College receives grant to support service learning events

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The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy received a $5,000 grant from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation to enhance service learning projects for professional student pharmacists. Since 2011, students have provided vital services to patients in underserved communities and touched more than 50,000 patients’ lives. The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy was one of 132 Coastal Bend nonprofit programs to receive part of more than $880,000 from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation. Pictured at left, Interim Vice Dean Mary Chavez, Pharm.D., accepted the grant with Jean Claire Turcotte, former Coastal Bend Foundation member and Kingsville resident, on Sept. 10 at the Del Mar Economic Development Center in Corpus Christi. The Coastal Bend Community Foundation serves seven counties — Aransas, Bee, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio.

Texas A&M pharmacy program expands to College Station, improves access to health care across state

The Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy welcomed the first cohort of students in the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) program to the Bryan-College Station campus this past week. Approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in July, the expansion of a pharmacy branch campus in College Station marks a significant milestone for the Kingsville-based college, providing additional opportunities for student pharmacists in Texas and resulting in improved access to quality health care throughout the state.

The Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy welcomed the first cohort of students in the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) program to the Bryan-College Station campus this past week. Approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in July, the expansion of a pharmacy branch campus in College Station marks a significant milestone for the Kingsville-based college, providing additional opportunities for student pharmacists in Texas and resulting in improved access to quality health care throughout the state.

“Through unbridled commitment to exceptional pharmacy education the college has successfully boosted the pharmacist workforce in the Rio Grande Valley, with one-third of our graduates staying in the region to practice,” said Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., professor and founding dean of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. “While we will remain committed to continuing this legacy in South Texas, the expansion to a second campus in College Station will allow us to answer the call for improved access to health care across the entire state.”

As the role of pharmacists in delivering care significantly expands over the next decade, the need for highly qualified pharmacy professionals is clear. In fact, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the growth of the Texas population, the significant increase in the number of medications prescribed and dispensed to patients in Texas, and the continued expansion of retail chain pharmacy outlets are factors that contribute significantly to the demand for pharmacists across the state. Nationwide, a shortfall of as many as 157,000 pharmacists is predicted by the year 2020.

The expansion of the pharmacy program to the health science center’s existing Bryan-College Station-based professional programs in medicine, nursing and public health, will also afford students the opportunity to learn in a team environment, resulting in improved delivery of care to patients. Additionally, the expansion will strengthen the college’s interdisciplinary research opportunities among faculty and students.

“The added layer of a professional pharmacy program in Bryan-College Station will further enhance education and research opportunities for all health professions students, not just our pharmacy students, while providing further opportunities for collaboration and innovation by pharmacists and pharmaceutical researchers in both Bryan-College Station and Kingsville,” said Brett P. Giroir, M.D., CEO at Texas A&M Health Science Center.

John Acosta, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in molecular and experimental nutrition from Texas A&M University in 2009, returned to Aggieland as part of the inaugural Bryan-College Station class.

“The expansion to Bryan will make it easier for pharmacy students to collaborate with medical, nursing and other allied health students,” he said. “This will help improve patient care and promote greater integration for pharmacists as valuable members of the health care team.”

The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy is ranked one of the Top-50 programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. To-date, the college has graduated 395 pharmacists – 45 percent of which hail from South Texas.

“We began this program in Kingsville with a strong focus on developing the South Texas health care workforce to provide compassionate patient-centered care to the border region, and today, that mission is still ever-important, we’ve just expanded our area of impact, advancing pharmacy education to other parts of Texas,” Reddy said.