Teddy Bear Flu Clinic

On Monday, October 23rd and Friday, October 27th, 2017, two groups of student pharmacists from the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy volunteered at Sacred Heart Daycare Center, in Charleston, WV.  The event, the Teddy Bear Flu Clinic, allowed student pharmacists to pass out teddy bears to students ranging from ages 5 – 12 years old, to show them that getting the flu shot is not scary.   The student pharmacists explained to the children that flu shots are nothing to be afraid of, and, in fact, they are important to get every year.  The student pharmacists allowed the children to draw back a syringe (without a needle) and give their teddy bear a “flu shot.”  After each child gave their bear a shot, the student pharmacists helped fill out “prescriptions” for the bears, indicating what kind of love and care the bear would need afterward.  The children were very enthusiastic and enjoyed learning about flu shots and why they are so important.  In fact, many of the children were excited to go get their flu shot next!

This event showed that student pharmacists are always willing to give their time back to their community.  With pharmacists being more accessible than any other healthcare professional, it shows the importance of their vaccination privileges.  As of right now, pharmacists in West Virginia have the ability to prescribe and administer vaccines, but are limited by an age restriction of 18 years or older.  It is important for us continue to support pharmacists in gaining more vaccination privileges.

We would like to thank the Student Society of Health-Systems Pharmacy (SSHP) for organizing this event as well as providing the teddy bears and certificates.  Additional thanks are extended towards Sacred Heart Daycare for allowing us to come teach your children about influenza vaccinations and the importance to getting vaccines.

The Life and Legacy of Louis Pasteur

One of the most notable figures in the development of vaccines is Louis Pasteur. Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822 in Dole, France. During his life, Pasteur excelled as a chemist, a biologist, and a microbiologist and is remembered for his discovery of pasteurization, his efforts toward the understanding of microbial fermentation, and his initial administration of the rabies vaccine. In his early years, Pasteur was only considered an average student, and his main interests included drawing and painting. He earned both a bachelor of arts degree and a bachelor of sciences degree from the Royal College of Besançon. He also earned a doctorate degree in 1847 from the École Normale in Paris. Following several years of teaching and researching, Pasteur became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. It was here that he met his wife, Marie Laurent, who he went on to have five children with.

Pasteur’s first major contribution to the field of chemistry concerned his study of tartaric acid. Based on the way that light was rotated as it passed through a solution of dissolved tartaric acid, Pasteur was able to propose what is now accepted as the concept of molecular chirality, as well as make the first true explanation of isomerism. Later on in 1854, Pasteur was appointed professor of chemistry and dean of the science faculty at the University of Lille. It was here that he worked on addressing the common problems with the manufacture of alcoholic drinks. Using the germ theory which had already been established, Pasteur was able to expand pre-existing concepts in order to demonstrate that organisms like bacteria were responsible for souring beer, wine, and milk. He was responsible for establishing a process by which bacteria could be removed by first boiling and then cooling the liquid. This first test was completed on April 20, 1862, and the process today is known as pasteurization. Moving onto vaccines, Pasteur made his first major discovery in this field in 1879, with a disease known as chicken cholera. In this experiment, chickens were inoculated with an attenuated culture of chicken cholera germs. The chickens survived and when Pasteur inoculated them with a virulent strain, they demonstrated immunity to the disease. Beyond this, Pasteur extended the germ theory in order to develop causes and vaccinations for several other diseases like anthrax, cholera, smallpox, and tuberculosis.

Following his success with previous vaccinations and his acceptance into the Académie Française in 1882, Pasteur began to focus his efforts on the issue of rabies. On July 6, 1885, Pasteur vaccinated Joseph Meister, a 9-year-old boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog and who would have otherwise been doomed to a near-unavoidable death. The vaccine ended up saving Meister’s life and Pasteur was hailed as a hero. It was this event that sparked interest among the public to begin a fundraising campaign in order to construct the Pasteur Institute. Fundraising began in 1887 with several countries donating to the cause. The institute was inaugurated on November 14, 1888 and served as a center of scientific research and development. After 1891, the Pasteur Institute began to extend to several more countries, and there are currently 32 institutes spanning 29 countries. Besides the many individuals saved by his research on vaccines, Pasteur’s contributions continue to benefit both the medical and pharmaceutical fields as a whole.


Stern, M. A., & Markel, H. (2005). The History of Vaccines and Immunization: Familiar Patterns, New Challenges. Health Affairs, 24(3), 611-621.

