Manchester First in U.S. to Launch Pharmacy, Pharmacogenomics Dual Degree

Posted: Updated:
Students can now simultaneously earn a pharmacogenomics master’s degree alongside the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Students can now simultaneously earn a pharmacogenomics master’s degree alongside the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.

No other pharmacy graduates in the nation will have credentials quite like those from Manchester University, says Director of Pharmacogenomics Education Dr. David Kisor. The small liberal arts school in northern Indiana says it’s the first in the U.S. to offer a dual degree in pharmacy and pharmacogenomics—a relatively new area in healthcare hungry for experts. Kisor believes the dual doctor of pharmacy and master of pharmacogenomics program is a “differentiator” for the school, its students and—most importantly—patients who could be spared a dangerous dose of medicine.

“In 2017, there were almost 2 million adverse drug reactions, and of those, more than 800,000 were serious adverse drug reactions, meaning a patient needed to be treated or see a healthcare provider because of a drug reaction,” says Kisor, who is also a professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “There were more than 160,000 deaths in 2017 due to adverse drug reactions, and many of these can be related to an individual’s genetics.”

Kisor says pharmacogenomics is a powerful antidote to adverse drug reactions. The relatively new area of study involves analyzing the patient’s genetic makeup, then prescribing medication tailored for that individual. A drug that works for one person may, for example, cause an adverse reaction in another individual with the same disease, due to their unique genotype.

The American Council on Pharmaceutical Education didn’t begin requiring schools to teach pharmacogenomics until 2016. That year, Manchester was the first pharmacy school in the nation to launch a master’s degree in pharmacogenomics. The university says technology that analyzes a person’s genetic makeup has since exploded, making the information readily available.

“[Pharmacogenomics] is the next way to prescribe medicine. It’s a much more personalized approach,” says Manchester Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics Dr. Diane Calinski. “It’s tailored to the patient, so overall, it has better health outcomes for the patient and [reduces costs] in our healthcare system. Pharmacogenomics is the future of medicine, so we recognize that it’s important to emphasize that in our pharmacy education.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, for example, now performs pharmacogenomics testing for every patient. But Kisor says, nationally, training programs have struggled to provide experts at the same pace the field is expanding.

Manchester leaders believe the new dual degree program, the first of its kind in the U.S., will swell the number of pharmacogenomics experts. Traditionally, schools offer four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degrees; while Manchester will continue its conventional Pharm.D. program, students can now simultaneously earn a pharmacogenomics master’s degree.

“They can finish…in the four years that it takes to do just the Pharm.D. alone,” says Calinski. “They’re here for the same amount of time, but when they finish, they have two degrees instead of one.”

Manchester says it admits more than 70 pharmacy students each year, and currently, 10 have applied for the dual degree program; Calinski expects that number to grow to about 15.

Ellen Line is a first-year Pharm.D. student at Manchester who plans to enroll in the dual degree program; she says pharmacogenomics is something “pharmacists will need to know to excel in the field.”

“I thought to myself, four years from now when I do get a pharmacy position, I’m going to wish I had [the pharmacogenomics expertise],” says Line. “I don’t want to have to go back to school after I’ve already found a job. I’d rather do it now and learn both things at the same time, before I even go into the pharmacy profession.”

Kisor believes Manchester’s pharmacogenomics master’s program and dual degree set the university apart; while the other two pharmacy schools in the state, Butler University and Purdue University, teach pharmacogenomics, Manchester is the only one with a master’s program.

“We’re just ahead of the curve, I think. There’s no template or standard, so in many ways, we’re setting the standard,” says Kisor.  “We’ll be the first to graduate capable pharmacogenomics experts. The real visionaries are the students coming into these programs, because right now, there’s no defined standard job for these graduates; they’re going to go out there and create these jobs—from community pharmacies to large medical centers. And patients are going to benefit.” 

While adverse drug reactions are more dangerous, Kisor says drug inefficacy is an additional issue that causes patient suffering and unnecessary healthcare costs.
Kisor expects the dual degree program to at least double the number of pharmacists in the U.S. with pharmacogenomics expertise.
Line says she’s excited to be among the first pharmacists in the country with pharmacogenomics expertise.
  • Perspectives

    • Being The Woman You Were Created to Be

      Do you know who you are? Are you walking in your purpose? These questions ring loudly in the ears of many women who are suffering and feel like they will never find success.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Niche ranked West Lafayette Schools as best in the state

      Dept. of Ed Releases School Accountability Grades

      The Indiana Department of Education has unveiled the school accountability grades for the 2017-2018 academic year. The department says about 22 percent of schools improved one or more letter grades, with 64 percent receiving an A or B.

    • Purdue Launches "Brain Gain" Initiative

      Purdue University wants to make Indiana the country's biggest "brain gain" state with a new initiative designed to bring Purdue grads back to Indiana companies. President Mitch Daniels says the pilot phase of the Purdue Brain Gain Initiative has piqued the interest of some 200 alumni, with a small number currently in the final interview process with employers in the state. Daniels told Inside INdiana Business...

    • Noblesville Approves $31M Development

      A Carmel-based developer is planning a $31 million project in Noblesville. The Noblesville Common Council has approved the effort from Jackson Development LLC, which calls for a 22-acre business park and 16-acre commercial and retail area. According to documents filed with the city, the developer is looking to build 200,000 square feet of office/flex buildings in what will be known as the Campus Center Business Park. The project will also feature...

    • (Image courtesy of JA of Central Indiana.) From left to right: Mark Shaffer, Tiffany Sauder, Blake Koriath, Chad Amos, Matt Waggoner, George Giltner, Erin Dettwiler, Cynthia Carrasco, Tiffany Fletcher, Kiamesha-Sylvia Colom, Tamara Cypress, Jennifer Burk

      'Best And Brightest' Earn Honors

      Winners of Junior Achievement of Central Indiana's 2018 Indy’s Best and Brightest awards have been announced. They include honorees who are 40 and under and recognized as "rising talent and the next generation of leaders in our community." Junior Achievement of Central Indiana Inc. focuses on educating and inspiring youth in career exploration, employability/life skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and philanthropy. It involves hands-on, experiential learning...
    • The auction runs through Friday.

      Medical Society Auctioning Off 'History'

      The Indianapolis Medical Society is this week auctioning off what it calls pieces of Indiana history as it prepares to move to smaller offices. The more than 150-year-old organization says items range from a clock made with wood dating back thousands of years to artifacts and historic documents. The Indianapolis Medical Society was established in 1848. The professional membership organization represents doctors of medicine and osteopathy in the Indianapolis area.