East Tennessee State University has become one of only 15 schools in the nation where students can simultaneously pursue a doctor of pharmacy degree and a master’s degree in public health.
Beginning with the 2012-13 fall semester, ETSU’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy and the ETSU College of Public Health will offer the PharmD/MPH academic track. Students in that program will typically complete their curriculum requirements in five years and graduate with a dual degree that prepares them for pharmacy careers that have a public health influence.
The list of schools that offer the dual track includes the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rutgers University, Ohio State University, the University of Florida and the University of Southern California.
ETSU is the only university in Tennessee that offers the dual degree track. Faculty members from both colleges have been collaborating on the curriculum for almost a year, and the university recently received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) to begin the program.
“This is exciting news for the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, as some of our students have already expressed interest,” said Dr. Larry D. Calhoun, dean of the College of Pharmacy. “This is another instance where our students are able to broaden their horizons – and enhance their marketability as professionals – because we’re part of the Academic Health Sciences Center at ETSU.”
The public health and pharmacy fields are evolving. According to the Association of Schools of Public Health, there may be a need for as many as 250,000 new public health workers by 2020.
“The United States and Tennessee face a shortage of public health workers and leaders, so it’s important for us to offer programs that will bridge that gap,” said Dr. Robert Pack, associate dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Public Health. Pack collaborated with Dr. Michael Crouch, associate dean for Professional Education and Academic Affairs at the College of Pharmacy, in designing the program and submitting it for TBR approval. “And for pharmacists, there are more varied career options than ever with an increasing emphasis on preventive health care and a team approach to patient care. Graduates of the ETSU PharmD/MPH dual track will gain a broader perspective on health, with a special focus on disease prevention and health promotion strategies.”
Students in the dual track can choose from the public health concentrations of biostatistics, community health, epidemiology, environmental health, and health services administration. ETSU began offering an MD/MPH dual track for students at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine last year.
By: Brad Lifford