Karen Hassell, PhDDean, School of Pharmacy
Dr. Hassell graduated with a PhD in Pharmacy and Sociology from the university of Manchester in England. Before joining West Coast University she held senior administrative positions at Stonybrook University, in New York, at California Northstate University near Sacramento, and at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Hassell has earned the equivalent of over $5 million USD in research income over her career; her main research focus has been the pharmacy workforce, community pharmacy utilization, and pharmacy health policy; her work has generated over 150 peer-reviewed articles, 1 book, 5 book chapters, and more than 140 conference papers. Her publications have been cited over 2900 times; her h-index is currently 33 (GoogleScholar Citations, February 2019).
Dr. Hassell has taught research methods, social pharmacy, health disparities and public health, and health and workforce policy to pharmacy students; she has supervised over 10 PhD students; she has managed and mentored other academics, she regularly reviews grants and manuscripts for a wide range of funding bodies and academic journals, and has held a number of external advisory roles to government and the wider pharmacy profession. She has received national recognition for and been invited to speak at many national and international conferences on her research; most recently she was part of a team collectively awarded the Pharmaceutical Scientist of the Year Award in recognition of work in producing a ‘Road Map’ for the UK pharmacy profession.
Fred Farris, PhDChair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor, 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.
Dr. William Ofstad, PharmDChair, Pharmacy Practice Department
Dr. Ofstad earned his B.A. in Chemistry from Whitman College concurrently with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and a Pharm.D. from the University of California San Francisco. He completed an ambulatory care and cardiology focused Pharmacy Practice Residency with Kaiser. His past administrative roles include serving as Assistant Dean for Education, Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning, Director of the Center for Team-Based Learning and President of the Northern California College of Clinical Pharmacy. He has served as chair for multiple college and university committees and serves nationally on the steering committees for the Team-Based Learning Collaborative and Academy of Process Educators. His primary research focus is in teaching and learning including team-based learning, team building, simulation, and interprofessional education.
His practice experience includes ambulatory care pharmacy at UC Davis Medical Center and Sacramento County Department of Public Health. He is a licensed Advanced Practice Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Among his goals as department chair is to promote a student-centered, collaborative, creative culture to advance the program through collective excellence in teaching, service and scholarship. He values working as one cohesive team, unlocking growth in everyone, cascading communication, essential integrity, and the transformation of education.
Dr. Ofstad is a father of two boys, Apollo and Orion, and husband to Amy, who is also a pharmacist. He has an open door (open Zoom, open Teams) policy, so please feel free to connect anytime.
Richard d'Assalenaux, PharmDAssistant Dean of Assessment and Accreditation
Assistant Professor, 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.
Parto Khansari, PhDAssistant Dean of Academic Affairs
Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Khansari holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences (Neuropharmacology) from University of the Pacific, M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelor degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from California State University Northridge. Dr. Khansari has held several administrative positions in pharmacy education and served as Assistant Dean and Department Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at California Northstate University, CA and Associate Dean at Stony Brook University, NY. Dr. Khansari has received a certificate in “A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education” from Harvard Macy Institute, MA.
As a Certified Team Based Learning (TBL) Trainer Consultant, she has led numerous national and international workshops and has published on innovative and active learning in pharmacy education. She has mentored other educators to become TBLC certified trainers and has over 10 years of experience teaching pharmacology utilizing TBL pedagogy.
Prior to joining academia, over a period of 12 years, Dr. Khansari has held various positions at several biotech and pharmaceutical companies with increasing responsibilities to lead and support internal drug discovery and development in the area of ischemic stroke and inflammation. She has several peer-reviewed publications in this area and currently serves as Deputy Editor of Inflammopharmacology, Springer Journal.
Ettie Rosenberg, PharmD, JDAssistant Dean of Student Affairs
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, both in Los Angeles.
