PharmD Handbook: Curriculum

General

Description & Program Structure

The mission of the curriculum is to prepare students to optimize pharmaceutical care at the level of a pharmacotherapy generalist. The curriculum prepares pharmacists as health care providers to work collaboratively with others to achieve effective use of medicines and other interventions to mitigate disease and maximize health and well-being of patients and of society as a whole. The curriculum fosters professionalism and civic involvement while encouraging advancement of the profession and the individual through life-long learning.

Science and practice are integrated throughout our curriculum. Course instructors introduce basic scientific principles and concepts that students use to solve problems and analyze cases. Scientific concepts are reinforced throughout the curriculum and the complexity of the curriculum builds over the four years. Through early and advanced practice experiences, students apply what they have learned to the care of patients. Students are expected to be able to use their knowledge and skills to solve drug-related problems in practice and case simulations. A variety of teaching assessment strategies are employed to evaluate performance. Verbal presentations and written assignments are utilized throughout the curriculum to emphasize the importance of educating patients and health care practitioners about drug-related problems. Graduates of the program are expected to be self-directed learners and general practitioners capable of providing pharmaceutical care to their patients.

In the first professional year, students are introduced to the importance of basic and clinical research. Students interested in exploring research careers are encouraged to work with faculty members who conduct research in variety of settings. From basic research in drug discovery to clinical trials to outcomes research, faculty members are nationally recognized for their scientific expertise.

The School of Pharmacy is a leader in service learning. Working with their preceptors, student pharmacists provide community services throughout the Pittsburgh region and learn to interact with underserved communities, assess community health care needs, and communicate with diverse populations.

Teaching innovations such as simulation-based learning are encouraged. The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy and the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER) have collaborated since 2004 to integrate simulation base learning utilizing human patient simulators into the School fo Pharmacy professional curriculum and University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy Residency Programs. Human Patient Simulation (HPS) technology is a type of simulation-based learning that provides a unique opportunity for students to apply knowledge of medications and learned principles of pharmacodynamics in a context that realistically mimics patient care, while providing a safe, controlled learning environment. It is an interactive program where students can observe the pharmacodynamics of medications in simulated patients to enhance development of their problem solving critical thinking skills. The simulator center is used in the Pharmacotherapy of Cardiovascular Disease course (P2 year) and the Acute Care Course in the P3 year as well as in graduate courses such as Teach Me to Teach You.

Curricular Outcomes

Learn more about curricular outcomes »

Courses Descriptions

 

Professional Year 1

Pharm 5110 – Pharmacist Patient Care 1: Process & Skills 1 &
Pharm 5111 – Pharmacist Patient Care 2: Skills & Environments 2 

Supports students’ development of competence in four major areas: clinical skills, the psychosocial dimensions of pharmacy practice, managing as a professional pharmacist, and professional inquiry.

*Pharm 5112 & 5113 – Community Health 1 and 2
Field-based experiences that provide students with opportunities to examine the role of pharmacists in the community. Students work with community agencies that provide essential services to underserved populations. Students are expected to develop communication skills and an awareness of the skills and attitudes required to practice pharmacy.

Pharm 5114 & 5115 – Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2
A two-course sequence that provides an integrated presentation of human anatomy and physiology. Information about each system is presented to explain the processes involved in homeostasis so that students will develop an understanding of the working of the entire human body. Wherever appropriate, information about mechanisms of action of selected drugs is presented.

Pharm 5116 – Biochemistry 1
Enables students to appreciate the chemical processes that govern the function of living systems, the molecular basis of disease, the biochemical rationale for the therapeutic use of drugs, and the biochemical basis of clinical diagnostic procedures.

Pharm 5117 – Biochemistry 2
Course builds on principles introduced in Biochemistry 1. First portion of course covers topics in molecular biology and gene regulation, particularly as they relate to the etiology and treatment of disease. Second portion of course covers the intermediary metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Emphasis is placed on errors of intermediary metabolism responsible for human disease.

Pharm 5118 – Principles of Drug Action
Introduces students to basic principles of drug-receptor interactions, drug design and development, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and structure-activity relationships. Through cases analyses and problem sets students apply these principles to basic therapeutic problems.

Pharm 5120 – The Emerging Professional
The emerging professional is designed to stimulate the development of professional attitudes and behaviors and an understanding of the opportunities within the pharmacy profession. Professionalism, ethics, management of self, and the profession of pharmacy are themes of the course.

