University of Saint Joseph Plans to Relocate Pharmacy Program to West Hartford

University of Saint Joseph. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

USJ’s Doctor of Pharmacy program has been located in downtown Hartford, but will move to West Hartford in August 2022.

By Ronni Newton

The University of Saint Joseph has been upgrading the facilities and expanding programming at its West Hartford campus and announced this week that the Doctor of Pharmacy program will be moving from its downtown Hartford location to the main campus.

USJ’s lease at the XL Center, where the Doctor of Pharmacy program is currently housed, expires in August 2022 and the move will be made at that time. The program has been located in Hartford since it was launched in 2011.

The three-year program, which has roughly 60 students per cohort, includes two years of classroom instruction and the final year is primarily clinical work in external settings. As the facilities have been reconfigured in West Hartford with an expansion of focus on Interprofessional Education (IPE), University leaders feel it makes the most sense to integrate the pharmacy students with programs in other health care disciplines already housed on the main campus – including nursing, nutrition, physician assistant studies, health science, exercise science, counseling, public health, and social work – to provide for collaborative and patient-centered care training.

Debriefing rooms already exist for the nursing and physician assistant students that will facilitate IPE collaboration.

“The XL Center, in the heart of the city, has been a valued home for pharmacy, but having the pharmacy students and faculty on our West Hartford campus will enrich the IPE experience for all of our students in health care,” stated University of Saint Joseph President Rhona C. Free.

State-of-the-art facilities which have recently been built in West Hartford for nursing and physician assistant students will be available to the pharmacy students.

According to USJ, facilities for nursing students that will be completed this summer include a Hospital and Nursing Unit, Health Assessment and Skill lab, and a Simulation Lab with high-fidelity mannequins reflecting a diverse and multi-generational patient experience.

“At USJ we prepare healthcare practitioners to be agents of change and promote collaboration among all members of the health care team with the ultimate goal of decreasing medical errors and improving patient care,” stated Michelle M. Kalis, Ph.D., provost and professor of biology and pharmaceutical sciences at USJ. “Co-locating the PharmD program on the West Hartford campus with our many other healthcare and social service programs will enhance the education of the students and will provide for greater collaboration among the faculty.”

“We are excited to be on our main campus in West Hartford and be integrated into an educational environment that fosters collaboration and innovation,” Ahmed Abdelmageed, PharmD, dean of the USJ School of Pharmacy and Physician Assistant Studies. “The opportunities for interdisciplinary engagements are immensely beneficial to both faculty and students and will in turn help us advance and expand the skillset of our graduates.”

In an announcement of the planned move, USJ noted that according to evidence, “in clinical settings, interprofessional teams enhance the quality of patient care, lower costs, decrease patients’ length of stay, and reduce medical errors.”

Bringing the Doctor of Pharmacy to the West Hartford will also facilitate greater collaboration among staff in research, teaching, and laboratory use, and allow for and avoid redundancy in public space and facilities available to students such as dining, athletic, and student health services.

A report in the Hartford Courant noted the possibility that the move will free up space to facilitate additional and long-discussed upgrades to the XL Center.

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