Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded in 1992 with the hopes of bringing primary care to underserved communities and providing an affordable professional education to students.

Erie, Pennsylvania, and Bradenton, Florida

Founded: 2002

Class Size: Around 300

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) was founded in 1992 with the hopes of bringing primary care to underserved communities and providing an affordable professional education to students.

The LECOM School of Pharmacy continues to prepare students to become exemplary pharmacists who work toward solving the most important issues facing health care in the nation, said Dean Hershey S. Bell, MD, MS, FAAFP, in an interview with Pharmacy Times.

Students at the school’s Erie, Pennsylvania, campus can pursue a year-round, accelerated 3-year program, while the school’s other campus in Bradenton, Florida, offers a 4-year program. A distance education pathway is also available to remote students.

Dr. Bell described all 3 programs as affordable and a good preparation for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination. The 3-year program in Pennsylvania is 1 of the lowest tuition programs available, as well.

With neighboring LECOM schools offering degrees in medicine, dentistry, medical education, and health services administration, students will also receive an interprofessional education.

Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?

A: Students engage in active learning across a series of courses, including core biological sciences, medicinal chemistry/pharmacology, drug information, and pharmacotherapeutics.

LECOM expects its students to master 3 fundamental institutional learning outcomes: 1) discipline-specific mastery, 2) professionalism, and 3) osteopathic philosophy.

LECOM students are seen by their preceptors and prospective employers as among the most professional students in the nation. Our focus on the osteopathic values of wellness and holism help our graduates find a relevant niche in the greater health care system.

A: One of LECOM’s most important slogans is: “the community is our campus.” LECOM has been recognized repeatedly as a member of the president’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, recognizing the extraordinary service commitment of its students.

The school of pharmacy has been recognized in the Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge in each year of the competition—twice as National Award Winners. In 2014, the school also won a second award for interprofessional activities.

Q: What opportunities do students have for internships or co-ops?

A: Students are given the opportunity to work or volunteer as pharmacy interns in various areas of practice. States vary in their requirements for internship hours. Our Pennsylvania students are required to complete an additional 500 hours of pharmacy practice in addition to the curriculum as a condition of licensure.

Q: What advice do you have for students who will graduate this year?

A: My advice for students graduating this year is to appreciate that there has never been a better time to become a pharmacist. The opportunities to participate as equal partners in health care are growing each and every day, whether through medication therapy management, medication reconciliation activities, chronic disease management, or being the medication expert for accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes.

As Assistant Surgeon General Scott Giberson, an honorary LECOM graduate, says, “Pharmacists are the most under-utilized health care professionals in America.” Where an opportunity exists, go for it!

Talk to physicians and others about the critically important role that pharmacists must play in order that we continue to improve the quality of American health care. Never stop advocating politically for an expanded and recognized role for pharmacists in the health care system. When you touch the life of a patient, have him or her write to elected representatives, demanding that pharmacists be recognized and appreciated for the important role that they play.