University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy

AUGUST 10, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor
Location: Duluth and Twin Cities, Minnesota
Founded: 1892
Class Size: Around 168
 
As the only pharmacy school in Minnesota, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy offers endless opportunities.
 
Students can expect to complete 2 to 3 internships during their time at the pharmacy school, in addition to their introductory pharmacy practice and advanced pharmacy practice experiences, Dean Marilyn Speedie, PhD, told Pharmacy Times.
 
Across 2 campuses, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy embraces diversity in its classes, faculty, and staff, as well as its experiences, which include global rotations.
 
The college also has a good track record for retention (99%) and placement rate for graduates (99%). In addition, 96% of students graduate in 4 years. 
 
The University of Minnesota also nurtures interprofessional education through its 6-college Academic Health Center comprised of pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, public health, medicine, and veterinary medicine students.
 
In fact, the university was designated in 2012 as a national center to provide leadership, scholarship, and coordination to advance interprofessional education and practice by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
 
Q: What is unique about your school/program?
A: We have 2 campuses. One is in Duluth, a city of approximately 85,000 citizens, and the other is in the Twin Cities. Our mantra is “1 college, 2 campuses” and the students on both campuses learn, study, and work together on extracurricular activities and organizations.
 
Our college is a national leader in education, practice, and policy. Our alumni are health care leaders— from industry and association leaders, to deans and practitioners leading in their profession and community. We emphasize pharmacists as leaders in health care and society, not just in the profession of pharmacy. Threaded throughout our curriculum are leadership courses, and we also offer a curricular emphasis in leadership.
 
Our Ambulatory Care Residency Program is a multi-site program focusing on the practice of pharmaceutical care in ambulatory care settings organized around 3 emphasis areas: community clinic, rural health, and pharmaceutical care leadership. Our span of sites is among the largest of any program nationally, offering residents a wide range of settings to become skilled practitioners through individualized learning experiences.
 
Between 40% and 50% of graduates annually pursue a residency after graduation, and 6% go on to graduate school or fellowships. We also have 2 dual-degree tracks that allow the students to earn an MBA or a MPH if they desire. We also have emphasis tracks in leadership and research.
 
Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?
A: We are implementing a new curriculum that is highly integrated and utilizes lots of active and team-based learning. We have highly technologically advanced classrooms on both campuses. There is also a Pharmaceutical Care Learning Center course in each semester that flows smoothly with both the didactic curriculum and the experiential components of the curriculum.
 
Our philosophy is to graduate generalist practitioners who are ready to provide patient care in a team-based, generalist setting and also are ready to complete advanced study if they wish. We want our graduates to be leaders in the dynamic future health care system. We are committed to each student’s success and provide career counselling to help them make the right choice for them.
 
We are fortunate to be educating in a state that is quite advanced in the patient care practice of pharmacy, so the experiential rotations are outstanding and each student has the opportunity to work in medication therapy management-providing sites.
 
Q: What are some community outreach activities or programs the school participates in?
A: Students on both campuses participate in the provision of care in student-run free health clinics. In Duluth, students have the opportunity to participate in the Health of People Everywhere (HOPE) Clinic; in Minneapolis, students participate in the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic (PNC).
 
The HOPE Clinic is a free triage/referral clinic run year-round by College of Pharmacy, Duluth, student pharmacists and student physicians from the University of Minnesota Medical School. The HOPE Clinic is open 2 hours every Tuesday afternoon at the Churches United in Ministry Center, a homeless shelter and community center. The clinic provides patient care and facilitates entry into the Duluth area health care system for adults from underserved populations, while training student pharmacists and student physicians to work interprofessionally to provide patient care.
 
In the Twin Cities, the PNC is run by student health professionals from the University of Minnesota. Students and faculty from the college of pharmacy play key roles in planning, governance, and care delivery for the clinic, which is open 2 nights a week and serves an underserved, economically disadvantaged, predominantly immigrant population in east Minneapolis. Students perform many roles in the clinic, from patient intake and accompanying patients through the various steps of care, to running the dispensary for a limited formulary of prescription medications and counseling patients about their medications. The student volunteers use an interprofessional approach in which they combine their skills to find the best care for the patients—1 of only a few student-run clinics in the nation using this method.
 
In addition, students on both campuses team up with faculty and other health professional schools each year to vaccinate several thousand university students, staff, and faculty against influenza.
 
Student pharmacists and faculty from the Duluth campus have also provided disease screening services at community health fairs throughout northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Students conduct screening tests for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis all free of charge to the public. Upperclassmen and faculty also conduct medication reviews and provide event participants with information about their medications.
 
Duluth student groups are also active in increasing public awareness about stroke prevention and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and they conduct medication safety programming for area elementary schools.
 
Each year, students on both campuses plan and conduct screening drives on the Duluth campus to identify potential bone marrow donors. To date, the students have registered more than 2000 potential donors, and 1 individual donor was matched to an eventual recipient.
 
Q: What advice do you have for students who will graduate this year?
A: Seize the opportunities! Take positions that will allow you to work at the top of your education. You are in high demand by employers who want pharmacists who can implement the patient care-focused practice of pharmacy. Get connected to your school and professional organizations, and stay connected.
 
 


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