Thursday, September 8, 2022

The University of Iowa (UI) College of Pharmacy has the pleasure of honoring several alumni and friends Oct. 27 during the Osterhaus Lifetime Achievement Symposium, Alumni Awards, and Faculty Recognition event. The opportunity is part of the College’s Homecoming celebrations. These recipients are representative of just some of the College’s alumni and friends who have excelled in their pharmacy practice, research, and community advancement, while simultaneously being steadfast ambassadors for the pharmacy profession and the College. Congratulations to the following award recipients.

Osterhaus Medal for Lifetime Achievement Award

The Osterhaus Medal for Lifetime Achievement is presented annually to one or more individuals who have made extraordinary achievements in the pharmacy profession. This medal is a pinnacle award given by the UI College of Pharmacy to a recipient who has advanced the practice of pharmacy in profound ways or made significant strides in discovery.

2022 Recipient:
Miekeleen Hart, '79 BSPh

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Miekeleen Hart of Akron, Ohio, retired in 2005 as vice president of Strategic Planning U.S. Human Health for Merck after 26 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Following retirement, Hart founded MDK Consulting, LLC to provide strategy development and implementation planning consulting services to healthcare companies considering or executing new commercial models.

A 2015 recipient of the UI College of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Award, she has served on the College of Pharmacy Executive Leadership Board and the UI Center for Advancement (UICA) Comprehensive Campaign Steering Committee. She currently is a member of the UICA board of directors.

Additionally, Hart is vice chair for AlphaNet, Inc.’s (a nonprofit devoted to improving the lives of individuals with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency) board of directors and co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee for Common Bond, Uncommon Impact – a $25 million comprehensive campaign for Alpha Chi Omega Sorority. Within her home community, Hart is an active member and past president of Bath Volunteers for Service (a women’s philanthropic organization dedicated to raising and providing funds to greater Akron area nonprofit organizations) and serves on the Bath Community Fund Development Committee.

Her passion in establishing the College of Pharmacy Hart Entrepreneurial Fund is seeded in her desire to stimulate pharmacy students to act and explore the commercial viability of their creative and innovative ideas to improve patient care, health, and wellness. Hart lives with her husband Jim and their two boxer dogs.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to individuals who have made illustrious contributions to the theory and practice of pharmacy or demonstrated major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice or in pharmaceutical research and development.

2022 Recipients:
Stephen Baird, '86 BSPh, JD
Rick Gates, '95 BSPh

Linda Griffey, '72 BSPh, JD
Shaoling Li, '94 PhD

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Stephen Baird of the global Greenberg Traurig law firm has more than 30 years of experience protecting brand-associated trademarks. He founded the firm’s intellectual property practice as a shareholder and opened its Minneapolis office
in 2019.

After receiving his UI pharmacy degree, Baird attended law school at Iowa. During that time, he worked as a part-time community pharmacist. Following graduation, Baird completed a year-long judicial clerkship in Washington, D.C., under a senior federal court of appeals judge who heard cases from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decisions. His decades of legal intellectual property experience, combined with his background as a registered pharmacist, allow him to serve a variety of life science, pharmaceutical, dietary supplement, and medical-device brands and companies.

Baird’s trademark and brand protection work has gained notoriety for the protection and registration of nontraditional trademarks, such as single-color marks, product configuration trademarks, and trade dress and product packaging trademarks. A prolific blogger and recognized thought leader, Baird was named the No. 1 author on trademark matters, according to JD Supra’s Readers’ Choice Awards, for two consecutive years.


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Senior Vice President of Pharmacy and Healthcare Rick Gates is responsible for Walgreens’ commercial development and sales across health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, pharma, and health system partners. This includes specialty pharmacy, clinical programs, contracting, pharmacy supply chain, and alliances. Gates is instrumental in aligning and advancing the Walgreens Pharmacy division with the Walgreens Health division. He joined Walgreens straight out of pharmacy school in 1995 and served in roles of increasing responsibility, such as store-care delivery, field leadership, Duane Reade pharmacy integration lead, and pharmacy operations -- where he led the strategic development, alignment, and delivery of pharmacy-led health and wellness programs.

