Skip to Content Skip to Footer

This Week@WesternU Nov. 25-27, 2019

by Rodney Tanaka

November 25, 2019

Read 6 mins

Checkpoint Charlie

WesternU held its third milestone Strategic Performance Group (SPG) checkpoint on Nov. 19, 2019. WesternU President Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as adopted by the Board of Trustees a year ago.

“Change is never easy, but I think this has been extremely productive and I’m impressed with the results,” Wilson said. “It’s one thing for leadership to conceptualize strategy. It’s another thing for a whole organization across its breadth and depth to adopt and really formulate strategy.”

Team leaders from each SPG (Financial Performance, Academic Performance, Innovation Performance, Strategic Performance and Brand Performance) gave an update on their group’s challenges, accomplishments and path forward.

Click here to view the Checkpoint Charlie PowerPoint presentations:

Click here to view the full Checkpoint Charlie video:



WesternU helps the most vulnerable populations at Care Harbor Los Angeles

Los Angeles County faces an unprecedented homeless crisis.

Western University of Health Sciences faculty, staff and students were among the volunteers who stepped up to address this problem by providing free medical, dental, vision and podiatric care to the homeless and others in need at the Care Harbor mega clinic at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles Nov. 15-17, 2019.

Friday, Nov. 15 was dedicated entirely to providing care to an estimated 1,000 people who are without homes or near homeless.

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



#GivingTuesday is December 3, 2019

Participate in WesternU’s #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. You and other alumni, faculty, staff, and current students are invited to make a gift to WesternU on #GivingTuesday. Spread the word by following WesternU and/or your favorite college on your personal social media accounts (Instagram and Facebook). Show your support for WesternU by sharing, forwarding emails, and engaging face-to-face with others about making a donation to WesternU on #GivingTuesday. To make your gift, please visit

Click here to watch a WesternU Giving Tuesday video.



From the College of Dental Medicine:

The Diagnosis Journey of a Pemphigoid Patient
Noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 in HEC Lecture Hall 1.

Marc Yale, a patient with mucous membrane pemphigoid, will share his emotional diagnosis journey. This deeply moving and educational presentation shines a light on the average pemphigus and pemphigoid patient experience of delayed diagnosis.

Please mark your calendar for this unique interprofessional event. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, including faculty, residents, students and staff.

The College of Dental Medicine (CDM) and The Advanced Oral Diagnosis Workgroup (AODW) will be hosting this special presentation sponsored by the International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Dr. Sahar Mirfarsi at

Click here to view a flier.



From the College of Health Sciences:

Kudos on accomplishments
Theresa Dang, MSMS ‘19, COMP student Ifeoluwa Adesina, MSMS ‘19, CDM student Nareh Avedian, MSMS ‘19, CHS (Doctor of Physical Therapy program) student Eryn Peeler, Dr. Dee Schilling, and Dr. Gail Evans Grayson presented a poster at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 3-6, 2019.  The student-led presentation was on “Participant’s perspectives on oral hygiene behavioral changes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often experience greater challenges in maintaining good oral hygiene. There is a need for alternative or specialized approach for the oral health care for children with ASD. Current approaches are both anxieties producing and costly.

Karin Roback, PT, DPT, EdD, presented a poster with Dayle Armstrong, MS, PT, DPT, at the 2019 national Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy conference in Anaheim, Calif. The poster was titled “Application of the ICF Model in the Pediatric Curriculum of an Entry-Level DPT Program.” Many WesternU students and alumni attended the conference, including students from all three current DPT cohorts.



From the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific:

Kudos on accomplishments
First-year COMP student Blake Zufall took seventh place and earned First-Team All-American at the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA) National Championships Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at Pole Green Park in Hanover County, Virginia. Representing WesternU, Zufall took on 58 other universities, according to his father, Ron Zufall.

Click here to view the results.

Professor Brion Benninger, MD, MSc, Executive Director, Medical Anatomy Center, was a keynote speaker, provided two innovative ultrasound learning workshops, revealed the most detailed human vasculature imaging to date at a special seminar and gave a book signing of texts he authored, Netters Atlas 7th ed. and Grays Photographic Dissection Manual 2nd ed., at the Mexican Anatomy Society, Sept. 23-26, 2019. His keynote presentation integrated humanism and medical illustration of the most influential artists throughout the history of medicine (DaVinci, Vesalius, Calcar, Gray, Carter and Netter). His workshops on ultrasound incorporated his own teaching philosophy with the latest handheld probe technology by Clarius, Sonosite, Philipps and GE.



