New pharmacy school set to open in Suwanee

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

SUWANEE -- The newest pharmacy school in Georgia is set to open in August in Suwanee.

Officials from the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine made the announcement this week, shortly after receiving written approval from the national pharmacy education accrediting body.

Although the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education has just formally granted the school pre-candidate accreditation -- the first of three levels of accreditation -- plans for the PCOM School of Pharmacy have been under way for nearly two years. Applicant interviews have been conducted, and 75 students have been selected for the inaugural class.

"Notification of ACPE's granting of pre-candidate status for our program comes as great news for our faculty and staff who have worked so hard to prepare our curriculum, identify preceptors and pharmacy training sites, and establish our teaching labs," said Dr. Mark Okamoto, professor and founding dean of the PCOM School of Pharmacy.

"Students begin classes Aug. 16, and we are all looking forward to meeting the needs of the charter class of 75 students," he said. "No stone will be left unturned to provide them with a first-rate pharmacy school experience and equip them with the education and understanding they need to take leadership roles in an ever-changing health care environment."

Data from the "Final Report, Task Force on Health Professions Education, Findings and Recommendations June 2006" to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia indicated the need for pharmacists in Georgia is second only to the need for nurses, said Campus Executive Officer John Fleischmann, who was instrumental in the initiative to bring the pharmacy school to the college's Georgia campus.

"PCOM has become a national leader in the preparation of physicians and other health care professionals," Fleischmann said. "Since the Georgia branch campus' establishment in 2005, our southern campus focus has been on providing service by addressing the shortage of professionals who provide health care in Georgia and throughout the south.

"The PCOM School of Pharmacy will play a significant role in addressing the critical shortage of pharmacists in Georgia and in the region."

The Georgia campus of PCOM is a private, not-for-profit branch campus of the osteopathic medical school. GA-PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree and a certificate and master's degree in biomedical science.