Beringer Named Chair of Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Paul Beringer, PharmD, has been appointed chair of the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy, effective Dec. 1, 2017. He has served as interim chair of the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy since Feb. 15.

As a practitioner, scholar, educator and researcher, Beringer brings robust experience to the position. His clinical and translational investigations focus on advancing pharmacotherapy for cystic fibrosis (CF) to improve the quality of life for patients with this debilitating genetic disorder that results in progressive loss of lung function and shortened lifespan.

“The school is fortunate to have someone of Dr. Beringer’s caliber in this vital role,” says Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of the USC School of Pharmacy and the John Stauffer Dean’s Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences. “His leadership in the study and treatment of cystic fibrosis has fueled knowledge and improved care for people with the disease. He also is an extraordinary mentor to students and junior faculty, which will be invaluable to both the department and the school as a whole as we look to the future.”

A 1990 graduate of the USC School of Pharmacy, Beringer completed a residency in clinical pharmacy practice and a specialty residency in clinical pharmacokinetics at the University of California at San Francisco. He joined the USC faculty in 1992, beginning as a practitioner at the newly opened Keck Hospital (then called University Hospital).

Beringer’s involvement in CF care began two decades ago, when he oversaw the antibiotic therapy for patients hospitalized for treatment of acute pulmonary exacerbations (APEs). As new treatments emerged to manage this lung disease, his practice expanded to ambulatory care with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation- accredited adult CF program at USC. As the CF team’s medication expert, he ensured patients’ access to guideline-recommended therapies, provided patient education and monitored responses to therapies with the goal of improving lung function and reducing the frequency of APEs.

Since 2001, he has held a joint appointment as associate professor of clinical pharmacy and associate professor of clinical medicine with the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He also serves as associate director of research for the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center at the Keck School, which is implementing a transitions-of-care program to ensure that patients discharged from the hospital receive the appropriate medications and instructions on their correct use. To document the importance of pharmacists to CF teams, the center is analyzing a pilot study that evaluates pharmacists’ impact on clinical outcomes of the adult CF population.

The pharmacy practice innovations he has implemented at the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center have received international and national recognition, including invited speaking engagements at the annual North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference and the European Cystic Fibrosis Society. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation asked him to serve on its outpatient pharmacist grant selection committee, which aims to add more clinical pharmacists to CF clinics nationally. In addition, he serves as a pharmacist mentor selected by the foundation to showcase a model practice for training future CF pharmacists.

Research in his laboratory has focused on the therapeutic potential of rhesus theta defensin-1 (RTD-1), a novel macrocyclic peptide for treating CF. He has been awarded continuous funding from the CF Research Institute and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation over the past six years to conduct in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo studies as the principal investigator to evaluate RTD-1.

“Serving as interim chair of the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy provided me the opportunity to align service and teaching commitments of our clinical faculty to maximize scholarship and expand faculty mentoring,” Beringer says.

Faculty development, hiring and mentoring are among his top priorities for his new role as chair.

Beringer has authored more than 45 journal articles and 20 book chapters on pharmacokinetics, cystic fibrosis and other topics. He edited Basic Clinical Pharmacokinetics, sixth edition (2018), as well as holding editorial positions at AJRCMM, Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Antimicrobial Agenda and Chemotherapy, and the American Journal of the Medical Sciences.

A fellow of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), he helped establish ACCP’s Southern California chapter. He also is past president of the Southern California chapters of the ACCP and the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists.