pharmacy professor

Pharmacy professor Robert Talbert was named The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s 2014 top educator for his contributions to pharmacy education Tuesday. 

The Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award is considered the highest recognition for an individual’s excellence in pharmacy education and consists of an inscribed Steuben Owl trophy and a $12,500 prize, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. In July, Talbert will be honored during the association’s 2014 annual meeting in Grapevine. He will be the second pharmacy professor from the University to receive the award since Charles Walton in 1987.

Talbert said he is honored to receive the award and that it reflects not only him but his colleagues at the College of Pharmacy as well.

“They have set the bar so high that everyone performs at such an exceptional level,” Talbert said. “It really means that we have one of the best teaching operations in the entire country.”

Pharmacy professor Karen Rascati said she is pleased Talbert won the Chalmers award.

“There’s always exceptional candidates for [the award] that have long careers in colleges of pharmacy,” Rascati said. “It shows that Dr. Talbert has made a significant contribution to his area, and it’s such an honor that the University of Texas has someone of that caliber.”

Talbert, who works in the Pharmacotherapy division, said he hoped students within the college develop a self-established enthusiasm for learning and want to continue to learn.

“Pharmacy is a rapidly evolving profession,” Talbert said. “There are literally between 20 and 40 new drugs improved every year, and if one doesn’t continue to learn, [they] fall behind very rapidly. What I would hope from our graduates is they do continue to excel in practice. They do this by continually expanding their knowledge base and applying to provide the best patient care possible.”

One of Talbert’s former students is College of Pharmacy dean M. Lynn Crismon. Crismon said Talbert taught him as a post graduate student in a pharmacy doctorate program offered jointly with the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. He said he requested to be a student on Talbert’s acute care internal medicine rotation at University Hospital in San Antonio.

“I knew that he would challenge me to learn, to solve patient care problems and to become the very best clinical pharmacist that I possibly could be,” Crismon said. “My career was positively influenced by him as well as by other outstanding clinical pharmacy faculty at UT, from whom I had the opportunity to learn and develop clinical competence during my advanced clinical pharmacy education and residency training.”

Crismon said he believes Talbert is continuing a culture of excellence cultivated in the College of Pharmacy over the past 40 years.

“These types of awards always have a positive influence on institutional culture,” Crismon said. “Having one of our faculty recognized in this manner motivates faculty and students to perform at their highest level. Dr. Talbert receiving this award will further stimulate the culture of excellence that we value so much.”

A pharmacy professor earned a $10,000 award for his research that will help maximize the efficiency of pharmaceutical drugs. The International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council of the Americas Foundation presented James McGinity with the Ralph Shangraw Memorial Award at a national pharmaceutical conference last week. The council selected McGinity out of 20 nominees. McGinity said he has worked on this research for the 30 years he has been at UT. Although his work focuses mainly on material sciences, the council recognized him for his work on excipients, which are the parts of a drug other than the active ingredient. Some examples include the coloring, ink and capsules essential to the drugs. Every drug product contains excipients, said McGinity, who became interested in studying them more than 30 years ago when he was a graduate student in Australia. McGinity’s research focused specifically on the different ways drugs enter the body, whether taken orally or absorbed through the skin. “Excipients you would use in a trans-film that you would apply to skin would be completely different than what you would find in the dosage form,” McGinity said. The FDA regulates the active ingredients of drugs, but there is no federal organization that regulates excipients. The council established guidelines for excipients because they are critical for the drug to work, said Kim Beals, executive director of the council. Beals said excipients are responsible for making sure the drug dissolves in the correct place of the body, for example, the intestinal track instead of the stomach. “[McGinity’s] credentials are incredible,” Beals said. “We are really trying to generate more research in excipients.” M. Lynn Crismon, dean of the UT College of Pharmacy, said McGinity’s expertise helps pharmacy students to be equipped with knowledge of the latest technology in pharmaceutical research. “He is one of the leading world experts in excipient research,” Crismon said. “He is highly sought for his abilities in this area.”