Honoring Exceptional Pharmacy Leaders: The 2018 Alumni Awards

The second annual USC School of Pharmacy Alumni Awards Gala, held on Sunday, April 29 at USC’s Town and Gown, recognized eight exceptional leaders for their contributions to the pharmacy profession.

Meet the recipients of the 2018 USC School of Pharmacy Alumni Awards.

   The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Irv Sitkoff, PharmD ’54, who ran Florence Owl Rexall Drug in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood of South Los Angeles from 1962 to 2002. Now in his sixth decade as a pharmacist, he continues to work at Eisner Pediatric and Family Pharmacy, a federally qualified nonprofit community health center in downtown Los Angeles.
The Innovation and Pharmacoeconomics Award was bestowed upon Craig Cheetham, PharmD ’78, MS Pharmacoeconomics and Policy ’97, a research professor at Western University Health Sciences College of Pharmacy in Pomona, Calif. From 1999 to 2016, he was a research scientist, with a focus on the safety of cardiovascular drugs and the safety of vaccines in pregnancy, at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, where he mentored numerous master’s and doctoral students from the USC School of Pharmacy.
Susan McCune, MD, certificate in Regulatory Science, received the Innovation in Regulatory Science Award. McCune is director of the Office of Pediatric Therapeutics in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She is board-certified in pediatrics and neonatal/perinatal medicine, which she practiced for 15 years at Johns Hopkins and Children’s National Medical Center, while also pursuing research into adrenergic receptor ontogeny and expression in models of newborn brain injury at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The Young Alumni Award was presented to Gustavus A. Aranda Jr., PharmD ’04, MS Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy ’06, Group Director for the U.S. Field Health Economics Outcomes Research (HEOR) Team at Bristol-Meyers Squibb. He leads a highly skilled team of HEOR scientists with a strong combination of HEOR, healthcare policy, clinical and payer experiences. He has remained involved with the school since graduation, including acting as preceptor for a trip to his native Belize, where student pharmacists provided health education and screenings.
Lisa Gunther Lum, PharmD ’86, received the Community Service Award. In 2016, she retired after 34 years in various positions at Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Regional Pharmacy Offices. She is now medication safety officer at Adventist Health Glendale. She serves as an alumni advisor to Lambda Kappa Sigma. The school named her Preceptor of the Year in 2015, and Lambda Kappa Sigma Alumnus of the Year annually since 2010.
The Dean’s Medallion Award went to Dong Koo (D.K.) Kim, founder of the D.K. Kim Foundation. The foundation made a significant gift to the school’s International Center for Regulatory Science in 2016 to create the D.K. Kim International Service Fund to support clinical service programs that train pharmacy students to provide care to patients in underserved areas of developing countries. It also established the D.K. Kim Summer Scholars Program Fund to advance regulatory science internationally.
Shushma Patel, MBA, RPh, received the Honorary Alumni Award. Owner of the independent pharmacy Aspire Rx in Montebello, Calif., she began her career as an intern at Sav-On Pharmacy and later became divisional pharmacy manager at Albertsons. She has also held corporate positions at CVS Caremark. Patel is passionate about community service and the opportunities that healthcare reform presents for clinically minded pharmacists in community settings.
Jason (Jiansheng) Wan, PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences ’91, was presented with the Research Achievement Award. Founder and CEO of Sinotherapeutics, Wan built the company into a fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company in China, with full research and development and commercial-manufacturing capabilities for high-barrier, high-value generic products. The company has filed numerous products with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its Chinese counterpart, and has received two product approvals from the U.S. FDA.

View more photos from the event here.