Belmont University announced today it will open a School of Pharmacy and will begin enrolling students in the program for the 2008-09 academic year. The pharmacy program will join Belmont’s nursing, social work, physical therapy and occupational therapy programs available in the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing.
“Belmont has made a commitment to the allied health sciences in this community,” Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said. “With our existing physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing and social work programs, we are filling great needs in Nashville – the health care capital – for educating the next generation of highly qualified health care professionals in a variety of disciplines. We are excited to add pharmacy to our growing list of offerings.”
The School of Pharmacy at Belmont will be a four-year, graduate program with a foundation in clinical and practical learning. By opening a School of Pharmacy, Belmont will help alleviate a growing problem state and nationwide – a shortage of pharmacy positions projected to call for 1,060 new pharmacy positions needed in Tennessee and over 157,000 nationwide.
“Belmont’s program will build on a long and rich tradition of cross-disciplinary collaboration and nurturing community and industry relationships to create a program that will prepare its students with the diversity of skills that will enable them to meet these varied challenges,” Belmont Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander said. ‘More than 30 years ago, when Belmont established its nationally preeminent program in music business, enterprising faculty members and university leaders saw a music industry in deep need of business professionals to help lead it. That kind of entrepreneurial thinking and action, that kind of cross-community partnership building, has become the hallmark of a Belmont education. These elements have inspired our efforts in the development of all of our health care programs. We look forward to working with the community and the industry in this new endeavor.”
Belmont’s School of Pharmacy will follow a cutting-edge model of educating pharmacists for the 21st century. Belmont will collaborate extensively with area hospitals and retail pharmacies to allow students opportunities to gain knowledge in every aspect of the pharmaceutical industry from the scientific and medical to the marketing of the ever-expanding industry. Belmont has received letters of support for its School of Pharmacy from area hospitals and medical centers, including Summit, Skyline, Southern Hills, Centennial, St. Thomas, Baptist, Vanderbilt and Williamson County. The regional managers of pharmacy at Walgreen’s, CVS, Eckerd, Kroger, Publix, Walmart and K-mart have also lent their support to the School of Pharmacy at Belmont.
“Belmont is well suited and situated to add a school of pharmacy to its academic offerings,” Clayton McWhorter, a Belmont trustee, former pharmacist and chairman of Clayton Associates, said. “Middle Tennessee is the ideal place for the best clinical training any student could dream of having. Belmont, because of its academic and faith-based offerings and structure, has the opportunity to start a pharmacy program that will create pharmacists of the future. As we deal more and more with new drug therapies, the importance of the role of the pharmacist to ensure the appropriate use of these powerful medications will escalate.”
In addition to serving traditional roles of pharmacists, the professionals of the future will need to be prepared:
* To assume co-equal partnership roles with doctors and other health care professionals in the assignment, management and evaluation of medication and drug regimens for patients
* To analyze trends in patterns of medication use and in pharmacoeconomics for managed care corporations and insurance providers
* To lead new developments in pharmacy informatics in an increasingly technology driven environment
* To manage businesses and to lead people.
This model mirrors Belmont’s initiatives to educate students with collaborative, entrepreneurial programs and to strengthen community relationships and partnerships that benefit both Belmont students and greater Nashville simultaneously.
“With over 80 million baby boomers not only in growing need of health care but retiring from the health care industry, there are huge demands for health care professionals that we have to meet somehow,” Jack Bovender, CEO of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), said. “Belmont has a history of stepping in to fill needs and we look forward to continuing our partnership in this new endeavor.”
Click here to watch a video of today’s event.