On the Phoenix campus

Wide-angle shot of buildings of downtown Phoenix and bright blue sky

Throughout this academic year, the Bulletin will include stories about efforts by COP employees and students to implement the college’s expansion of its PharmD program to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and generally increase its presence there.

August 2016
The long and winding road 

By Phil Schneider, associate dean 

The title of this song by the Beatles comes to mind as we welcome our first full class of first-year students to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus! It has been a long and winding road since I came to Arizona from The Ohio State University in 2008. 

Portrait photo of Phil Schneider Leading up to that year, the economy was booming and the three Arizona public universities were harnessing their energy and expertise to create a new academic health sciences center in downtown Phoenix. At the time, Phoenix was the fifth largest city in the U.S., and the largest without an academic health sciences center. The State of Arizona had embarked on a plan to re-energize its economy by attracting companies in the emerging biomedical industry. Having an academic health sciences program in the largest city in Arizona to provide the talent and workforce was part of this plan. The College of Pharmacy was to be part of the plan, along with the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The first program launched on the campus was the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).  Dr. Jeffery Trent was recruited from the National Institutes of Health to develop this program and a six-story laboratory research building that had opened in 2004 became the first new building on campus.  The three historical Phoenix Union High School buildings were retained and restored for classrooms and administrative offices.

The University of Arizona College of Medicine was the first to accept students on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, admitting a class of 24 students in 2007.  A four-story research building called the Arizona Biosciences Center (ABC building) was constructed.  Plans were initiated to construct a classroom building called the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB). The campus began to grow.

Now it is 2016 and we have finally welcomed an enthusiastic, bright-eyed group of 23 first-year pharmacy students on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. We’ve had to adjust our map to the future several times, but we have made it to our first impressive landmark! It’s taken patience and perseverance from the faculty and staff in both Tucson and Phoenix to stick with this “long and winding road;” now we can’t wait to experience the rest of our journey in pharmacy education!

May 2016
Busy summer ahead as fall semester nears

By Phil Schneider, associate dean

Preparations continue for the first cohort of first-year PharmD students who have been admitted and will start their classes in Phoenix this fall. One important part of this preparation is getting the classrooms in both Tucson and Phoenix equipped to link the students on both campuses. Technology upgrades in the Phoenix classroom are slated to begin in the next month. 

A dedicated classroom for pharmacy students in the new Health Sciences Education Building was built and is being updated as a home for the first-year students in Phoenix. Ceiling microphones will be added to enhance the students' ability to communicate with the faculty and students in Tucson. Additional cameras will be added to the front of the classroom to allow Tucson-based instructors and students to better view and interact with the students in Phoenix. A document camera is being installed in the Phoenix classroom for faculty to use when they teach in Phoenix. A video monitor screen will be added to the back of the classroom so that faculty in Phoenix can see the students in Tucson. 

This classroom must be licensed as a pharmacy because compounding is part of the pharmacy practice laboratory course, so an application for a pharmacy license has been submitted to the State Board of Pharmacy. To support clinical skills activities, clinic debriefing rooms in the Health Sciences Education Building have been reserved. Locker space for pharmacy students in the interprofessional student lounge area has been secured. Everyone on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus is excited and looking forward to having pharmacy students on campus. 

Another step in preparing for the students in Phoenix is increasing the number of pharmacy faculty on the campus. We are pleased that Cheryl Cropp has accepted a position in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science. Her area of scholarship and teaching is pharmacogenomics. She received a PharmD degree from the University of Kentucky, a PhD from the University of California - San Francisco and postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health. She comes to the college from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), where she will continue some of her research in conjunction with the college. She was a lecturer at UA in PCOL 550 Drug Disposition and Metabolism for the pharmacokinetics section during the spring 2016 semester, and assisted PharmD students in 2015 with PHPR 811 Advanced Patient Care OSCE, senior scholarly projects and interviewing skills. Dr. Cropp has already participated in collaborative research projects with UA, including: 

  • Investigating health disparities in patients with cardiovascular-metabolic diseases with a focus on genetic and epidemiologic factors as part of the Million Veterans Program at the Phoenix VA;
  • Investigating genetic determinants of muscle and fat with changes in exercise and diet with TGen and Phoenix VA collaborators;
  • Collaboration with UA College of Medicine faculty member Dr. Robert Roberts to develop a genotyping project investigating the genetic risks associated with cardiovascular disease;
  • The PRIDE (Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in health-related research) Summer Institute Program at the Washington University School of Medicine summer 2015 and 2016.


March 2016
Preparing for the incoming class

By Natalie Melchiorre, student services coordinator 

Portrait photo of Natalie

Since I began my position as student services coordinator in February, I have been preparing for the upcoming Phoenix class in various ways. First, I've been working with our campus team to secure classrooms and plan for technology upgrades to our main classroom for the students' lectures and labs. Orientation is also on my mind, as student services makes plans to welcome our new students to both campuses. Finally, I am engaging with other schools and colleges of pharmacy to learn best practices for coordinating student organization activities on multiple campuses.

In April, I and Caitlin Cameron, assistant professor, will be visiting the Tucson campus to meet with first-year course coordinators. Our goal is to share lessons learned over the last two years that will help make this year run effectively and efficiently. 


