URI doctor of pharmacy candidate wins top prize in national journal’s essay contest

KINGSTON, R.I. — January 22, 1999 — Holly Mattoes laughed while recalling her mother’s advice about choosing a major when she was an undergraduate at the University of Rhode Island. “I wanted to major in English because I wanted to be a writer, but my mom didn’t want me to,” said the 27-year-old North Providence resident. “She felt that science held many more options.” Almost 10 years have passed since those family conversations. Mattoes, who will earn her doctor of pharmacy degree from URI in May, has won national acclaim for her ability to report on complex scientific research findings through crisp, readable English. U.S. Pharmacist, the Journal for Pharmacists’ Education, awarded Mattoes the top prize for her essay on treating advanced heart failure in the second-annual U.S. Pharmacist Essay Challenge, which was sponsored by Sanofi Pharmaceuticals. Her essay was chosen from a field of 35 other entries from students across the country. The essay will be published in the February journal, and URI’s College of Pharmacy will receive a $1,000 check from the contest in Mattoes’ name. Mattoes, whose resume is as detailed as someone who’s been in the work force for years, was able to satisfy her mother’s wishes and still follow her own dreams when she earned a bachelor’s degree at URI in microbiology in 1993. She minored in English. Mattoes, the daughter of Daniel and Eileen Mattoes, of North Providence, is the first in her family to graduate from college. “I like medical writing,” she said. It’s a good thing since Mattoes’ 13-page essay, “In-Hospital Treatment Strategies for Advanced Heart Failure,” took three months to write and cites 29 medical and pharmaceutical references. It concludes that advanced heart failure patients require individualized treatment regimens and frequent invasive monitoring. Mattoes, the former microbiology director at New England Reagent Laboratory in East Providence, is currently a licensed clinical lab scientist, and medical technologist, said the family-like atmosphere at URI’s College of Pharmacy played a major role in her success. She said two professors, Marilyn Barbour and David McKindley, helped her fine tune her paper. “The faculty members do a lot for the students,” Mattoes said. “Everyone knows each other.” A combination therapy using agents from various drug classes are necessary to achieve the desired therapeutic response, she says in her paper. “Hopefully, the treatment of acute advanced heart failure will be more closely examined by clinical trials in the future, and more cost-effective therapies will be studied.” As she approaches graduation in May, Mattoes is considering numerous career choices. “I like microbiology and pharmacy education, and I want to use the knowledge I gained from both fields. But I really want to work with patients.” In her required clinical work as a doctoral student, Mattoes worked with geriatric and cancer patients at Rhode Island Hospital, veterans at the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center and with patients at Roger Williams Medical Center suffering from infectious diseases. “I enjoyed the contact with the patients during my clinical rotations,” she said. But what about her dream of becoming a writer. “I hope to do a lot of medical writing,” she said. “I would consider a career in medical writing.” For Further Information: Louis Luzzi 401-874-2761 Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116