Pharmacy Advances

With her grades and work experience, Morgen Schmitt could have had her pick of pharmacy schools, but she doesn’t hesitate when asked about her decision to enter the Tampa-based USF Health College of Pharmacy’s first class in 2011.

“I looked at a lot of programs, and, hands down, USF’s had the best curriculum,” says Schmitt, now in her second year of the four-year USF Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. 

Schmitt has no doubt that she will be ready to take on a leadership role as a clinical pharmacist when she graduates. “I want to be a vital part of shaping the healthcare transformations that will improve patient care and quality of life and reduce medication errors.”

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Kevin Sneed, PharmD, far right, founding dean of the USF College of Pharmacy, stands with students at the 2012 White Coat Ceremony.

That passion among students to embrace the challenges of a changing health system does not surprise Kevin Sneed, PharmD, the college’s founding dean.  Built around the idea that pharmacists will be the hub of the future healthcare team, the innovative, rigorous curriculum emphasizes a collaborative approach to patient care and research among pharmacy, medicine, nursing, public health and other health professions.

The college continues to advance on a fast track forward.  Recent program successes and highlights include:

-  This past summer, the program was awarded accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

-  Increasingly competitive as it grows toward a projected complement of 400 students, the college attracted nearly 800 applicants for 100 spots in the 2013 entering class.

- This year, USF pharmacy students begin working alongside medical students and treatment teams in the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, where they will demonstrate competency preparing medication orders safely in a life-like virtual environment before advancing to real retail and inpatient pharmacies.

- With a comprehensive array of clinical internship sites in metropolitan and rural areas, USF offers more training resources than virtually any other pharmacy program in the Southeast.

- USF’s alliance with CoreRX, a research-based drug development firm, is just one example of the college’s commitment to entrepreneurial academic partnerships offering students hands-on experience managing and delivering technologically-advanced pharmaceutical care.

Aging Baby Boomers with more chronic conditions. The emergence of pharmacogenetics and its implications for care based on an individual’s genetic profile. The need to master health informatics to reduce errors and duplicative services.  All are converging to create the need for a new breed of healthcare practitioner who can lead, innovate and work effectively in teams.

USF is at the forefront of preparing those pharmacists today, Dr. Sneed says. 

“If we are truly concerned about improving the health of patients while keeping costs down, then more fully integrating pharmacists into medication therapy decisions is critical — to make sure we get the right patient the right drug, at the right time.”

Photo by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications

This story appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of USF Magazine.