Professor Tracy L Skaer retired on January 2 from the Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences after nearly 28 years of service. She will continue her affiliation with WSU as emeritus faculty.

Skaer is a WSU alumnus (B.Pharm.,1985) and received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree summa cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1990. She began her career with WSU in 1991 on the Pullman campus and moved to the Spokane campus in August 2013 when the College officially moved its headquarters.

“I’ve had a full career at WSU and am looking forward to my next adventure,” said Skaer

TEACHING

At WSU, Skaer taught a wide range of courses and topics including wellness and preventative medicine, parenteral products, top-200 medications, pain management, anxiety disorders, complementary and alternative medicine, over-the-counter medications, systemic lupus erythematosus, and fibromyalgia to name a few. For the last several years she served as an instructor of record for the public health and emergency preparedness course that included a new active classroom flood disaster simulation exercise this past fall semester. She has also served as a pharmacy preceptor, mentor, and faculty advisor.

During her career, Skaer has witnessed the evolution of the College. One the most significant changes came in 1999, when the College, in response to changes in the standards for pharmacy education, upgraded their curriculum to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree phasing out its Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm.) program. Skaer was actively involved in this transition while serving as the Assistant Dean for Curriculum Design and Evaluation from 1998 to 2003. She led the College through a successful Accreditation during this transition as well.

“WSU is dedicated to creating a top-tiered curriculum to meet the evolving needs of our profession,” said Skaer. “I was thrilled to be a part of this ground-breaking transition for our program.”

Skaer was the recipient of three Teacher of the Year awards from the College and a five-time finalist for the WSU Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. Skaer also served as the Grand Council Deputy to the Kappa Psi Beta Pi Pharmaceutical Fraternity and helped the Chapter successfully transition from Pullman to the Spokane campus.

“Teaching was my primary love during my career,” says Skaer. “I will always cherish my time with the students and look forward to seeing them out in the community.”

RESEARCH

Skaer’s research focused on medication compliance, women’s health, mental health comorbidities, sleep disorders, chronic pain, pharmacoeconomics, and pharmacoepidemiology. Her research was funded by grants from pharmaceutical industry, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, State of Washington Office of the Attorney General, and the WSU Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program. During her career at WSU, she published 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 6 book chapters, and 116 abstracts.

In 2007, Skaer completed a sabbatical in the area of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. She was one of the first pharmacists to complete the MBSR traineeship program and successfully incorporated mindfulness-based interventions into her scholarly activities.

“Polypharmacy is a major problem and medications often don’t provide adequate relief for conditions such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and sleep disorders,” said Skaer. “The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) such as mindfulness, acupuncture, and yoga have been shown to improve outcomes in many chronic disease states. The US opioid epidemic has created a great need for alternative treatments for chronic pain sufferers. As an MBSR practitioner, I can provide patients with alternative methods to combat their pain and reduce their reliance on opioids.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

Dr. Skaer plans to take some time off to recuperate from the rigors of faculty life. She is looking forward to traveling with her husband, Brad Byers, and spending more quality time with her family, friends, and pets.