Japanese Partnership with UM Pharmacy School Grows Stronger

Ole Miss faculty educate colleagues in clinical practice and problem-based learning

Tetsuya Aiba (left), Lauren Bloodworth and Manabu Suno

Tetsuya Aiba (left), Lauren Bloodworth and Manabu Suno

OXFORD, Miss. – A partnership between the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and pharmacy colleagues in Japan is flourishing.

The partnership, which began in the 1990s, is designed to foster global engagement and educational collaboration between American and Japanese pharmacy faculty. Through the years, faculty members from Japanese pharmacy schools have visited UM, and several Ole Miss pharmacy faculty have traveled to Japan to exchange clinical practice and teaching ideas.

Manabu Suno and Tetsuya Aiba, both associate professors of clinical pharmacy at Okayama University, visited the UM School of Pharmacy’s Oxford and Jackson campuses in February. The pair toured the school with faculty members, observed teaching practices and attended Pharmacy Day at the Mississippi Capitol.

“I first visited the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2004,” Suno said. “Dr. Joe Byrd (chair emeritus of pharmacy practice) taught me about problem-based learning for six months. In Japan, we don’t have the PBL technique but would like to learn more about it.”

In Japan, pharmacists and pharmacy educators are working to advance the role of the pharmacist, using the progressiveness of American pharmacy as a model. The faculty exchange program plays into this effort.

Before this year’s visit, Suno and Aiba visited UM in December 2014. Around 10 UM faculty have participated in the exchange program. Most recently, Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, visited Okayama University in October 2015.

“We’ve shared our teaching format, including course syllabi, patient cases and skills lab information,” Bloodworth said. “In keeping with our active learning approach to education, I had the opportunity to ‘facilitate’ Okayama pharmacy students in small groups through a typical problem-based learning group session while visiting in the fall.

“This model was well received, and we had a fun time learning together. It has been a wonderful partnership.”

Aiba said he was excited to learn more about the professional pharmacy program at UM.

“Early exposure to hands-on training at the University of Mississippi is beneficial for students in their first and second years,” he said. “We do not have this in Japan. The University of Mississippi’s program is challenging but effective.”