MU-UMKC will offer pharmacy doctorate

Thursday, September 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:18 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

Starting in August 2005, MU will add a doctoral pharmacy program to its degree offerings, University of Missouri system officials announced Wednesday. It will be jointly operated with the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The system established the Board of Curator’s Cooperative Degree Program, which will extend the doctor of pharmacy program from the UMKC School of Pharmacy to the MU campus.

“This is exactly what the University of Missouri system should be involved in,” Elson Floyd, UM system president, said at a news conference in University Hall.

Floyd said the program is expected to add 30 pharmacy students annually and will include nuclear pharmacy, a new elective track within the program. This will be a joint effort of MU’s School of Health Professions and UMKC’s School of Pharmacy. Students will pay tuition to UMKC, and faculty members will be paid through the Kansas City campus. UMKC has had the program in place since 1885.

MU and UMKC decided to join forces rather than create a separate MU pharmacy school because the accreditation process is difficult and costly.

“Rather than go through the accreditation process, we’ll be under the same umbrella as Kansas City, which will be a win-win for the local area,” said Richard Oliver, dean of MU’s School of Health Professions.

“This is a way for the system to share resources and be cost-neutral for citizens,” said Robert Piepho, dean of UMKC’s School of Pharmacy.

Oliver said MU is already world-renowned in the study of nuclear pharmacy. “We produce nuclear pharmacy but don’t currently have a program that will train students how to work with it,” Oliver said.

Oliver said the nuclear pharmacy track will be one of only three in the nation. Currently, Missouri students seeking a degree in pharmacy are only able to receive it from UMKC and a private school in St. Louis. Piepho said UMKC turns away five out of six applicants.

“This agreement will help us admit more students,” Piepho said.

To accommodate the new students, nine full-time faculty members will be hired at MU.

“We’re going to log every hour of coursework the students do, and then buy those courses back from MU,” Piepho said.

He said the nine faculty members will work at MU overseeing primary pharmacy courses, and the new program will continue to work with area hospitals and visiting professors.

“We’re also guaranteeing that one (UMKC) faculty member will be out at MU every week, to keep continuity,” Peipho said.

One of the other motives for the agreement is addressing the problem of pharmaceutical shortages.

“The pharmacy shortage problem is acute in rural Missouri,” Piepho said. “It’s our belief that if these students receive education in central Missouri, they’ll stay in central Missouri.”

Piepho added that the program will expand the number of rural hospitals serving as clinical training sites, as well as continuing its work with area hospitals and pharmacies.

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