations. Desirae plans to pursue a Master’s in Health Administration to align herself with her goal of constant growth.
Megan Manary, MAProgram Administrative Manager
Megan Manary is a Southern California native who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Arizona State University and Master of Arts degree in History from American Public University. Prior to joining West Coast University’s Center for Graduate Studies in May 2015, she worked within the specialty insurance and parking industries primarily establishing best practices for training initiatives and within the administrative, accounting, and human resource functions. Megan recently transitioned to the Program Administrative Manager for the School of Pharmacy where she provides administrative and budgetary support to Pharmacy’s leadership team. Currently, she is working toward completing her MBA with an emphasis in analytics to further her aspirations in operations management.
Ruth MartinezAdministrative Assistant
Ruth received her B.A. in Human Resource Management from Ashford University. She has been affiliated with WCU since 2009. She initially began as a receptionist for the North Hollywood campus and was promoted to Admissions Coordinator after one year. Ruth was subsequently promoted to Senior Admissions Coordinator and served in that role for three years. She joined the School of Pharmacy in 2014 as an Administrative Assistant where she provides reports to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and supports School admissions and recruitment efforts.
Annie MouradianAdministrative Assistant
Annie was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and obtains a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge. While at CSUN, she served as a board member in the Communication Association as the Publicist and held a position as a Student Ambassador through the San Francisco Regional Center. Annie has experience in a variety of professional settings and cultures including: administrative duties, client services, and public relations. She began working at West Coast University in July 2016 as the Receptionist and soon after was promoted into her current role as an Administrative Assistant in the School of Pharmacy. She plans to pursue a Masters degree in Communication and further her career in higher education.
Amy Sanchez, MSAcademic Support Coordinator
Amy earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from California State University Los Angeles and earned her Masters degree in Psychology from Grand Canyon University. She plans to pursue a PsyD or PhD in Psychology as well as further her career within academia. Amy joined West Coast University in 2014 as the Program Assistant for the School of Pharmacy and has then been promoted to her current role as an Academic Support Coordinator for the School of Pharmacy. Prior to West Coast she worked at California State University Los Angeles as a Program Coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement where she worked closely with students, Greek life, and campus clubs and organizations
Catherine Villa-Real, MSRecruitment Administrator
Catherine earned her Masters degree at University of Phoenix in Marriage Family and Child Therapy and is currently completing her EdD in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Argosy University. She was an intern counselor at Sunrise Counseling Center for one year. She conducted individual and group therapy; parenting class, outpatient drug free treatment, sexual abuse awareness and domestic violence victims. Prior to joining West Coast University she worked at Los Angeles City College as a Career Guidance Counselor for the Counseling department and the Financial Aid department.