Her contributions include: “Commentary: Digging Deeper: Examining DEA Proposed New Rule to Enhance Cultivation of Marijuana for Research Exposes Conflict of Interest for DEA (JCPhP, Summer 2020) “Research Brief: A Pilot Study on Pharmacy Law Education across Doctor of Pharmacy Programs” (AJPE, 2019); “Common Legal Issues Confronted in Pharmacy Practice: Avoiding Common Legal Issues Confronted in Pharmacy Practice: Evaluating Prescriptions with PRN Wording and Calling for Refills” (JCPhP, 2019); “New Schools; Innovation at Its Best! Implementation and Lessons Learned from a Mock Trial as a Teaching- Learning and Assessment (CPTL, 2018); “Interpretation of California's Marijuana Regulation after Proposition 64, and Pharmacy Practice Roles in Medical Marijuana Dispensing against Federal Enforcement Risks (JCPhP, 2018); “Laws Expanding the Pharmacist’s Role in Patient Care (CPJ, 2017); “Deliberate Integration of Student Leadership Development in Doctor of Pharmacy Programs” (AJPE, 2016).
Dr. Rosenberg received Honorable Mention in the 2017 AACP Innovations in Teaching Competition (April 2017) for her portfolio submission “Development, Implementation, and Lessons Learned from a Mock Trial as a Teaching and Assessment Activity in a Required Evidence-Based Practice Course” pioneering an active learning strategy in pharmacy education which develops student competencies in both the affective and cognitive domains. The mock trial project has since expanded to incorporate a second PharmD program (2017-2018), a “virtual” competition between two PharmD programs (2019), and in 2020 a “virtual” mock trial in response to declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and implementation of remote-teaching/learning.
Dr. Eric Kobayashi, PharmDDirector, Experiential Education
Dr. Eric Kobayashi earned his Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and completed an accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Sepulveda Veterans Affairs Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Kobayashi’s pharmacy practice career bridges 30 years of experience in acute care pharmacy, clinical informatics, and pharmacy administration.
Dr. Kobayashi has extensive experience in Pharmacy Informatics and Technology with a passion for engineering workflow management. Dr. Kobayashi’s endeavors include establishment of a Pharmacy Informatics Program, collaborative formation of Pharmacy Shared Services, and joint transformation of Medication Management with innovative redesigning of patient care and technology workflows.
Dr. Kobayashi’s commit to teach, mentor, and coach is founded on his philosophy that servant leadership advances growth for those he serves as well as his own personal growth. Having the opportunity to precept student pharmacists for over 15 years, Dr. Kobayashi looks forward to the journey of serving West Coast University School of Pharmacy student pharmacists in their development to become future pharmacists.
Ayda Awaness, PhDAssistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Awaness has worked for many years in academia and retail pharmacies. She received her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, followed by her Masters and PhD degrees in Pharmaceutics and Pharmacological Sciences, all from Baghdad University, School of Pharmacy.
She worked as Assistant Professor in the Pharmaceutics Department for many years; she then moved to Jordan and worked as Assistant Professor in Al-Isra University, Pharmacy School in Amman, Jordan.
Prior to joining West Coast University, she worked for many years as Pharmacy Educator at different educational institutions in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Dr. Awaness has many publications related to the field of pharmaceutics and pharmacological sciences, but is most interested in the field of pharmaceutical formulations and ocular drug delivery systems. Her main approach is to improve a novel eye drop for the prevention and treatment of cataract.
Dr. Awaness is ASHP certified for sterile compounding; she has ASHP and AACP membership.
Dr. Catherine Hughes, PharmDAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Hughes received her Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the accelerated program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Worcester. Dr. Hughes completed her ASHP accredited PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice residency in acute care at Adventist Health Glendale. During residency, Dr. Hughes served as a preceptor for both IPPE and APPE students on rotation while obtaining a post-doctorate teaching certificate through West Coast University, School of Pharmacy.
Her longitudinal project focused on the impact of pharmacist intervention on patients that suffered an acute myocardial infarction. Her areas of interest include internal medicine, infectious disease, and transitions of care. Dr. Hughes is also a member of Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society.
Eman Atef, BSc, Ms, PhDProfessor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Atef earned her Masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy from MCPHS-Boston University.
She has sixteen years of pharmaceutical sciences teaching experience. She taught at both MCPHS-Boston and CNSU- Elk Grove. Before WCU she held an associate professor position for 7 years at CNSU, where she taught in the PharmD program. Prior to that she taught for 9 years at MCPHS, led a research team and mentored many Masters and PhD students, in addition to directing the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Program.