Pharm 5122 & 5121 – Case Conference Series 1 & 2
Developed in collaboration with term courses to provide additional opportunities for each student to develop and enhance a cohesive, consistent and comprehensive approach to the patient care process.  Knowledge & skills for emphasis include, but not limited to, retrieval & critical evaluation of quality healthcare information, patient assessment, clinical decision making, development of pharmaceutical care plans, verbal & written communication with patients & other health care providers, & professional behaviors.  Patient case activities reinforce the knowledge & skills introduced in concurrent courses within the term, as well as reinforcing previously-learned scientific & patient care principles, skills, and knowledge.

Pharm 5219 – Dosage Form Design & Delivery
A systematic study of the physio-chemical principles involved in the development of pharmaceutical dosage forms. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of pharmaceutical calculations.

 

Professional Year 2

Pharm 5119 – Drug Discovery & Development
Traces the development of drugs from discovery through the early stages of the drug approval process. Introduces students to a variety of drug sources including natural and synthetic sources, and drugs manufactured using biotechnology. Alternatives to drugs, including gene therapy are also discussed. Students learn principles of drug analysis, drug metabolism and the drug approval process.

Pharm 5210 – Nonprescription Therapies & Self-Care Practice 3 &
Pharm 5211 – Drug Literature Analysis & Evaluation 4

Supports students’ development of competence in four major areas: clinical skills, social science in pharmacy, managing as a professional pharmacist, and professional inquiry.

*Pharm 5212 & 5213 – Community Pharmacists Practice 1 and 2
Field-based experiences that provide students with opportunities to develop proficiency in carrying out the pharmaceutical care process. Students are expected to develop basic dispensing and counseling skills and collect and interpret data from the practice site. Students practice inquiry skills by generating questions from their practice site that are answered using a systematic approach for answering drug-related questions.

Pharm 5216 – Pharmacotherapy of Cardiovascular Disease
Provides a comprehensive evaluation of the pathophysiology and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The pharmacology and therapeutic use of cardiovascular drugs is presented in relation to the management of hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmia, thromboembolic disorders, and acute myocardial infarction.

Pharm 5218 – Drug Development 2: Pharmacokinetics
Provides students with more advanced understanding of the mathematical relationships that describe the rate and extent of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination. Students are expected to be able to design rational therapeutic regimens that account for inter-individual variations in absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination.

Pharm 5220 & 5227 – Case Conference Series 3 & 4
Developed in collaboration with term courses to provide additional opportunities for each student to develop and enhance a cohesive, consistent and comprehensive approach to the patient care process.  Knowledge & skills for emphasis include, but not limited to, retrieval & critical evaluation of quality healthcare information, patient assessment, clinical decision making, development of pharmaceutical care plans, verbal & written communication with patients & other health care providers, & professional behaviors.  Patient case activities reinforce the knowledge & skills introduced in concurrent courses within the term, as well as reinforcing previously-learned scientific & patient care principles, skills, and knowledge.

Pharm 5222 – Fundamentals of Immunology
The purpose of this course is to provide students with fundamental knowledge of the immune system and integrate elements of basic and applied immunology with pharmacy practice.  Principles in immunology will be reviewed, including mechanisms of inflammation and actions of antibodies,  complement, and cytokines.  The course will also introduce selected immune-based disorders and principles of immunization.

Pharm 5223 – Gastroenterology/Nutrition
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of selected gastrointestinal diseases and states of nutritional deficiency. Students develop the ability to design, monitor, and refine safe and cost effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

Pharm 5229 – Fundamentals of Nephrology/Pulmonology
The purpose of this course is to provide students with opportunities to apply knowledge of physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and therapeutics in provision of pharmaceutical care for patients with selected renal and pulmonary disorders.  The course will focus on integration of science and practice to achieve outcomes that enhance patient care and quality of life.   Expanding on current knowledge and acquiring new knowledge of disease states and therapies, students will be challenged through team-based learning, using a series of TBL sessions focused in selected aspects of pharmaceutical care to patients with renal and pulmonary diseases.   The course will integrate with prior learning (i.e. cardiology, anatomy and physiology) and concurrent learning (case conferences, infectious diseases).

