Grant Targets Dwindling Options for Pharmacy Grads

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation aims to improve access to community pharmacy residency training.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation announced a $1.5 million commitment to expanding community pharmacy residency programs. The funding is expected to increase the number of residency positions by 25%, and may help mitigate the effects of ballooning pharmacy school enrollments, NACDS said.

The growing scarcity of residency training programs has become a pressing concern of pharmacy leaders in recent years. Without proper experiential training, pharmacy graduates are considered unprepared to meet the demands of the profession. A recent inquiry by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) found that more than 1000 students were unable to find residency placements in 2010.

“Funding has been identified as a major barrier to the development of new [community pharmacy residency programs],” stated a press release by the NACDS Foundation. The grants will chip away at that barrier, adding an anticipated total of 30 new residency programs nationwide.

“The NACDS Foundation is pleased to support the growth of community pharmacy residencies,” said Foundation president and Pharmacy Times editorial board member Edith A. Rosato, RPh.

Pharmacy rotations are not only a critical component of pharmacy education, but also a means by which future pharmacists can steer the focus of community pharmacy in a new direction. “These programs have been integral in enhancing patient care services and integrating the services into the community pharmacy practice setting,” Rosato said.

The funding will support broader access to pharmacist-provided clinical services, such as medication therapy management. It will also go toward investigating the value of those services through residency research projects, which are required of all community pharmacy residency programs.

“In continuing its commitment to advance pharmacy education for the public good, the Foundation looks forward to providing residents the opportunities they need,” said Rosato. The grant application process will begin in February 2011, and the first positions are expected to be filled in 2012.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • Seniors Taking Antidepressants at Risk for Drug Interactions
  • Fair Pharmacy Reimbursement a Result of Health Reform
  • Part D Plan Selection Poses Challenge for Patients