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UH Hilo Pharmacy welcomes College of the Marshall Islands

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Date: Monday, November 3, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The Pacific Pre-Pharmacy Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has the potential to influence the economy of the Pacific region, according to top administrators from the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI).

CMI President Wilson Hess and Executive Vice President Margaret (Meg) Malmberg visited Hilo recently to find out more about future involvement with the pre-pharmacy program in the College of Pharmacy.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people in the states to recognize the scale we work with in the Marshall Islands,” Hess said. “If this program can help even two or three students, it’s going to be a success as we prepare people to work in nursing and pharmacy and the allied healthcare field. That will have a significant impact on the national workforce.”

The pre-pharmacy program is designed to help students in the Pacific region who plan to apply to the College of Pharmacy. The program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, expands UH Hilo’s existing pre-pharmacy program to meet the needs of rural areas of the Pacific that might not have access to formal training opportunities.

Members from the program recently conducted a tour of the Western Pacific, including Saipan, Guam and Palau. Anthony Wright, co-investigator and chair of pharmaceutical sciences, said that, along with the Marshall Islands, the future participating institutions greeted them with enthusiasm.

“Our priority is in helping these partners produce candidates with a strong educational base that will carry them through their studies in Pharmacy,” said Wright, who is developing the curriculum with program director Susan Jarvi. “We plan to work in concert with their individual educational mission. CMI’s new math, science and nursing building are in perfect harmony with our goal to promote learning in those critical areas.”

Through mentorship, guidance and tutorial programs, students can receive a tailor-made educational experience.

“Some of the transitional problems of our students have been that they haven’t had the exposure to the outside world, and this program takes the element of unknown out of what they’re doing,” Hess said. “UH Hilo is the institution of choice for our students and one of the reasons is the caring, supporting nature of the people here.”

The pre-pharmacy team plans to begin reviewing potential candidates by the first of the year with the hope that students will be entering the system by next summer. For more information, call (808) 933-2909 or email

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