CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jan. 11, 2012) – The University of Charleston in West Virginia and Midway College in Kentucky announced an initiative that would educate more pharmacists for rural Kentucky at a press conference Wednesday on the University of Charleston campus.
The two schools have signed a letter of intent outlining the basics of a proposal for the University of Charleston to establish and operate a branch of its pharmacy school at the Midway College Paintsville campus. The letter of intent, signed December 28, starts a 60-day due diligence period, during which the schools will explore the feasibility and ramifications of the expansion and seek approval from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
If a final agreement is reached, the University of Charleston would operate the school of pharmacy in Kentucky as a branch campus and deliver its full four-year Pharm.D. program in Paintsville beginning in January 2013.
The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy was founded in 2004 in response to a shortage of pharmacists in rural Appalachia. Its first class of approximately 75 pharmacy students entered in 2006 and received their doctorates of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) in 2010.
With a current enrollment of 290 students, the school is fully accredited by the ACPE and focuses on delivering the highest quality pharmacy education with cutting edge technology. Midway College saw a similar need in eastern Kentucky and embarked on the process of creating a pharmacy program two years ago.
Midway has renovated a 36,000 sq. ft. facility in Paintsville and has begun the process of recruiting faculty and students. The agreement between the two schools paves the way for an innovative collaboration. It enables Midway College to fulfill the intent of its major donors to train pharmacists in Paintsville and serve the educational needs of the area, while allowing the University of Charleston to expand its footprint and grow its already strong academic program.
“From day one, the mission has been to prepare pharmacists to meet the needs of rural West Virginia and the Appalachian region, said Dr. Edwin Welch, president of the University of Charleston. “This potential expansion is a continuation of that interest. The University of Charleston has a long history of innovative solutions like working with the City of Charleston to provide preventive medication counseling to its employees, and collaborating with other colleges to utilize shared computing resources in the Independent College Enterprise (ICE). We are happy to bring that expertise to this opportunity in Kentucky.”
The Paintsville school will be known as the Perry Center for Pharmacy Education at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. The school of pharmacy was the dream of the late Chad Perry and this collaborative project will achieve Mr. Perry’s priorities.
“Midway College sees this as the most prudent means of bringing pharmacy education to the area and fulfilling all of our goals,” said Dr. William B. Drake, Jr., President of Midway College. “Building a school from the ground up takes great effort, time, money and innovation. This collaboration is innovative – we are matching our turnkey facility with UC’s existing curriculum to move along the process of realizing the dream of opening a school of pharmacy in Paintsville less expensively for all involved. This gets us to where we want to be, sooner rather than later.”
Midway’s current faculty and staff will be interviewed by the University of Charleston for positions needed at the Paintsville site, assuming a final agreement is reached, and Midway’s current accepted pharmacy students will be encouraged to apply to UC to be considered for admission into the University of Charleston program. More project details will be announced as the process progresses.