UM and Jackson State partner to continue pharmacy education


The UM School of Pharmacy is partnering with Jackson State University to offer qualified JSU students admission to the school of pharmacy. Photo by Robert Jordan / Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Mississippi – In an effort to provide more opportunities for aspiring pharmacists, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and Jackson State University have collaborated to create the Preferred Admission Program, which provides qualified students with the JSU for admission to the faculty of pharmacy at UM.

“We saw the need to allow students in the state to complete their pre-pharmacy requirements closer to home, and in some cases, at lower cost,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “In addition, we both hope to increase the number of students in our applicant pool.”

As per the agreement, JSU students who do well in pre-pharmacy courses and are involved in service activities may be admitted to the School of Pharmacy after the first semester of their first year. The program is slated to begin this fall, with the first JSU applicants coming to the Ole Miss campus in 2019 to start work on their Pharm.D.

Jackson State University’s pre-health careers students are heading to UM School of Pharmacy earlier this year for a campus tour and to work on a prep activity. Photo by Chelsea Bennett

“We are delighted that our bright and dedicated students have the opportunity to engage in such a prestigious program,” said Richard A. Aló, Dean of JSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “We look forward to the impact this partnership will have on their lives and the field of public health. “

Students admitted through the Preferential Admission Program will be on the standard graduation track of the School of Pharmacy and will be held to the academic and service expectations of the School of Pharmacy. The school will maintain its class size of 115 students in each of its four Pharm.Ds. years.

Kandis Backus

The partnership is “aligned with the university’s priorities for excellence, as well as with our mission,” said UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter.

“This expanded access to professional pharmacy training is an important step toward promoting STEM education and impacting the lives, health and well-being of Mississippians.”

Kandis Backus attended JSU as an undergraduate student and received her Pharm.D. at UM in 2017. During one of Gregory’s visits to JSU, she came to share her experience at Ole Miss with pre-pharmacy students from JSU.

“The tireless pursuit of student dreams is common to both schools,” Backus said. “Ole Miss wants students to be successful, and they work to help students graduate.”

This partnership comes amid a statewide shortage of pharmacists, contributing to a stable job market for those earning a doctorate in pharmacy. Mississippi has the third highest pharmacist shortage in the country, according to the most recent data from the Pharmacist Demand Index.

“We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that bright, compassionate students have the opportunity to contribute to the healthcare landscape,” said David D. Allen, Dean of the School of Pharmacy. “This partnership is a step towards the future of our essential business.

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