New Pharmacy Schools Opening In Maine

By Staff
July 1, 2009

Responding to a demand for pharmacists nationwide and particularly in rural Maine, the state will open its first two pharmacy schools this fall.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the University of New England in Portland and Husson University in Bangor received approval this week from the national Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education in Chicago to open the pharmacy schools. Before granting full accreditation, the council will monitor the progress of each school through graduation of its first doctoral class in four years.

"There certainly is a demand for pharmacists in the state of Maine," noted Dr. Eric Jarvi, Associate Dean of Husson's new College of Pharmacy, who was quoted by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. "Maine has the third highest demand in the country, and far and away we have the worst demand of any of the 13 northeastern states. And our mission statement says that we will be a regional leader in integrative pharmacy education, committed to influencing the practice of pharmacy and rural healthcare delivery in the state of Maine."

Experts note that the nationwide demand for pharmacists is increasing as the population ages and the health care system expands. According to the Herald, there are only 113 established pharmacy schools across the country.

Husson University officials expect that most of the school's first class will be comprised of Maine students, and most of the clinical pharmacy sites will be in-state. "We believe Maine students studying and practicing right here will work," said Rod Larson, dean of the school, who was quoted in the Herald. "There is a significant unmet need for pharmacists, particularly in rural, small-town Maine."

Kaitlin Campbell, who works as a pharmacy technician during the school year and will be a member of the first class of pharmacy students at Husson, said that she expects to finish her degree in four years and then work locally. "I actually wanted to be a doctor at first and my dad suggested I get into the pharmacy and learn the drugs that I'm going to be dispensing to people, writing prescriptions for," she told MPBN. "So I started working in the pharmacy, seeing what the actual pharmacists do, the great relationships they have with their customers in the retail setting, the big impact they have on their customers' lives. And it really inspired me."

UNE received 790 applications and plans to enroll 100 students this fall. Husson, meanwhile, has received deposits from 60 planned enrollees. Both UNE and Husson already have undergraduate programs that prepare students for pharmacy school.

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