Cara Brock (left) and Abby Kahaleh
These awards bring recognition and new distinction to both our pharmacy program and its faculty as leaders in educating tomorrow's pharmacists. Melissa Hogan

Two faculty members who helped found Roosevelt University’s College of Pharmacy (COP) in Schaumburg are making great strides as state of Illinois pharmacists.

Cara Brock, a resident of Elk Grove Village, Illinois and assistant professor of clinical sciences and chair of academic and teaching excellence at COP, has been named 2017 Illinois Pharmacist of the Year by the Illinois Pharmacists Association (IPhA).  

Abby Kahaleh, a resident of Schaumburg, Illinois and COP associate professor of pharmacy administration, has been selected a  2017 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists (ICHP).

“These awards bring recognition and new distinction to both our pharmacy program and its faculty as leaders in educating tomorrow’s pharmacists. We are extremely proud and optimistic about the future of our program and our students,” said Melissa Hogan, dean of Roosevelt’s College of Pharmacy. 

Both joined Roosevelt University as founding faculty members of COP, which has graduated more than 250 pharmacists since the unique three-year PharmD program, which is the only one of its kind in Illinois, first began admitting students in July 2011.

An expert in end-of-life care for patients and their families, Brock was recognized as Illinois Pharmacist of the Year, an award given annually since 1950 to one pharmacist exhibiting the highest level of professionalism and engagement, in part for groundbreaking work in the pain management and palliative care fields.

“I am pleased to be recognized for all of my efforts as an Illinois pharmacist,” said Brock, a native of Oak Park, Illinois, who first became a licensed pharmacist in 2003.

Among her accomplishments, Brock has held a faculty placement as a clinical pharmacist for a hospice program at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village. She has published articles about the effectiveness of culinary grief therapy and treatment of symptoms at the end of life, an approach that is used today at the College of DuPage to help people cope with the loss of loved ones. Brock also has developed an elective course for Roosevelt students who learn how to manage pain and care for patients in hospice settings. She a founding member and trustee of the Society of Palliative Care Pharmacists, a national organization representing approximately 150 pharmacists working in pain management and palliative care, a relatively new area of practice for U.S. pharmacists.

“I believe the pharmacist has a significant role to play in all aspects of patient care, including end-of-life care for patients and their families,” said Brock.

A pharmacist for more than two decades, Kahaleh was recognized as the state’s leading volunteer pharmacist in 2017 for her work in engaging students in public health research as well as policy advocacy on behalf of pharmacists in Springfield.

“Dr. Kahaleh has been extremely helpful as a professor and mentor,” said Roosevelt third-year pharmacy student Alex Heinz, who earlier this year received a 2017 U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) award for research he did in Kahaleh’s class on the opioid painkiller, oxycodone. That research recently was accepted for publication in ICHP’s KeePosted. “She encourages students to explore beyond their realm of studies and to put into practice in the real world what we have learned in the classroom.”

An advisor and vice president for the Polish-American Pharmacy Association, Kahaleh annually participates with Roosevelt pharmacy students on a trip to Springfield where they meet with legislators on issues of importance in the state’s pharmacy arena. She also took part with a team of student pharmacists in a day of service on Sept. 14 at Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus.

“One of my goals has been to encourage students to become involved in the field, not only to help others, but also to achieve their own recognition as promising pharmacists,” Kahaleh said.

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