University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy


The dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy advises students nearing graduation to step up to the plate when opportunities arise and embrace change.

Kansas City, Missouri

Founded: 1885

Class Size: 155

The dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Pharmacy advises students nearing graduation to step up to the plate when opportunities arise and embrace change.

Dean Russell B. Melchert, PhD, RPh, suggests newly graduated pharmacists volunteer first when an employer offers the opportunity to learn something new.

“You never know where and how those skills will help both your patients and your career,” Dr. Melchert told Pharmacy Times in an exclusive interview.

Pharmacy students should also embrace technology and be aware of new designs and implementation, Dr. Melchert added.

As budding pharmacists, students at UMKC can expect to see lots of opportunities to reach out to the community. UMKC’s PharmD degree program is nationally recognized for community engagement and service learning, according to the school’s website.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health has consistently ranked it in the top third of pharmacy schools for its graduate programs and research activities. The school’s American Pharmacist Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists chapter has also been recognized as one of the top 7 in the country.

“We are very proud of our graduates and the contributions they make to the health of our citizens and the profession, both at home in Missouri and around the country,” Dr. Melchert said.

Q: What is unique about your school/program?

A: UMKC has been educating pharmacists since 1885. UMKC is the only state-funded school of pharmacy in Missouri and now offers students a chance to obtain their degree in Kansas City, Columbia, or Springfield.

Students are taught through live synchronous learning technology. Students have a faculty adviser housed at their campus location, and all skills classes and labs are taught locally by faculty at their location.

Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?

A: UMKC offers a learning environment that creates a foundation for teamwork, respect, and professionalism, which are all crucial for the pharmacist to become an effective care provider. Our philosophy is to provide a professional program with strong foundations in basic and pharmaceutical knowledge that progress from applications of pharmacotherapeutic knowledge to incorporation of practice experiences.

We provide a rigorous, contemporary program by continually assessing the curriculum, student needs, and current issues within the pharmacy profession. We facilitate students’ successful academic development through a variety of instructional, experiential, and assessment techniques. We cultivate good problem-solving skills that are strategically designed and embedded throughout the curricular learning activities that simulate real world pharmacy experiences and promote the maturation of professional attitudes and behaviors.

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

A: Our students complete Introductory Professional Practice Experiences between their second and third years and start their Advanced Professional Practice Experiences in the summer between their third and fourth years. The school also shares internship opportunities with the students.

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

A: Our students are routinely nationally recognized for their community outreach. Our students assist the citizens of Missouri through service and outreach offered by 12 student organizations.

A sample of some of our students initiatives include Operation Self-Care, Operation Immunization, Heartburn Awareness and Asthma Coalition, public awareness on proper antibiotic usage, DEA National Drug Take-Back Day, poison prevention, Medicare Part D signup sessions, blood drives, Harvesters, Race for the Cure, Midwest Transplant Network, bone density screenings at assisted living facilities, an annual AIDS Walk, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Walk MS.

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