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UH Hilo College of Pharmacy achieves next level in national accreditation process

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Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Contact: Dr. John Pezzuto, (808) 933-2909; Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy was recently awarded Candidate Accreditation Status during the June Executive Board Meeting of the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE). Dean John Pezzuto said this is an important step that will help the one-year-old program address a nationwide shortage of pharmacists.

“This second phase in the accreditation process is a critical milestone that takes the College of Pharmacy to the next level, and we are very pleased,” Pezzuto said. “As the first and only pharmacy school in the Pacific Basin from Samoa to Guam to Alaska, we fill a significant gap that provides opportunities for Pacific Islanders to earn their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees locally. This makes it more likely they will stay to serve the community and hospital pharmacy needs of the islands.”

ACPE accredits all pharmacy programs in the U.S. through a three-step process: pre candidate status for programs that haven’t enrolled students, awarded to UH Hilo in June 2007; candidate status, awarded to a program with students enrolled pending graduating its first class; and full accreditation, for which UH Hilo is on track and eligible in May 2011 when the first group of Pharm D. students will graduate.

The ACPE team, representing faculty and administration from several notable pharmacy schools, practitioners in the field, and the ACPE accreditation staff, conducted the on-site evaluation in Hilo and Honolulu during the week of April 21.

As part of the review, the College of Pharmacy provided a comprehensive self-study of the PharmD program, as well as other related materials. The on-site evaluation consisted of interviews with faculty, staff, community preceptors and students, and an evaluation report was presented to the dean and chancellor upon completion.

The College of Pharmacy received high marks in virtually every aspect of the evaluation report, and showed progress in every area since the first ACPE inspection in early 2007.

According to the report: “The College has a dynamic, long-term mission with broad coverage that was created through group processes that include faculty endorsement.”

The ACPE recognized Pezzuto in the evaluation for “having autonomy and flexibility to utilize financial resources for programmatic needs” and noted the College has been successful in recruiting and hiring faculty with the necessary credentials to develop and deliver the first components of the curriculum.

“With our growing cadre of outstanding faculty and the high-quality students who are earning acceptance here, there’s no doubt in my mind that we will continue to be successful,” Pezzuto said.

The College of Pharmacy seated its inaugural class in fall 2007 with 90 students and 18 faculty and staff. By August 2008, the College will have approximately 30 faculty and staff, and 180 students. Current plans call for the addition of 80-90 students per year for a total of four classes.

“We are proud of the College of Pharmacy for the collective hard work it took to put together this successful application for accreditation,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng. “The development of a world-class training ground for future pharmacists is a significant step in the University’s goal to prepare students to meet a global world.”

The four-year curriculum leads to a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, also called a PharmD degree. For more information about the College of Pharmacy, call (808) 933-2909 or email

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