UM and Jackson State Partner to Further Pharmacy Education

Preferred Admission Program offers JSU students spots in professional program

The UM School of Pharmacy is partnering with Jackson State University to offer qualified JSU students admission to the pharmacy school. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. ­­­– In an effort to provide more opportunities for aspiring pharmacists, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and Jackson State University have collaborated to create the Preferred Admission Program, which offers qualified JSU students admission to the UM pharmacy school.

“We saw a need to allow students around the state to complete their pre-pharmacy requirements closer to home, and in some cases, at a lower cost,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Additionally, we are both hoping to enhance the number of students in our applicant pool.”

As per the agreement, JSU students who perform well in pre-pharmacy coursework and are involved in service activities may be admitted to the School of Pharmacy after the first semester of their freshman year. The program is set to begin this fall, with the first JSU applicants coming to the Ole Miss campus in 2019 to begin work on their Pharm.D.

Pre-health professions students from Jackson State University visit the UM School of Pharmacy earlier this year for a tour of campus and to work on a compounding activity. Photo by Chelsea Bennett

“We are elated that our bright and dedicated students have an opportunity to engage in such a prestigious program,” said Richard A. Aló, dean of the JSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “We look forward to witnessing the impact this partnership will have on their lives and the field of public health.”

Students admitted via the Preferred Admission Program will be on the School of Pharmacy’s standard graduation track and will be held to the pharmacy school’s academic and service expectations. The school will maintain its class size of 115 students in each of its four Pharm.D. years.

Kandis Backus

The partnership is “aligned with the university’s priorities of excellence, as well as with our mission,” UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“This expanded access to professional pharmacy education is an important step toward promoting STEM education and impacting the lives, health and well-being of Mississippians.”

Kandis Backus attended JSU as an undergrad and received her Pharm.D. at UM in 2017. During one of Gregory’s visits to JSU, she came along to share her experience at Ole Miss with JSU pre-pharmacy students.

“The tireless pursuit of students’ dreams is common to both schools,” Backus said. “Ole Miss wants students to succeed, and they work to help students graduate.”

This partnership comes in the midst of a statewide pharmacist shortage, which contributes to a stable job market for those graduating with Doctor of Pharmacy degrees. Mississippi has the third-highest shortage of pharmacists in the nation, according to the most recent data from the Pharmacist Demand Indicator.

“We are committed to doing all we can to make sure bright and compassionate students have the opportunity to contribute to the health care landscape,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “This partnership is a step toward ensuring the future of our essential profession.”