Pharm 5231 – Pharmacotherapy of Infectious Disease 1: Community-Based
The first in a 2-course sequence which uses an integrated approach to the assessment and management of common community-based infectious diseases.  Using large group instruction, case-based practica and other instructional methods, students have the opportunity to acquire scientific knowledge and develop patient care decision-making and plan development skills relevant for a pharmacy practitioner in community practice.  Elements of microbiology, immunology, chemistry, pharmacology and therapeutics will be interwoven throughout the course to provide students with structured and organized learning.

^Pharm 5214 & 5215 – Pharmacotherapy of Infectious Disease 1 and 2
Introduces students to the organisms responsible for infectious diseases, the epidemiology and pathophysiology of infection, the immunology of host defenses, the major classes of antibiotics and anti-infectives useful in the therapy and prophylaxis of disease, and the thought process leading to cost-effective and safe antimicrobial drug use. At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to select and monitor treatments of various bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.

^Inactivated for Class of 2023 moving forward

 

Professional Year 3

Pharm 5311 – Safe Medication Use & Pharmacoeconomics 
Supports students’ development of competence in four major areas: clinical skills, the psychosocial dimensions of pharmacy practice, managing as a professional pharmacist, and professional inquiry. Students learn about the legal regulation of pharmacy practice, the principles of pharmacoeconomics, drug use and disease state management, and institutional pharmacy systems and practice.

*Pharm 5312 & 5313 – Health System Pharmacy 1 & 2
Field-based experiences that provide students with opportunities to observe and participate in institutional practice activities such as drug distribution and preparation, evaluating and monitoring patient-specific therapies, pharmacy systems, quality assessment, and formulary control.

Pharm 5314 – Immunology
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of selected diseases of the immune system. Students develop the ability to design, monitor, and refine safe and cost-effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers and health professionals.

Pharm 5315 – Oncology/Hematology
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of various types of cancer and diseases of the blood. Students develop the ability to design, monitor, and refine safe and cost-effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

Pharm 5316 – Pulmonology/Rheumatology
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of selected pulmonary and rheumatic diseases. Students develop the ability to design, monitor and refine safe and cost-effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers and health professionals.

Pharm 5318 – Endocrinology
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of selected disorders of the endocrine system. Students develop the ability to design, monitor and refine safe and cost-effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

Pharm 5319 – Neurology/Psychiatry
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of selected neurological and psychiatric disorders. Students develop the ability to design, monitor, and refine safe and cost-effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

Pharm 5320 – Population Health and Management
The course focuses on the United States health system and its connection to pharmacist, principles of management and business for the pharmacist, and public health pharmacy.  more concepts addressed will include: health disparities, program development and evaluation, health literacy, health behavior change, access to essential medicines, health care reform, payment structures, business planning, personal and professional management, human resources advocacy, emergency preparedness, safety nets, cultural competency, and global health.

Pharm 5321 – Critical Care & Nephrology
Students demonstrate and apply concepts of pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the evaluation and treatment of selected neurological and psychiatric disorders. Students develop the ability to design, monitor, and refine safe and cost-effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

Pharm 5322 – Pharmacy Law
This course is focused on pharmacy law, with a focus on general concepts of constitutional law and an overview of the legal process in the United States.  Students will learn by analyzing statutes, regulations, and case laws examples.  The areas covered will include laws and regulations relevant to pharmacy practice, civil liability including malpractice, and some business-related legal material.

Pharm 5324 & 5323 – Case Conference Series 5 & 6
Developed in collaboration with term courses to provide additional opportunities for each student to develop and enhance a cohesive, consistent and comprehensive approach to the patient care process.  Knowledge & skills for emphasis include, but not limited to, retrieval & critical evaluation of quality healthcare information, patient assessment, clinical decision making, development of pharmaceutical care plans, verbal & written communication with patients & other health care providers, & professional behaviors.  Patient case activities reinforce the knowledge & skills introduced in concurrent courses within the term, as well as reinforcing previously-learned scientific & patient care principles, skills, and knowledge.

 

Professional Year 4

*Pharm 5401 – 5408 – Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience 1-8
Field-based experiences that provide students with opportunities to develop mastery of the pharmaceutical care process in patient-care settings. Students are required to register for 1 acute care, 1 ambulatory care, an additional acute or ambulatory care, 1 advanced institutional practice, 1 advanced community pharmacy practice, and 2 elective rotations.

*Please note that these courses require that you complete rotations at facilities external to the University, and such facilities will or may require a criminal background check, a child abuse history clearance, a drug screen, and other criteria as outlined on the school web page.  If you are unable to satisfy these requirements, the University may be unable to place you in a rotation setting and as a result you may be unable to complete the graduation requirements of the pharmacy program and obtain professional licensure.

