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WSU and Yakima Valley College create new path for pharmacy students

A student pharmacist gives an immunization.
Yakima extension College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences student pharmacist Arlene Castro, class of 2022, giving an immunization at the Central Washington State Fair.

YAKIMA, Wash. College students in Yakima can now complete prerequisite courses for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) without leaving the area.

WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS), part of WSU Health Sciences, an upper-division undergraduate, professional and graduate campus based in Spokane, Washington, and Yakima Valley College (YVC), a public, two-year institution in Yakima, entered an agreement formalizing the pre-pharmacy track on Friday, Oct. 4.

The program allows qualified YVC students to take prerequisite courses for the CPPS Doctor of Pharmacy program at Yakima Valley College. The collaboration means students could remain in Yakima throughout their schooling, first at Yakima Valley College, then at WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Yakima.

“This exciting new partnership offers a unique opportunity to enter the challenging and rewarding pharmacy profession. It is gratifying knowing we are giving students a head start on their professional careers,” said CPPS interim dean, Linda Garrelts MacLean.  “We are delighted and honored to join with Yakima Valley College in carrying out our college’s mission to advance human health through excellence in collaborative research, scholarship and clinical education.”

“We are very pleased to join WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in creating this innovative pathway for students; one that saves them time and money on the way to a PharmD degree,” said YVC president, Linda Kaminski. “Many YVC students and graduates are committed to remaining in the Yakima area, so we expect this program to add to the pool of local health professionals, helping fulfill the college’s goal to enrich and enhance individuals and our communities by delivering accessible, student-centered education.”

The Doctor of Pharmacy does not require a bachelor’s, but does require the prerequisites. YVC chemistry instructor, Sam Mazhari, and CPPS clinical assistant professor, Damianne Brand-Eubanks, were seminal in the past four years in developing the streamlined path. In preparation for program launch, CPPS sent down a medicinal chemist and instructor to help lay the framework for a biochemistry class needed to allow fulfillment of all prerequisites.

The signing event and celebration took place at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences to an audience comprised of college stakeholders, community partners and media.

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