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The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy this month welcomed its latest cohort of students.

“The SIUE School of Pharmacy has developed tremendously since its inception, and that’s credited to team effort from dedicated and motivated faculty, staff and students,” said the dean, Gireesh Gupchup, PhD. “The educational experience our students receive emphasizes diversity and inclusion, global opportunities, clinical expertise and advances in research.”

gupchup gareesh2According to data from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, when the 2009-2016 graduating classes are considered together, the SIUE pharmacy school ranks No. 1 among the eight programs in Illinois and Missouri, with a 96 percent first-attempt board pass rate, exceeding state and national averages.

Gupchup emphasizes four bedrocks of success in the school, including student-centered approach, faculty and staff involvement and achievement, research and scholarly activities, and contribution to the community.

“We’ve created clinical and non-clinical experiences that expose our students to what is happening in the real world,” he said. “Our faculty model why it’s important to contribute to the community through their involvement in state and national leadership. Current students and alumni are also being recognized as leaders on national level committees.”

The SOP’s central degree is the augmented doctor of pharmacy (PharmD), which is achieved through a patient-centered education that utilizes state-of-the-art technology, new classrooms and laboratories. Other degrees, certificates and specializations complement the PharmD such as the joint PharmD/MBA program, specializations in education and pediatrics, and online certificates in organizational leadership and health informatics. The school also offers a master’s in pharmaceutical science.

“The PharmD curriculum includes courses in diversity and inclusion, an array of global opportunities, and self-study, independent study and study aboard course options,” Gupchup explained. “These additions, which create the augmented PharmD, have been transformative for student development.

“A new curriculum will start in 2018 and focus even more on the contemporary issues of interprofessional education. In addition to the important clinical aspects, it emphasizes personal and professional development.”

The SOP’s global partnerships have significantly grown, enhancing students’ cultural competency and understanding of healthcare delivery across the world. Global opportunities include locations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Jamaica and Haiti.

“These opportunities transform the way students think,” Gupchup said. “We’re continuously working to build more global health education opportunities.”

“We’re a small school,” he added. “We value teamwork and contribution to the community. We’re developing and empowering future pharmacy leaders who will make a difference.”

PHOTO: Gireesh Gupchup, PhD, dean of the SIUE School of Pharmacy.