Pharmacy students at East Tennessee State University will have the chance to complement their pharmacy studies with a master’s degree in public health beginning this fall.
Only 15 other schools in the country offer this degree option. The ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy is the only school in Tennessee to offer this dual- degree program, which was recently approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
“This is one aspect of our college being located on a campus where there is an academic health sciences center, that we really had to take advantage of,” said Pharmacy Dean Larry Calhoun.
ETSU said in a news release that students in that program will typically complete their curriculum requirements in five years and graduate with a dual degree that prepares them for pharmacy careers that have a public health influence.
This degree complement will allow recipients to hold jobs in health care policy advising roles, health care administration roles and provides a background in preventative health care and health care promotional strategies, Calhoun said.
“It’s my opinion that the future of health care related pharmacy and a number of other professions is the team-based model, where teams of professionals take care of individuals.”
Representatives from ETSU’s colleges of public health and pharmacy worked on the dual track program for a year, identifying areas where pharmacy students would need appropriate public health training.
One area is in public health field experience, so students will have to go out and do a project in public health.
Citing the Association of Schools of Public Health, ETSU said in the release there may be a need for as many as 250,000 new public health workers by 2020.
“The United States and Tennessee face a shortage of public health workers and leaders, so it’s important for us to offer programs that will bridge that gap,” Robert Pack, associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Public Health, said in the release.
Calhoun said his college is working with staff from ETSU’s College of Business and Technology to develop a dual master’s in business administration program for pharmacy students.
“It’ll be ideal for individuals who want to get into pharmacy ownership or leadership or management in large corporations and also the pharmaceutical industry,” Calhoun said.
It would likely be a year before the MBA dual degree program would be approved.
Students in the public health dual track can choose from the public health concentrations of biostatistics, community health, epidemiology, environmental health and health services administration. ETSU began offering an MD/MPH dual track for students at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine last year.
For more information, call the Gatton College of Pharmacy at 439-2068 or visit www.etsupharâ€‰ macy.comâ€‰ . The ETSU College of Public Health is on the Web at www.etsu.edu/cphâ€‰ .