Elective Courses

Rationale for Professional Elective Courses

Students in the professional program may complete a minimum of six credits to develop areas of personal interest, expand the student’s understanding of professional opportunities, and to achieve the outcomes of the curriculum.1 Students may select from elective options in order to design a personal plan of study or may choose to pursue courses in focused areas of concentration that have been recommended by faculty.  In the fourth professional year, students may select experiential learning rotation sites to focus on a career path.

In either case, there is considerable flexibility in professional elective course selection.  For more information on directed study under a faculty member, visit the Special Topics section below.

The elective courses must be taken concurrently with the professional program.   No credit will be issued for courses completed prior to enrolling in the School of Pharmacy.

Procedure for Selecting Courses

Students will select elective courses from the list of Professional Electives for the School of Pharmacy or the pre-approved list of elective courses outside the School of Pharmacy.  These courses are subject to availability.  Students should contact the Registrar for the School of Pharmacy or consult the university’s website for availability of elective courses during a particular term.  Students may elect to complete courses during summer terms, as approved by the Vice-Chair of the Curriculum Committee.

Students may select a course that is not on the pre-approved list but must complete and submit the Request for Pharmacy Elective Credit for a Non-School of Pharmacy Course Form with a written supportive rationale to the Vice-Chair of the Curriculum Committee who will evaluate requests in a timely manner as necessary course information is available.   Courses must be at an appropriate level for approval (generally numbered 1000 and above).

Students may review the university’s web site for course descriptions and time schedules or contact the school offering the course for more information. Courses cannot be taken if the time conflicts with a school of pharmacy required course.  Course descriptions and syllabi are obtained by contacting the school offering the course or through the university’s web site.

The University of Pittsburgh has reciprocal tuition arrangements with local area universities and colleges (Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Robert Morris University, for example).  Students who wish to select courses at other universities must plan ahead to make sure that courses are available.

Special Topics Courses

Special Topics elective courses promote student opportunities to personalize education by engaging in mentored experiences in a particular area of pharmaceutical science, pharmacy practice, or pharmacy education through individual or small group work under the direction of a faculty member.

Special Topics activities may take the form of immersion in a laboratory, a defined literature review, research with science or patient care focus or other longitudinal experience, activity, or course co-designed by a student and a faculty mentor. Special Topics may be designed as either 1-credit (3 hours/week), 2-credits (6 hours/week) or 3-credits (9 hours/week), depending on the nature of the experience, expected commitment of the student, and stated outcomes of the course.

Special Topics applications and final reports will utilize the learning management system Canvas for course coordination and organization. The Vice Chair of the Curriculum Committee will serve as the Course Coordinator each semester (fall, spring, summer) a Doctor of Pharmacy student enrolls in Special Topics.

Students may enroll in up to 2 Special Topics experiences in any given semester.

Additional information on registration and special requirements can be found in the PharmD Student Handbook.

Areas of Concentration

Area of Concentration (ARCO) programs provide an opportunity for students to pursue in depth an area of personal interest during their four years of pharmacy school. There are eight areas of concentration. They are Community Leadership, Innovation, and Practice; Geriatrics and Palliative Care; Global Health; Pediatrics; PharmacoAnalytics; Pharmacotherapy Scholars Program; Pharmacy Business Administration; and Research.

ARCO PHARMACOTHERAPY SCHOLARS PROGRAM APPLICATION – Deadline October 1

ARCO APPLICATION – January 15 Deadline

Community Leadership, Innovation, and Practice – The Area of Concentration in Community Leadership, Innovation, and Practice (ARCO-CLIP) provides students with mentoring and learning experiences to cultivate advanced patient care, develop health service innovations, acquire leadership and management skills, and enhance community health.  Students completing the ARCO-CLIP will be well prepared to enter leadership and patient care roles in community practice and will be highly competitive for residencies and other advanced practice training opportunities. ARCO-Community Leadership, Innovation and Practice Overview

Geriatrics and Palliative Care – The purpose of the Area of Concentration in Geriatrics and Palliative Care (ARCO-GPC) is to allow students to pursue an area of emphasis with geriatrics and palliative care consistent with their professional interests during their Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) education.  The ARCO-GPC is intended to give students an in-depth exposure to geriatrics and palliative care pharmacy practice. ARCO-Geriatrics and Palliative Care Overview

