SOP Hosts Special Ceremony to Name Walgreens OSCE Suite

Event recognizes recent gift from community pharmacy partner.

SOP Hosts Special Ceremony to Name Walgreens OSCE Suite

By Malissa Carroll
November 24, 2014

Faculty, staff, and students gathered with representatives from Walgreens on Oct. 24 to watch as Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), officially unveiled new signage naming the Walgreens Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Suite at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Opened in 2006 to help student pharmacists practice their clinical skills in simulated real world situations, the Walgreens OSCE Suite was named to in honor of the company’s recent $350,000 donation to the School, which will be used to support this educational space.

“Today, the School of Pharmacy recognizes Walgreens for its generous support of our OSCE Suite,” said Rodriguez de Bittner. “Their gift ensures that the learning opportunities afforded by this unique educational facility will continue to be available for future generations of pharmacy students. We are grateful to have this opportunity to unveil a visible reminder of what it means to be a community partner and supporter of pharmacy education. We are proud to call Walgreens a partner, and we thank them for their continued support.”

James Hughes, PhD, chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, highlighted in his remarks the research and entrepreneurial success achieved by members of the School’s faculty and emphasized how those successes complement the work being done at Walgreens to expand the pharmacist’s role as the most accessible member of the health care team.

“The naming of the Walgreens OSCE Suite represents an important milestone in the School of Pharmacy and Walgreens’ efforts to work together to transform the role of pharmacy in health care delivery,” said Hughes. “This is an ambitious undertaking – one that we could not tackle alone in academia, and one that, I would suggest, the professionals at Walgreens could not tackle alone in industry. However, by combining our efforts, we have an opportunity to transform patient care across the state of Maryland and beyond. It is very exciting to be part of this work, and I look forward to learning about the many great accomplishments that are sure to result from this partnership.”

Walgreens has a history of sustained and increased giving to the School of Pharmacy. In addition to its recent gift supporting the Walgreens OSCE Suite, the company first showed its support to the School in 1991 through a generous contribution to the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Fund in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research. Since that time, Walgreens has been a regular supporter of the School’s annual Graduation Banquet and has contributed to both student scholarships and the School’s unrestricted fund, which support the School’s areas of greatest need.

The company also supported the construction of the Pharmacy Hall Addition, which opened in 2010, by naming a breakout area on the third floor of the new building.

“The role of the pharmacist has never been more important, and Walgreens’ relationship with institutions such as the School of Pharmacy is essential as we prepare new pharmacists for the challenges and opportunities associated with providing advanced levels of patient care,” said Jeff Koziel, RPh, group vice president of pharmacy operations at Walgreens, who addressed the audience on behalf of the company at the ceremony. “Today’s pharmacy graduates need to enter the workforce with a completely new skillset, and the skills that they learn in the OSCE Suite will be essential to evolving the practice of pharmacy. We commend the School of Pharmacy for the foresight to establish this laboratory as an investment in the future of pharmacy. We are honored to sponsor this facility and partner with the School to develop pharmacists of the future.”

The Walgreens OSCE Suite is a 10-room, state-of-the-art facility designed to demonstrate the pharmacist’s expanding role in direct patient care and medication therapy management (MTM). Students perform a series of specific clinical tasks within a specified time at each of several stations. Each task is time limited, and all stations are equipped with sophisticated audio and video monitoring, allowing faculty to observe all activities from a central control room. An examiner, such as a faculty member, outside expert, or the standardized patient (actor) with whom the student interacted, scores the student’s performance following each interaction.

Brandon Keith, a fourth-year student pharmacist at the School, attended the ceremony to thank Walgreens for their investment in the facility from which he has learned many invaluable lessons. “As a student pharmacist, it is very important to be able to take the clinical knowledge that I am taught in the classroom and effectively communicate it to my patients. Fortunately, the simulated patient encounters in the OSCE Suite have helped me to acquire this skill and become a more confident pharmacy practitioner. I thank Walgreens for their generous gift towards future student pharmacists’ education and for recognizing the importance of maintaining this space as we strive to expand the scope of services provided by pharmacists,” he said.

Before unveiling the new signage at the entrance to the Walgreens OSCE Suite, Rodriguez de Bittner presented Koziel with a plaque to commemorate the ceremony and recognize Walgreens’ generous gift to the School. “Walgreens’ gift to the OSCE Suite is a continuation of their long-term commitment to the School of Pharmacy, and we cannot thank them enough,” she said.

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