December 15, 2020
In this issue:

End-of-Year Fundraising: Student Emergency Aid

When COVID-19 hit, it became apparent that the pandemic would create unique challenges for our students that we had not anticipated. One of those was financial insecurities. In April, PharmDawgs far and wide rose to meet these challenges through their philanthropic generosity. More than 100 alumni and friends contributed over $21,000 to provide emergency funding to our students. During the course of the last eight months, the College of Pharmacy has been able to help countless students facing situations of financial duress.

As the pandemic lingers on, our students have more needs than ever before. Our faculty and staff are working diligently to identify multiple sources of support in order to meet the basic needs of food, shelter, and the cost of daily living for our students, but we need your help! As you consider your year-end donations, please remember these students.

View the full fundraising appeal here and click here to make a gift.

SHHHH!  Athens PharmDawgs To Raise Funds for Custodial Staff  

One of the greatest joys we can experience during the holiday season and even in this COVID environment is the act of giving, especially to those who deserve special recognition. This holiday season, the CoP family in Athens has the opportunity to celebrate our custodial staff, a six-member group who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make our environment clean, safe, and pleasant. Certainly, COVID has made this more challenging; yet, our custodians have risen to the occasion on our behalf.  Won’t you help us help them this holiday season by providing a financial contribution or gift that will be given to them in a gift bag before we leave for the year?

Sponsored by the Pharmacy Staff Resource Group (PSRG) and the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Organization (PBSO  the PBS graduate student organization), this outreach effort is easy! You can drop by cash, check, or gifts (please remember there are six custodians) to Meagan Watkins, President of PSRG, in the Dean’s Suite, Room 101E, or Mickey Montevideo, PSRG Hospitality and Service Co-Chair, Wilson Room 215A.  OR you can Venmo them at @M-Watkins524 or @Mickey-Montevideo.  PLEASE clearly mark your Venmo donation with “CoP Custodial Gift 20.”  The deadline for contributions is Wednesday, December 16!   Feel free to contact Meagan, Mickey or Guilherme Guimaraes, PBSO president, with any questions or concerns.

Extended campuses:  Please check with your staff/campus leadership to learn of holiday outreach projects your campus is considering.


Faculty, Staff and Students - As you prepare to leave campus for the Winter Break

We hope that everyone enjoys some well-deserved rest and relaxation over the extended holiday break. The post-Thanksgiving cases of COVID-19 are rising in our local community and across the state and nation. We call on all of you to remain vigilant - remember that the practical guidance of social distancing, face covering, and hand hygiene that has helped to keep us safe remains the most potent form of protection for both yourself and others.  Below are some tips to help keep you – and those you love – safe and healthy this holiday season.   

Get a free COVID-19 test:

The most important thing you need to know is whether you are virus-free. The most effective way to determine that is to have a negative COVID-19 test before leaving campus. We are continuing to offer free surveillance testing at the Legion Field site through December 23. The site will be closed on Christmas Eve. Similar to the day prior to Thanksgiving, the University Health Center will provide testing on December 24th. While most test results are received within 24 – 48 hours, results can occasionally take up to 72 hours. Therefore, we recommend that you get tested on or prior to December 21 to ensure that you will have your results before December 25 (Christmas). This is particularly important if you are traveling.  Testing is available at DPH sites throughout the break during their usual hours other than Christmas Day.

If you test positive:

If you receive a positive test result, you will need to isolate in accordance with CDC guidelines. You should not travel. The University of Georgia has set aside nearly 500 rooms to accommodate students from residence halls who have limited options and need to isolate after testing positive or quarantine after being exposed through a close contact. These rooms will be available over the Winter Break and upon our return in January. Upon receiving notification of such cases from DawgCheck, members of the Student Care and Outreach team will reach out to each student to help coordinate housing, food delivery, contact with professors, and other needs.

The University Health Center (UHC) will continue to provide clinical care for students with symptoms as its primary focus while the University is open. Faculty and staff who are symptomatic should seek the advice of their primary care providers in the community, consider a virtual visit through Augusta Health, or contact DPH for testing.


