Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ronald Betts, ’73 MS, PhD, and Ann, ’76 BSPh and Timothy Lehan, ’76 BSPh, will be recognized with the 2019 University of Iowa College of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Award during the Osterhaus Medal for Lifetime Achievement Symposium and Alumni Awards Ceremony on October 17. The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the theory and practice of pharmacy or have demonstrated major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice, or in pharmaceutical research and development. 

Ronald Betts, 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Ronald Betts has over 40 years experience in pharmaceutical and diagnostics technology conceptualization, product development, approval and commercialization in two major areas: point-of-care diagnostics and drug/device combinations for localized, site specific drug delivery.

He is the co-inventor of the StatPal® blood gas, pH, electrolyte and hematocrit analyzer. Iterations of this award winning clinical device are marketed world-wide.

Betts was the first to successfully utilize polylactic acid as a biodegradable, tunable drug releasing material for coronary stent coating. He was also the first to utilize everolimus as a stent drug in humans and invented the novel antiproliferative rapamycin derivative, Biolimus®. Stents using this drug with polylactic acid coating abluminally applied were the first successful drug eluting stents used in Japan. This product was approved for sale in the European Union as well as most Asian and Latin American countries. Today, stents incorporating some or all of these materials and technologies are utilized by several companies worldwide. These products represent the bulk of all commercial drug eluting stents and have been used to treat millions of patients.

His current projects include synthesis and formulation of improved active pharmaceutical ingredients for balloon angioplasty based vascular drug placement as well as novel intratumoral and topical drug delivery technologies. Betts is the author or co-author of 25 issued U.S. patents and their foreign counterparts.

Betts holds a bachelor’s degree and PhD from Iowa State University. He received a master’s degree in medicinal chemistry and natural products from the UI College of Pharmacy, under the direction of Dr. John Rosazza, professor emeritus.

Ann and Tim Lehan, 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Ann Lehan is a community pharmacist who co-owns Lehan Drugs and Home Medical with locations in DeKalb, Sycamore, Rockford and Freeport, Illinois. She enjoyed the challenge of balancing her professional life as a pharmacy owner with the demands of raising a family. Lehan has made it a priority to be accessible to her patients to answer questions related to their medications and to help them understand the importance of proper medication therapy to improve or maintain their health.

She has been generous within her community by serving on several local boards, including Kishwaukee Community Hospital, Kishwaukee United Way, Kishwaukee Community College Foundation, and others involving education and church.

Timothy Lehan is a community pharmacist who is also a co-owner of Lehan Drugs and Home Medical. He has always had an interest in advancing the profession of pharmacy through involvement in the Illinois Pharmacist Association (IPhA), the UI College of Pharmacy (Executive Leadership Board), and the National Community Pharmacist Association.  Lehan served as chairman of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) and is a preceptor for PharmD students from schools throughout the Midwest. Lehan’s advocacy for the practice of pharmacy and his willingness to expand his pharmacies’ services have led to several awards including the National Associations of Boards of Pharmacy Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award in 2009 and the IRMA Business of the Year in 2012. Most recently, he received recognition by being named honorary president of IPhA.

Lehan also enjoys helping his local community through involvement in the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Knights of Columbus and various education and church committees. His fourth-generation family pharmacy celebrated 73 years this May, largely due to his efforts and ability to adapt his pharmacy to the ever-changing healthcare world time and again.