December 2015
Readying for Fall 2016

By Phil Schneider, associate dean

As the semester draws to a close, anticipation for an expanded 2016-2017 PharmD program in Phoenix grows. Applications to the PharmD Class of 2020 closed last week, with a high number of applicants noting a preference for studying at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. Though we don’t yet know the final number of candidates who will meet the qualifications for interviews, we almost certainly will have more qualified applicants than needed to meet our target of 24 students in the initial first-year class in Phoenix.

We continue to prepare to serve this new entering class well when they arrive next August. We will hire a student services staff member for Phoenix and additional faculty. We’ve received administrative approval to update the classroom technologies in Tucson and Phoenix to enable an interactive, collaborative learning experience on both campuses, and will soon plan orientation programs for all faculty who will teach first-year courses next year to introduce them to the new technologies.

We’re looking forward to making a lot of progress next semester towards our Fall 2016 welcome of new students.


November 2015
UA programs in Phoenix

By Phil Schneider, associate dean

More than 50 business leaders were hosted at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus as part of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council Ambassadors program Oct. 29. UA President Hart gave a presentation titled “Bringing Next Generation Healthcare to the Valley.”  She highlighted plans for the University of Arizona academic programs in Phoenix, including the colleges of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health and the Eller College of Management. In her remarks about the College of Pharmacy, she pointed out that we currently train third- and fourth-year students in Phoenix and will admit approximately 24 first-year students in 2016. She noted that our college is “one of the top pharmacy colleges nationally” and that our Medication Management Center had expanded to Phoenix, offering important services to patients and serving as a training site for our students.

She noted that the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix now has 320 students on campus, the public health college has 50 MPH students, the College of Nursing has 95 students enrolled in the Master of Science for Entry to the Profession of Nursing program, and the Eller College of Management has 166 students in the Executive and Evening MBA program.

Other developments in Phoenix that were presented include the recent opening of the Arizona Cancer Center–Phoenix in partnership with Dignity Health and the construction of the Phoenix Biosciences Partnership Building, which is a 10-story, 243,000-square-feet laboratory facility that is expected to open later in 2016.


October 2015
Expanding experiential education in Phoenix

By Sandi Thoi, regional experiential education coordinator

As the pharmacy class size has increased, the demand for pharmacy rotation sites has grown exponentially. While an increase of 20 students may mean 20 extra exams for professors to grade, to the Experiential Education team, this means 40 additional Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) rotation slots, 140 additional Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) slots, and new long-term care facilities needed for the Student and Older Adult Relationship (SOAR) Project.

With high student interest in Phoenix rotation sites and a new class to be admitted to the Phoenix campus, expanding rotation sites in Phoenix becomes the natural solution. Over the last few months, the Phoenix campus has been working to increase rotation sites to fulfill increased demand as well as continue to provide diverse experiential experiences for students. 

The more recently re-established relationship with St. Joseph’s Medical Center has expanded the UA contract to include all of the institutions under Dignity Health. New preceptors at Arizona General Hospital, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and Chandler Regional Medical Center have agreed to take both IPPE and APPE rotations for the 2016-2017 year. St. Joseph’s Medical Center has also agreed to add IPPE rotations to their existing APPE availability. 

Other new hospital affiliations of note are Mountain Vista Medical Center and various hospitals under Abrazo Health Care. Existing hospitals such as the VA hospital and HonorHealth are also considering taking on IPPEs in addition to APPEs. These new rotation opportunities expand to every corner of the valley from Peoria to Scottsdale to Chandler to Gilbert.

In preparation for the impending first-year class starting in Phoenix, numerous long-term care and assisted living facilities have been identified and screened to meet requirements to expand the SOAR program to Phoenix. The next efforts will be to narrow the choices to two facilities and establish contracts.

With the expansion of experiential education in Phoenix, we at the Phoenix COP campus are excited for new relationships with the community and endless opportunities for students!


September 2015
Introducing Tucson faculty to potential Phoenix partners

Hoping to increase mutual awareness of research initiatives and opportunities between the Tucson and Phoenix biomedical campuses, the UA College of Pharmacy will be an exhibitor tomorrow at the first Collaborator Fair held in Phoenix.

The fair is sponsored by Valley Research Partnership and Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. It will take place from 8 a.m. until noon Sept. 22 in Virginia G. Piper Auditorium on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

Smiling white man with graying temples and glasses.According the event website, sponsors intend the fair to catalyze partnerships and provide information about collaborative support across the Phoenix metropolitan region. The event will introduce basic and clinical investigators to one another for collaborative networking and help attendees identify funding and resources. Researchers, clinicians, funders and foundations have been invited to participate. 

More than 25 organizations plan to exhibit, including University of Arizona, Arizona BioIndustry Association, Barrow Neurologic Institute and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  Representing the College of Pharmacy will be an exhibit developed and staffed by Terry Urbine, instructor and assistant research scientist. Featured at the exhibit will be translational science research headed by Professor Todd Camenisch, novel molecules in development by Professor Chris Hulme and training programs and consultancy projects being done by the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research.

“The collaborator fair will help us develop connections between Tucson scientists and Phoenix resources and markets,” Urbine says. “I’m hoping for a very productive day of learning about others and teaching them about us.”


Photos: Top - The downtown Phoenix skyline. Next - Phil Schneider Next - Sandi Thoi.  Next - Terry Urbine.


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