GV students gain advantage in U-M pharmacy program

GV students gain advantage in U-M pharmacy program

Molly Waite

For pharmacy students hoping to continue their education, a new opportunity may provide them with an edge in finding a graduate school. Last week, the presidents of the University of Michigan and Grand Valley State University signed an agreement establishing a program that provides a small number of GVSU freshmen with preferred admission to the U-M doctoral pharmacy program.

“This is an exciting example of two Michigan institutions of high education working together to address mutual goals,” said Frank Ascione, dean of the U-M College of Pharmacy, in a GVSU press release.

The agreement was signed by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and GVSU President Thomas J. Haas at a meeting of the U-M Board Regents in Grand Rapids. In accordance with the agreement, the U-M College of Pharmacy will reserve up to eight positions annually in its four-year PharmD doctoral program for the GVSU graduate freshmen who complete a rigorous undergraduate program of pre-pharmacy coursework and other requirements. This initiative is called the Pharmacy Preferred Admission Program.

“This partnership further expands the breadth of health profession program offerings available to students by bringing together two premier institutions,” said Jean Nagelkerk, GVSU vice provost for health, in a press release.

The U-M College of Pharmacy receives about 55 applications annually for 80 openings in its highly-regarded PharmD doctoral program. It is the first collaboration the U-M College of Pharmacy has formed with another university.

“We don’t have an undergraduate program on the western side of the state,” Ascione said. “But this initiative allows us to work with Grand Valley to identify talented, motivated students from western Michigan who are eager to pursue careers in pharmacy. Grand Valley will identify those high-potential students, then we will work together to make sure they meet our high standards.”

The first group of freshmen participating will be admitted in the fall of 2011.

The students must complete a program of pre-pharmacy coursework, maintain an appropriate grade point average and achieve a score on the Pharmacy College Admission Test that is consistent with the U-M College of Pharmacy’s admission standards.

In addition, the students must maintain regular contact with a pre-professional adviser, complete one year of health care work experience, volunteer for community service and demonstrate professional behavior.

“As Grand Valley contributes to the development of the future pharmacy workforce, this agreement will enhance our presence as a partner in Michigan’s growing health care community,” Nagelkerk said. “It also benefits Grand Valley’s students, who will have access to one of the top pharmacy education programs in the nation.”

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