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This Week@WesternU, Feb. 4-8, 2019

by Rodney Tanaka

February 5, 2019

Read 5 mins

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, which celebrates the significant contributions and achievements of African-Americans throughout history. College of Health Sciences MSPA students are organizing a blood drive on Feb. 14 (see info below) to help the community and to honor Dr. Charles R. Drew, an African-American surgeon and physician who developed a way to process and store plasma. He created two of the first blood banks and is often cited as the father of blood banking.

Click here to read more about Dr. Drew.


Blood Drive

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, February 14, 2019 in the bloodmobile, which will be parked near the WesternU Pet Health Center.

For appointments, call 800-879-4484 or visit

Please be sure to drink plenty of fluids and bring photo ID with proof of age. Donors under the age of 17 must bring a signed LifeStream parental consent form.

Click here to view a flier.



From the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific:

COMP professor serves as textbook editor, publishes multiple papers, mentors students
Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Professor Vishwanath Venketaraman, PhD, served as editor for a recently-published textbook on tuberculosis, published multiple papers and received funding for his research.

Several of his publications feature the same collaborators, including master’s students with aspirations to enter WesternU doctorate programs. Venketaraman mentors and encourages students to co-author publications to help them with their career goals.

“These publications make their CV very competitive,” Venketaraman said. “Master’s students see benefits short term and long term — getting into the doctoral degree program of their choice and then for residency. Having publications helps medical students when they are applying for competitive residency programs.”

Click here to read the full story.


COMP alums are first DOs to win Surgical Jeopardy competition
College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific alumni Garrett Jones, DO ’16, and Karim Jreije, DO ’16, representing Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, Calif., won Surgical Jeopardy at the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons conference in Santa Barbara on January 25, 2019.

Drs. Jones and Jreije are the first DOs to win this competition, prevailing over teams from Santa Barbara Cottage, Loma Linda, USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, Harbor-UCLA, Kaiser Fontana, and Cedars-Sinai. Forty WesternU students – the largest contingent from any institution – attended the conference.

Special thanks to Assistant Professor of Surgery Marian Safaoui, MD, who attended the conference, and Department of Surgery Chair Vivian Davis, DO, for their mentorship and support.

Click here to view this story and a photo online.



From the College of Podiatric Medicine:

CPM Class of 2019 scores 100 percent pass rate on board exams
For the second year in a row, fourth-year College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) students scored a 100 percent pass rate on both the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Examination (APMLE) Part 2 written exam and the Clinical Skills Performance Exam.

“This stellar outcome represents the diligence and hard work that are hallmarks of the students at CPM,” said CPM Interim Dean Lester Jones, DPM, MS. “The College leads the nation in residency placement as well, with a five-year history of 100 percent placement of all graduates into some of the best hospitals in America for their three-year residency programs.”

Jones also expressed gratitude to WesternU faculty and staff who work hard to make this College and University an outstanding place for learning. 


Fourth Annual College of Podiatric Medicine Dean’s Distinguished Lecture
5 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in HEC Lecture Hall I. Franklin J. Medio, PhD, will present “The Recognition of Podiatric Medicine as a Medical-Surgical Specialty: Breaking Down Barriers through Education and Training.”

The lecture will be streamed via Zoom link to COMP-Northwest Lecture Hall 1. Live streaming of the event will be available via this link:

Click here to view a flier.



From the College of Health Sciences:

Kudos on accomplishments
Dr. Harsha Deoghare, Chair, Department of Physical Therapy Education, College of Health Sciences, is leading a clinical trial in collaboration with Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno. ( This first-of-its-kind study will evaluate an innovative method for the prevention and treatment of Intensive Care Unit acquired weakness using functional electrical stimulation assisted cycle (FESC) that can be attached to an ICU bed. The effect of FESC applied within 48 hours of ICU admission on muscle mass, strength, and physical function, as well as the length of hospital stay and healthcare utilization, will be evaluated in the study. Patients who cannot participate in traditional mobility training and ambulation intervention in the ICU, due to barriers including sedation, hemodynamic instability, and invasive monitoring and interventions, can also be treated early during their ICU stay using this novel method. For more details please watch the recently aired ‘MedWatch Today’ segment on this study produced by KSEE24 and CBS47.



From the College of Optometry:

Kudos on accomplishments
College of Optometry faculty Frank Spors, Jie Shen, Dorcas Tsang and Lance McNaughton received an award for their poster “A Comparison of Manual Keratometry and Simulated Keratometry When Determining Central K-Readings” at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium, the largest specialty contact lens conference in the U.S., held in Las Vegas Jan. 24-27, 2019.

Fourth-year College of Optometry student Ilya Volk was one of three optometry students to win the Optometry Student Challenge, a program designed by ABB Optical Group in partnership with Paragon Vision Sciences to foster the study of contact lenses. He presented “The Benefit of a Scleral Lens in the Treatment of a Post-Corneal Transplant Epithelial Defect” at the conference.

Click here to read more.


From the College of Pharmacy:

WesternU professor awarded $100,000 PhRMA Foundation grant
College of Pharmacy Associate Professor Quang A. Le, PharmD, PhD, is one of three national research leaders to receive a Value Assessment Research Award of $100,000 from PhRMA Foundation.

The three grants, totaling $300,000, are the latest funding to be announced in the PhRMA Foundation’s Value Assessment Initiative, which is designed to improve patient outcomes while reducing inefficiencies in health care by better assessing the value of medicines and health care services. 

Click here to read the full story.



From the College of Veterinary Medicine:

Kudos on accomplishments
CVM Associate Professor Babak Faramarzi was recently invited and presented his research at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention. First podium presentation was focused on biomechanics and the second presentation was on the impact of acupuncture in treating a common horse disease. Co-authors included: D. Lee (Dr. Faramarzi’s former Post-Doc), A. Nguyen (Dr. Faramarzi’s former graduate student), Dr. F. Dong (GCBS Associate Professor) and Dr. K. May (California Practitioner). Dr. Faramarzi was also interviewed later by Horse magazine and an article highlighting his research was published.

CVM Professor Yiling Hong joined her colleagues Hongou Wang, Lawrence Chang, Jose S. Aguilar and Sijun Dong as a co-author on an article titled “Bisphenol-A Exposure-Induced Neurotixidity in Glutamatergic Neurons Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells.” The article has been accepted in a peer-reviewed journal, Environment International (impact factor 7.2). Dr. Hong is the corresponding author.

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