FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2014
General Counsel & Press Secretary
KINGSVILLE, Texas — The Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy welcomed 120 students to its Doctor of Pharmacy program last week. Thirty-six percent of students in the Class of 2018 hail from South Texas, representing 11 counties in the region and a total of 31 counties across the state.
Established in 2006, the college was created to address gaps in the health care workforce in the underserved South Texas region, and has since built a strong reputation that led to 647 applicants vying for 87 spots in Kingsville in 2013. A result of the demand for additional capacity, the college expanded it program this year with 33 additional seats in Bryan-College Station and plans to add a comparable number each year until a full, four-year complement is reached.
“I congratulate the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy for the tremendous growth it’s undertaken in only a few short years. I sincerely thank the Texas A&M Health Science Center for the important role it plays in mitigating persistent health care shortages in South Texas by having already trained more than 100 pharmacy graduates now practicing in our communities. The number of local practitioners is sure to grow as pharmacy residency programs in the region increase,” said Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., who represents Texas District 27 in South Texas. “Considering the college of pharmacy’s high rate of success, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming number of high-caliber applicants necessitates expansion to A&M’s Bryan-College Station campus; the college is already recognized as a national model for pharmacy education.”
Approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in July, the expansion of a pharmacy branch campus creates an opportunity for more qualifying students from Kingsville and the surrounding areas to pursue a pharmacy education close to home while simultaneously providing additional opportunities for student pharmacists in other parts of the state, ultimately resulting in improved access to quality health care throughout Texas.
“While our mission to alleviate the shortage of pharmacists in South Texas will remain ever-important, the expansion of a branch campus in College Station will allow us to extend our reach and answer the call for improved access to care across the entire state,” said Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., professor and founding dean of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.
As the role of pharmacists in delivering care significantly expands over the next decade, the need for highly qualified pharmacy professionals is clear. Nationwide, a shortfall of as many as 157,000 pharmacists is predicted by the year 2020. Additionally, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the growth of the Texas population, the significant increase in the number of medications prescribed and dispensed to patients in Texas, and the continued expansion of retail chain pharmacy outlets are factors that contribute significantly to the demand for pharmacists across the state and particularly in the underserved South Texas region. “Through unbridled commitment to exceptional pharmacy education, our program continues to produce compassionate, patient-centered pharmacists to serve the border region, and more than one-third of our graduates stay in the region to practice,” Reddy said.
The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy is ranked one of the top 50 programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. To date, the college has graduated 395 pharmacists – 45 percent of whom hail from South Texas.
About Texas A&M Health Science Center
Texas A&M Health Science Center is Transforming Health through innovative research, education and service in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and medical sciences. As an independent state agency and academic unit of Texas A&M University, the health science center serves the state through campuses in Bryan-College Station, Dallas, Temple, Houston, Round Rock, Kingsville, Corpus Christi and McAllen. Learn more at news.tamhsc.edu or follow @TAMHSC on Twitter.