Plan your Winter Break carefully:

In general:

  • You are highly encouraged to get a flu shot if you have not yet done so: CDC Flu Shot Finder.
  • Review any local public health regulations that might apply where you will be traveling.
  • If you are traveling by air, understand the testing requirements that will be required by the airline and/or your destination.
    • We recommend being tested through the UGA surveillance program four days prior to your departure from or return to Athens. Some airlines require testing within 24 hours, so re-check air travel requirements frequently.
  • Plan for 14 days of self-quarantine prior to travel to protect those you may come into contact with, particularly those who are ill or vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • At the very least, self-quarantine after your COVID-19 test to minimize exposure and the chance of infection. The CDC recently revised the definition of close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
  • Travel wisely.
    • Reduce the number of stops on your trip, take a direct flight, and if driving, pack food/snacks for the car.
    • Remain vigilant with social distancing and wear your face covering.
    • Use hand sanitizer liberally on your hands and on touchable surfaces, particularly if you are using any public transit.

Dr. Chu Receives Two Patents for Discoveries

Dr. David Chu, CoP’s Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, recently received two patents, one of which he shares with Dr. Uma Singh, a PBS Research Assistant Professor and a member of the Drug Discovery Center.  The first, U.S. Patent Number 10,536,415, is titled “2'-FLUORO-6'-METHYLENE CARBOCYCLIC NUCLEOSIDES AND METHODS OF TREATING VIRAL INFECTIONS.” The second patent, which he shares with Dr. Singh, is U.S. Patent Number 10,533,008 and titled “SYNTHESIS OF 2'-FLUORO-6'-METHYLENECARBOCYCLIC ADENOSINE (FMCA) AND 2'-FLUORO-6'-METHYLENE CARBOCYCLIC GUANOSINE (FMCG).”  This adds to Dr. Chu’s outstanding list of more that 50 career patents. View the abstracts from the U.S. Patent Office outlining the inventions here. Congratulations on these inventions!

Dr. Shenoy Publishes Article with Dr. Narayanan and PhD Candidate Adil

Dr. Somanath Shenoy, Professor and CET Director - along with Associate Professor Dr. Priya Narayanan and Ph.D. candidate Mir Adil - published an invited review article in the journal Tissue Barriers. The review discusses our current knowledge on cell-cell junction protein complexes, their structure and regulation in various physiological events, organ injuries, inflammation, vascular permeability, cancer, etc. The article can be accessed here.

Dr. Cobran Receives OIBR Rising Star Award Honorable Mention

Dr. Ewan Cobran, Assistant Professor, received an Honorable Mention for the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research Rising Star Award, for which he received $500 in research funds. He was nominated by Drs. Lilian Sattler and Henry Young. Congratulations, Dr. Cobran!

Dr. Hannings in the News

Dr. Ashley Hannings, Experience Programs, has become one of UGA’s leading media expert when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine!  She has been a frequent spokesperson of several news programs, including 11-Alive, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, and CBS46 in Atlanta.  In an interview filed on Friday, December 11, Dr. Hannings discussed the CDC’s emergency approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine distribution.   Earlier in the week, she talked with 11-Alive’s Why Guy, Jerry Carnes, on why the COVID-19 vaccine required two doses. Kudos, Dr. Hannings, on representing the CoP!


Year-End Payroll and Leave Reminders

With the upcoming holiday break, we are providing a reminder about monthly pay-dates in December and other payroll-related items.

1.   Paycheck Dates:

With the implementation of OneUSG Connect in December 2018, Monthly Payroll pay dates all moved to the last business day of each month. The upcoming paycheck date for December, 2020 will fall on Thursday, December 31, 2020.

2.   360 Hour Vacation (Annual) Leave Limit:

While there is no change from previous years, please don't forget that for faculty and staff who accrue vacation (annual) leave, the 360-hour calendar year cap for your vacation balance is still in effect. Any vacation hours over 360 hours will be removed if not utilized by December 31, 2020. December accruals are included in the balance as of December 31, 2020. Although Coronavirus has restricted travel and made it more difficult to take vacation, please consider how you will utilize your leave if you are close to or over the 360-hour calendar year limit for your vacation balance. Please contact Human Resources at if you have any questions.

3.   Consent to Online W-2 delivery:

December 31st is the deadline to consent for electronic W-2 delivery. You only have to sign up once! Consent was not converted from our legacy systems. Login to OneUSG Connect, choose the “Payroll” tile, the “Taxes” tile and then choose “W-2/W-2c Consent”.  If electronic delivery is not chosen by December 31st, the W-2 will be mailed to your home address.

Please contact or 706-542-0202 (option 1) with any questions about these dates.

End-of-Year Payroll Procedures for Pay Period Ending 12/26/2020

  • The Time & Absence Approval Deadline is 12/23/20 at 10am. All Time and Leave must be entered by this time.
    • Kaba Clock and Web Clock employees can continue to clock in/out
    • Estimate Time for Pay From Schedule and Manual Time Entry employees
  • Timesheets cannot be locked but we ask that only adjustments (or employee punches) be made after 12/23 to ensure accurate payroll processing

New Professional Development Program: Engage & Learn

Engage & Learn is a new, campus-wide comprehensive learning and professional development program for staff that will enhance the growth of staff members as they work to advance their careers at the university. The first phase of Engage & Learn consists of the relaunch of the Professional Education Portal (PEP) with an updated look and feel as well as the following features:

  • On-demand professional development courses through LinkedIn Learning and curated playlists on special topics and skills.
  • Completion badges.
  • Mobile compatibility.
  • Supervisor dashboards and new reporting features.
  • PEP help videos and guides.

Future phases of Engage & Learn will feature an annual Engage & Learn conference, new professional development programming, a professional development grants program, enhanced talent management, manager toolkits, a revamped onboarding experience and a staff mentoring program.

To learn more about these new offerings, watch this one-minute video about the updated Professional Education Portal. You can also learn more at 

Holiday Spirit Week

It's Holiday Spirit Week! Join in for daily fun and merriment! See the below flyers for more details. Submit your photos to Meagan Watkins daily!

Drop in to connect daily from 3-4pm! Join the Zoom here. (Passcode: J7f1Bi) Pictured below is just some of the fun from yesterday's drop in... don't miss today's! View pictures from yesterday's cookie happy half hour here.

And don't forget to send us photos of your silly socks and shoes today! Guess to whom the below festive feet belong...

(If you guessed Dean Kelly Smith, you are correct!)
Training Students in Addiction Pharmacy is Dr. Norton’s Lasting Legacy
Dr. Merrill Norton credits his mentor, Dr. Douglas Talbott M.D., the founder of Talbott Recovery in Atlanta, for instilling a teaching philosophy that he applies to this day: “See One, Do One, Teach One.” This adage, coined in 1890 by Dr. William Stewart Halsted who taught surgical residents at John’s Hopkins Hospital, basically prescribes a method of teaching in which a student is taught a process or skill, actually performs the process on his/her own, and then applies this new-found knowledge by teaching others. “This makes for independent learners, who in turn, become critical thinkers and listeners,” explained Dr. Norton, Clinical Associate Professor in CAP, who will retire January 1, after more than 14 years at CoP.

