Meet the Dean of UNT’s New College of Pharmacy

Over the last few months I have received a number of questions related to the new University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy. I was able to deflect a few questions but realized it was time I got up to speed on this initiative.

I had the chance to visit with Myron K. Jacobson, Ph.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy and a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. I have to admit that I half expected the program to be designed for training up those pharmacists at Kroger or Tom Thumb. Although that, of course, is true, I quickly learned that a pharmacy program brings so much more to the region.

I was pleasantly surprised by the energy and passion of the new dean of the College of Pharmacy for UNT for his program, but also for entrepreneurship, drug development and research, and for the DFW region and the future opportunities here. Jacobson is not only a professor and dean, he also owns several drug discovery firms. He is passionate about the vision the Dallas-Fort Worth region has in looking at 10 years or more when many regions may be barely focusing on the next one year. We are excited that Jacobson has joined us here in DFW!

The following questions focus on the new University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy.

Sarah Carabias-Rush:  What is the timeline of the College of Pharmacy, and what are the future goals of the program?

Mike Jacobson: The UNT System College of Pharmacy is working toward admitting its first class of students in August of 2013.

We believe that making healthcare better requires close teamwork of healthcare professionals. The expertise of pharmacists in managing therapy puts them in a great position to contribute to that teamwork.

We believe that increased accessibility of patients to individuals that can help them manage their therapy and lifestyle factors will improve healthcare. The accessibility of pharmacists places them in a great position to make healthcare better.

We also want to create new knowledge and contribute to the development of new therapies that will make healthcare better.

Rush: Where will the main building be located, and if it is being constructed, what companies are doing the architecture and construction?

Jacobson: We will be located in existing facilities on the campus of the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth. Longer term, a new facility would be desirable but that decision has not been made.

Carabias-Rush: What is the expected enrollment in the program?

Jacobson: The initial class is planned for 80 to 85 students per year with growth over time to 100 to 105 students per year.  It will be a 4 year program leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Degree.

Carabias-Rush: What makes the UNT College of Pharmacy stand out from similar programs in the nation?

Jacobson: Back to the issue of healthcare teamwork, this will be the first college of pharmacy in Texas located on a health science center campus where future pharmacists can be educated alongside other healthcare professionals.

Personalized medicine is very important for the future of healthcare. The presence of a world class program in applied genetics at UNTHSC is a great opportunity to become a leader in personalized medicine.

The UNTHSC has a great program in geriatrics/health aging.  We have a great opportunity to be a leader in this area important to the future cost of healthcare.

The UNTHSC has a great program in vision health and disease. We have an opportunity to be a leader in the development of new agents for vision health and disease.

Carabias-Rush: And any other information that you feel gives a great representation of the new college.

Jacobson: Our overriding goal is to contribute to the existing excellence of the UNTHSC in education, research and clinical practice to make healthcare better.

In addition to classes on the campus of the UNTHSC, our students will be involved in clinical education at sites all around North Texas and beyond. For more information on the University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy, click here. Additional information on Jacobson can be found here.

There are so many great educational programs in the region that I plan to highlight several throughout this coming year. Let me know if you have any particular questions.

Sarah Carabias-Rush is managing director of economic development for the Dallas Regional Chamber. Contact her at [email protected]