SOP Breaks Ground on Pharmacy Hall Addition

Governor Martin O’Malley Joins the School of Pharmacy Family at Ceremony to Celebrate the Start of Construction on Building Designed to Address Pharmacists Shortage and Increase Bioscience Research

Ground is broken

By Steve Berberich
September 19, 2008

At a groundbreaking ceremony today for its $67 million building addition, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy takes a vital step in addressing the national shortage of pharmacists and continuing the School’s leadership in educating pharmacy professionals and conducting bioscience research.

Pharmacy Hall Addition, a seven-story, 112,565 square foot building, will provide students with new space for lecture rooms, experiential learning facilities, and research laboratories. It will also include a dispensing laboratory with state-of-the-art robotics, which is a trend to allow pharmacists to dedicate more time to other critical patient care duties.

The additional space will also allow the School of Pharmacy to increase its enrollment by as much as 60 percent in coming years, producing dozens more pharmacists to practice in community, hospital, and long-term care settings, in addition to academia, industry, and government.

“The School of Pharmacy has consistently been a national leader, and this new facility will be a foundation for the future for the School,” said David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

“With four floors of Pharmacy Hall Addition dedicated to bench side research, our faculty will be on the forefront of discovering new, novel, and improved therapeutics leading to our ultimate goal of personalized medicine,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “The School’s research program provides our students with access to cutting-edge science. It gives them a foundation for the innovation in pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical research that comes from being taught by faculty who are experts in their fields.”

Equally important, says Eddington, is that the new building will allow the School to educate a new kind of pharmacist, one who is well-trained to handle expanding health care duties. She says today’s pharmacist is often the most accessible member of the health care team and plays a vital role in managing drug safety and providing counseling for chronic diseases such as diabetes.

“It’s not a matter of mainly handling prescription demands. Today’s front-line pharmacist is moving from behind the counter to counsel more patients, administer vaccines, manage medication therapies, monitor vital signs, and share new clinical knowledge on how best to manage multiple medications and chronic diseases,” says Eddington.

“Today’s ceremony marks more than just a groundbreaking. Building on the significant role that UMB is already playing in advancing Maryland’s global position in biotechnology, medical innovation and scientific discovery, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is among an elite list of state institutions that are providing world-class medical training and preparing Marylanders for the jobs of tomorrow,” says Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

William Ellis, RPh, MS, executive director and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, says, “The facility will strengthen the nationally recognized work being done there to improve the health and well-being of all people through education, research, and community service.”

To help train pharmacists with expanded health care roles, facilities in the new building will be designed to evaluate how students carry out clinical examinations of patients. A new patient-interaction suite will accommodate 48 students to practice patient counseling.

Building features will include two 200-seat lecture halls and an 80-seat lecture hall equipped for distance learning and wireless Internet service throughout the building. The new building will be funded by $62 million in state funds and $5 million in private funds and is scheduled to open in fall 2010.