A 1973 alumnus of the College, Merrill returned to UGA in 2006 for many reasons, one of which was to earn his Doctor of Pharmacy, which he did in 2008. Another compelling draw – to develop a curriculum for his professional passion of addiction pharmacy. Considered a national expert in the field, Merrill frequently is asked to speak all over the country on the subject. Along with numerous other credentials, Merrill is a Certified Addiction Counselor II, and his specific areas of expertise include: addiction, psychiatric and pain management medications; addiction counseling and treatment modalities; psychopharmacology of psychotropic medications; and pain management of the addicted patient.
“The field of addiction pharmacy is so complex. It is critical that our students not only learn about this critical component of pharmacy, but that they have practical and experiential training as well,” he said. “Collaborating with my colleagues and this College, I have worked diligently to assure that our students have been afforded these opportunities for learning and training.”
Dr. Henry Young, Interim Department Head for CAP, was quick to offer praises for the retiring Merrill. “One of the many things I’ve always admired about Dr. Norton is his unbridled passion… passion for his students…passion for his chosen profession….passion for his family. “When Merrill says or does anything, he does so with conviction and a sense of purpose.  And his students, as well as the College are all the better for it.”  
Enjoy reading about Merrill’s passion for his students and how his legacy will be felt at this College for years to come.
When did you start at the College?
I started working at the college as an adjunct clinical assistant professor in November 2006. Just prior to that appointment, I was as an addiction pharmacy consultant working with national treatment programs with the management of addicted patients who were experiencing severe mental health and pain management issues. My mentor, Dr. Douglas Talbott M.D., had given me the instructions, “see one, do one, teach one” as an addiction pharmacy expert. He wanted me to teach other pharmacists about the disease of addiction and how to treat it.
Why were you interested in joining the college?
I had a couple of reasons for wanting to join the college. The first one was to obtain my Pharm.D. degree and the other was to develop addiction pharmacy curriculum for pharmacy schools. I also was very interested in getting season football tickets for my beloved Georgia Bulldawgs!!!!
What positions did you serve in at the College?  
Temporary clinical assistant professor, clinical assistant professor, and clinical associate professor.
Who was a mentor or special person for you at the College of Pharmacy?
I have had several mentors while at the college. The first was Dr. Randall Tackett, who encouraged me to come to the college to teach. Drs. Bill Pope, Bill Spruill, and Susan Fagan were instrumental in helping me get a teaching position and were very helpful to me in the early days of my academic career. Henry Cobb Ph.D. became my day-to-day mentor as I continued my academic research in studying risk factors for addiction in student pharmacists. All of these individuals were tremendous in their encouragement for me to pursue an academic career.
What was your most indelible memory of the College?
I have several indelible memories while at the college. The first is winning an Emmy for my work on a documentary about prescription drug abuse while I was precepting students at the Athens Area Commencement Center (AACC). Another memory was becoming the major professor for two Ph.D. students, April Brown and Samah Al-Shatnawi, which was such a labor of love. The final memory is my involvement on the College of Pharmacy Wellness Committee, which gave me the opportunity to watch students overcome their substance abuse issues and continue their pharmacy education to graduation.

What was your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job was working with our students on their APPE rotations at the Athens Area Commencement Center—to teach my passion to the next generation of pharmacists—what a treat!!!! I watched so many of them literally change their negative attitudes towards working with substance use disordered patient to developing a desire to help patients recover. Amazing stuff!!!!
What is your lasting legacy at the College?

My desire is that the addiction pharmacy curriculum that I help develop will continue to be taught at the level of importance that will be necessary for future pharmacists to be effective in America’s drug epidemic. Pharmacists need more education on substance use disorders in these desperate times of COVID-19.
What will you miss the most?

I will miss the students’ eagerness to want to become helpful practitioners. I also will miss coming to the college and being connected to some of the best pharmacy practitioners and researchers in the state and nation. I have always said that I will be a student forever and my colleagues at UGA CoP have helped me accomplish that goal by teaching and showing me many new concepts and treatments in today’s pharmacy. Thank you all for showing the best that pharmacy academia has to offer.
What do you plan to do in retirement?  

My plan for retirement is to go back to my consulting role a couple days a week for two weeks out of the month. The rest of my time, I plan to oversee Carol’s hopefully improving health and play lots of golf.
Dr. Norton’s passion for his students is evident, as shown in these group photos (taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
PharmDawg Phriends is BACK - just in time for the holidays! We want to see and feature your phestive phurry phriends in the last issue of the Script before the break! Send photos and names of your companions, all decked out, to Lillian Ballance.

Meet Dr. Michael Bartlett's new phurry phriends below! On the left is Apollo, a three-month-old full Doberman. On the right is Sokka, a six-month-old half Doberman and half fox terrier.
This Week
For a full list of student events, view the DSAC Calendar.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT WEEK -  Daily themes listed below.
Drop in daily from 3-4pm via Zoom. Share photos to Meagan Watkins.

Silly Sock/Footwear Day


Ugly Sweater Day

Pharmacy Staff Representative Group | 2:30-3pm

Crazy Mask/Head Gear Day
Virtual Bingo at 3pm!

FRIDAY 12/18

Cozy Flannel and Jeans Day
Deck Your Door Contest Winner Announced!