She taught many courses in the PharmD and PhD programs such as Pharmaceutics, Pharmacokinetics, Advanced Physical Pharmacy, Dosage Form Design among others.
She authored scientific papers and presentations in formulation, pre-formulation, and pharmacokinetic simulation
Marina Dykhne, PharmD, BCACP, APh, CDCESAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Dykhne is Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist, Advanced Practice Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Care Education Specialist. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree followed by 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. Her clinical and research interests include chronic disease management and disease prevention in the areas of cardiovascular health, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes. She practices as a clinical pharmacist in primary care at a federally qualified health center and is involved in community education task force for opioid addiction management, and overdose prevention through pharmacists provided Naloxone distribution. She is a patient and student advocate and encourages student pharmacists to get involved with the organizations. Dr. Dykhne serves as the APhA/CPhA/ASP student chapter advisor and CAPSLEAD advisor at West Coast University. She is also greatly involved with the local and state organization and serves on the board of the local and state California Pharmacists Association (CPhA).
Parna Haghparast, PharmD, BCPSAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Haghparast is a registered pharmacist with Board Certification in Pharmacotherapy. She has a variety inpatient, outpatient and academia related experiences.
Dr. Haghparast earned her Pharm.D. degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She completed an ambulatory care and psychiatry focused residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch‐Correctional Managed Care (UTMB‐CMC). She provided care to inmates in a variety of pharmacist run-clinics such as ASTHMA/COPD, hypertension/hyperlipidemia, psychiatry, and anticoagulation. In addition, she was involved in medication use evaluation, drug class reviews and creation of disease management guidelines.
Post residency, she followed her passion for teaching by completing a Post-Doctoral Academic Fellowship at University of Houston, College of Pharmacy (UHCOP). Throughout her fellowship she was involved in both clinical (inpatient and outpatient) and academia related activities.
At West Coast University, Dr. Haghparast serves in multiple School and University level committees. Additionally, she is heavily involved in coordinating and teaching in variety of therapeutics courses and skills lab.
Dr. Haghparast enjoys scholarly activity and loves involving her students in her research projects. Dr. Haghparast has been involved in multiple research projects including book chapters and scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). Her research interests include mental health, substance use disorders and chronic disease management.
Lianjie Xiong, PharmD, MS, BCCP, BCPS, APhAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Xiong obtained her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the West China University of Medical Sciences in Chengdu, China, a Master of Science in Pharmaceutics from the Ohio State University, and a Pharm.D. from Nova Southeastern University. Her training experience includes prior PGY-1 pharmacy practice resident at Prisma Health Richland Hospital and PGY-2 cardiology pharmacy resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She had taught in a team-based learning environment and worked as an emergency medicine clinical pharmacist and internal medicine clinical pharmacist at large academic medical centers. Prior to pharmacy school, she served as a pharmaceutical researcher in new drug formulation R&D for many years. Dr. Xiong is an advanced practice pharmacist in California and holds board certifications in both cardiology and pharmacotherapy. She has been serving a few cardiology board certification-related panels or committees with both ACCP and BPS
Dr. Xiong enjoys working with students in both didactic and experiential settings. As an enthusiastic advocate for post-graduate training programs, Dr. Xiong is passionate about student professional development. She enjoys guiding students through their career path and facilitating their growth into an independent clinical pharmacy practitioner. She has several peer-reviewed publications and is interested in clinical practice-based and teaching and learning-related research in collaboration with her colleagues.
Yuqin Hu, PharmD, RPh, MSAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Hu received her B.S. in Biology and her M.S. in Zoology from Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China, and her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from California Health Sciences University (CHSU). In addition, she did doctorate research in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing. Prior to joining WCU, Dr. Hu served as an Academic Fellow and Post-Graduate Instructor, as well as an Assistant Professor, at CHSU.
During her initial career Dr. Hu taught biology in secondary schools as well as genomics and biology teaching methods at Xinjiang Normal University in Urumqi, China. Later she conducted molecular biology research via DNA mapping and genome sequencing at the University of California, Davis. She has taught many courses in the PharmD program including Patient Care series, Pharmaceuticals, and Natural Medicine.
