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photo of houston program participants
Current participants in the Pharmacy Leadership & Administration program are, front row, Ashley Adams, Barbara Stokes, Claire McClain, Joshua Blackwell, Amanda Grego, An Le, Linda Nguyen and Amanda Beck; and, back row, Roya Tran, Abhay Patel, Sarah Cox, Gurbinder Jasser, Joseph Rogers, and Brandi Hamilton.

The Houston Program

UH, State Board Approvals of Pharmacy Leadership & Administration Degree Mark New Chapter for Program

With recent approvals at UH and the state level for a new degree program at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy, the Houston Program in Pharmacy Leadership & Administration has entered a new phase in its evolution to becoming the premier academic and experiential pathway for educating and training tomorrow's leaders in health-system pharmacy.    

A collaboration between UHCOP and seven fellow Texas Medical Center institutions, the Houston Program is a concurrent two-year program culminating in a M.S. degree in Pharmacy Leadership & Administration and a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency and a PGY2 health-system pharmacy administration residency. UHCOP’s M.S. in Pharmacy Leadership & Administration – the academic component of the program – was approved by the UH Board of Regents in August and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in October. 

The program was born from a shared recognition from current health-system pharmacy leaders that the profession is facing a leadership crisis, a viewpoint supported by a 2005 paper in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy that approximately 80 percent of pharmacy directors and nearly as many middle managers anticipated leaving their positions in the subsequent decade. 

"There are only a handful of programs of this type around the country, but the Houston Program is truly unique in terms of the number of separate institutions as well as the range of clinical specialties they represent and the patient populations they serve," said UHCOP Professor and Department Chair Kevin W. Garey, Pharm.D., M.S., FASHP, who coordinates the academic component of the program. "Each member institution has built stellar reputations and achieved success through its current and past leaders; the goal of this program is to ensure this legacy continues and provides the next generation of pharmacy managers and directors with the necessary skills and tools to help their organizations succeed in providing the highest level of patient care."  

Since its launch in 2009, the Houston Program has expanded from five to seven leading TMC health-system partners: CHI St. Luke’s Health, Harris Health System, Houston Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital and the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center.

All of the PGY1 and PGY2 HSPA residency programs at the member institutions are accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The resident's activities largely focus on clinical care during the first year, then expand into more administrative experiences in the second year. On the academic side, the M.S. curriculum covers leadership and management areas, such as human resources, finance, operations, strategic planning, biostatistics, and emerging issues and trends in pharmacy. 

The nearly 30 future leaders in health-system pharmacy who have graduated from the program are working in health-system pharmacy management, administrative and clinical positions across the U.S., from California to Massachusetts.

Projects undertaken in the program have yielded 10 publications on topics ranging from transitions of care and medication errors to the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative and the 340B Drug Pricing Program in such peer-reviewed journals as the American Journal of Health-system Pharmacy. In addition, program participants have been recognized with the top resident award in consecutive years from the TSHP Research & Education Foundation.