UHCOP Alumni and Friends,Allow me express my admiration and gratitude to all of our alumni, preceptors, fellow pharmacists and other colleagues across all patient care settings for their courage and commitment to continuing to serve our patients, especially those suffering from COVID19 infection. In addition, I commend our students, faculty and staff members, and preceptors for their adaptability and teamwork in ensuring the continuation of our college’s high standards for instruction, academic performance and clinical training. Everyone at the college is committed to ensuring our hard-earned reputation for academic excellence will not also fall victim to unforeseen circumstances.
Following is an overview of how the college has responded in recent weeks:
Class of 2020We would like to express our gratitude to all the preceptors who collaborated with the P4 students and the college to ensure that our P4s were able to fulfill their curricular and experiential requirements in accordance with ACPE guidelines and licensure standards. All P4 candidates certified as degree-complete will graduate in May, although May Commencement ceremonies were put on hold until a later date.
Pharm.D. ProgramDuring this time, we are focused on delivering high-quality lectures, team-based learning exercises, and other curricular components, as well as administering exams, using a variety of virtual/online platforms in accordance with ACPE guidelines. In addition, we continue to support our students through online tutoring sessions as well as encouraging participation in other activities and programs aimed at maintaining physical and mental wellness, including online yoga and meditation sessions offered by our UHCOP counselor and Office of Student and Professional Affairs. Our award-winning student organizations are continuing to meet via online platforms, including virtual residency match panel, PHORCAS Q&A, and clinical skills competition? Students also are asking for fun activities as well such as faculty home tours and meet-your-pet activities. As you can see, our UHCOP Student Pharmily remains resilient, adaptable and positive – the characteristics we seek in prospective students and cultivate throughout their time with us.
Graduate ProgramsAlong with our faculty researchers, we await further guidance from local, state and federal officials on when and how normal laboratory activities can resume. Pharmacology, Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry students are using this time completing coursework, analyzing and writing up their research results as available at the time of shutdown, and preparing for summer courses or internships where available. The impact on our other graduate programs, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy and M.S. in Pharmacy Leadership and Administration, has not been as great. Graduate students also will be taking summer coursework, including self-study under their principal investigators supervision and continuation of their graduate tuition assistance.
ResearchAs safety is our utmost concern of our graduate students, postdoctoral associates, research support staff, and faculty members, UHCOP ramped down its research activities in mid-March in coordination with the UH Division of Research. Our outstanding investigators are complying with all operational and reporting requirements of the grant-funding institutions, including the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense, and eager to get back to their important life-saving drug discovery and development work. In addition to continuing their instructional duties online, our excellent research faculty continue to apply for grants and prepare manuscripts for publication in earnest while awaiting the restart of laboratory work.
Summer and BeyondPer University decision, the online format for classroom instruction will be continued through the summer sessions for all of our programs. We are in frequent contact with our preceptors and experiential sites regarding the start of our IPPE and APPE schedules, and will continue to make adjustments based on site availability as needed to ensure a safe, productive learning environment for our students.
Admissions and MatriculationAlthough in-person spring and early summer events at the college have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled, other college events and activities have been successfully transitioned to a virtual environment. For example, we are conducting virtual Interview Days by video-chat for our Pharm.D. applicants. For our incoming Pharm.D. Class of 2024, we distributed a series of staff-produced videos on such topics as technology requirements and the financial aid process for incoming students in lieu of our scheduled Preview Day in mid-March. We are hopeful that our P1 Orientation Week and White Coat Ceremony and graduate student orientations slated for August will proceed as planned.
Cougar Emergency FundAs this year’s scholarship golf tournament was among the pandemic’s casualties, our students will miss out on the scholarship support and networking generated by our loyal alumni and friends from the event. To assist with an COVID-19 financial difficulties, UH has reactivated its Cougar Emergency Fund that was last employed following Hurricane Harvey. The UH Foundation and the James Wade Rockwell Fund have committed to a dollar-for-dollar match up to $500,000 for the Cougar Emergency Fund. The college has set a goal of raising $25,000 toward the fund, which would establish a college pool of $50,000 for our students’ needs.
To give online, visit https://giving.uh.edu/pharmacy/, select "Dean's Fund for Academic & College Priorities" from the drop-down menu and type "Cougar Emergency Fund" in the Gift Designation field. To give by check, please make out to "UH College of Pharmacy" and add "Dean's Fund - Cougar Emergency" in memo and mail to UH Gift Processing & Records, P.O. Box 867, Houston, TX 77001-0867. To make a gift by phone, please call 281-406-6983. For questions, please contact UHCOP Development Director Beth Borck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like you, we’re all eager to get back to our normal routine and see the state and national economy recover from this unprecedented disruption to our lives and livelihoods. I’m confident that this day will come sooner than later, and there will be many lessons learned on how to better prepare for the next challenge to our nation’s health and economy. Words cannot express how inspired and proud I am of our college, university and profession – and the many other, often overlooked hard-working people in our communities – in pulling together in these difficult times. As Hellen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Stay safe everyone – we will prevail!
F. Lamar Pritchard, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Dean and Humana Endowed Dean's Chair in Pharmacy