Ulmann, A. (2017). Louis Pasteur: French Chemist and Microbiologist. In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Pasteur

Protecting Yourself From HPV: Know the Facts

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common virus, that affects nearly one in four adults in the United States. While most strains of the virus are harmless, or cause only benign warts, there are up to 30 strains of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide. It is a unique type of cancer, because nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. However, the good news is that there is a vaccine for the most dangerous strains of HPV known to cause cancer. This makes the HPV vaccine one of the only vaccines to-date known to prevent cancer.

In 2006, Dr Ian Frazer of Australia created the first HPV vaccine, which protected against the four most dangerous strains of the virus. The vaccine, called Gardisil, has since become an outstanding success in many parts of the world. In Australia, where the vaccine was first released, vaccination rates are close to 80%, and doctors have seen a 77% reduction in the HPV infections that often lead to cervical cancer. While the United States has a lower vaccination rate at only 54%, there has still been a 56% decline in rates of infection with HPV in the last decade. The potential to decrease cervical cancer rates in the future still remains to be seen, but these results are encouraging and already show the positive effects of the vaccine.

HPV is usually spread through sexual contact. The primary age groups recommended for vaccination are
those 9 to 13 years old, although it can be given to young adults up to 26 years of age. It is best to begin the vaccine series as early as possible, because it is given in 3 separate doses which are spread over 6-12 months. While prevention of cervical cancer is the largest benefit from the vaccine, boys are also recommended to receive the vaccine in order to help prevent spread of the virus. The HPV vaccine can also minimize the risk of other cancers including mouth, throat, and penile cancers, along with the prevention of genital warts.

In order to increase vaccination rates and reduce HPV rates in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that primary care providers continue to recommend the vaccine and educate the public regarding its potential benefits. This includes reducing stigma related to the vaccine and making the vaccine more readily available in clinics and physician’s offices. An expansion of the HPV vaccine into pharmacies could also increase availability of the vaccine. Pharmacists are also in the best position, as the front line of healthcare providers, to reach the public with vaccine information and awareness about HPV. The evidence for the vaccine’s effectiveness against HPV so far is impressive. It is estimated that, with increased awareness and vaccination programs, the United States could see a reduction in up to 90% of cases of cervical cancer within the next 10-20 years. Therefore, as pharmacists, we are in an optimal position to spread awareness about the HPV vaccine and help to continue the fight against cervical cancer.

Contributed by Kathryn Howerton, Class of 2019

References and Additional Information

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/cancer.htmlhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1872115X08000054
  2. http://www.hpvvaccine.org.au/the-hpv-vaccine/has-the-program-been-successful.aspx
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/22/health/hpv-vaccine-teen-girls-effective
  4. http://circleofdocs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/gardasil-injection-1068×641

Benjamin Franklin Statesman and Apothecary

Contributed by Blanche Ndifon, Class of 2019

Many people know Benjamin Franklin as one the founding fathers of the United States who helped write the most powerful document known in this country, the Declaration of Independence, but if asked, very few people will know a thing about his medical and science interests or of any contributions he made in the profession of pharmacy.  It is very well established in the books of history what a great politician Benjamin Franklin was, but his influences as a health care professional and activist usually go unstated.

franklinOn January 17 of 1706, Benjamin Franklin was born in Massachusetts Bay Colony, what is known today as Boston. He was the last of fifteenth children born to his father (Josiah Franklin) and the fifth child born to mother Abiah Folger (Says, 19). He was a very brilliant child but, at the early age of ten years old, he had to become a full-time worker at his father’s candle and soap shop. At age twelve, he was an apprentice to his brother at a printer shop, where he developed an immense passion for reading, writing and publishing despite his brother’s religious efforts to repress Franklin’s love for publishing.  Escaping from Boston, Franklin went to live in Philadelphia. He then went on to publish his first pamphlet, “A Dissertation upon Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain,”(Author name, 2015 reference1). From his numerous publications, writing of everything from politics, weather forecast, and poetry to proverbs, he become a very prominent man and got several honorary degrees from Yale, Harvard and other international institutions. He rose so fast in the world of politics that in the year 1976, he was one of only five men appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin Franklin also had a rooted interest in health. Knowing Benjamin’s love for science and community service, his good friend Dr Thomas Bond approached him with the idea of starting what will be the first Hospital and hospital pharmacy (then called apothecary) so that the colonies will not have to rely on British physicians and apothecaries (Penn Medicine, 2012 ).  Franklin bough into the idea almost instantly and began writing the petitions that will make sure that was possible. He nullified resistance from the Assembly appointed to handle the subject by accepting to raise part of the money to start and the assembly would have to match what he raised dollar for dollar. With his restless efforts, enough money was raised to begin the project. In the year 1952, the first hospital pharmacy was founded where Jonathan Roberts was appointed the first apothecary (Oldfield, 2014). Although medicine and pharmacy were   commonly practiced together back then, the establishing of a hospital apothecary helped made the distinction between the two professions and allowed for pharmacy to develop in its own right separately from medicine. Today the pharmacy is practiced independently of the medical profession with Pharmacists having defined responsibilities in patient welfare. Due to the input of a well respected man like Benjamin Franklin, today over 90% of the hospitals in the United States have inpatient pharmacies employing about a fifth of all pharmacists (Penn Medicine, 2012).

