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This Week@WesternU, Nov. 16-20, 2015

by Rodney Tanaka

November 16, 2015

Read 5 mins

WesternU and Molina Healthcare strengthen partnership
Western University of Health Sciences’ annual scholarship fundraiser honored longtime partner Molina Healthcare, with Molina announcing a new collaboration that will bring rehabilitative vision care to those most in need.

WesternU held its 35th annual “A Tribute to Caring” (ATC) fundraiser at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. The event attracted more than 550 attendees and raised more than $130,000 for student scholarships.

Click here to read the full story and to view a slideshow.


WesternU founding president named Trustee Emeritus
Western University of Health Sciences President Emeritus Philip Pumerantz, PhD, is now a Trustee Emeritus of the WesternU Board of Trustees.

Dr. Pumerantz, who founded the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) in 1977, retired in September 2015 after serving 38 years as WesternU’s founding president. As president, he also served as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees throughout that time.

Click here to read the full story.


From the College of Allied Health Professions:

Leadership Symposium
The Department of Health Sciences presents the 9th annual Leadership Symposium: Evolution of Leaders in Health Promotion Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. Reception at 6 p.m. in Compatriots Hall, HSC, will feature light appetizers. The discussion panel will follow from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall West. Please RSVP at Click here to view a flier.


From the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific:

ACOFP president visits WesternU
Family physicians help reduce health care costs and save lives, according to American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) President Kevin de Regnier, DO, FACOFP, who visited Western University of Health Sciences Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. Click here to read the full story.

Rural Health Fair
COMP-Northwest’s Rural Health Club will host a Rural Health Fair at the Lebanon Wal-Mart Supercenter in Lebanon, Oregon from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. The fair is free and open to the public. The event features a free car seat safety checks, flu shots and vaccine information (courtesy of Wal-Mart), free tooth care, and much more.

Click here to view a flier.

Kudos on accomplishments
About 30 student-doctors attended a Health Care Policy Town Hall at COMP-Northwest Nov. 5, sponsored by the Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons of Oregon. The informal presentation provided an overview of the legislative process in Oregon, state health care policies and a discussion on potential legislation that may affect the future physicians. Oregon State Representative Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) and State Senator Frank Girod (R-Stayton) answered questions from the audience during the town hall and stayed after to speak with students one-on-one.

Brion Benninger, MD, MSc, is coordinating with state agencies to develop a program to provide opportunities for high school students who are from rural or less privileged areas to stimulate interest in healthcare. Dr. Benninger is exposing high school students to disruptive innovation. Kendall Crawford and Molly Benjamin, both juniors at Lebanon High School, presented innovative projects using the Sectra Visualization table, Fukuda Denshi ultrasound systems with Sonivate finger probes to the Lebanon Optimist Club on Nov. 5. Kendall Crawford received a research excellence award. Dr. Benninger thanked Dennis Dunmyer and TimberView Care Center for funding the student’s eight-week, 280-hour internship with COMP-Northwest’s Medical Anatomy Center.

Mathew Wedel, PhD, of COMP and CPM, published an article in the current (December) issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. The article, “Binocular Holiday,” is about stargazing the winter Milky Way. The magazine is on newsstands and at


From the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences:

Kudos on accomplishments
Dr. Fanglong Dong from the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences and his collaborators, Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt, PhD, MD, Bobbie Paull-Forney, RN, and Georges Elhomsy, MD, presented their findings on weight loss and kidney function improvement at The Obesity Society’s Annual Meeting during Obesity Week 2015 in Los Angeles Nov. 2-7, 2015. Their major finding is that attending a weight loss clinic for the overweight and obese population leads not only to weight loss, but also to improvement in kidney function.

The full citation of the work is: Schwasinger-Schmidt T, Paull-Fornety B, Dong F, Elhomsy G. A Retrospective Analysis of the Impact of Weight Loss on Renal Function. Poster presentations at The Obesity Society’s Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 2-7, 2015.


From the College of Veterinary Medicine:

Kudos on accomplishments
Through the efforts of CVM Assistant Professor Jijun Hao, WesternU is now part of the Inland Empire Stem Cell Consortium (IESCC), comprised of stem cell researchers at the University of California Riverside (UCR), Loma Linda University (LLU), and California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB). Three WesternU faculty, including Dr. Hao and Dr. Hong, attended the 2015 IESCC annual symposium at UCR last week. More importantly, after discussion with Dr. Talbot, director of the IESCC, the consortium would like to broadcast its weekly seminars live to WesternU. As a member of the consortium, WesternU is provided a forum for making our stem cell research better known in the communities and establish board training opportunities for our students.

Dr. Hao, in collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, recently published a research paper titled “FOXC1 Activates Smoothened-Independent Hedgehog Signaling in Basal-like Breast Cancer” on Cell reports 13, 1-13.

CVM Associate Professor Miguel D. Saggese and Dr. Michelle Hawkins from UC Davis were the organizers and moderators of the Symposium Diseases and Toxins in Raptors during the 2015 Raptor Research Foundation Annual Conference held in Sacramento recently. During the symposium, 14 papers were presented on topics such as anticoagulant rodenticides and lead spent ammunition exposure in raptors, avian influenza, and emerging parasitic diseases in Golden Eagles. During the conference, Dr. Saggese completed his term as Director at Large and President elect and started his tenure for the upcoming two years as President of the Raptor Research Foundation (RRF), an international scientific society whose goal is the accumulation and dissemination of scientific information about raptors (hawks, eagles, falcons and owls). Dr. Saggese is the first Latin-American and the first veterinarian to hold the president’s office in RRF.


From the College of Dental Medicine:

Kudos on accomplishments
A group of faculty from the College of Dental Medicine and the College of Allied Health Professions had the opportunity to share the message of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice with the international community of knowledge at the Fifth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society in Madrid, Spain in September.

The conference took place at the Universidad de Alcala, which was designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Founded in 1499, University de Alcala is one of Europe’s oldest universities and one of the earliest examples of a planned university campus.

The theme presented was “Bringing Oral Health to the Forefront of Health Care through Interprofessional Collaborative Practice.”

As members of the community of knowledge at WesternU, our delegation made an indelible impression regarding the importance of interprofessional education at the early stages of professional healthcare education as well as our innovative interprofessional collaborative practice curriculum to integrate oral health education for students from College of Allied Health Professions Physician Assistant Program, College of Graduate Nursing, and Family Medicine Residency Program at the Pomona Valley Hospital and Medical Center.

The WesternU delegation was represented by Bertha O. Alarcon, DDS, Jenny Tjahjono, DMD, Elizabeth Maugh, MS, PA-C, Effuah Harris, DDS, and former Associate Dean for Community Partnerships and Access to Care. Yawen Peng, DMD, and Josih Hostetler, MSW, were also collaborators in this project.


From the College of Optometry:

The Story of a Rock Star Turned OD
College of Optometry Assistant Professor Paul Dobies, OD, BS, FAAO, is featured in California Optometric Association’s California Optometry magazine. Click here to read the story.


From Western Diabetes Institute:

Kudos on accomplishments
An article by Christal Pham, PharmD, RPh, and Andrew S. Pumerantz, DO, FACP, was published in the Summer 2015 edition of the California Pharmacists Association’s journal California Pharmacist. The article, “Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) Model at Western Diabetes Institute,” is available here: and here: (turn to page 32).

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