Global Health – The purpose of the Area of Concentration in Global Health (ARCO-GH) is to allow students to pursue an area of emphasis within global health consistent with their professional interests and while completing their PharmD degree. The ARCO-GH is intended to give students an in-depth exposure to global health pharmacy practice.  ARCO-Global Health Overview

Pediatrics – The purpose of the Area of Concentration in Pediatrics (ARCO-PED) is to allow students to pursue an area of emphasis in pediatric pharmacy practice so as to prepare them to better meet the specialization of pediatric pharmacy while completing the PharmD degree. ARCO-Pediatrics Overview

PharmacoAnalytics – The purpose of the Area of Concentration in Pharmacoanalytics (ARCO-PA) in the School of Pharmacy is to allow students to learn and implement data analysis techniques while completing their PharmD degree. The ARCO-PA is designed to help students utilize data and technology to enhance pharmaceutical use, operations, and outcomes and drive better quality patient care while also providing pharmacists with the tools and knowledge necessary to analyze trends from large data sets and then interpret these trends in a way that allows them to improve their daily practice. Students will become acquainted with big data sources, managing data, data analytic techniques from experience with statistical and analytics software to apply towards decision-making processes in the pharmacy field, including drug development, drug pricing and acquisition, and patient care outcomes.  ARCO-Pharmacoanalytics Overview

Pharmacotherapy Scholars Program – The purpose of the Area of Concentration – Pharmacotherapy Scholars Program (ARCO-PT) is to prepare pharmacy students to become highly proficient patient care providers and for a successful transition into competitive post-graduate residency training programs.  ARCO-Pharmacotherapy Scholars Overview

Pharmacy Business Administration – The purpose of the Area of Concentration in Pharmacy Business Administration (ARCO-PBA) is to allow students to pursue an area of emphasis within management consistent with their professional interests and expose students to an area of pharmacy practice that may best suit their interests. Student leaders and informal organizers may discover that pharmacy leadership provides an energizing career path. ARCO-PBA Overview

Research – The purpose of the Area of Concentration in Research (ARCO-RES) in the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program is to provide students exposure to research fundamentals, cultivate an appreciation for clinical and translational research, and to help position students as highly competitive candidates for formal post-PharmD research education and training. ARCO-Research Overview ARCO- Research Overview

Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee functions as a proactive body and is responsible for curricular development, evaluation, and improvement consistent with the curricular outcomes, the mission of the curriculum, and the mission and vision of the School of Pharmacy to meet its strategic outcomes as well as accreditation standards. The Curriculum Committee is the central body for the management of orderly (timely) and systematic reviews of curricular structure, course content, process, outcomes and any other curricular concerns.. The committee is also charges with responsibility for reviewing and addressing results of Curricular Assessment Team studies of curriculum outcomes.The committee consists of faculty and staff.  Faculty members are equally distributed over the four years of the curriculum and recruited to maintain a balance of faculty with a pharmaceutical science and clinical services background. Two student members are elected to represent each of the four years of professional curriculum. Students generally serve for the duration of their participation in the PharmD professional program.

Experiential Learning

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) & Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) FAQ

 

1. At what point in the curriculum does Experiential Learning occur?

There are elements of Experiential Learning in all four professional years (P1–P4) of the PharmD program. In the P1-P3 years, these experiences are called Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) and in the P4 year, Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs).

2. What type of rotations will I be exposed to during my P1-P4 years?

You will have the opportunity to experience a variety of experiential learning sites and activities during the four years of the professional program, including service learning, community health, community pharmacy, institutional (hospital/health-system) pharmacy, and an array of unique practice areas.

3. Will I be assigned to rotations close to School?

Many experiential learning sites are located within a few miles of the Oakland Campus; however, some sites may be more distant and may not be easily reached by public transportation. Commute times vary, and students may need to travel up to 60 minutes to reach their practice site. Transportation to and from sites will be the responsibility of the students.

4. Can I schedule my rotations at a site where I work?

No, we require students to get exposure to a variety of practice sites and locations. In addition, the accreditation standards for the PharmD program do not allow a student to accept compensation for activities performed while completing an experiential learning requirement. Having rotations at a site where a student is employed could present a conflict of interest.

5. What immunizations will I be required to have?

In general, all of the CDC recommended childhood vaccinations will be required. An immunization history is requested at the time of acceptance into the School and will be kept on file in your Castlebranch background profile, which all students are required to purchase upon being admitted to the PharmD Program. Members of the Office of Experiential Learning will have access to this database to ensure compliance.