Franklin’s first son died at the age of four from smallpox and for this reason he was very big supporter of vaccinations and today vaccination is something that can be done by a pharmacist. Evidently his impact in the profession is still very much appreciated today.



  1. Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father of Pharmacy. (2015, May 14). Retrieved September 26, 2016, from http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/career/2014/pharmacycareers_may2014/benjamin-franklin-a-founding-father-of-pharmacy
  1. Pennsylvania Hospital History: Stories – Nation’s First Hospital. (2012, August 02). Retrieved September 26, 2016, from http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/paharc/features/creation.html
  1. Says, T. R., & Says, A. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from http://www.famousscientists.org/benjamin-franklin/







American Pharmacists Month–HeLa Cells: Impact on Modern Medicine & Vaccine Development

Contributed by Jovanny Gonzalez, Class of 2019, Fall 2016 History of Pharmacy 

helaHenrietta Lacks was born August 1920 to a family of farmers. Her upbringing was humble and with limited financial resources. Henrietta Lacks suffered from cervical cancer and while living in Maryland she visited John Hopkins University for treatment. A physician by the name of Howard Jones diagnosed and treated Henrietta and had samples of her cervix removed. Coincidently, at the same time research was being done on cell cultivation but scientist had a difficult time culturing cells for longer than a few days. Dr. George Otto Gey was the first person to come in contact with Mrs. Lacks cells and noticed that they proliferated and were durable. It was the first times in the scientific world were a group of cells replicated past a few days.


Read more about the importance of Henrietta Lacks in R. Sloot’s Book: The Immortal Life of Herietta Lacks

By 1955 Henrietta Lacks’ cells were known as HeLa cells. Scientist began to clone and mass-produce her cells for medical advancements. It is still unclear whether scientist received consent from Mrs. Lacks to use her cells for research but scientist state at that time there were no set regulations about patient consent it was considered natural to treat and use patient tissue to help the patient recover. One contribution HeLa cells brought to scientist was the ability to develop a vaccine for polio. Jonas Salk was the first to use HeLa cells and develop a vaccine for polio; and without HeLa cells that achievement may have been delayed.

The University of John Hopkins were it all began, acknowledged the impact and controversy HeLa cells brought to science by stating “Johns Hopkins Medicine sincerely acknowledges the contribution to advances in biomedical research made possible by Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells. It’s important to note that at the time the cells were taken from Mrs. Lacks’ tissue, the practice of obtaining informed consent from cell or tissue donors was essentially unknown among academic medical centers. Sixty years ago, there was no established practice of seeking permission to take tissue for scientific research purposes. The laboratory that received Mrs. Lacks’s cells had arranged many years earlier to obtain such cells from any patient diagnosed with cervical cancer as a way to learn more about a serious disease that took the lives of so many. Johns Hopkins never patented HeLa cells, nor did it sell them commercially or benefit in a direct financial way. Today, Johns Hopkins and other research-based medical centers consistently obtain consent from those asked to donate tissue or cells for scientific research.” HeLa cells were cultivated worldwide and many scientist gained recognition by using Henrietta Lacks’ cells but her family did not receive any recognition nor any monetary gain. 

Even today, HeLa cells are being used to study new disease such as HIV and other viruses. Scientist continue to use HeLA cells in research to find remedies, develop vaccines, cure disease. Through HeLa cells, many major medical advancements have been and continue to be made.



  1. http://www.biography.com/people/henrietta-lacks-21366671#legal-and-ethical-implications
  1. https://bigpictureeducation.com/quick-guide-hela-cells
  1. http://berkeleysciencereview.com/article/good-bad-hela/
  1. Picture http://northdallasgazette.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Henrietta-Lacks.jpg


American Pharmacists Month–Polio Pioneer Dr. Albert Sabin

Contributed by Rachel Peaytt, Class of 2019 & Fall 2016 PHAR 546 Student

Albert Sabin was born on August 26, 1906 in Bialystok, Poland and passed away on March 3, 1993. He immigrated to the United States in 1921 with his family to New York. Sabin received his medical degree in 1931 from Bellevue Hospital and the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London. Soon after, he traveled back to the United States to work.