Gates is dedicated to professional organizations, serving as a current board member with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Shields Health Solutions, and Pharmacy Quality Alliance. He also is executive lead for the Latino Professional Network business resource group for Walgreens Boots Alliance and an active member of the American Pharmacists Association, National Council for Prescription Drug Program, and National Association of Specialty Pharmacy.


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Linda Griffey spent most of her career working in the benefits and executive compensation arena. She was a pharmacist for eight years, including three while attending Duke University College of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor with distinction.

For more than 25 years, Griffey specialized in employee benefits and executive compensation law with O’Melveny & Meyers LLP, achieving partner. She represented employers from major corporations, private companies, committees, management groups, and individuals in the design, implementation, and administration of plans for deferred compensation, equity-based incentive, bonuses, profit sharing, and more. Her experience made her an expert witness in an executive compensation litigation matter.

Griffey has been highly involved in professional activities. She was a member of multiple associations and groups and volunteered as president of the Organization of Women Executives; the Los Angeles Duke Bar Association; Los Angeles County Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee; and Western Pension & Benefits Conference, Los Angeles. Griffey was named a Southern California "super lawyer" by Law & Politics Media Inc. and Los Angeles magazine, and a Chambers USA “leading lawyer,” six consecutive years.

Committed to her community, Griffey has served on numerous boards of directors and advisors, including Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and the UI College of Pharmacy.


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Throughout her career, Shaoling Li has been passionate about developing novel therapeutics to make a difference in patients’ lives. Li started her career as a formulation scientist focusing on novel drug delivery technology and product development. She worked at various pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including Alza Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Nanopax, and Theravance. 

More than 20 years later, now vice president of CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls) & Quality at Revolution Medicines, Inc., Li holds a proven track record of developing drug products from early feasibility to clinical development and commercialization. She boasts experience and expertise in various CMC functions, including analytical development, pharmaceutical science and drug delivery, process development and manufacturing, Current Good Manufacturing Practice compliance, and regulatory submission.

Li’s significant contributions to the design and development of the transdermal product Duragesic® led to the product’s commercialization. She is author or co-author on more than 20 scientific publications and a named inventor on several patents and applications. Prior to attending the UI, Li received her BS in pharmacy and MS in pharmaceutics from China Pharmaceutical University.

Honorary Alumni Award

The Honorary Alumni Award annually recognizes friends of the College for their personal contribution toward pharmacy achievement, leadership, and service to the profession, or exhibits exceptional service to the College. These individuals inspire our students and serve as role models. 

2022 Recipients:

Nancy Alvarez, PharmD
Vern Duba, BA, MA

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Nancy Alvarez is associate dean of Academic and Professional Affairs (Phoenix Campus), associate professor of practice in Pharmacy Practice and Science, and the director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Arizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy – from which she graduated. She was part of the founding leadership team and faculty at Chapman University School of Pharmacy and held a variety of roles at Endo Pharmaceuticals in the Medical Affairs Department, Hospice Pharmacia (later excelleRx) in end-of-life care, and Walgreens.

Alvarez, a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist, has a strong interest in leader development. She serves as a board member, facilitator, content developer, and program director for the Pharmacy Leadership and Education Institute. Alvarez is a fellow of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and received its 2020 Gloria Niemeyer Franke Leadership Mentor Award and 2021 Linwood F. Tice Friend of APhA-Academy of Student Pharmacists Award. She has held executive roles for the APhA and the Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society. Additional boards on which she is a member include the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, the APhA Foundation, and the Society of Pain and Palliative Care Foundation.



Vern Duba is clinical assistant professor in the UI College of Pharmacy Practice and Science department and course coordinator for Health Information Retrieval & Informatics. He also is an instructional-services specialist in the College’s Office of Professional Education, where he facilitates the Faculty Mentoring Program, oversees three drug-information database subscriptions, and supports students’ learning and retention.

Duba earned a BA in English and speech from Doane College in Nebraska and a Master of Arts in library and informational science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His academic interests include the librarian’s collaborative role in curriculum-based learning and the challenges and opportunities of electronic-drug information sources, mobile technologies, and the Internet. 

Duba is a past chair of the Library and Information Sciences Section of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and a four-time recipient of the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund Stipend. He has received the Iowa Worklife Improving Our Workplace Award, the UI College of Pharmacy Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Excellence in Teaching Award, and the College’s P1 Teacher of the Year twice.

