Moczygemba and Van Tassell named VCU Blick Scholars

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
By: Cynthia McMullen




VCU School of Pharmacy faculty members Leticia R. “Tish” Moczygemba and Benjamin Van Tassell have been named 2015 VCU Blick Scholars. Each will receive $15,000 in research funding for each of the next four years.

“Dr. Moczygemba and Dr. Van Tassell are rising stars whose work has already been well-recognized at the national level,” said School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph T. DiPiro. “This award represents the commitment of the university to invest in them and their futures.

“We want to make sure that they are here at VCU for many years to come.”

Van Tassell

Van Tassell

The Blick Scholars program was established in 2010 to recognize outstanding achievement and provide research funding for faculty members at the level of assistant professor. Among the qualifications considered for Blick Scholars are faculty members’ documented growth toward national or international recognition, previous external research funding and collaborative scholarship.

Funding comes from the George and Lavinia Blick Research Fund, a $2 million endowment created to support research on the university’s MCV Campus. Lavinia Blick of Rawlings, Va., left the endowment as part of her estate primarily because of the excellent care her father received at the then-Medical College of Virginia (now VCU Medical Center).

Both Moczygemba and Van Tassell are part of the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science.

Moczygemba’s research focuses on working with communities and health systems to mitigate health disparities by developing patient-centered interventions to optimize medication-related health outcomes. She has worked to advance the health care of homeless individuals, older adults and those living in rural areas through the development, implementation and evaluation of care models that integrate pharmacists with health care teams. She uses qualitative and quantitative techniques and quality improvement principles to assess the clinical, economic and humanistic impact of emerging care models.

Van Tassell’s research explores the relationship between inflammation and cardiovascular disease, with a particular focus on heart failure. Ongoing projects range from “bench top” experiments to multi-center clinical trials. The ultimate goal of the research is to design novel treatment regimens to improve cardiac function and alleviate symptoms of heart failure. (Learn more about Van Tassell’s research and research collaborations.)

According to Quincy Byrdsong, Blick Scholar funding — which begins July 1 — was awarded to a total of 10 MCV Campus faculty this year. Byrdsong is VCU Health System’s vice president for clinical research administration and compliance.

In 2010, School of Pharmacy assistant professor Mary Jayne Kennedy was selected as one of VCU’s six inaugural Blick Scholars.