St. Louis College of Pharmacy

St. Louis College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest and largest pharmacy schools in the country.

St. Louis, Missouri

Founded: 1864

Class Size: Around 240

St. Louis College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest and largest pharmacy schools in the country.

While it may be a more veteran college, the school itself doesn’t look or feel old. Dean Bruce Canaday, PharmD, told Pharmacy Times that the college just opened a 213,000-square-foot academic and research building and library, which will serve as home base for pharmacy students.

“Prospective students and parents are looking for that extra special something when they visit colleges, and we have that with our new building,” Dr. Canaday said, adding that another building with gyms, a student center, fitness center, residence halls, and dining areas will open in about a year.

“It’s an amazing time to be at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.”

Q: What is unique about your school/program?

A: Our mission is to be a supportive and enriching environment for growth, advancement, and leadership, and to prepare our students to positively impact patients and society.

We’re located in the heart of one of the world’s finest biomedical and patient-care centers, and because of this, we are actively forging partnerships with nearby institutions such as Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, and Goldfarb School of Nursing.

We just announced a major research initiative with Washington University School of Medicine. Together, we are forming the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, which will focus on finding better, safer, and more effective ways to use prescription medications to improve health.

Another unique aspect of the college is that a majority of our students enroll directly out of high school. We also accept transfer students during any time of the pre-professional program and the first year of the professional program.

A: Students earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree with an integrated bachelor’s degree. This new program features an innovative organ-based model.

This is a major shift in direction. We are one of a few colleges of pharmacy to teach this way.

Students learn about each organ system in the body through the lens of various disease states, such as cardiac and pulmonary disease. Students then apply that knowledge in new state-of-the-art skills labs and then during real-world patient care experiences in a wide variety of practice settings.

Our innovative new curriculum is aimed at developing students into pharmacists who are team-ready and practice-ready. Graduates will be able to think critically, solve complex problems, and communicate effectively to provide high-level, interprofessional patient and population care that is evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and includes disease management and promotion of health and wellness.

Graduates will also be able to manage medication use systems to optimize patient safety and system efficacy, advocate for the pharmacy profession, apply quality improvement principles to advance the practice of pharmacy, and be consumers of and contributors to research and scholarly works.

Our curriculum will be delivered in our brand new, state-of-the-art academic and research building where student pharmacists will gain requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and abilities through both didactic and experiential coursework.

Liberal arts and humanities components are also integrated to provide both a humanistic and pharmacy education. This learning will be extended into 3 contemporary, innovative pharmacy practice skills laboratories and a variety of introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences.

Interprofessional educational opportunities are embedded throughout the curriculum. Because all students are studying pharmacy here, the common bond creates a strong support structure among students, faculty, and staff.

I tell our students all the time not to focus on just getting a good grade on a test. That way of thinking promotes cramming and memorization, not long-term knowledge retention.

Study to deeply learn information because you want to take care of patients. Focusing solely on grades will not get you where you need to be as a really good practitioner.

A: St. Louis College of Pharmacy focuses on civic engagement, cultural awareness, and the importance of interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. It makes our students better health care providers and truly educated people.

Twice a year, the entire college participates in a day of service for the community. Students in the professional program participate in health screenings and meet with legislators. Students in the pre-professional program clean up the green space of St. Louis Forest Park or other public spaces, and wrap presents for children in need.

The college also works with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to host a Halloween festival on campus for children with diabetes.

Through our International Service Learning course, students have given many hours of service to Habitat for Humanity International in countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Poland, and Romania.

We’re also very proud of a student-led group that promotes medication adherence. The interprofessional team made up of students studying pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and physical and occupational therapy has received several national awards for their work.

In addition, many of the college’s student organizations partner with local charities to provide hundreds of hours a year for health care screenings, disease prevention discussions, and camp activities, just to name a few.

Our students and faculty are routinely engaged in community outreach activities from participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, to the Komen Race for the Cure, to collecting food for Operation Food Search.

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

A: Because of our location within a premier medical center, we’re able to place students in a variety of nontraditional pharmacy practice and research settings.

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences and service learning trips are available across the globe. The college has strong partnerships with other institutions in Africa, Asia, and Europe to offer these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

For students looking to stay closer to home, the college has opportunities for rotations in a broad range of pharmacy practice settings. About 3 of every 4 pharmacists in the region are graduates of the college, giving us a strong alumni network to reach out to for opportunities for current students.

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

A: There’s an increasing need for highly skilled pharmacists to improve patients’ medication therapy and help them achieve more positive outcomes, so continue to strive to be better, especially in the area of direct patient care.

Also, continue to be advocates to help others, both patients and health care providers, and understand all that pharmacists can do and work to move the profession forward. We’ve prepared you to be practice-ready and team-ready.