She is involved with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the Team-Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC). Dr. Hu is passionate about teaching with focus on creating a safe learning environment, instilling critical thinking, and mentoring students to become well-rounded pharmacists. Her practice interests include clinical settings and innovative pharmacy services.
Deborah Hass, PharmD, BCOP, BCPSAssociate Professor, 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 a past 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 a former associate editor for the oncology section of the Tarascon Pharmacopoeia. She holds board certifications in oncology and pharmacotherapy.
Joann Hong, PharmDirector, Experiential Education
Dr. Joann Hong earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Pharmacy. She has 19 years of acute care pharmacy experience delivering clinical pharmacy services and pharmaceutical care. Before joining West Coast University, she served as the Medication Safety Officer, antimicrobial stewardship program pharmacist leader, pharmacy staff competency evaluator for IV sterile compounding, and an investigational drug / clinical research pharmacist at a 400-bed community hospital. Her current areas of interest are medication safety, antimicrobial stewardship, and USP 797 sterile compounding.
Dr. Hong’s passion in precepting IPPE, APPE students and PGY1 residents for over 17 years brought her to West Coast University where she now serves as the Director of Experiential Education. She looks forward to coaching, guiding, and serving the future generations of pharmacist at West Coast University.
Adam Kassan, PhDAssistant professor, 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.
Tina Menedjian, PharmDAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Menedjian obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her Doctor of Pharmacy degree was conferred by Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, in 2019. She then completed an ASHP accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Kaiser Permanente (KP) Medical Center in Riverside, California, where she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate through ASHP. Her PGY1 provided versatile training in ambulatory care, acute care, and transitions of care pharmacy settings, in addition to longitudinal leadership and research development. Through training at KP, Dr. Menedjian also established a solid foundation and interest in preventative care and mind-body wellness.
She maintains involvement with local pharmacy associations, the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP), and the Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) Pharmacy Leadership Society. With her role as academician, she aims to inspire and mentor students to become clinically astute and compassionate providers, excellent collaborators within the multidisciplinary healthcare settings, and innovative leaders within the pharmacy profession.
Su Lee, PharmD, MS, BCPS, BCIDPAssociate Professor, 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, APhAssociate Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Louie believes people are capable of incredible things…if they feel confident in their environment and have opportunities to contribute authentically to all areas of their lives. Dr. Louie is at her best when she is able to push beyond the boundaries to think outside the box, challenge her team to raise the bar and help navigate the path towards simple solutions.
Dr. Louie earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California (USC). 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). 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 leads the well-being initiatives for students and has a special interest in burnout prevention, resiliency, digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She hosts The Burnout Doctor Podcast and loves to reach beyond the classroom to help students and healthcare professionals. Dr. Louie is the CEO and Founder of Clarify Simplify Align, Find Your Script and Petite Style Script. She is a Certified KonMari Coach (KonMari Method) and uses this in her simple processes to avoid overwhelm and help others lead with confidence and curate lives they love. Dr. Louie’s previous research experiences are in the areas of critical care, infectious disease and cystic fibrosis with prospective and retrospective studies showcased at international meetings.
Glenn Morataya, PharmDAssistant Professor, 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.
Nicole Nielsen, PharmD, BCACP, APH, MEHPAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Nicole Nielsen graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and received her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. She completed a PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency at Lipscomb University and Marcrom’s Pharmacy in Manchester, Tennessee. During her residency, she obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate. She completed a PGY2 Ambulatory Care Residency at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego. Dr. Nielsen has experience teaching students in both the classroom (including the use of team-based learning [TBL] instruction) and clinical settings. She has extensive experience in the development and implementation of Observed/Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assessments and was trained at the OSCE-ology Program in Canada. Dr. Nielsen’s research interests include chronic disease state management, natural medicines, simulation, active learning methodologies, and student mentorship.
Dr. Nicole Nielsen is a licensed pharmacist in California and Tennessee. In addition, she is a board-certified ambulatory care pharmacist and an advanced practice pharmacist. Dr. Nielsen is an active member of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) and Phi Delta Chi professional pharmacy fraternity.
Dr. Nielsen recently completed a Masters of Education in the Health Professions degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Rahul Nohria, PharmD Assistant Professor, 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, PhDAssociate 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, BCCPAssociate Professor, 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.
