Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, PharmD, MS, FACC: A Pioneer in Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research
Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, PharmD, MS, FACC, understood the importance of the pharmacy profession even before she entered the field. While she was in college, her father suggested that she become a pharmacist. "When he was a young boy, he worked for the local pharmacy delivering medications on his bicycle," explains Cooper-DeHoff. "He always remembered how much respect the pharmacist had from the patients and the physicians, so he thought that it would be a good profession for me." She took her father's advice, which is a decision she is happy with, and says, "I have never looked back."
Cooper-DeHoff received her PharmD from the University of California at San Francisco. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research and Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of Florida, as well as the associate director of the Center for Pharmacogenomics. Much of Cooper-DeHoff's work has focused around the area of cardiovascular medicine and pharmacogenomics of cardiovascular drugs. She has received several state- and federal-funded grants, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study pharmacotherapy and pharmacogenomics as it relates to antihypertensive drugs. She has also successfully published a number of impactful research papers in high-level cardiovascular journals.
A pioneer for pharmacists, Cooper-DeHoff has been an influential member of the ACC and played a crucial role in establishing pharmacists as a membership category within the ACC. In 2010, she became the first pharmacist to move from a Cardiac Care Associate member and receive the distinction of Fellow of the ACC. Most recently, she received the Distinguished Associate Award during ACC.15 – an award she is particularly honored to receive as a pharmacist member of the College. "I am proud to be an active member of the College in an era when the College has so broadly and publicly embraced team-based care as the way to optimize care for our cardiology patients," she says. "I encourage my colleagues working in the area of cardiovascular medicine to consider joining the ACC. The College has embraced pharmacists as integral team members who provide important care to patients and bring unique expertise to the bedside," she adds.
Cooper-DeHoff credits two mentors as having a profound impact on her career, including Carl Pepine, MD, MACC, who got her started in cardiology research. "Under his mentorship I received an NIH career development award and have published many papers from our collaborative research efforts in the area of hypertension and coronary artery disease," she explains. Another mentor, Julie Johnson, PharmD, taught her about antihypertensive pharmacogenomics and helped guide her to lead an international consortium on antihypertensive pharmacogenomics that has 31 different cohorts representing 10 countries and three continents. "Both Carl and Julie taught me that I should never give up and that you can always learn from the critical reviews we get in all aspects of our career," she adds.
When Cooper-DeHoff isn't busy doing research or advocating for pharmacist members, she enjoys reading fiction, exercising, traveling with her husband of 20 years and working with stained glass. "I used to run a business called 'Stained Glass with Class' until my work life just got too busy and I could not keep up with the business – so I've put that on the back burner until I retire."
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