Palak Desai, PharmD 2018

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? Western U provides a unique educational experience, combining the best in classroom, experiential learning under the direction of a world class faculty. Faculty, who can conceptualize, develop, implement, and evaluate instructional assessment strategies and use them to maximize student learning. The faculty members who make up the department are a diverse group of professionals, including clinical pharmacists who practice in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics and community pharmacies, clinical scientists who conduct research in both laboratory and patient care settings, who research a variety of aspects of medication use and health care delivery.

Kwame Fosu Awuah, PharmD 2017

Describe an engaging aspect of your program and why you like it. Getting the opportunity to interact with the various professionals involved in the healthcare environment through IPE, doing presentations in class and also interviewing patients through the OSCE which is done at the end of every semester. The ability to talk to patients and help them on their path to better health which to me is a sense of achievement and fulfilling to my personal goals and ambition in life.

Why did you choose your WesternU program? The school has a unique interprofessional curriculum which affords students from other health professions to work in unison with a common goal of better patient health.This gives you an advantage in the work place . This has actually helped me in my current clinical clerkship rotations where I interact with MD, RN, LAB, PT and a host of other professions.

Cynthia Jackevicius, BScPhm, PharmD, MSc, FCSHP, BCPS

Professor College of Pharmacy

WesternU distinctive: The block system is unique to the Doctor of Pharmacy Program at WesternU. It allows students to focus on one major therapeutic topic at a time and concentrate their learning in this area. Many students choose WesternU since they enjoy learning in this system.

Best Advice: WesternU is unique in that the school focuses on health professions education. It is a small campus so it is very welcoming and easy to get involved in student activities, such as those with professional associations.

On interprofessional education: Incorporating an IPE curriculum is an ideal way to teach health professionals since upon graduation, health professionals all work with each other to manage patient’s health issues.

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Anandi Law, B.Pharm, PhD

Department Chair, Professor College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration

On research: A WesternU intramural grant helped fund one of my earliest research proposals when I joined here. The project was a survey of (40% of) California community pharmacies to determine the status and extent of disease management programs. The results from that project were published in a fairly high impact journal for pharmacy practitioners and researchers (Journal of American Pharmacists Association) and helped establish my work in this area as well as expand the scope of my practice based research as community (chain and independent) pharmacies contacted me to help start such programs in their settings. Currently WesternU is trying to expand its research infrastructure and I am looking forward to hearing more about the increased resources.

WesternU distinctive: There are various unique aspects of the Pharm.D. program that define us: The block system is unique in the fact that students focus on only one area at a time; although personally I was more at ease with traditional programs, time and data have shown that the block system seems to be successful in increasing focus and depth in a topic area. It also helps faculty have focused time for their teaching and research during different times of the year without interruption. The Advanced Elective is another unique aspect – it serves as a capstone project for our students and is valued by all constituents – since it allows the student to take a project from conception to completion.

On interprofessional education: The IPE initiative is really exciting in its attempts to have health care providers learn and develop positive attitudes and respect and have realistic expectations of other health care professionals so the team concept that we preach in patent-focused care moves to reality.

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Roger S. Klotz, BS.Pharm

Associate Professor College of Pharmacy

Why WesternU: I was a preceptor for the College of Pharmacy from 1999 to the present time and had worked with the Associate Dean and the Dean at other Universities so I had a good understanding of their planned direction. I am particularly excited about the Universities commitment to interdisciplinary care. Have practiced in multiple health care environments I know how critical inter-professional communications and skills sharing is to patient care and good outcomes.

Value of a WesternU education: Ultimately, the greatest value of a WesternU education will be the interdisciplinary care education as well as the blending of basic sciences with clinical practice education.

On interprofessional education: Having 16 years of practice at an acute care university affiliated pediatric hospital in a major metropolitan area I saw on a daily basis the benefits of an interprofessional team approach to patient care. Learning for all students from other disciplines will provide the student with additional information, professional prospective, and help build the student’s confidence. An important factor in providing quality care is to know when to seek additional input and which disciplinary to call upon for the additional input.

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Sam Shimomura, PharmD

Associate Dean for College Advancement, Professor College of Pharmacy

Beyond the classroom: I am the advisor to the CSHP/ASHP Student Chapter. The students and I have participated in numerous community-service activities, including health fairs; flu shot clinics, poison prevention programs and a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.

