The College of Pharmacy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science


After 4 short years at the College of Pharmacy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine in Science, students will be ready to head out into the pharmacy field as practice-ready, proficient, and compassionate providers of patient-centered health care.

North Chicago, Illinois

Founded: 2009

Class Size: Around 70

After 4 short years at the College of Pharmacy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine in Science (RFU), students will be ready to head out into the pharmacy field as practice-ready, proficient, and compassionate providers of patient-centered health care.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times, dean and professor Marc S. Abel, PhD, emphasized that RFU promotes interprofessionalism among its colleges, and its pharmacy students are taught to deliver care with integrity and respect for their colleagues, patients, and patients’ families.

The college’s core values include scholarship, scientific curiosity, service, and diversity, according to its mission statement.

What is unique about your school/program?

The College of Pharmacy at RFU is deeply committed to interprofessional education and team-based care. We are 1 of 5 schools at a 100-year-old health sciences university that educates PharmDs, MDs, PAs, DPTs, and numerous other health professional students.

Our pharmacy students learn about, from, and with their future colleagues in classes, student organizations, simulation activities, and clinical experiences. The longstanding culture of interprofessionalism that is part of the RFU mission makes us one of the pioneers in what is today recognized as a vital component in the delivery of patient-centered care.

The university’s history of interprofessional education and practice was a fundamental reason for the establishment of the college in 2009; team-based health care requires the drug and dosing expertise of pharmacists.

What is the teaching style or philosophy?

The dedicated and expert faculty in the college recognize that “one size fits all” does not work with student learning and course content delivery. Our curriculum uses various methodologies that include traditional and emerging teaching and learning strategies. Case-based small group discussions, flipped classrooms, audience response systems, online learning, reflections, serious gaming, and individual and group presentations are some examples of the diversity of educational methods in use.

We also use team-based simulation exercises with standardized patients to expose students to critical situations in a safe environment before experiencing high-stakes patient encounters in a real-life clinical situation. These varied opportunities for student learning are supported by state-of-the-art facilities, including 2 pharmacy skills laboratories, inpatient and outpatient simulation laboratories, and contemporary classrooms designed for active, team-based learning, complete with up-to-date technologies.

What are some community outreach activities the school participates in and what volunteer opportunities are available to students?

The college is passionate about community service, and these efforts take shape in the form of both curricular and co-curricular activities. In their first year of study, all RFU students (including pharmacy students) complete an interprofessional service-learning project as part of their Foundations for Interprofessional Practice course.

Pharmacy students revisit service learning in their third year as part of their experiential program and complete a project where they identify a community need and execute a health outreach initiative. These include the provision of vaccines to the medically underserved, disease prevention, and health promotion services at local schools, plus opportunities to lobby for patient populations at the state and federal level.

Students also provide service for the global community through international introductory and advanced pharmacy practice elective opportunities. We have a memorandum of understanding with Hope of Children and Women Victims of Violence School for refugees in Ndejje, Uganda, where students conduct health education classes and also provide care for patients at a local health clinic and hospital. Our global health outreach efforts continue to grow with rotations underway in Honduras and other international areas of need.

In addition to the community service embedded in the curriculum, we are very fortunate to have a large number of student organizations and fraternities on campus that regularly contribute to public health on a volunteer basis. Conducting health screenings on the RFU Community Care Coach mobile clinic, hosting a booth at local health fairs, and volunteering at hospice organizations are just a few examples of what our impassioned students do to give back through their pharmacy organizations.

Students can also choose to provide service to the community as volunteer members of interprofessional organizations open to all RFU health professional students. The Interprofessional Community Clinic, a highly successful student-led initiative that provides care free of charge to the medically underserved of Lake County, uses the team-based approach to health care embraced by our students and faculty.

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

Many of our students seek opportunities to be paid interns at community pharmacies and hospitals during their time of study. In addition, the college’s Office of Research matches students with research faculty each summer to complete paid internships.

This summer, there are 18 students in these competitive positions, conducting research ranging from clinical protocols at our practice sites, to the scholarship of teaching and learning, to bench science.

Many of the students in this program continue their research throughout the academic year, fostering strong professor-student mentoring relationships while making an ongoing contribution to science and health care.

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

This is a very exciting time for the pharmacy profession, as you enter a field that will continue to evolve. You will have new opportunities and responsibilities as the understanding and delivery of health care changes. Embrace those new vistas, be open to new approaches, and be true to the RFU philosophy of “Life in Discovery.”

Finally, remember to be kind, respectful, and mindful in all of your interactions. As a pharmacist, you have the opportunity to greatly impact the lives of people, and often a subtle action can have profound effects. Continue to be the caring and competent professionals that I know you are.

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