Gauri Sabnis, PhDAssociate Professor, 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.
Marc Salvatus, PharmDAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Salvatus received his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from West Coast University, School of Pharmacy, as a member of the 2018 inaugural class. Dr. Salvatus completed an ASHP accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Adventist Health Glendale, where he obtained a post-doctorate teaching certificate through West Coast University, School of Pharmacy. During his residency, Dr. Salvatus assisted in the implementation of a pharmacist-driven protocol to utilize the MRSA PCR test for rapid de-escalation of MRSA-targeted antibiotic therapy for pneumonia. His current areas of interest include infectious disease and health information technology.
Joe Su, PhD Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Su earned his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He completed his postdoctoral training at Pacific University Oregon investigating the in vitro anti-inflammatory functions of natural products under the supervision of Dr. Deepa Rao.
Dr. Su's lab is interested in the use of natural products in complementary and alternative medicine, focusing on botanical entities popular in traditional medicine (e.g. Turmeric Root, Senna Leaf, Goji Berries, Boswellia Bark, Black Pepper Fruit). Despite tightening federal regulations on the dietary supplement industry, consumers continue to self-medicate with natural products that generally have not demonstrated clinically significant results ($6.9 billion in US retail sales in 2015, American Botanical Council). The primary challenge in understanding the safety and efficacy of natural products lies in elucidating their multiple active ingredient composition. Mechanistic understanding of these phytochemicals will not only lead to improved patient safety but also to improved patient-centered care. Our current disease state of interest is chronic inflammation, which is implicated in the top killers in the United States: heart disease and cancer.
Dr. Su is an active member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Prior to academia, Dr. Su led operations at SUSS Technology, a dietary supplement manufacturing company in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. Su is passionate about empowerment and success through positive reinforcement. Currently, he is applying these principles to his two toddler boys with mixed, yet interesting results! Joe is a super nerd who loves analyzing team-based games ranging from Dodgers baseball to League of Legends.
Rick Sylvies, PharmDAssociate Professor, 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 over 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.
Justin Tenney, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, CNSC, AE-CAssistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Dr. Tenney received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Cincinnati. He completed a PGY-1 Acute Care Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas where he taught at Roseman University. Prior to joining West Coast University, Dr. Tenney worked as a Pharmacy Consultant in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Sidra Medicine in Qatar where he also taught at Qatar University. Next, he worked as an emergency medicine pharmacist for Peacehealth in Oregon before serving in the Faculty of Medicine as a Lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. As a Lecturer, Dr. Tenney taught numerous courses to pharmacy, medical, and nursing students primarily focusing on emergency medicine, critical care, and respiratory therapeutics. During this time, he served on the Regional Ethics Board and maintained his emergency medicine and internal medicine clinical practice sites at Prince Wales Hospital to precept students in Hong Kong.
Dr. Tenney is Board Certified in both Pharmacotherapy (BCPS) and Geriatrics (BCGP) through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. In addition, he is a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) through the National Board of Nutrition Support Certification and is a Certified-Asthma Educator (AE-C) through the National Asthma Educator Certification Board. Dr. Tenney is a licensed pharmacist in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Hong Kong and maintains certifications in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS). His past research and current interests include eLearning techniques, global pharmacy practices, emergency medicine, and special populations.
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.
Brenda ChumExperiential Education Coordinator
Brenda Chum is from Long Beach, CA and received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Certificate in Health Care Administration from California State University, Long Beach. She has over 5 years of working in a school and medical setting. Brenda always enjoyed working with students and patients in both fields and it is very rewarding and exciting to be part of the WCU team as she have always wanted to be in a career that involved an educational setting.
Alexander Castaneda Program Assistant
Alex is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Walden University. Once completed, he plans to continue his education by pursuing a Master degree in the same field and take additional courses in Higher Education Administration. Before being brought on to the WCU School of Pharmacy team, Alex was previously employed at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Diego, CA where he was brought on as the Flex Weekend Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program Assistant. After a few months and a new-found passion for Higher Education, Alex was quickly promoted to the role of the lead residential DPT Program Assistant, while also taking on the role of the university’s Tutoring Program Manager. He also has an extensive professional background in Plant Production Administration, Social Media/Marketing Management, and Cost/Wealth Management. Alex plans to work towards an executive role with West Coast University.
