Retirees leave lasting imprint on HSC College of Pharmacy
This month, three College of Pharmacy professors are retiring, but their contributions to the college have made a permanent imprint on the college’s success and culture.
“I was really proud to be a part of it from the very beginning,” said Lawrence Cohen, PharmD, Professor of Pharmacotherapy. Dr. Cohen, who was the third person hired to start the College of Pharmacy in 2012 as Associate Dean for Clinical Programs, said it was no small feat to get the college up and running.
“We learned the meaning of the term ‘all hands on deck’,” he said. “Along with Founding Dean Mike Jacobson and Emeritus Provost Tom Yorio, we appeared before the ACPE Board for approval to begin recruiting faculty and developing our curriculum; it was a very exciting time.”
Iok-Hou Pang, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, came out of retirement as a pharmaceutical industry executive to join the college at the request of the then Provost, Dr. Tom Yorio. Dr. Pang was named Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, which began his academic career.
“Just like witnessing successes of one’s first born, the commencement ceremony of our inaugural class was one of my most memorable moments,” said Dr. Pang .
And leading the college’s accreditation effort was Eliot Slovin, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who also came out of his first pharmaceutical industry retirement to help launch Texas’s ninth pharmacy school, at the time.
Receiving the initial accreditation for the College of Pharmacy was Dr. Slovin’s most memorable moment during his tenure. “Some may have thought that I was a nudnik, a pest, during the two years that I was involved with the effort, but I think we were all relieved and overjoyed when the letter came in that we had passed with flying colors,” he said.
A passion for psychiatric care
Dr. Cohen’s academic career began as a teacher for the Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency at the University of Southern California and has spanned more than 40 years.
“Mentoring students, trainees and colleagues in career development has truly been a highlight of my career,” he said.
Early on, Dr. Cohen was involved in HSC’s development of the Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPE) program and Seniors Assisting in Geriatric Education (SAGE) program.
“Working at UCLA Medical Center as a Nursing Assistant and ECG Technician prepared me well for service throughout my career as a pharmacist member of interprofessional healthcare teams and understanding how to communicate and collaborate with other health professionals.”
“He was a visionary for the college and has been a great advocate for our students,” added Marc Fleming, PhD, MPH, RPh, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacotherapy.
“Dr. Cohen has been involved in national pharmacy organizations and held many leadership positions that provided us with a spotlight on the national level,” he said. “He is a champion for pharmacy and has been a pioneer of psychiatric pharmacy for decades. His many contributions to the HSC will be missed.”
Dr. Cohen said his involvement and leadership roles for many professional societies helped shape who he has become as a health professional. He developed a strong professional network and was invited to speak at pharmacy and psychiatric conferences all over the world.
Recently, Dr. Cohen was recognized for his service to the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and currently serves as the APhA-APRS Clinical Sciences Section Chair for the American Pharmacists Association.
“Truth be known, I don’t think I will be slowing down much,” Dr. Cohen said about retirement. “I’ll definitely miss interacting with students and trainees on a regular basis.”
He plans to continue teaching occasionally and staying involved in the profession.
“I may play a little golf, go fly fishing more often, and volunteer more often in a variety of ways,” he said.
A man of many talents
In addition to being internationally known for glaucoma research, Dr. Pang is known for his many talents – watercolor painting, photography, writing poetry – but he will be remembered for his vast contributions to the college.
“As founding Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr. Pang was instrumental in building the diverse and highly successful group of faculty we have today,” said Kyle Emmitte, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “He worked tirelessly to ensure that faculty had the necessary resources to not only be productive, but also to thrive.”
Dr. Emmitte added that Dr. Pang’s leadership style was characterized by thoughtfulness, wisdom, and a consistent willingness to put the needs of others before h is own.
“I truly enjoyed and will miss most working with our passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated colleagues, as well as interacting with our energetic a nd full-of-excitement students,” said Dr. Pang, who was voted 2020 Professor of the Year by first-year pharmacy students.
“He left an indelible mark on the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and HSC College of Pharmacy that will remain for years to come,” said Dr. Emmitte.
Although Dr. Pang may continue to help with some teaching at HSC and as an academic editor and reviewer for several journals, he is looking forward to retirement.
“My wife and I have booked an around-the-world-in-136-days cruise starting Christmas 2021,” he said. “I am also planning to continue my silly hobbies.”
In addition to watercolor painting, Dr. Pang enjoys photography with a few of his photographs winning awards in local art shows. “In the past several years, I have also been publishing Chinese poems and short stories in a newspaper in Macau and a magazine in Taiwan.”
Dr. Pang and his wife are ushers at Casa Manana and plan to continue volunteer work for various church, city, charity and art events.
A connection with students
Over the past seven plus years, Dr. Slovin has been known for his open door policy with students, his caring nature and sense of humor.
“He is known for his commitment to students,” said Dr. Emmitte.
“Dr. Slovin made substantial contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Pharmacy through his role in multiple P1 courses,” he added. “A veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, students always appreciate his ability to connect the classroom material t o the real world.”
Drs. Pang and Slovin worked together for 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry prior to joining the college, and they had both retired. After Dr. Pang joined the college, he reached out to his old colleague in hopes he could convince him to join him.
“I had considered lecturing at the college after retirement, but I had also gone to Washington DC for a possible opportunity,” Dr. Slovin said. “And as time went on, one day Iok-Hou called and asked where I was.
“It kind of surprised me, and I said ‘Walgreens’,” he said laughing. “He asked if I was still in the area, and I said ‘yes ’.”
What began as a two-year commitment stretched to almost eight years.
Dr. Slovin also played a key role in the accreditation process through multiple and sustained contributions to the ACPE self-study process.
“I was the faculty lead on the drive with the input, hard work, and many hours from faculty and staff put into the effort,” he said.
Dr. Slovin said that he will miss most the people in the college. “I will miss interacting and learning about other cultures, a nd I will miss the students,” he said. “I strongly believe that they have kept me thinking and keeping me young.”
He plans for the retirement to stick this time. He and his wife have a cruise planned for next year that starts in the Fjords and travels down the Rhine.
Also, with two granddaughters and another grandchild on the way, they plan to visit them in Chicago and Toronto and spend more time with their growing family.