You will be required to show evidence of immunity via vaccination or measured titers for all diseases listed on the Immunization History Form prior to the start of classes in the P1 year. In addition, many experiential learning sites require students to show proof of receiving an annual influenza vaccination and COVID vaccine/booster, or have a documented exemption reason. Also required is annual tuberculin skin (PPD) testing. Students are expected to keep immunizations current each year.

6. What other requirements are needed for Experiential Learning?

Many experiential learning sites require submission of a criminal background check, child abuse history check, FBI fingerprinting check, and/or urine drug screening prior to attending the site. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain these checks through their CastleBranch profile in a timely manner and to pay for any costs associated with such testing. Failure to obtain or pass these tests may preclude a student from attending experiential learning sites and thus successfully completing the requirements for graduation from the PharmD program.

Students are required to provide evidence of and maintain personal medical health insurance coverage.

It is also mandatory that all students be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) of adults, children and infants utilizing both one-person and two-person resuscitation techniques. CPR certification must be completed and documentation submitted prior to your P4 year. This is coordinated through the Office of Experiential Learning. CPR training sessions will be offered to students in the P1 and P3 years. Lack of documentation of CPR training will preclude your ability to begin your experiential learning rotations in the P3 and P4 year.

 The Office of Experiential Learning has contracted with a company called CastleBranch, Inc. to house and track all immunization information, CPR, HIPAA, drug screenings and all background checks/clearances.

7. What is CastleBranch?

This is the secure website that is used to house and track all immunization information, CPR, HIPAA, drug screenings and all background checks/clearances, etc. There is a fee to initially set up an account with CastleBranch, Inc. and a lesser annual fee for renewal. Students will be able to keep this profile well after graduation.

 8.What if I can’t do a rotation, because of a change of health status, accommodation, or emergency?

Students will work with the Director of Experiential Learning and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

9. Do I need an internship license to perform my rotations?

Yes, all students are required to obtain a Pennsylvania Pharmacy Intern license by December of their P1 year. Additionally, some states where students may choose to do IPPE and/or APPE rotations also may require the student to obtain a pharmacy intern license in that specific state.  

10. Where are the offices of the Experiential Learning Program located, and what are office hours?

Sue Skledar, RPh, MPH, FASHP, Director of Experiential Learning, 5032 Salk Hall

Dr. Ashley Yarabinec, PharmD, BCGP, Associate Director of Experiential Learning, 412-383-5229: 5030 Salk Hall

Anna Schmotzer, Assistant Director of Experiential Learning: 229 Salk Hall

Robie Gosney, Experiential Learning Specialist, 412-383-7542

Office hours are open door policy, however, it is helpful to make an appointment to ensure enough time is devoted to your specific needs.

11. Who do I go to if I have a problem or question regarding Experiential Learning?

All questions/concerns should be directed to either Prof. Susan Skledar, Dr. Ashley Yarabinec, Ms. Anna Schmotzer, or Ms. Robie Gosney. Their offices are located in Student Services.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act) is a comprehensive federal law that provides protection for the privacy of personal health information. This law passed the United States Congress in 1996, and was implemented in April 2003. Two provisions of the law, medical record privacy and the security provisions, directly affect health care professionals including pharmacy students.

These provisions mandate HIPAA privacy and security awareness training for all individuals who are engaged in the use of protected patient information (e.g., identifiable medical record and pharmacy record information) maintained by a health care provider (e.g., hospital, physician’s office), health care plan, or health care clearinghouse.

HIPAA Training (P1, P2, & P3 YEARS)
All incoming P1 students are required to complete the online HIPAA compliance training. This requirement is repeated in the P2 and P3 year as proof of the training is required by many rotation sites.

In the P4 year, students may have additional HIPPA compliance training requirements set forth from advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) learning sites. Specific site requirements are posted in E*Value, which is the rotation management system.

Criminal Background Checks and Drug Testing

The Office of Experiential Learning manages learning experiences which occur external to the school and are a required component of the curriculum in all four years of the PharmD program. Many of the sites we use for experiential learning require students to meet certain prerequisites, such as showing proof of immunization to communicable diseases and undergoing criminal background checks and drug screening. Failure to meet these prerequisites can result in students not being able to complete their experiential learning requirements.

