NMSU and UNM celebrate cooperative education in pharmacy


New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy are celebrating a decade of successful collaboration.

The UNM / NMSU Cooperative Pharmacy Program is a joint venture between the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences and the UNM College of Pharmacy to produce more pharmacists for southern New Mexico, said Amy Buesing, program director. at NMSU. To date, the program has graduated 21 students with Doctor of Pharmacy degrees and nine are currently practicing in southern New Mexico.

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“We recruit high school students and once a student is accepted into our program, they complete three years of pre-pharmacy coursework at NMSU and are conditionally accepted into UNM College of Pharmacy,” Buesing said.

In addition to Buesing, the program is administered by Traci White, Deputy Director, and Deb Franzoy, Program Coordinator.

Students will take three years of didactic pharmacy courses at UNM and one year of advanced experiential training placements before earning their doctorate in pharmacy.

“Recruitment efforts are focused on students interested in science or health. Many are already familiar with medicine and nursing, but are often surprised when they hear about the various opportunities available within the profession of pharmacy. said Blanc.

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Buesing said the cooperative pharmacy program typically accepts at least 10 students each year. Eligible applicants for the program are limited to the counties of Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Curry, DeBaca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Quay, Roosevelt, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance and Valencia .

“Many of the students in the program will be doing part of their final year at UNM in southern New Mexico, working nine month-long rotations at various pharmacy institutions,” Buesing said.

These pharmacy settings frequently include pharmacies in clinics, hospitals, retail stores, drug information centers and hospices, Buesing said.

Brittany Haggard is originally from Carlsbad and went to UNM after completing her three years at NMSU. She is in her final year of pharmacy and will obtain her doctorate in May 2018.

“It was very helpful to have Ms. Buesing, Dr. White and Ms. Franzoy available to guide me through my undergraduate studies,” Haggard said. “The first thing I appreciated the most was their help in choosing my courses and recommending appropriate electives that would benefit me in pharmacy school.”

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Former UNM College of Pharmacy Dean John Pieper and former State Representative Joni Gutierrez (District 33, which includes Las Cruces), whose father was a pharmacist and UNM alumnus, had idea for the program and received funding from the state legislature. to implement it.

The program is hosted in the Biology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences at NMSU.

“The program has provided a wonderful opportunity for our students over the past 10 years,” said Beth Pollack, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Principal Investigator for the NMSU portion of the program. “Amy Buesing, Traci White and Deb Franzoy, who nurtures these students, do a great job of mentoring and ensuring their success.

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Buesing said the commitment of program staff, as well as the small number of enrolled students, provides for personalized counseling for students.

Since many of the co-op program’s students come from small, rural towns, the one-on-one attention students receive from the program’s counselors can help them integrate easily into big city life.

“We’ve helped a number of homesick students and got them through this first semester,” Buesing said.

The cooperative program is only open to students who apply as high school students in the above-mentioned county schools. Co-op students can also earn a Bachelor of Individualized Studies degree from NMSU after their second year of pharmacy school.

“So in addition to their doctorate in pharmacy at UNM, their work here may earn them a second degree,” Pollack said.

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NMSU students who are not in the cooperative program but who wish to apply to the UNM School of Pharmacy usually pursue an undergraduate degree in biology or chemistry and are encouraged to join the pre-pharmacy society. of the NMSU.

The company regularly participates in community service. These serve as opportunities for students to improve their communication skills, an essential part of being a pharmacist.

“One of the most important roles of a pharmacist is to teach medications to patients and clients,” Buesing said.

Haggard said she couldn’t be more excited about finishing her pharmacy degree and becoming a pharmacist, which she wanted to be since she was a little girl.

“I am so lucky to have been chosen to be a student in this program,” she said. “It was truly a dream come true.”

For more information on the UNM / NMSU Cooperative Pharmacy Program and the NMSU Pre-Pharmacy Society, visit https://cpp.nmsu.edu/.

Billy Huntsman writes for New Mexico State University Communications and can be contacted at 575-646-7953 or [email protected]

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