School Profile: Husson University School of Pharmacy

Pharmacy Careers, Spring 2021, Volume 15, Issue 1

Located in Bangor, Maine, the Husson University School of Pharmacy offers unique programs that have helped shape pharmacy practice in the state of Maine.

School Location: Bangor, Maine

Founded Date: 2008

2021 Graduating Class Size: 42 students

Q: Please tell us about the history of the school and any notable accomplishments of its graduates.

A: Husson University School of Pharmacy (HUSOP) was founded in 2008 and graduated its first class of PharmD recipients in 2013. Its mission is to educate and mentor future practitioners in a collaborative and supportive environment, and to deliver and improve regional health care. It is the only school of pharmacy in central and northern Maine, and works collaboratively with regional health care partners to advance pharmacy education and practice.

HUSOP graduates have gone on to work all over the United States and in countries around the world. HUSOP alumni have joined the armed forces as pharmacists, started their own independent pharmacies, and worked in all levels of hospital management.

Some notable alumni include Richard Thibaut, who graduated in the class of 2015 and now owns and manages 8 pharmacies in Louisiana as well as 1 in Cameroon, Africa; Wesley Snow, who graduated in the class of 2014 and went on to work as a pharmacist in the armed forces; and Laura and Dan Burk, who met while going to HUSOP, are now married, and work together as pharmacists at the Katahdin Valley Health Center in Brownville, Maine.

Q: How has your pharmacy school helped shape pharmacy practice in your state?

A: HUSOP has helped to shape the practice of pharmacy in Maine by collaborating with our clinical partners and having alumni located throughout the state. We often say in the school that it is difficult to go to a pharmacy in Maine without meeting a HUSOP graduate who works there.

Additionally, our clinical faculty have advanced the understanding and use of pharmacy services by establishing practice sites where no pharmacist had previously worked as part of the health care team. This has expanded medical services by increasing medication adherence, resulting in improved patient care.

HUSOP faculty have also worked as part of the Maine Pharmacy Association to lobby for legislation that supports pharmacists' efforts to be recognized as health care providers in the state. Additionally, faculty have worked to support and encourage pharmacy technicians to pursue careers as licensed pharmacists, with 33% of enrolled HUSOP students following this path.

Q: What is unique about your pharmacy school?

A: Husson University offers a program in which students can complete all prerequisites, with a bachelor of science (BS) degree in health sciences and the doctor of pharmacy degree in 6 years. Because most schools of pharmacy that offer a 6-year program do not offer a BS degree, we established our program as an option that helps students looking to maximize their time and financial investment.

At HUSOP, one-third of the clinical rotation is with faculty, which is unique to our school; most schools of pharmacy offer only 10% to 20% of clinical rotation with the faculty. We also offer a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, which provides the opportunity for students to have daily direct access to faculty and develop relationships that allow for opportunities to participate in faculty research. This collaborative environment supports deep connections between faculty and students.

From 2018 through 2020, HUSOP's 8 pharmaceutical science faculty members published 22 articles and 4 book chapters, many of which involved student participation and collaboration. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HUSOP has also been able to offer students the ability to stay on track for graduation while allowing them to complete all advanced pharmacy practice experience rotations on time.

Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?

A: Faculty are provided the resources to design, deliver, and assess content to meet programmatic outcomes. Each faculty member develops, within that context, their own style and philosophy of instruction.

Pharmacy faculty are trained and credentialed by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). This is valuable because ACUE works to effectively prepare, credential, and support faculty to teach with the practices known to improve student achievement.

Additionally, HUSOP has worked to follow best practices in the design, delivery, and assessment of face-to-face and online classes, while continuing to support formal collaboration between faculty across disciplines in order to integrate content, and application of content, throughout the curriculum.

Q: What are some community outreach activities or programs the school participates in?

A: Husson University has a number of student activities and organizations, including chapters of Phi Lambda Sigma, Phi Delta Chi, Rho Chi, American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The pharmacy fraternity of Phi Lambda Sigma, a professional leadership society, focuses on developing leadership skills among all students and supports community resources, such as the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.

The pharmacy fraternity of Phi Delta Chi, a professional fraternity, has other opportunities available to members, such as organizing bone marrow registry sign-ups and blood drives, increasing student involvement and acclimation to the university, and conducting community outreach projects to serve the local homeless community.

There is also the academic honor society of pharmacy Rho Chi available to HUSOP students. It is known in the area for its work to organize and deliver pharmacy-related programming at the Maine Science Festival.

There are other student professional pharmacy organizations available such as APhA, which regularly hosts immunization clinics, medication take-back events, fundraising events to support patient care projects, patient counseling competitions, and other educational opportunities.

Furthermore, in response to a limited workforce available to administer COVID-19 vaccines, HUSOP has conducted technician and pharmacist immunization training programs approved through the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, leading to certification in administering immunizations. HUSOP has hosted several classes to date to ensure that everyone wanting to become immunization certified has the opportunity.

As part of the pharmacy curriculum, HUSOP also offers the Point of Care certification and Mental Health First Aid training programs, with other programs to benefit students and members of the community in development as well.

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

A: In addition to the structured clinical rotations, many HUSOP pharmacy students are employed within the pharmacy profession. Husson University is located near 3 health systems, which regularly have many opportunities and health clinics available to HUSOP students. HUSOP encourages students to find an appropriate balance between internships, academic work, and their personal lives to ensure long-lasting success and personal development.

Q: What advice do you have for students who will graduate in 2021?

A: The advice HUSOP gives to students graduating in 2021 is to never stop learning, developing, working to improve the health care landscape, or opening their minds to new opportunities. The fact that the pharmacy profession is changing rapidly has long been understood, but the pace of change has accelerated dramatically because of the current public health crisis.

HUSOP students are in a position to very quickly become the health care leaders of tomorrow, and now is an exciting time to join health care teams. Additionally, HUSOP recommends on a personal level to never turn down an interesting opportunity, because it can take students to meaningful places in their careers.

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