One of the big questions the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education asked the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy when it began its six-year Pharm.-D. program in 1996 was how the university could make the program accessible to pharmacists already in practice across the state.

The answer was the UNM College of Pharmacy Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy program. Students who begin pharmacy studies on campus now routinely complete a six-year course of study mandated by national accreditation standards.

With the non-traditional Pharm.D. program, working pharmacists can complete correspondence courses and experiential clerkships to the fulfill Doctor of Pharmacy degree requirements. The program is designed to be accessible, cost-effective and relative to working pharmacists' careers.

The success of the program has outpaced initial projections, said College of Pharmacy Dean Dr. William Hadley.

""We initially thought that approximately five percent of the 1,000 pharmacists practicing in New Mexico might be interested in participating in the Pharm D. program,"" Hadley said. "We have had people continually entering the program and have found that the original estimates were quite low. That unanticipated popularity has stressed college resources and if the program,'s popularity continues then additional resources must be provided or the size of the program will have to be limited."

Between 100-150 people are registered in the program at any given time. Some 33 people graduated from the program by the end of 2001 and it is projected that another 18 people - for a total of 51 - will graduate by June 2002.

UNM College of Pharmacy faculty for the non-traditional program represent a wide variety of experience and expertise in clinical practice and research specialties. Additionally, clinical pharmacy faculty have established practice sites at a number of locations across the state so that the required clerkships can be obtained.

"The Pharm.D. degree is proving to be popular because of its emphasis on patients," Hadley said. "We remain the experts on pharmacological issues and drug interactions. The next step is to take that information and use it in a way that most benefits patients."


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322