The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Flinn Foundation to fund scholarships within a first-of-its-kind dual-degree program offering students the opportunity to simultaneously earn Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Science in Nursing degrees along with a family nurse practitioner certificate.
Students graduating from the program – which was developed by the College of Pharmacy and the College of Nursing – will have the skills and certifications to diagnose patients and prescribe and provide medication therapy management, making them ideally qualified to provide care in community-based settings. The first cohort begins in May.
The program responds to a national need for qualified health care providers. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030, while demand for primary care services is projected to increase at a rapid pace. An aging population, mixed with an exodus of retiring primary care providers, has stretched health care resources, particularly for people living in rural or medically underserved areas.
"It is more important than ever that we, as a university, create new ways to solve the biggest issues facing the health of our communities, both in Arizona and around the country," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "With the generous support of the Flinn Foundation, more students will have access to this enhanced interdisciplinary program, which will offer an incredible educational opportunity to develop necessary skills for fulfilling careers and serving our communities."
The mission of the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation – established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn – is to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to advancing the biosciences, the foundation supports arts and culture, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, and the Flinn Scholars Program, which awards merit-based college scholarships to students attending Arizona's public universities.
"Improving the quality of life for the people of Arizona starts by improving health outcomes across the state. We were thrilled to partner with the University of Arizona, and in particular their forward-thinking leaders in the colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing, to support this innovative program that is working to address a critical need," said Mary O'Reilly, vice president of bioscience research programs for the Flinn Foundation.
The Flinn Foundation gift, which will be distributed over four years, will fund scholarships that cover a significant portion of students' tuition and fees for the entirety of the dual-degree program.
"This specialty program will allow us to educate the practitioner of the future who will be able to meet the primary care and pharmacy needs of patients and their families in rural and medically underserved areas," said College of Pharmacy Dean Rick G. Schnellmann. "We are grateful to have the Flinn Foundation's support in our quest to achieve that goal."
"The dual-degree program provides a model for partnerships that benefit humanity by uniting philanthropic organizations and the university," said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation.
"This program launch is a triumph of collaboration – between two of our colleges and with transformational support from the Flinn Foundation, which is building on a tremendous history of generosity here at the University of Arizona," said Roczniak.
Information on how to apply to the dual-degree program can be found on the College of Pharmacy website.