Although I generally use this space to share the accomplishments of our students, faculty & staff (which I do below), I’d like to share my perspective of the crisis facing pharmacy education, unquestionably the most significant challenge we have ever been confronted with. Those of you of my vintage can recall the oversupply of pharmacists we faced in the late 1970s and early 1980s; over the last number of decades, the demand for pharmacists has waxed and waned. What was different about the shortage of a decade ago was the response by a number of institutions who, frankly, saw a financial advantage to pharmacy education and decided to start a program. From our long steady-state of about 72 schools in 2000, we have now added more than 50 schools many of whom are not of the caliber we have come to expect in the academy. Our accrediting body, ACPE, in my view, has not been rigorous enough in enforcing its own standards. It certainly seems that ACPE will eventually accredit any program that applies if the institution remains persistent. What is the result? An oversupply of pharmacists, a shortage of experiential sites, and the graduation into the pharmacy workforce individuals who do not all meet the high standards of competency we expect of a 21st century pharmacist. We have a shortage of deans and faculty, leading to the appointment of individuals without the requisite background, experience, and credentials; can you imagine a medical school appointing a pharmacist as dean as we have appointed physicians to our schools? Some have argued that once we recover from the financial crisis (that has lead to the delayed retirement of some pharmacists) and MTM is in full bloom, we will have the need for all of these individuals; I strongly disagree. In my view, between the unbridled growth of new schools and the overexpansion of existing programs, we will be faced with an oversupply, I fear, for some time to come. What’s the answer? First, ACPE must rigorously enforce its accreditation standards in new and historical schools alike. Second, we in the academy and in practice must make clear to institutions that pharmacy is not a “cash cow.” Third, those of us in the academy must become introspective; these schools would not be able to open without deans and faculty to staff them. Some might recall the 1990s report of the Pew Commission that suggested the closure of one-third of the then 72 schools of pharmacy; clearly they were wrong, but so is the current expansion. Many of us have spent our careers working to raise the quality of American pharmacy education; for us, it’s a sad day.
Now, let me share some happier news about our students and faculty.
V Foundation Grant
Dr. Kyle Hadden has received a prestigious V Foundation Cancer Research Scholar Award for his project, “A Chemical Biology Approach to Understanding the Anti-Cancer Effects of Vitamin D3.” This grant is awarded to a small number of junior faculty nationwide conducting cancer research.
ASHP/ABHP Leadership Award
Prof. Thomas Buckley received the 2010 ASHP/ABHP Leadership Award in recognition of leadership efforts in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The award was presented at the 2010 ASHP Midyear Meeting.
National Student Exchange Officer
Student pharmacist Eric Zaccaro was selected and has officially accepted the position of National Student Exchange Officer-elect for APhA-ASP. He will serve as the National SEO-elect from January-October 2011 and take over as the National SEO from October 2011-October 2012. Some of his duties will involve serving on the committee that chooses applicants for the exchange programs, promoting involvement in IPSF activities such as HIV/AIDS awareness and Tobacco Cessation Programs, helping to coordinate students with host cites, and providing updates through the IPSF national bulletin and the APhA-ASP Executive Committee.
Rho Chi Clinical Research Scholarship Award
Dr. Soyon Lee, a fellow of Dr. Michael White, has been selected to receive the 2011 Rho Chi Clinical Research Scholarship Award. As National Rho Chi president, I have the honor of presenting the award at the Rho Chi Annual Meeting in March.
PhRMA Foundation Grant
Dr. Bodhi Chaudhuri was awarded a PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant in Pharmaceutics.
NACDS Foundation Pharmacy Student Scholarship
Pharmacy student Karolina Prytulo was one of 58 pharmacy students nationwide to receive a NACDS Foundation Pharmacy Student Scholarship. The goal of this scholarship program is “to support the development of future leaders in the chain community pharmacy industry and to recognize pharmacy students who have a strong interest in pursuing a career in chain community pharmacy.”
Pharmacy E-Health Information Technology Collaborative
Dr. Marie Smith was appointed as an AACP representative to the newly formed Pharmacy E-Health Information Technology Collaborative. The Collaboative members committed to creating a comprehensive and unified approach, ensuring optimal integration of pharmacy’s requirements and contributions into the electronic health record (EHR).
Faculty Win Equipment Competition
School of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Science faculty were successful in obtaining two of the five awards available in the university’s Major Research Equipment Competition this past fall.
Pharmacy Trivia Night
This past fall, our professional students hosted the first Pharmacy Trivia Night, pitting teams from each of our pharmacy organizations. Each organization raised an entry fee and was asked to select a charity; the combined entry fees were awarded to the charities selected by the winning teams. The winning team was SNPhA, which donated to the American Diabetes Foundation; in second place was LKS, which donated to Project HOPE; and in third place was ASCP, which donated to The Alzheimer’s Association.
National Compounding Competition
Later this spring, the school will send its winning team from our internal competition to the First Annual Compounding Competition at the University of Florida. The winning team included Dan DiMeo, Kevin Keller, and Preston Noon (all P2 students). Special thanks to Dr. Robin Bogner who organized the competition.
American Pharmacists Association Editorial Advisory Board
Dr. Philip Hritcko has been appointed to the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association Editorial Advisory Board.
Pharmacy Student Selected for Prestigious FDA Rotation
Pharmacy student Gabrielle Richterman has been selected for a rotation in the Office of Clinical Pharmacology at the Food and Drug Administration. During her rotation, she “will see the entire spectrum of how investigational drugs move through the FDA, in addition to gaining a better understanding of the application of clinical pharmacology to this process.”
It’s been quite a winter, but at least the groundhog saw his shadow!
Robert L. McCarthy, Ph.D.
Dean & Professor