WSU to offer pharmacy degree program at PNWU in Yakima

Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences are joining forces to offer the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy degree program in Yakima beginning in August 2015. Applications will be accepted beginning in mid-summer 2014.

“This partnership reflects our strong commitment to aligning WSU educational programs with the most pressing needs of our state,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “Increasing the number and skill sets of those providing health care in rural and underserved areas goes to our fundamental mission as Washington’s land-grant institution.”

The collaboration will allow WSU student pharmacists and students of osteopathic medicine at Yakima-based PNWU to learn to care for patients as a health care team.

“PNWU embraces an interdisciplinary learning model,” said Dr. Keith Watson, PNWU president.  “With the WSU College of Pharmacy on our campus, future physicians will share learning space and work in teams with future pharmacists.”

Gary M. Pollack, dean of the College of Pharmacy at WSU in Spokane agreed.

“This advanced model of education prepares future physicians and pharmacists to work as a team providing primary care as efficiently and close to home as possible. This is a smart model for the future of health care. It supports the nation’s health care reform goals of better health and better health care that is delivered with lower costs,” he said.

Pursuing a pharmacy education in Yakima is expected to particularly appeal to students interested in providing health care in rural and underserved areas after graduation, said Jennifer Robinson, director of student services at the College of Pharmacy. The college has had faculty and students in Yakima since the 1990s. WSU pharmacy faculty work as pharmacists at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and supervise student pharmacists who obtain practice experience there. The college has a large alumni base of practicing pharmacists in Yakima who train student pharmacists as well.

The Yakima community also will benefit from the pharmacy degree program because of the number of outreach activities, such as health screenings and health education, that student pharmacists will conduct in the community as part of their education, Robinson said.

Pharmacy continues to be an exceptional career choice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently projected 14.5 percent employment growth for pharmacists by 2022, with the field adding 41,400 new jobs. Median salary for pharmacists is $116,670 per year.

Linda Garrelts MacLean, WSU pharmacy associate dean, 509-358-7732,

Emily DuPleiss, marketing and communications director at PNWU, 509-249-7771,