Sabin began his work on the oral polio vaccine in 1939 after he started at a position as an associate professor at the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation at the University of Cincinnati. He soon formed the Department of Virology and Microbiology at the university, and this was the outlet, resources, and system of colleagues that he had to do his research on the vaccine. In 1958 and 1959, the vaccine that Sabin created was tested in millions of people. His formula was an oral vaccine that used a live but weakened version of the poliovirus, also known as an attenuated vaccine. The vaccine came into commercial use in 1961.

Albert Sabin’s polio vaccine was the second polio vaccine available to the United States. The first was an injectable vaccine of the inactivated poliovirus developed by Jonas Salk, MD in 1953. The polio epidemic in America was most serious from the 1940s to the late 1950s until the first polio vaccine was developed followed by Sabin’s oral vaccine. Polio paralyzed and/or took the lives of thousands of children and other people each year. Epidemics occurred around summertime and into early fall with no idea on how the virus was transmitted. Years later, it was found that the virus thrived in the heat and was transmitted by large bodies of water where people congregated, like swimming pools in the summer.

Salk’s vaccine was an injectable and inactivated vaccine that was 80-90% effective. Polio was still not eradicated after the administration of the Salk vaccine although it was proven “safe, effective, and potent” and saved thousands of lives still. It was not until after Sabin’s vaccine was developed and administered that polio was almost completely eradicated in the United States. Salk’s vaccine was entirely phased out by 1968. The oral polio vaccine was more beneficial since volunteers instead of trained professionals that had to inject it could easily give it. The Sabin vaccine was also relatively inexpensive. Both of these factors were paramount when it came to administering the vaccine to people in developing countries. Sabin’s vaccine was also safe, effective, and induced long-lasting immunity to all three types of poliovirus as opposed to Salk’s vaccine. Salk’s injectable vaccine only stimulated systemic immunity, instead of mucosal immunity, and therefore did not interrupt the transmission of poliovirus. Salk’s vaccine protected individuals from the symptoms that occurred with the virus only. This was the reason for its less than perfect effectiveness that still allowed transmission. Sabin’s vaccine, on the other hand, provided protection from person to person transmission and eventually led to the eradication of the poliovirus in the United States by 1979.

Worked Cited

Klein, C. (2014, February 28). 8 Things You May Not Know About Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-jonas-salk-and-the-polio-vaccine 

Polio Place. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://www.polioplace.org/people/albert-b-sabin-md


UCSOP American Pharmacist Month Blog Series

During October 2016, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy students enrolled in our History of Pharmacy elective will contribute blog postings on vaccine development and historical figures and pioneers in medicine and pharmacy who helped make immunizations against disease possible. The posts will approach the subject of vaccine development from a historical perspective but will also share how groundbreaking developments of the past, impact prevention of disease in the 21st Century.

The course, led by Dr. Susan Gardner, assistant professor and assistant dean for professional and student affairs, focuses on the study of t medical and pharmaceutical research and development from the ancient times to the current day.

Questions about the course or the month’s blog postings can be directed to Dr. Gardner via email: susangardner@ucwv.edu.

We also encourage you to visit: http://www.historyofvaccines.org/node/2281 if you are interested in learning more regarding the history of vaccines.


UC Pharmacy Student Advocates for Childhood Immunizations Worldwide

Around the world, a child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease.

shot at life As the SNPhA Operation Immunization Chair, I was introduced to the Shot@Life campaign founded by the United Nations Foundation. It aimed at increasing the awareness for the use of polio, pneumonia, rotavirus, and measles vaccines in children less than 5 years in developing countries. After conducting a fundraiser here at UCSOP in November 2015, I was able to join the 2016 Shot@Life Summit in Washington, D.C. from February 29th to March 2nd. This was a great honor for me to be part of such a great cause.

Christelle Nagatchou, Class of 2018 with Senator Joe Machin and SNPhA in Washington, D.C.

In D.C., I learned even more about the need for vaccines worldwide and became an advocate for the campaign. I had the privilege to support it through enforcing my role as a future pharmacist and health care provider at the Capitol by meeting with West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s staff and Senator Joe Manchin and his staff. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything as it taught me so much about advocating in what we believe in. I strongly encourage all future pharmacists to be involved in promoting the advancement of our profession!

You can learn more about Shot@Life at: http://www.shotatlife.org/

Contributed by: Christelle Ngatchou, Class of 2018