MCW enrolling doctor of pharmacy program this summer

The Medical College of Wisconsin will be enrolling the inaugural class of its doctor of pharmacy program this summer now that it’s gotten the go-ahead from a national accreditation agency.

Its PharmD program was recently granted pre-candidate status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The MCW School of Pharmacy will move forward with its class next month, with orientation Aug. 7 and classes starting Aug. 14. It’s expected to have 40 students.

According to ACPE, the pre-candidate designation is for new programs that have a dean, but no students enrolled yet. Getting pre-candidate certification shows the program has taken into account certain ACPE standards, and has “reasonable assurances” that it will move to the next step.

Candidate programs have students enrolled, but have yet to present any graduates. Candidate status is the second part of the pre-accreditation process, before moving onto “full” accreditation. ACPE says that in the case of newly founded pharmacy degree programs, most progress through both pre-accreditation phases.

The MCW School of Pharmacy has a three-year doctor of pharmacy curriculum — the only one in the Midwest located at an academic medical center, MCW says. Students will be able to pursue work opportunities at the college’s locations in Milwaukee, Green Bay and central Wisconsin.

Clinical work makes up about 30 percent of the pharmacy school’s curriculum. For the first two years, students enrolled in the program will spend every Friday getting hands-on experience in practice settings, putting their classroom learnings to use.

“Upon graduation, MCW PharmD graduates will have the knowledge, skills and abilities to fulfill all aspects of the expanding role of the pharmacist, including administering vaccines, conducting basic medical tests (strep throat, flu, etc.), performing physical assessments and helping patients to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure,” said George MacKinnon, founding dean of the MCW School of Pharmacy.

The school also offers dual degree pipelines by working with three partners: Wisconsin Lutheran College in Wauwatosa, Carroll University in Waukesha and St. Norbert University in De Pere. Participants in the six-year program spend the first three at one of the partner institutions, and then spend three more years learning the pharmacy curriculum at MCW.

MCW is the biggest research institution in Milwaukee and the second biggest in Wisconsin, behind UW-Madison. It received over $158 million in support in fiscal year 2015, including grants for research and training from the National Institutes of Health.

Each year, MCW faculty play a role in about 3,200 research studies and clinical trials thanks to these funds.

–By Alex Moe