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Agreement Will Allow Springfield Students to Complete Pharmacy Degree

In a quest to create more healthcare professionals in Southwest Missouri, two universities have signed an agreement that will give Springfield students access to pharmacy school. Beginning in 2011, students will be able to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City while going to classes at the Missouri State University campus. The two universities signed an agreement Tuesday. KSMU’s Missy Shelton files this report.

When the program starts in 2011, up to 30 students each year will be selected to start the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program through UMKC. They will do their class work and clinical rotations in Springfield. Distance learning and satellite technology will enable students in Springfield to be linked to classes in Kansas City. Funding to create these specially-equipped classrooms comes from the Caring for Missourians program. State lawmakers approved the creation of the program and Governor Jay Nixon signed it into law. He was in Springfield for the signing of the agreement between MSU and UMKC. Nixon says he’s pleased the state funds are being put to good use.

Nixon says, “The Caring for Missourians will cover the $1.2 million necessary to get the real-time classrooms so the classes can be taught over distance. The initial capital investment, which has been such an impediment to getting this program moving forward, the Caring for Missourians money will do that.”

The Springfield program will be identical to a program that began in 2005 at the University of Missouri-Columbia. UMKC officials say this is a way to accommodate more students and to help communities that need more pharmacists. Dr. Bob Piepho is dean of the UMKC Pharmacy School. He says he recently fielded a phone call from a woman in Southwest Missouri who would like to become a pharmacist.

Peipho says, “I get phone calls periodically from folks down here. I had one recently from a woman. She’s a single mother, pharmacy technician, has completed some of her pre-pharmacy course work successfully. She’s place bound and can’t come to Kansas City for a pharmacy degree. This program will allow that to happen.”

The satellite pharmacy program will cost about $2.1 million each year. Precise details on how the two schools will split the costs are yet to be worked out.

Information on the UMKC Pharmacy School