Dean Eddington Presents 2013 State of the School Address

Annual address highlights the School of Pharmacy’s education, practice, research, and outreach accomplishments.

By Malissa Carroll
November 20, 2013

Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, delivered her annual State of the School of Pharmacy Address on Nov. 6 to a lecture hall filled with faculty, staff, students, alumni, preceptors, and University of Maryland officials.

“The foundation of what we do at the School of Pharmacy is based on our mission to lead pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement in the state of Maryland and beyond,” said Eddington. “The annual State of the School of Pharmacy Address provides an opportunity for us to reflect on what we have accomplished over the last year, and aspire to continue or enhance those accomplishments in the years to come.”

According to Eddington, the School has 645 students currently enrolled in its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Applications to the School’s PharmD program in 2013 totaled 1,006, which is comparable to the number of applications the School has received over the past four years. The School admits approximately 160 students to the program each year. Of those admitted to the Class of 2017, 83 percent entered with at least one college degree.

Speaking about the careers pursued by graduates of the School’s PharmD program, Eddington noted that, of the 160 PharmD students who graduated in May, 40 percent chose jobs in community pharmacies, while 45 percent elected to pursue additional training in the form of a post-graduate residency or fellowship. “For the first time, we have witnessed a switch in terms of the percentage of graduates pursuing employment with community pharmacies versus those seeking additional training through residencies and fellowships,” she said.

She commended the School’s Job Ready Program for helping students develop those skills that proved essential to their success in the interview process, saying, “From 2012 to 2013, the percentage of students matched to residency programs increased 15 percent, and I think that is a result of students’ continued participation in the activities hosted by our Job Ready Program, which strives to ensure that our students are the most competitive and most prepared during the interview process.”

The School’s graduate programs in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) enrolled a combined 77 students. Graduates of these programs pursue careers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and with the government.

Scheduled to launch in January 2014, the new Master of Science (MS) in Regulatory Science program will provide graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to drug regulation and pharmaceutical products lifecycles. Developed by Jim Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmaceutics at the School, this program will be offered through the School’s Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation – a collaborative partnership between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), and University of Maryland, College Park that focuses on modernizing and improving the ways in which drugs and medical devices are reviewed and evaluated. It will be offered exclusively online and designed for working professionals who now work in, or would like to work in, regulatory science in industry or government.

The MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacometrics) program, which launched in Fall 2012 and is also available online, has currently enrolled 30 students, and is projected to increase its enrollment to 55 students by 2015.

As part of her report on the School’s education accomplishments, Eddington also highlighted its involvement in the first-ever Interprofessional Education (IPE) Day hosted by UMB in April 2013. One hundred twenty-six students represented the School at IPE Day, with faculty members participating in eight out of the nine featured IPE scenarios. After all of the scenarios concluded, more than 300 students gathered to reflect on their experiences at a debriefing in the School of Nursing auditorium, where pharmacy students were commended for “knowing everything” by other professional students.

In the area of practice, Eddington spotlighted the efforts of PPS faculty to provide pharmacists with opportunities to increase their engagement with patients. Led by Jill Morgan, PharmD, associate professor in PPS, the School is working to develop an Advanced Pharmacy Technician Curriculum. Beginning January 2014, it will partner with the University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and MedStar Health to offer the program to current pharmacy technicians as a way to help advance the practice of those technicians and allow pharmacists to expand their practices in health systems. “This will be a signature, one-of-its-kind program when it kicks off,” remarked Eddington.

In research, the School continued its mission to intensify nationally and internationally recognized programs in drug discovery and development, health services, practice-based, and translational research. Grants and contracts awarded to PPS faculty increased by $3.5 million, and PHSR reported the largest number of federal awards in its 10-year history. The School’s total for research awards received in Fiscal Year 2013 was $20 million, with more than $6 million of that funding coming from the National Institutes of Health.

In an effort to support more patient-centered outcomes research in the state of Maryland and beyond, C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor in PHSR, launched the innovative Patient-Centered Involvement in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Treatments (PATIENTS) program in September 2013. This program, which is funded by a $5 million infrastructure grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), aims to reduce health disparities by leveraging relationships with patient communities and health care systems to ensure that patients, health care providers, and other partners are actively engaged in research.

Through its PSC Department, the School also became the first school of pharmacy to be named a partner in Waters Corporation’s Centers of Innovation Program. This designation honors the School’s commitment to advancing science through its Mass Spectrometry Facility. Co-directed by David Goodlett, PhD, the Isaac E. Emerson Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School, and Maureen Kane, PhD, assistant professor in PSC, this facility aims to accelerate discovery by providing investigators with access to cutting-edge technologies in mass spectrometry.

With entrepreneurship as another priority for the School of Pharmacy, Eddington outlined the School’s efforts to capitalize on key revenue-generating opportunities in research, practice, education, and philanthropy. Though many of these opportunities have manifested in the form of faculty start-up companies, the University also recognized the importance of social entrepreneurship, selecting Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA, professor and chair of PPS, as its Founders Week “Entrepreneur of the Year” for her work as director of the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions and her role in the development of the innovative Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships (P3) Program.

Ellen Yankellow, PharmD ’96, BSP ’73, president and chief executive officer of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc., was also recognized for her gift of $1.1 million to the School. The donation, which was received as part of the School’s Capital Campaign, is the largest gift ever from a female graduate and will support a first-of-its-kind fellowship at the School designed to capture health outcomes and economic data about the value of clinical pharmacy services.

The gift also named the Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium in Pharmacy Hall.

Concluding her address with a reflection on the environment surrounding the School, Eddington highlighted a number of student activities, including Drug Take-Back Day, Healthy Halloween, and Legislative Day, that demonstrated the School’s efforts to promote a healthy school community that values excellence through professional collegiality, mentoring, and citizenship.

To view a video of the 2013 State of the School of Pharmacy Address, please click here.

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