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Terry David Church, DRSc, MA, MS - USC School of Pharmacy. Los Angeles, CA, US

Terry David Church, DRSc, MA, MS Terry David Church, DRSc, MA, MS

Assistant Professor of Regulatory and Quality Sciences | USC School of Pharmacy


Terry David Church is an expert in biorepository regulation and ethics, and drug addiction and regulation of controlled substances.

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Dr. Church received his Doctor of Science and Master of Science in Regulatory Sciences from the University of Southern California. He earned a Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Temple University. His doctoral thesis looked at regulatory practices for continuity and disaster planning for biobanks in the United States.

After receiving his Master’s degree from Temple, Dr. Church worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Human Research as the Operations Director for research. He initially worked to help implement human subjects research protections and monitor all clinical trial activity ongoing and planned. He then took a position at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center as Program Manager. He was responsible for all research, clinical, and community activities for Women’s Cancers, Translational Cancer Research, and Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers. For well over ten years, Dr. Church managed the operation and development of Investigator Initiated Trials.

Dr. Church is currently an Assistant Professor in Regulatory and Quality Sciences at the University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy. He is Associate Director of Undergraduate Education, and teaches in the undergraduate degree program, Pharmacology and Drug Development (PDD). Prof. Church's academic focus is on application of pharmaceutical regulations, patterns of addiction, disaster management, and education and training. His areas of interest and expertise include biorepository regulation and ethics; drug addiction and regulation of controlled substances; regulatory practices for continuity and disaster planning; and policies and ethics of academic research. Dr. Church is a faculty fellow of the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching and co-chair of the educational committee of the Institute for Addiction Sciences.

In his spare time, Dr. Church is a cyclist, and has completed his second AIDS LifeCycle bike ride; riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles. This annual 545-mile bike ride helps raise awareness and funding for HIV education, treatment, and prevention in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Areas of Expertise (9)

Continuity Planning

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer supportive care

Regulatory Practices for Continuity and Disaster Planning

Drug Addiction

Biorepository Regulation

Biorepository Ethics

Regulation of Controlled Substances

Policies and Ethics of Academic Research

Disaster Management

Education (3)

University of Southern California: D.R.Sc., Regulatory Science

University of Southern California: M.S., Regulatory Science

Temple University: M.A., Cultural Anthropology

Selected Event Appearances (1)

The Science Behind the Hangover

Trojan Family Weekend  Los Angeles, CA


Courses (3)

RXRS-201: History and Geograpy of Drugs

Since the beginning of time, humans have sought out or discovered by accident compounds that have medicinal, hedonic (mood-altering) or deleterious (poisonous) effects. These effects were, in part, due to the coevolution between the animal and botanical kingdoms whose efforts to survive gave us compounds that could have medicinal, mood-altering or poisonous effects. The origins of herbal medicine lie in the common empirical experience of the human race, in observing which plants the animals ate when they were feeling sick, and following their example. The societal consequences of improper drug and poison use have been documented as early as 4500 B.C. and attempts to regulate their uses have been documented as early as 2240 B.C. This course will consider the benefits and consequences of drug use (legal and illegal) from both a historical and geographical perspective. Additionally, the course will consider the role of poisons as a political as well as felonious tool. Topics will be presented that highlight how drugs and poisons where used throughout the world to shape, modify or change history. This course is approved to meet the requirements of GE-H for undergraduates.

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RXRS 414: Buzzed: Modern Substances of Abuse and Addiction

In conventional terms, buzzed is the effect encountered after smoking various plants, drinking various alcoholic drinks, or ingesting various substances. Buzzed is the “high” one experiences. This course is designed to investigate what buzzed means in relation to substances of abuse and addiction. Examples of substances that will be discussed include alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, synthetic drugs, soda, coffee, and tobacco. Together we will survey the most recent discoveries about substances of abuse like prescription opioids, purple drank, and bath salts. This course will include information about biological and behavioral changes in addiction, distinctive drug effects on the adolescent brain, trends from popular culture related to these drugs, and ethical issues as related to modern substances of abuse. In quick-reference summaries, this class will report on how these drugs enter the body, how they manipulate the brain, their short-term and long-term effects, the different “highs” they produce, and the circumstances in which they can be deadly. This course does not pay homage to the “just say no” doctrine of abstinence, nor does it function as a “how-to” manual for people interested in becoming buzzed. This course will allow people to make informed decisions with accurate information about these substances, which they may encounter throughout their lives. There exists very little material available to the public on the most up-to-date psychological, legal, and pharmacological research on these drugs. This course aims to provide a clear understanding of how these substances work, the consequences of their use, the policies to regulate them, and the social beliefs surrounding them.

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RXRS-412: Ethics, Drugs, and Society

Pharmacists, physicians, and medical professionals constantly face ethical choices. Sometimes these choices are dramatic matters of life-and-death decisions, but more often subtle, less conspicuous choices that are nonetheless important. Ranging from situations faced in direct patient care to broader issues, this course will utilize cases studies to explore topics and the ethical framework within which practitioners make decisions about such issues as assisted suicide, conscientious refusal, pain management, and confidentiality as well as the equitable distribution of drug resources within institutions or managed care organizations and clinical studies on vulnerable populations. Ethical dilemmas in medical and pharmaceutical practice will be explored in the broader sense of healthcare and medico-legal case review.

Selected Articles (6)

Graduate Training Capacity for Regulatory Professionals at US Universities: Are We Facing a Talent Crisis?

Therapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science

Frances Richmond and Terry Church


Background: Talent acquisition in regulatory affairs has been a continuing challenge now exaggerated by demographic shifts and expansion of regulatory requirements nationally and globally. Methods: Survey and interview methods were used to provide information on graduation rates, graduate characteristics, and enrollment trends in the 17 US regulatory programs that could be identified to offer graduate degrees in regulatory affairs or regulatory science. Results: US programs graduated approximately 522 MS and 4 doctoral students in 2018. About 70% of students attended programs in the Northeast; the remaining students were evenly split between programs in the Northwest and Southeast/Southwest. About half of the programs provided content by distance only. About 127 students were new entrants to the workforce; enrollments for this group most commonly leveled or decreased over the last 3 years. The primary challenge identified by most programs was the high tuition that discouraged participation by qualified candidates for the programs. Challenges were also reported when attracting international students because of tightening visa restrictions and consequent reluctance of industry to hire students with a temporary visa status. Conclusions: The small number of graduating regulatory professionals from US universities is alarming because it falls far short of needs estimates for positions in regulatory departments. The particularly low number of entry-level professionals seems unlikely to be adequate as unemployment rates tighten and experienced professionals become harder to attract. These shortfalls may be particularly hurtful to small companies unable to compete for experienced professionals.

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Biopreservation and Biobanking

Biobank Continuity Management: A Survey of Biobank Professionals

Terry Church and Frances Richmond

2019 Academic biobanks face challenges that call for continuity and disaster planning. However, current regulations do not require such planning, so it is unclear if and how biobanks have prepared themselves to deal with future crises. This exploratory study used mixed methods to understand the state of continuity planning in U.S. biobanks. It first reviewed the current state of regulatory and implementation requirements that drive and challenge continuity planning. A survey instrument was then developed and critiqued by a focus group of experienced practitioners in biobanking. The refined survey was disseminated to a targeted group of respondents employed at biobanks across the United States. Most respondents were associated with relatively mature biobanks in operation for more than 6 years and these typically had some form of continuity plan in place. More commonly, continuity planning was reported to be focused on countering natural disasters rather than organization- or personnel-related crises. Respondents identified their most common limitation to be financial resources affecting all phases of implementation. Although many respondents appeared to be aware of some guidance documents and standards for continuity planning, many reported that they did not use or reference them when constructing their biobank continuity plans. Furthermore, nearly 25% of surveyed biobanks did not have a continuity plan and 61% indicated concern in having a mandated continuity plan. Results suggested academic organizations would benefit from a continuity plan template and best practice guidelines for plan development and implementation.

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Testicular Cancer Awareness in a Large Urban School System: Evaluation of a Pilot Program

Journal of Clinical Oncology

Terry David Church et al


Background: Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among males age 15-34. Lack of understanding and awareness of testicular cancer and self-examination are barriers to early detection. A program aimed at increasing testicular cancer awareness and self-examination was created and implemented in the LAUSD in 2017. Effectiveness of this program is presented here. Methods: Twelve classrooms at six high schools (34%-99% Hispanic) participated in the one-week program. Students completed a questionnaire (n = 1,382) before the program began and an identical questionnaire upon program completion (n = 1,338). The 16-item instrument measured knowledge and attitudes toward testicular cancer and self-examination. Male students completed three additional items about self-examination, self-efficacy, comfort speaking to a health provider, and self-examination in the past month. A 16-item teacher questionnaire was administered at the end of the program. Results: Seven of nine knowledge/awareness items had statistically significant increases from the pre-test to post-test survey. The percentage of students strongly agreeing that testicular self-examination is important for men’s health increased from 53.8% to 75.5% (p < .001). Among male participants, there were increases in the percentage who strongly agreed they could recognize signs of testicular cancer (14.5% vs. 36.6%; p < .001) and comfort in speaking to a health provider about their testicular health also increased (27.4% vs. 36.0%; p < .001). The percentage of male students who had performed a testicular self-examination in the past month increased from 29.1% to 48.2% (p < .001). The teacher survey revealed a high level of satisfaction with the quality and content of the lessons, as well as possible ways to improve the program. Conclusions: The results of this pilot program were promising. The evaluation showed increases in knowledge, awareness, and attitudes, and a nearly 20% increase in testicular self-examination among males. Next steps will include refinements to the program, followed by implementation with a larger sample with a more rigorous study design to determine if wide-scale dissemination of the program throughout the district and beyond is warranted.

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Facilities Registration and Establishment: Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products

Reference Module in Biomedical Science

Terry David Church


Human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products (HCT/P) are becoming more common as innovative diagnostic and therapeutic products that have the potential to transform treatment options for a wide spectrum of human diseases. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a regulatory framework for the establishment of HCT/P facilities to ensure quality, safety, and traceability. Similar frameworks exist in Australia, European Union, Canada, and Japan. HCT/Ps are in various stages of development in different countries, where many of the regulatory requirements are still evolving. These regulations will enable good science by protecting the public while improving the quality and reliability of the engineered products.

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Bridging the Care Gap Between Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer


Terry Church et al.

2015 Through a multi-site, multidisciplinary approach, AYA@USC addresses the unique needs of young adult cancer patients, improving outcomes and bridging the care gap in this population.

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Escalation of oncologic services at the end of life among patients with gynecologic cancer at an urban, public hospital.

Journal of Oncology Practice

Terry Church et al.

2015 Oncologic history and metrics of medical use (eg, hospitalizations, chemotherapy infusions, procedures) for patients with gynecologic oncology who died between December 2006 and February 2012 were evaluated. Mixed-effect regression models were used to test time effects and construct usage summaries.

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