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Missouri State University Interim President Clif Smart signs a memorandum of understanding with University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy on Oct. 14, bringing a Pharm.D. program to the Ozarks.
Missouri State University Interim President Clif Smart signs a memorandum of understanding with University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy on Oct. 14, bringing a Pharm.D. program to the Ozarks.

MSU, UMKC pen pharmacy agreement

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Slated to begin in 2014, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy program will open a satellite school with Missouri State University, giving students in southwest Missouri the opportunity to attend a nationally recognized pharmacy program.

UMKC has the only public school of pharmacy in Missouri. It was established in 1885.

The Oct. 14 memorandum of understanding signed by interim presidents Clif Smart of MSU and Steve Owens of UMKC, as well as UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton, would allow MSU students to enroll in UMKC’s Doctor of Pharmacy degree program.

“The demand for pharmacists is exploding,” Morton said. “The Pharm.D. program is for people who want to dedicate their life to pharmacy. Think about how many Walgreens are opening, and hospitals and clinics, they all need more than one pharmacist.”

Frank Einhellig, interim provost at MSU, has been working to bring a Pharm.D. program to MSU for four years. He said a letter of intent was signed in September 2009, but Einhellig and others were formulating ideas two years earlier.

Gov. Jay Nixon was on hand for the signing and gave a speech trumpeting the cooperation it took to bring the plan to fruition.

“This program is a model of innovation and collaboration between two excellent universities, and it will directly improve the quality and accessibility of health care in Springfield and southwest Missouri, where we have a real need for more pharmacists,” he said.

Nixon said pilot funding for the program will be provided through Caring for Missourians, a $40 million initiative launched in 2009 to increase the number of pharmacists, nurses, physicians, dentists and other health care professionals being educated at public universities and colleges in the state.

The Pharm.D. program will not be offered through MSU. The UMKC School of Pharmacy will have complete control of the operations of the program, including the hiring of faculty and staff and scheduling of classes.

“The nine new hires will come from UMKC, but they will be adjunct faculty here and have rights as faculty at MSU,” Einhellig said.

Before being accepted into the Pharm.D. program, students must complete required coursework, which can be done at MSU.

“Pre-pharmacy is a degree already available here at MSU,” Einhellig said. “So some faculty and courses, specifically in the bio-chemistry department, will come from our program.”

Pharm.D. classes will be offered downtown, in Building 1 of Brick City, but students may be required to travel to other program sites for shared experiences not available on the MSU campus.

“Distance education will be a big part of the program,” Einhellig said. “A class originating in Kansas City will be fitted with a live stream so students here can interact and ask questions.

“They’ve been doing this in Columbia at MU for four years.”

The 60,000-square-foot Building 1 of Brick City has yet to be renovated, but the agreement states what must be included to house the UMKC School of Pharmacy at MSU.

The Pharm.D. program would be housed in about 15,000 square feet on the fourth floor of the building, including nine faculty offices, two to three staff offices, a minimum of three long-distance education classrooms, four to five videoconferencing rooms and multifunctional space for labs and simulations.

The program is modeled off of a similar one in place between University of Missouri-Columbia and UMKC.

In 2005, the two schools started their partnership and have since had two classes of Pharm.D. students graduate from MU’s program.

Russell Melchert, dean of the UMKC School of Pharmacy and the chief administrator of MSU’s satellite program in Brick City, said he is confident students will stay in the area after graduation.

Melchert said 75 percent of students who graduated from MU’s Pharm.D. program returned to southern or southwest Missouri to find jobs.

Melchert said a typical starting salary for a Pharm.D. graduate is between $100,000 and $150,000.[[In-content Ad]]

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