UH Hilo College of Pharmacy named after Daniel K. Inouye

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy has been named the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy in honor of the late U.S. senator after a vote today by the UH Board of Regents. Inouye, who passed away December 17, 2012, was Hawaiʻi’s U.S. senator and third in the presidential line of succession after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Building a high-quality college of pharmacy on Hawaiʻi Island was part of Sen. Inouye’s vision to encourage better health care throughout the Pacific region and throughout the neighbor islands of Hawaiʻi,” Chancellor Donald Straney said. “His vision was that each neighbor island would harbor a center of excellence, that every island should have its own specialty. The specialty for Hawaiʻi Island envisioned by Sen. Inouye was our own College of Pharmacy.”

In 2000, Inouye was 76 years old and had been Hawaiʻi’s U.S. senator for 37 years when he provided funding of under $1 million to UH Hilo to begin the quest for a college of pharmacy. Since that time, the College of Pharmacy has met or exceeded all of Inouye’s expectations, said Founding Dean John Pezzuto.

“Every project, every class, every life that’s touched by our students, faculty and staff demonstrates how the College of Pharmacy helps to fulfill Sen. Inouye’s vision to improve health care in Hawaiʻi,” Pezzuto said. “By naming our college after him, we ensure that his vision lives on in our work. We are very humbled and honored.”

Students, faculty and staff at the College of Pharmacy number over 500, two classes of PharmDs have graduated, new degree programs including a PhD have been launched, and statewide economic impact is in excess of $50 million per year, Pezzuto said. “Educational opportunities in the State of Hawaiʻi have witnessed a transformation with the addition of our College,” he added.

In a letter of support to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), Inouye credited the College of Pharmacy for “changing many family’s expectations for what their children can accomplish.”

Pezzuto pointed to several areas where the College of Pharmacy continues to develop research and education while reaching out to rural areas with programs, such as:

- a project that serves the Marshallese population through wellness and educational clinics

- numerous workshops and events to expose students to pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences research, including workshops that link native Hawaiian culture to modern health care practices

- The Pacific Pre-pharmacy program, which facilitates the success of local Hawaiʻi, native Hawaiian and Pacific islander students who are interested in pursuing a degree in pharmacy through the STEP (Steps Toward Excellence in Pharmacy) program that guarantees acceptance into the Pharmacy Doctorate program once certain criteria are met

- the Beacon Community project, which brought $16 million of federal funds to Hawaiʻi that would not have come without leadership from the College of Pharmacy

- the $14.2 million federally funded Pharm2Pharm project is dedicated to providing better follow-up medication care to hospitalized senior citizens in rural areas

“We believe these projects and the continuing quality of education at the College of Pharmacy help fulfill Sen. Inouye’s commitment to nurture rural health care in Hawaiʻi,” Pezzuto said. “The College of Pharmacy is exactly as Sen. Inouye envisioned: an institution that combines western science and the rich cultural heritage of Hawaiʻi to offer valuable services to our entire community.”

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