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Program Prepares Pharmacists for the Future

Published on 01 December 2012

As the profession of pharmacy changes, so too does the education of future pharmacists. Beginning in 2014, St. Louis College of Pharmacy students will be embarking on a new seven-year Doctor of Pharmacy program. 

“The curriculum has been redesigned to achieve the vision of our strategic plan and establish the College as a global leader in pharmacy education,” says Brenda Gleason, Pharm.D., associate dean for academic affairs. “Our faculty looked at the landscape of pharmacy education in the U.S. and found there was a need to prepare our students for the expanding role of pharmacists in patient-centered, interprofessional health care teams.”

The seven-year program is unique because it integrates the basic sciences, liberal arts, and pharmacy. It is designed to allow students to specialize through elective tracks.

“Our graduates will not only be highly knowledgeable in the treatment of diseases, but they also will be able to provide evidence-based, patient-centered care,” Gleason says. “We want our graduates to be committed to the advancement of public health and the profession of pharmacy.”

As part of the new curriculum, the College will offer a Bachelor of Science degree, awarded after the first professional year of studies.

“We wanted to make the new curriculum more flexible to provide students with the opportunity to tailor it to their needs and interests,” Gleason says. “The new curriculum will allow students to transfer into the College more easily, and select students will have the option to accelerate through the pre-professional portion of the curriculum.”

The professional program will be significantly enhanced as well. “We are designing a new patient care course series that will integrate pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, pathophysiology, and therapeutics around organ systems in the body,” Gleason says. “In addition, we are developing an integrated skills lab to run alongside of the patient care course series. The skills lab will provide real-world opportunities for students to practice and enhance what they are learning in the classroom.”

Even as the curriculum is making a major step forward, the College continues to look ahead by evaluating potential partnerships with other area universities to offer post-graduate programs like a master’s degree in business administration or in public health.

“This has really been a full faculty effort,” Gleason notes. “This is a dynamic time for the pharmacy profession, and this new seven-year program will help ensure that the College remains at the forefront.”

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