Christina Collard, MA Admissions Advisor
Christina Collard received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from California State University San Bernardino and earned her Master of the Arts degree in Management from the University of Redlands School of Business. She is a current member of the prestigious Whitehead Leadership Society (WLS) at the University of Redlands, School of Business. Her career has encompassed a diversity of roles including Assistant Vice President, Senior Business Control Manager at Bank of America where she worked across 16 lines of businesses improving business processes. In addition, she worked as an AVP Senior Mortgage Manager where she managed over 100 mortgage and credit card collections associates in a call center environment. Christina began working at West Coast University in 2018 as an Admissions Coordinator and soon after was promoted into her current role as an Admissions Advisor for the School of Pharmacy. She plans to pursue a Doctorate in Management and further her career in higher education.
Justin CotonAdmissions Coordinator, School of Pharmacy
Justin Coton earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of California, Riverside. Justin was a student assistant for the UCR School of Medicine for three years to help with administrative work. After graduating from UCR, he gained experience in retail recruiting where he helped hire candidates interested in working in retail sales at T-Mobile. He has experience in social media marketing, human resources, and student mentoring.
During his undergraduate career he found a passion for helping students and decided to combine that with his experience in marketing by choosing admissions. He plans to go back to school to earn his Master’s degree in Education to further develop his knowledge to better help students looking to further their education.
Reanna GibbsAcademic Support Coordinator
Reanna has over five years of experience working as an academic advisor and coordinator for on-ground and online universities and colleges. She has worked at universities and college across the nation, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Reanna has worked alongside a diverse group of individuals and continues her collaboration in projects across the country. She uses her background and experiences to connect with students and help them
Reanna earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside while competing as a Division I collegiate athlete in both women’s soccer and women’s track and field. Following her bachelor’s degree, she coached collegiate athletics for several years, which included mentoring and advising student-athletes in academics and academic NCAA compliance. She completed her master’s degree at The University of Concordia, Irvine in athletic administration.
Currently, Reanna is enrolled in a Doctor of Education program. In addition, she continues her involvement in cultural and non-profit organizations. She is a leader in her community and strives to learn how she can positively impact students and those around her. Reanna has a passion for helping others to dream big and make those dreams become a reality.
Lou Karnaukh, MSExperiential Education Coordinator
Lou earned her Bachelor of the Arts degree in Child Development and her Master of Science degree in Counseling from California State University Sacramento. Lou has over two years of experience working in the higher education setting. She is knowledgeable in job search strategies, interviewing techniques, resume development, career/major decision-making strategies, career program planning and development. Prior to joining West Coast University, Lou worked at the California State University Sacramento as Career Counseling Intern where she regularly met with students, lead workshops, planned and coordinated on campus career events, and mentored other interns. This internship provided her with valuable hands-on experience working with diverse student population as well as helped her discovered passion for Experiential Education.
Annie MouradianStudent Affairs Advisor
Annie is a Los Angeles native who received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University Northridge. As an undergraduate 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. Aside from her experience within higher education, Annie has experience in various professional settings, including client services and public relations. She is currently completing her MA degree in Communication Studies at CSUN.
As the Student Affairs Advisor in the School of Pharmacy, Annie is able to integrate her knowledge and skills in communication with her passion for encouraging student growth and success throughout their academic journey. Prior to her current role as a student services professional, she served as the Administrative Assistant in the School of Pharmacy, maintaining operational efficiency and supporting over 20 faculty in both departments of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Dulce RodriguezExperiential Education Coordinator
Dulce Rodriguez is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology - Advanced Software Development at the University of Phoenix. She plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master degree and later a Doctorate in the same field with the goal to simplify electric medical record systems. While at UOPX, she has served as a student advocate and tutor for students pursuing a career in medical and technology fields. Prior to joining West Coast, Dulce had the opportunity to work in the medical field for eight years, in which she worked closely with patients as well as with medical students in a variety of clinical settings. While working alongside medical students, she became passionate about proper training, readiness, and experience gained by students while completing their experiential education.