UCI News

UCI to launch innovative School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

First of its kind in LA-OC area, it will bring new solutions to advance health and wellness

August 4, 2020
UCI to launch innovative School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
“The school will provide innovative, integrative, learner-centered education; cutting-edge pharmaceutical and biomedical research; and national leadership in interprofessional, patient-centered healthcare,” says Jan Hirsch, founding dean of UCI’s new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 4, 2020 — As part of a prescription to reshape 21st-century healthcare, the University of California, Irvine is announcing the establishment of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the first public pharmacy school in the Los Angeles-Orange County region and a pillar of UCI’s expanding Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences.

“We’re thrilled to launch the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as the next step in UCI’s bold reimagining of healthcare, one that shifts the focus of patient care from treating ailments to preventing them,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Infused with that spirit, the school will concentrate on the whole patient, spanning the continuum from drug discovery to clinical practice.”

According to Founding Dean Jan Hirsch, professor of clinical pharmacy, the new school will be a driving force for advancing the health and wellness of individuals and society.

“The school will provide innovative, integrative, learner-centered education; cutting-edge pharmaceutical and biomedical research; and national leadership in interprofessional, patient-centered healthcare,” she said. “We will educate pharmaceutical scientists and clinical pharmacists who will be integral to discovering and implementing new solutions to optimize medication usage, patient outcomes and cost-effective healthcare.”

UCI’s school – which was approved by University of California regents on July 30 – will be the third such venture in the UC system and California’s first new public pharmacy school in nearly two decades.

“The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is a cornerstone for the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences, a first-of-its-kind alliance of health disciplines that is redefining research, education and patient care,” said Dr. Steve Goldstein, vice chancellor for health affairs. “Patients are best cared for by interprofessional teams of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and investigators, each contributing at the top of their field. To work together, those in the disciplines must learn together. The college is establishing a new standard for how we train the diverse healthcare workforce of tomorrow.”

The school comprises the existing Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the new Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice. It’s one of only a few schools in California to be part of an academic health center, and the faculty’s research productivity places it in the top 10 of pharmaceutical sciences programs in the U.S.

“The school comes at a time when advances in pharmaceutical research, technology and computational tools are fueling the rapid discovery of new treatments, diagnostics and prevention strategies, empowering personalized care and population health,” Goldstein said.

Added Hirsch: “The profession of pharmacy is undergoing a transformation from a focus on product delivery to the provision of direct patient care services as part of interprofessional, team-based healthcare.”

A new Doctor of Pharmacy program will begin enrolling students in the fall of 2021 with the goal of producing practice-ready pharmacists to be medication experts on healthcare teams and problem-solvers to lead progressive change in the healthcare system. The Pharm.D. program joins existing programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, postbaccalaureate and combined degrees.

“UCI has a distinguished commitment to increasing diversity in the pharmaceutical sciences and the profession of pharmacy, as well as a history of attracting and educating underrepresented and first-generation students,” Hirsch said. “Not only is advancing diversity a distinctive opportunity for the new school, but I believe it’s an important responsibility – and one we take on wholeheartedly.”

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is part of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences, founded in 2017 with a $200 million gift to coordinate conventional and evidence-based complementary approaches to producing optimal health and well-being. The college includes the School of Medicine, the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, a planned School of Population and Public Health (currently the Program in Public Health) and the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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