By: Brenda Gleason, Interim Dean of Pharmacy
As we close out the 2019-20 academic year at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, we are reflecting on a year filled with extraordinary accomplishments and challenges.
Over the past 12 months, we have seen our institution recognized nationally as the top college in the U.S. for return on investment at 15 and 20 years after enrollment, and we’ve watched as extensive growth in our research initiatives has continued, with the College earning honors as the top-ranked private college of pharmacy in the nation for National Institutes of Health grant funding.
Amid this incredible recognition for the College, we, like other colleges and universities nationwide, also have been navigating unique challenges stemming from the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In March, the College moved quickly to an online learning format to protect the health and safety of campus community. Over the past several months, I have been enormously proud of how well our students, faculty and staff have adapted and excelled during this challenging time, especially our 2020 graduates. With our traditional May Commencement postponed due to the pandemic, we look forward to recognizing the achievements of these talented and dedicated graduates this fall.
As the College pivoted to online learning, faculty in the School of Pharmacy went above and beyond to transition their curriculum and develop new and innovative methods to educate student pharmacists, and I can’t thank them enough for their tireless efforts.
In addition, as the Washington University Medical Campus established hospital surge plans this spring, several faculty members from the Department of Pharmacy Practice volunteered for surge teams that were on standby to provide medication expertise and lead critical medication management in the event that the COVID-19 pandemic reached crisis status in the St. Louis area. Those who volunteered their services included:
During the pandemic, we have also seen numerous students and alumni step up to serve their patients and communities. From our students, who continue to work in pharmacy internships at local hospitals and in community pharmacies across Missouri and Illinois, to our alumni, who have gone above and beyond to provide access to essential COVID-19 testing for the region’s most vulnerable populations, I continue to be amazed by the many efforts of those in our College community.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed much of our work since early spring, the 2019-20 academic year saw the successful implementation of our four health care-focused bachelor’s degrees as standalone programs:
Tailored to the demands of the market and the needs of students, the programs are providing students with options and the ability to explore their passions within health care.
As we look to 2021, the College aims to further expand its academic programs to include a Master of Science in Medicinal Chemistry and a aster of Science in Global Health. Faculty, staff and students also continue to work on a new strategic plan for the School of Pharmacy that will propel us forward over the next three years.
We are also thrilled to note that this academic year has been highlighted by a wide range of recognition for members of the College community.
Canaday and Gielow each took home awards, with Canaday being presented with the Lifetime Leadership award and Gielow receiving the Civic Leader Award.
In addition, at the close of the 2019-20 academic year, we said farewell to Bruce Canaday, Pharm.D., FASHP, FAPhA, who officially retired as dean of the School of Pharmacy. Having joined the College in 2014, dean Canaday provided six years of dedicated service to the College and his retirement marks the conclusion of a storied career in academic pharmacy that has spanned more than four decades. While he will be greatly missed, we wish him the very best as he embarks on this new and exciting chapter of his life.
While the last few months certainly presented great challenges, they have also provided the College with great opportunities to continue to showcase our many strengths, including our commitment to educating highly trained health care professionals, our dedication to creating a healthier society and our ability to innovate and adapt.
Even during difficult times, there are incredible things underway at the College as we continue our work to prepare students for expert practice and leadership in pharmacy and health care education, interprofessional patient-centered care and collaborative research.
As our College, and the nation, work to return to a “new normal,” we hope to welcome you back to campus soon!