New pharmacy students challenged to embrace interprofessional future of health

They were welcomed by the leaders of each college and school within USF Health – a united front showing the power of collaborative caring.

The incoming College of Pharmacy Class of 2017 represents the largest class in the school’s short history. The college’s rigorous, innovative four-year curriculum will push the 107 students to stretch the limits of their brainpower, creativity and energy —  but not without plenty of tools and support, said COP Dean Kevin Sneed, PharmD.


The USF College of Pharmacy Class of 2017 is off to a rapid pace in training for the future of health care.

“USF Health is not just about pharmacy, or medicine, or any other single health profession,” Dr. Sneed said last week at the new pharmacy students’ orientation. “It’s about all our health professions coming together to provide better care for our patients.”

“It will take all of us working together, not only in the clinical setting, but also at the population and community levels to do what needs to be done to create healthier communities,” said Donna Petersen, ScD, interim senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF College of Public Health.

The call for collaboration and interprofessionalism was echoed by each of the other USF Health leaders who greeted the class:   Allesa English, MD, PharmD, director of MD Career Advising at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine; William S. Quillen, DPT, PhD, director of the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences and associate dean, Morsani College of Medicine; Michael Barber, DPhil, director of the School of Biomedical Sciences and associate dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs at Morsani College of Medicine; and Connie Visovsky, PhD, RN, associate dean of student affairs and community engagement for the USF College of Nursing.


As part of their orientation, the new USF pharmacy students participated in team-building exercises at Riverfront Park, including working with fellow students to negotiate the ropes course.

Dr. Sneed challenged the new students to think of themselves as “professionals in training” and to embrace a future requiring a new breed of healthcare professional who can lead, innovate and work effectively in teams.   

“This is a brand new realm of health care we’re moving into with pharmacogenomics, informatics and mobile health technology,” he said.  “We’re challenging our faculty, staff and you to come up with a new and better way to deliver health care… We can’t predict all the changes, but we can give you the leadership skills you will need to implement meaningful change.”


College of Pharmacy Class of 2017 Demographics

–          Gender:  107 students:  51% women; 49% men

–          First Generation: 26% are first in their families to attend college

–          Residency:  92% from Florida, 8% out-of-state

–          Ethnicity:   17% Asian/Pacific Islander, 11% Black, 16% Hispanic, 50% White, and 6% undisclosed

–          Countries of birth:  In addition to the U.S., includes United Arab Emirates, Albania, Egypt, Canada, Moldova, Jamaica, South Korea, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mexico, Nigeria, Haiti, Bolivia, Ghana, and Germany

–          Undergraduate majors:  Primary majors are biomedical science, biology/microbiology, and chemistry/biochemistry, but other degrees include public health, business, nursing, nutrition, biomedical engineering, physiology, and sports medicine.


Ready, set… zipline!



One of the students’ first assignments requiring building consensus was choosing a class song that would carry them through a rigorous, innovative four-year curriculum. Their selection — Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications