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Pharmacy’s psychopharmacology program gains APA approval

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Date: Friday, December 18, 2015
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology (MSCP) program offered through the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has been granted American Psychological Association (APA) designation. The designation is valid for three years.

DKICP applied for the recognition to APA’s Designation Committee for Postdoctoral Education and Training Programs in Psychopharmacology for Prescriptive Authority, referred to as the RxP Designation Committee. The purpose of designation is to afford public recognition of education and training programs that meet certain minimum standards.

“This classification supplies our MSCP program with substantial credentials to actively compete on a national level with other programs throughout the country,” said Carolyn Ma, DKICP interim dean. “We have already distinguished ourselves as the first MSCP program in the U.S. that is operating entirely within a college of pharmacy. This APA designation shows we know what we’re doing.”

DKICP’s MSCP program is open to eligible candidates who already have earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology with an active license to practice psychology. This post-doctoral training prepares the student for professional advancement to become a clinical psychopharmacologist, for which Program Coordinator Judi Steinman said pharmacy faculty is uniquely suited to train.

“With the increasing number of patients being prescribed psychotropic drugs, it’s critical for psychologists to have this type of training,” said Steinman, who was responsible for preparing the justification for the program to gain APA designation. “We’re excited to take the lead in attracting this group of professionals to UH Hilo, and look forward to increased interaction with many other departments.”

The APA established this process to designate postdoctoral education and training programs in psychopharmacology as a response to advances that have occurred in psychopharmacology education and training and prescriptive authority legislation in recent years.

The designation sets criteria of standards that must be met in order to be recognized by the APA as approved post-doctoral training. This makes DKICP part of an elite group of institutions to gain this approval, Steinman noted.

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