UMKC School of Pharmacy Receives National Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence Recognition

One of 17 schools in the nation to receive the inaugural award
Female pharmacist taking blood pressure of woman

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy recognizes pharmacy programs committed to providing community pharmacy services in a transformational way and has designated the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy a Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence.

The designation recognizes the significant commitment the school has made to advancement in teaching, service, scholarship, leadership and partnerships. The school is one of 17 schools to receive the award.

Faculty members Kendall Guthrie (Pharm.D. ‘13), Sarah Oprinovich, Pharm.D., and Heather Lyons-Burney (Pharm.D. ‘94), applied for the award, with help from Mark Sawkin, Pharm.D., Mark Patterson, Ph.D., M.P.H. and Yifei Liu, Ph.D.

Alongside the other schools, the UMKC School of Pharmacy will serve as an ambassador for the discipline, and will have unique opportunities to share its knowledge and help other programs develop community-oriented care.  

“We will be used as a model for other institutions that would like to incorporate more community pharmacy education into their curriculum,” Oprinovich said. “We will also be in closer contact with other Centers of Excellence, so we can all share practices that will improve our students’ readiness for practicing in contemporary community .”

Dean Russ Melchert, Ph.D., noted the accomplishment’s importance.

“We are very excited and honored to receive the prestigious Center of Excellence designation by AACP for our faculty’s innovative work in advancing community pharmacy practice,” Melchert said. “Pharmacists have been among the most accessible health-care providers, with estimates suggesting that over 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a community pharmacy. We are happy to be recognized nationally as a school with expertise in producing outstanding, innovative and entrepreneurial community pharmacy practitioners."

As a Center of Excellence, the UMKC School of Pharmacy now sets its sights on advancing community pharmacy practice for everyone, and on continued training of the caregivers of tomorrow.

According to Oprinovich, many people realize that their community pharmacy is where they can get vaccines, testing for minor acute illnesses, monitor blood pressure and more.

“We have multiple faculty who are given the time and space to serve professional organizations, innovate, and research,” Oprinovich said. “Our experiential education leaders also place high value on training students to be well-prepared for the rapid change that is happening in community pharmacy today.”

The School of Pharmacy will hold this designation for the next five years, after which it will be invited to reapply.

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