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Lamy Center Announces Transitions in Leadership

Drs. Nicole Brandt, Linda Simoni-Wastila, and Chanel Whittaker will continue the Center’s legacy of improving drug therapy for older adults.

By: Malissa Carroll
Friday, September 2, 2016

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Following the announcement that Bruce Stuart, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and former executive director of the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging, will retire from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy at the end of this year, Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCPP, CGP, FASCP, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the School, has been named as the Center’s new executive director. Chanel Whittaker, PharmD, BCPS, CGP, FASCP associate professor in PPS, and Linda Simoni-Wastila, BSPharm, MSPH, PhD, professor in PHSR, have also been named as director of education and training programs and director of research and policy for the Center, respectively.

“The School of Pharmacy is eternally grateful to Dr. Stuart for his nearly 20 years of dedication and contributions to the Lamy Center,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School. “Because of his extraordinary efforts, the Center has become the focal point for research, education, and service in geriatric pharmacotherapy at the School. Dr. Brandt is a nationally known leader for her work in geriatric pharmacotherapy, and she brings a wealth of experience leading numerous clinical, practice, policy, and educational initiatives in the field to her new position. With her knowledge and unique skillset, I am confident that she will uphold the Center’s legacy of improving drug therapy for older adults.”

Brandt received her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the School of Pharmacy in 1997. She completed a residency in geriatric pharmacotherapy at the School in 1998, and joined the faculty in 1999. Before being named its executive director, she served as director of education and training programs for the Lamy Center, where she was instrumental in expanding the geriatric pharmacy training opportunities available at the School through the PharmD program’s geriatrics and palliative care pathway, the PGY-2 Geriatric Pharmacy Residency Program, and as a co-investigator with Johns Hopkins University on a geriatric workforce enhancement program for primary care providers. She also currently serves as president of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, where she collaborates with a variety of national organizations to improve medication use and safety in older adults.

“Dr. Stuart has been a mentor in my professional development for many years, so it is a tremendous honor to succeed him as executive director of the Lamy Center,” says Brandt. “It is also humbling to know that the leadership at our School has bestowed in me the confidence to lead the Center. My passion for promoting optimal care for older adults continues to drive my career, and I know that my experiences as both a practitioner and educator have prepared me well to serve at this level. I am excited to continue the Center’s lasting legacy of improving drug therapy for older adults through new and innovative research, education, and clinical initiatives.”

Whittaker now steps into Brandt’s former role as director of education and training programs for the Lamy Center. She received her PharmD from Rutgers University and completed both a managed care pharmacy practice residency with Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States and a primary care specialty residency at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She also completed a fellowship with the Stanford Geriatric Education Center in ethnogeriatrics. She specializes in geriatric pharmacotherapy, chronic kidney disease, and health communication. Whittaker has practiced in a number of ambulatory and community settings, where she provided services to older adults in Baltimore and surrounding areas. She also currently serves as director for the PGY-2 Geriatric Pharmacy Residency Program at the University of Maryland.

“A crucial part of improving medication-related outcomes among older adults is educating and training not only the next generation of health care professionals, but also families and caregivers to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely manage medicines in  this vulnerable population,” says Whittaker. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve as the director of education and training programs for the Lamy Center, and am excited to continue expanding and building on the Center’s existing educational programming partnerships to provide health care professionals and members of the community with up-to-date and accessible information on the best practices in geriatric pharmacotherapy.”

In addition to being appointed the new director of research for the Lamy Center, Simoni-Wastila was named the School’s Parke-Davis Chair in Geriatric Pharmacotherapy. She received her doctorate in health policy from Brandeis University. Her research focuses on a wide range of issues related to prescription drug policy, including prescription drug abuse and diversion, psychopharmacological medication use and outcomes in older adults, the intended and unintended impacts of policy on access and health outcomes, and the comparative safety and effectiveness of medication regimens in vulnerable populations.

“The Lamy Center is renowned for disseminating new scientific knowledge with practical application in improving access to and outcomes of pharmaceutical care for older adults,” says Simoni-Wastila. “The Center challenges established notions and strives to use traditional research methods in new and innovative ways to continue improving medication use and outcomes for older adults. I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity to serve as its director of research and further advance the remarkable work being done by its faculty and staff.”

Named in honor of Peter Lamy, MSc, PhD, former Parke-Davis Chair in Geriatric Pharmacotherapy at the School and internationally renowned pioneer in geriatric pharmacotherapy, the Lamy Center is a first-of-its-kind center dedicated to improving drug therapy for older adults, producing new scientific knowledge with practical applications for improving the outcomes of pharmaceutical care for older adults, and providing information on best practices in geriatric pharmacotherapy. The Center has garnered more than $10 million in funding from a variety of federal, state, and local agencies, as well as industry, to fund numerous projects on aging-related issues. Producing nearly 150 peer-reviewed publications in the last five years, it has established a national reputation for high quality research, particularly in the areas of Medicare drug policy, nursing home pharmacy, and medication quality and adherence in elderly patients with chronic disease.

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