Dean provides overview of School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

By Eric Coker


pharmacy school siteA research-intensive program that emphasizes interprofessional education, diversity and strong clinical placement will draw students to the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Founding Dean Gloria Meredith said during a town-hall meeting on Feb. 17.

Pictured above: A view of the future site of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Johnson City.

“The SUNY tuition is affordable and we do feel that this will be the place for first-generation college students to pursue a rewarding career,” she said.

Meredith spoke to faculty, staff, students and community members during the talk in Old Union Hall. She also answered questions following her 25-minute presentation. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 (pending precandidate status from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) and will move to the Health Science and Technology Innovation Park in Johnson City in 2018.

Not only is the role of the pharmacist evolving, but a third of those in the profession are above age 55 and nearing retirement, Meredith said. She stressed that pharmacy practice no longer takes place just behind the counter.

“Modern pharmacists are spending a lot of their time working directly with patients and advising them on medications and how to use them,” she said. “There are good reasons to have a pharmacy school and fulfill a (future) shortage of pharmacists nationwide.”

There is more to the school than filling positions, Meredith stressed: That is why the “Pharmaceutical Sciences” is featured in the school’s name. The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences plans to build on Binghamton University’s research reputation and collaborate with the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Decker School of Nursing and the College of Community and Public Affairs.

“We are a school interested in establishing a strong research base,” Meredith said. “We plan to have scientifically robust investigations going on that are related to discovery and delivery.”

Meredith said she is grateful for the support the school has received from its future collaborators.

“When you start something new, it’s important to have a supporting network around you,” she said. “The other schools, deans and faculty have said: ‘How can we help?’ We truly appreciate it.”

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ central location on Corliss Avenue in Johnson City will make collaborations easier. For example, the Decker School of Nursing will be located in the Health Science and Technology Innovation Park, while UHS Wilson Medical Center and Lourdes Hospital are both nearby.

Interprofessional teamwork with nursing and social work students could be fruitful, Meredith said.

“We can do service in the community,” she said. “We can run health fairs together. We can work with distant, small, rural hospitals where they don’t have enough support.”

Other information provided by Meredith included:
• The school will consist of three departments: Pharmaceutical Science, Health Outcomes and Administrative Sciences, and Pharmacy Practice.
• There will be 32 faculty members: 17 in Pharmaceutical Science and Health Outcomes and 15 clinical faculty.
• A dean’s advisory board will offer advice, connections to the community, support for accreditation and assistance in attracting students and faculty.
• The school will provide a four-year program leading to a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). A bachelor’s degree is not required to enter the school.
• Pathways to entry are being established with Harpur College. For example, a 3+4 pathway would allow a student to receive a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biology. The student would then pursue the PharmD during his/her seven years at Binghamton University. A 2+4 pathway is also possible, but would not result in a bachelor’s degree.
• Research stipends will be available for PhD students in the school, while student loans and scholarships will be available for pharmacy students. Student aid will increase as the program matures.

The school is on track for its “white coat ceremony” in September 2017, Meredith said. The school’s leadership team is nearly in place, faculty recruitment has started and the advisory board has been created. The school’s website is http://binghamton.edu/pharmacy-and-pharmaceutical-sciences/.

“We have made a lot of progress in the past 10 to 11 months,” Meredith said. “It’s coming along nicely.”


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Last Updated: 9/26/16