From the College of Veterinary Medicine:

Kudos on accomplishments
CVM Associate Professor Brian Oakley recently co-authored a peer-reviewed research article titled “Characterization of LysBC17, a lytic endopeptidase from Bacillus cereus.” B. cereus is a common foodborne pathogen that causes so-called “fried rice syndrome” due to an emetic toxin. The research project began in Dr. Oakley’s lab with full genome sequencing of a novel Bacillus isolate recovered from the GI tract of a commercial broiler chicken. A prophage sequence encoding an endolysin-like endopeptidase, termed LysBC17, was identified in the bacterial genome and cloned and expressed in E. coli by collaborators at the University of Maryland. Purified LysBC17 was shown to effectively lyse B. cereus and B. anthracis, demonstrating how bacteriophage lytic enzymes can provide targeted antimicrobials as alternatives to broad-spectrum antibiotics.  Additionally, the cell-wall binding domain of the LysBC17 protein was fused to green-fluorescent protein to create a fluorescent diagnostic assay specific for B. cereus and closely-related strains. The paper was published in the September issue of the journal Antibiotics, PMID 31546935. Genome sequencing was supported by a USDA 1433 Formula Funds grant to Dr. Oakley administered by the CVM Office of Research.

CVM Professor Babak Faramarzi, was recently invited to the 2019 World Equine Veterinary Association conference in Verona, Italy, to present his work titled “Association between extent of MRI-detected navicular bone lesions and clinical signs between severe and mild cases of navicular syndrome.” Co-authors include Kepler, A. (DVM ’19), Cissell, D. (UC Davis Radiologist) and Dong, F. (WesternU statistician).

Dr. Faramarzi was also the invited speaker at the University of Vienna in Austria and Madrid University in Spain. He also attended World Veterinary Acupuncture Board of Directors meeting recently and was invited to present at Seoul National University (South Korea) recently.

CVM Associate Professor Diane McClure was an invited speaker at the National Meeting for the Association of Laboratory Animal Science held recently in Denver, Colorado. Dr. McClure presented “Beyond Diversity to Inclusion” as part of a seminar program titled “Developing Your Leadership Brand.”

CVM Professor Ana Alcaraz received the 2019 ACVP Mid-Career Excellence Award for Leadership in Education during the Annual Conference of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). This award recognizes the impact that Dr. Alcaraz has had on pathology residents and veterinary students. The Award Selection Committee received strong letters supporting her nomination. Most of her residents are now professors of pathology at difference universities and recognize her influence in their professional training and development. Veterinary students remembered her enthusiastic attitude and passion for veterinary pathology and several of them reflected on the influence that she had had in their decision to become veterinary pathologists.

CVM Associate Professor Miguel D. Saggese attended the 2019 Raptor Research Foundation Annual Conference recently. The conference was held in Ft. Collins, Colorado and Dr. Saggese and his co-authors contributed with two podium presentations: “Detection of Two Emerging Pathogenic Gammaproteobacteria Wohlfahrtiimonas chitiniclastica and Ignatzschineria spp. In a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) from Southern California” by Dr. Saggese and co-authors Drs. Brian B. Oakley, Peter H. Bloom, Nairi Abedi, Emalee Blumhagen, and Tonatiuh Melgarejo.

The second podium presentation was “Lead Exposure in Southern California Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Before Full Implementation of the 2019 Lead Ammunition Ban” by Miguel D. Saggese, Emalee Blumhagen and Peter H. Bloom.

Dr. Saggese also presented a poster, “Variable Hawk (Geranoaetus polyosoma) is a Rare Nesting Species in Southern Continental Patagonia, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina,” by Miguel D. Saggese, Agustin I.E, Quaglia, David H. Ellis, Catherine Ellis, Santiago Imberti, R. Wayne Nelson, Isabel C. Caballero and Ana Trejo.

In addition, Dr. Saggese attended the RRF Board of Directors meeting as past president of this organization, the Strategic Plan meeting as co-chair and moderated one session of the scientific program.

CVM Associate Professor David Kersey was recently featured as an expert on the podcast Go Fact Yourself ( In the show celebrity guests get quizzed on a topic of their passion and then their answers are fact-checked by experts. Dr. Kersey fact-checked Jenny Jaffe’s answers about giant pandas.

Recommended Stories