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UMKC School of Pharmacy Update

08 Aug 2018 11:06 AM | MSHP Office (Administrator)

UMKC School of Pharmacy

As usual, we have been very busy at the UMKC School of Pharmacy!  While it would be impossible here to describe all that has been going on, I would like provide a brief update on recent activities at the school.

UMKC School of Pharmacy at MSU:  After six years of hard work by UMKC and MSU faculty and staff, as well as support from the state of Missouri and many hard-working legislators, we have come through on our promise to provide pharmacy education in Southwest Missouri.  Our first cohort of 31 students graduated from our Springfield location in May.  Prior to graduation, most of the students had secured jobs in and around Southwest Missouri.  This group of outstanding students included many who would not have been able to pack up and move to our sites in Kansas City or Columbia in order to attend pharmacy school.  Special thanks go to all who made this happen, but especially our friends and colleagues at Missouri State University.  President Clif Smart and Provost Frank Einhellig and all of the folks there who worked with us to make dreams come true.

“APhA-ASP National Champions”.  If ESPN would cover pharmacy student competitions, then the entire country, even those outside the pharmacy world, would know the dominance of the UMKC chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP)!  This year, our chapter was once again recognized as the number one chapter in the country!  This is the second time since 2012 that our chapter has been recognized by APhA as the number one chapter, and every year in between they have been among the top seven or four chapters in the nation.  Our students are clearly having a huge impact on the health and wellness of people in our country, and especially throughout central and southwestern Missouri as well as the Kansas City area.  We are proud that they continue to bring such positive national attention to UMKC.  We also had national APhA awards provided to individual UMKC student pharmacists including:  Sara Massey (Class of 2018) received the John A. Gans Scholarship from the APhA Foundation; Sierra Woods (Class of 2019) received the APhA Good Government Student Pharmacist of the Year.

Outstanding Faculty Advisors.  I often get asked by other deans of pharmacy around the country about the keys to the success of our student chapter of APhA-ASP, and the answer is simple:  it’s clearly the outstanding faculty advisors they have.  Special thanks go to the mentorship provided by Drs. Kelly Cochran, Kathryn Holt, Lisa Cillessen, Angela Brownfield, Sarah Cox, Heather Taylor, Andrew Bzowyckyj, and Cameron Lindsey.  All of these faculty are well-known nationally for leading our students, but we are particularly pleased that Dr. Valerie Ruehter received the APhA-ASP Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award—the top advisor in the country!

Other National Student Awards.  Our students received many other national awards.  Marian Lyford (Class of 2018) was recognized by the United States Public Health Service with the 2018 Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award.  Also, Dion Tyler (Class of 2018) and his interprofessional team of health care student finished 3rd at the annual CLARION National Competition at the University of Minnesota.

Faculty and Staff Focus on Student Success!  While we are absolutely elated that our students rake in all the national awards, the truth is their greatest accomplishment is graduation.  For that ultimate measure of student success, we are forever grateful for the hard work and dedication of our staff and faculty.  We are also proud of our student success numbers where 94.4 % of the students who entered our program in 2014 graduated on time in 2018.  While we do not yet have NAPLEX pass rates from them, we do know that for 2017 graduates—97.5 % of whom graduated on time—92% passed the NAPLEX on first sitting.

Faculty Accolades.  Many of our faculty have received substantial accolades in the last year, far too many to list all here.  Among our clinical faculty, some of the accomplishments included:  Dr. Andy Smith was named a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy; Dr. Heather Taylor became a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist; Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney was named MPA Faculty Member of the Year and received the Jefferson Award, a national program started by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1972 that honors everyday heroes in our community; Dr. Paul Gubbins published a book as Editor entitled Drug Interactions in Infectious Disease: Mechanisms and Models of Drug Interactions, 4th Ed.; Dr. Maureen Knell co-authored a publication in Pain Medicine this year that is receiving significant attention locally and nationally for understanding opioid prescribing patterns; Drs. Angela Brownfield, Paul Gubbins, and Valerie Ruehter received the Award for Excellence in Scholarship in Experiential Education from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; and Dr. Kendall Guthrie was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the MPA.

There are many other great accomplishments of our students faculty in the past year.  If you can make time to come by and see us, we’d be happy to tell you all about it.  You are all welcome to visit the school anytime at our sites in Kansas City, Columbia, and/or Springfield.  We also appreciate your assistance in identifying any students who might be interested in pursuing pharmacy careers.  Just let us know, we love to talk to anyone about our great profession! 

Best wishes to everyone in MSHP!

Russell B. Melchert, Ph.D.
Dean of Pharmacy and Professor


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