To streamline the process of collecting and corroborating experiential learning site requirements, we have entered into an agreement with CastleBranch, Inc. This company will coordinate and manage the collection of all of the experiential learning requirements you will need for your rotation sites, and the information will be available to you both during your PharmD years and after graduation. This is a secure site to which only the Experiential Learning Office and you will have access.

The fee for this service is updated yearly, and is set by the CastleBranch company. Please contact the Experiential Learning Office to obtain the most recent fee structure for initial account setup, and account renewals. Please note, that clearances are required to be updated on a yearly basis. The Office of Experiential Learning will notify student when they should renew their CastleBranch account at a lower cost.

Drug testing (screening) is only required when a site requests this; therefore, students should not obtain the drug screening unless it is required by the site. Students can order this through their CastleBranch profile, please contact Ms. Schmotzer in the Experiential Learning Office to obtain instructions for the drug screen.

A positive criminal history and/or positive drug screen may disqualify you from completing required experiential learning at sites external to the University and may prevent you from completing the PharmD Program. Should a student fail a check, clearance, and/or drug screen, the School of Pharmacy cannot guarantee that it will be able to place the student at another entity for the requisite field education, thereby affecting the ability of the student to graduate on-schedule from the pharmacy program.

Additionally, in order to become licensed as a pharmacist, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of any misdemeanor, any felony, or any felonious our illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse. A criminal history as described above may delay or prevent licensure.

Liability/Malpractice Insurance

Students must maintain professional liability insurance as supplied by the University. The cost of the insurance is included in the University’s tuition charge. This is renewed yearly.

A copy of the form is available through the Office of Experiential Learning.

E*Value website

E*Value website

Experiential Learning Program Manual for Preceptors and Students

 

About the Experiential Learning Program Manual

This manual serves as an official document of policies, procedures, and information regarding the Experiential Learning Program. It may be used as a reference by all preceptors, prospective preceptors, as well as students in our program.

Content Updating

The Office of Experiential Learning is responsible for maintaining and updating this manual. If you find content that you feel is incorrect, please let us know, ASAP.

Questions about the Experiential Learning Program Manual

If you have any questions about the handbook, please contact the Office of Experiential Learning.

Policy for Immunization Requirements

Rationale

As healthcare providers, pharmacy students are at risk for exposure to, and possible transmission of, vaccine-preventable diseases. Maintenance of immunity is therefore an essential aspect of prevention and infection control programs for pharmacists. Optimal use of immunizing agents will not only safeguard the health of students but also protects patients from being infected. This policy was developed to reduce the risk that students will contract or transmit vaccine-preventable diseases.

Policy

  1. An Immunization Record Form will be mailed to all new and returning students and must be completed and returned to the School of Pharmacy by the date designated each year. The Student Records Manager will not process the student registration for classes if the Immunization Record Form has not been returned. On the form, the student must provide proof of immunization against measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio, as: a) providing the month/year of vaccination; and/or b) by way of a positive blood titer (if the month/year of vaccination in unknown, with exception of hepatitis B, where titer is required). In addition, each student’s tuberculin status must be known prior to admission and updated on a yearly basis. Students whose tuberculin test is positive will be asked to provide the School with medical clearance to participate in clinical placements. All information is to be posted in the student’s individual CastleBranch profile. Additional vaccines or assessments for communicable diseases also may be required as guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. In order to ensure that students will be able to participate in required experiential learning at clinical practice sites external to the School, students must complete all of the immunization requirements before the start of classes. An updated Immunization Record Form may be required if needed to document changes since submission of the initial form. The immunization requirements will not be waived for any student who is not immunized. Affiliation agreements between the School and sites providing experiential rotations require that all students must comply with public health policies in effect for persons involved in patient care activities at those sites. Therefore, the School cannot place students in experiential learning sites without having documentation of the immunization history as outlined in Section 1, and such students will not be able to complete the course requirements for graduation from the Doctor of Pharmacy program.
  3. Documentation of immunization, tuberculin testing and general health will allow the School of Pharmacy to answer queries from hospitals and other experiential learning sites that need to know a student’s status with respect to immunity to infectious diseases before caring for patients. Students will be required to sign a release allowing the School to share this information with experiential learning sites that request documentation.

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Blank copies of the Immunization Record Form, Influenza Vaccine Form, and Tuberculin Status Forms are mailed to students, and also can be found on the student’s CastleBranch account. Students may also obtain forms by contacting the Office of Experiential Learning at 412-624-8186.