2012 graduate student awards presented at annual luncheon


Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
By: Cynthia McMullen

To see more photos from the 2012 Graduate Awards Luncheon, click here.

The School of Pharmacy’s 11th Annual Graduate Awards Luncheon, which took place at the Omni Richmond Hotel, featured guest speaker Sheldon Retchin, VCU vice president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System.

Retchin, whose topic was “Why Health Reform Is Inevitable,” is considered a national expert in health policy and health care delivery with special expertise on Medicare. The proportion of the gross domestic product devoted to health care delivery is much higher in the United States than in other countries, he told attendees.

“The health care reform story line is unarticulated,” he said, noting that shortages in the number of health care professionals will dictate how the story turns out. “There are lots of opportunities for you graduates out there. I’m sure you are going to take advantage of it!”

(To read Retchin’s recent Richmond Times-Dispatch commentary on the topic, click here.)

School of Pharmacy Dean Victor Yanchick presented the 2012 graduate student awards. The awards and their winners were:

Graduate award recipients included Rami Al-Horani (left), Matthew
Halquist, Poonam Delvadia and Amal Akour.

  • J. Doyle Smith Award: Rami Al-Horani (Ph.D.  ’12). This award is given to the student in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry who has achieved the greatest distinction in scholarship, research, teaching and service. Advisor: Umesh Desai.
  • John Wood Award: Matthew Halquist (Ph.D.  ‘12). This award goes to the student in the Department of Pharmaceutics who has achieved the greatest distinction in scholarship, research, teaching and service. Advisor: Tom Karnes.
  • V.A. Yanchick Award: Amal Akour (Ph.D. student). This award is given to the student in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science who has achieved the greatest distinction in scholarship, research, teaching and service. Advisor: Mary Jayne Kennedy.
  • Charles T. Rector and Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study: Rami Al-Horani (Ph.D.  ‘12). This award goes to a graduate student who demonstrates excellence in scholarship, research, teaching and service. The permanent endowment that funds it was established by Jacqueline V. Rorrer in memory of her late husband, Charles T. Rector, and in honor of her current husband, Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. (B.S. ’52) on the 50th anniversary of his graduation. Rector also was a 1952 alumnus of the School of Pharmacy.  Advisor: Umesh Desai.

Also, Poonam Delvadia, whose advisor is Tom Karnes, was announced as the recipient of the first Altria Tobacco Products Regulatory Sciences Fellowship. For more on the fellowship, click here.

Yanchick noted that Ph.D. students Delvadia and Li Wang (advisor: Doug Sweet) had been inducted into the newly established Alpha Phi Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda. Also,  Deanna Flora (advisor: Patty Slattum) and Omar Ibrahim (advisor: Ron Polk) were inducted into the VCU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

“The graduate program is critical to the School of Pharmacy,” said Yanchick. “Congratulations to the winners and to all the graduate students.” He thanked Susanna Wu-Pong, director of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program, and Karen Bryant, graduate education coordinator, for organizing the luncheon.