WesternU distinctive: The pharmacy students work in small teams during the didactic portion of the curriculum. This helps students to develop communication, interpersonal and leadership skills. This experience also prepares students to work on the health care team once they start their clerkships. The planned inter-professional education curriculum will also enhance the student’s ability to work effectively in teams.

Value of a WesternU education: The most valuable part of the WesternU education is the opportunity to work closely with a very diverse group of students and faculty from many different cultures, races, religions, educational and professional backgrounds. The addition of the colleges of optometry, podiatry, dentistry and biomedical sciences only enhances this experience.

Best Advice: WesternU is an excellent place to receive a highly scientific and clinical education that also emphasizes caring for the whole patient.

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Ernest Abbey, PharmD

PharmD, Class of 2013

Describe your best clinical experience and why it was memorable. My first Coumadin clinical experience at Casa Colina Hospital. That was the first time I adjusted Coumadin and prescribed / ordered new doses for real patients based on the INR. It really felt good!

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? If you are looking for patient-centered education, then WesternU is the best institution to consider.


Mayur Yadav, Pharm, MS

PharmD, Class of 2013

How have you seen the university’s humanistic philosophy lived out by members of the WesternU family? Western University of Health Science’s humanistic philosophy lived out by members of the western family play an important role. The lecturers here are more supportive than critical, more understanding than judgmental, more genuine than playing a role. WesternU Students are encouraged to make choices that range from day-to-day activities to periodically setting future life goals. This allows students to focus on a specific subject of interest for any amount of time they choose, within reason. WesternU faculty believe it is important for students to be motivated and engaged in the material they are learning, and this happens when the topic is something the students need and want to know

Ihinosen Ogbeide, PharmD

PharmD, Class of 2007

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? The faculty here are very helpful, knowledgeable, and care about success of the students. One of the reasons I chose WesternU is because of the warmth and compassion from the staff. When I came for a tour they were very welcoming and that made me want to come here. The program is very fast paced and requires continuous hard work and dedication to achieving your goal. It is quite an exciting experience and there are opportunities to get involved actively in the pharmacy profession.


Giano Panzarella, PharmD

PharmD, Class of 2007

What would yout tell a prospective student about WesternU? The pharmacy program is intense and applicable from the get go. Concepts can immediately be taken from the classroom and used in the real world. Overall I feel WesternU students have a large knowledge base that often merits surprise and accolades from our preceptors.I chose WesternU for its tightly woven community setting. I felt so lost in the fracas at larger Universities fearing I wouldn’t be able to make my mark. I feel that larger Universities encourage you to accept the status quo and follow the herd, whereas WesternU is the kind of place where innovative ideas can thrive. Also the hexagonal classrooms promote participation and learning. I would like prospective students to know that they have a voice here at WesternU. The curriculum is progressive toward student needs and our opinions and suggestions matter.


Roy Morita, PharmD

PharmD, Class of 2008

Time commitment: The block system took a little while to get used to, as there is a quiz, test, team assignment or individual assignment every two to three days. After you get used to it, it’s amazing how much information can be covered in a short amount of time.

Best thing about WesternU: Diversity. WesternU has many non-traditional students, including mid-career/foreign students, parents, older, non-science majors, etc. in addition to traditional students. This diversity adds to the learning experience by allowing you to meet many very interesting people.


Ruben Ayala, PharmD

PharmD, Class of 2008

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? Three main reasons to come to WesternU: Strong academic programs, friendly environment, and a relaxing sense of family among peers. The best thing about WesternU is the duality of its programs when it comes to learning and practicing. Right from the start, you roll up your sleeves and begin community and hospital rotations. So you don’t just sit in class and memorize terms, but you actually go out there and practice what you learn, as you learn it. This is a great advantage over other pharmacy programs because you can use your knowledge by applying it to actual community cases.

Why did you choose WesternU? I chose WesternU because it fosters a friendly environment between healthcare programs, classes, and classmates. Forget the snobby students who never want to share their thoughts and ideas with their classmates. Students are assigned to groups that will work together throughout the academic year. These groups are very helpful because they instigate discussions and sharpen team-oriented skills that are essential in any healthcare position in the job market. Moreover, educators and facilitators are always willing to help you. With their “open-door” policy, most of the time you can walk right into their offices and they can address your concerns without delay. At WesternU, you are family! Do not be surprised if your professors know you by your name. You are no longer an identification number sitting in a dusty computer database. Here, professors are committed to meet each student, and many of them will sit with you and discuss your academic progress to ensure that your career is right on track. Try getting that kind of attention in another university.