Genesis Alumni Award

The College of Pharmacy honors graduates of the past 20 years who have achieved early distinction in their field. Nominees include those who have made considerable contributions to the theory and practice of pharmacy or have demonstrated major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice or in pharmaceutical research and development. Recipients have also contributed truly exceptional service to their community, the College, the profession, or
the public.

2022 Recipients:

Samm Anderegg, '11 PharmD, MS
Rubi Burlage, '06 PhD
Brett Faine, '07 PharmD, MS

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Samm Anderegg is co-founder and chief executive officer at DocStation, a software platform that helps pharmacies and health plans operate clinical programs at scale. He plays an active role in product, strategy, marketing, and pharmacy engagement.

Prior to launching his company, Anderegg practiced pharmacy for five years, implementing specialty pharmacy services for the University of Georgia Oncology & Ambulatory Care service lines. He then spent eight years as a Pharmacy HIT Collaborative consultant, developing standardized codes for clinical pharmacy documentation, which now serve as the foundation for data sharing across practice settings and quality measurement in value-based programs.

Anderegg has published several journal articles and national presentations on topics he cares about most: health-care technology, patient outcomes, and professional resilience.


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As associate vice president of Sterile Product and Device Development at Merck & Co., Inc., Rubi Burlage is responsible for leadership of Merck’s sterile small molecule, biologics, and vaccine drug product design and development. Burlage previously was Merck’s executive director, Sterile Drug Product Commercialization and also led innovation in sterile and specialty products through roles of increasing responsibility.

Burlage’s interests include understanding biopharmaceutical and mechanistic principles influencing dosage form design, studying factors germane to successful product and process scale up, and developing risk-weighted strategies for drug product commercialization. She has co-authored several publications, co-invented three patents, and currently is chair emeritus of the Drug Product Leadership Group for the International Consortium for Innovation & Quality in Pharmaceutical Development.


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Brett Faine has a quartet of UI roles. He is a clinical associate professor at both the College of Pharmacy and the College of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine (EM) – where he’s also director of Research Operations, and a clinical pharmacy specialist at UI Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC). Faine completed a post-graduate Acute Care Pharmacy Residency at UIHC and subsequently started the organization’s EM Pharmacy program. Besides his clinical practice and teaching, Faine is active in EM clinical research. His interests and expertise include emergency-department infectious diseases and sepsis.

Faine co-founded the Emergency Medicine PHARMacotherapy Research NETwork, the first multicenter network of EM clinical pharmacist researchers in the United States. The network connects researchers at 15 different centers nationwide, enabling collaboration among pharmacists to evaluate pharmacotherapy practices.


Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award acknowledges UI College of Pharmacy community members who go above and beyond to serve others throughout the United States and across the globe. These individuals are devoted to the welfare of humanity and provide exceptional service, leadership, or patient care to those
in need.

2022 Recipient:
Jeanine Abrons, PharmD, MS

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Jeanine Abrons is clinical associate professor and director of student pharmacist international activities at the UI College of Pharmacy, where her focus areas are writing, editing, and global health for underserved patient populations. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from Drake University and a Master of Science in Social & Administrative Pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has served as author and/or editor for UI teaching cases, UI active learning exercises, American Pharmacists Association’s (APhA) Peripheral Brain for the Pharmacist, and the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association – for which she also has held an editorial advisory board role.

Abrons’ work with global underserved care extends to multiple countries. Her primary work centers around partnerships in Dominica, collaborating with a local eco-based, social entrepreneur, the Ministry of Health, and a private pharmacy. Abrons is a UI Fulbright Program advisor, helping students of multiple disciplines engage in global work. As state of Iowa co-director of Mobile Clinics, she also is actively involved in health promotion/health prevention, addressing health disparities, and vaccine access. Abrons is passionate about individualization while coordinating engagement and leadership, global health, and travel medicine courses.

Abrons has earned numerous awards and honors, including the 2016 UI Academic Teaching Advisory Council’s Innovations in Teaching with Technology Award, UI College of Pharmacy’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Award, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Global Health Pharmacist of the Year, and the APhA Pinnacle Award, recognizing her contributions to global health and underserved care.