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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

​University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy -- Certificate Programs Preparing Pharmacists for Expanding Roles

PITTSBURGH, February 3, 1998 — There was a time when people’s first source of medical advice was the corner drug store. Times may have changed, but today people are again turning to their pharmacist with difficult health questions about HIV/AIDS, weight loss, heart attacks, strokes, smoking cessation and more. The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy has initiated an innovative nationwide certificate program to ensure that these pharmacists are not only prepared, but are trained and qualified to answer these and other health care concerns.

The intensive certificate programs at the School of Pharmacy are designed for the continuing education needs of practicing pharmacists. Courses are available on a number of topics ranging from smoking cessation to complex issues like HIV/AIDS care.

"These certificate programs will better prepare pharmacists for their evolving roles as medication and patient counselors with unique qualifications," said Gordon J. Vanscoy, Pharm.D., M.B.A., assistant dean for managed care at Pitt’s School of Pharmacy. "As today’s managed health care systems further develop, the pharmacist’s role may well emerge as the most readily available source of medical advice for many people."

"These certificate programs began with our cardiovascular educational offerings in 1990 and have since become a national model," continued Dr. Vanscoy. "The school has responded to pharmacists’ expanding needs in addressing patient concerns, especially looking at risk factor reduction for a variety of diseases."

More than 100 pharmacists recently attended a two-weekend HIV/AIDS certificate program in Pittsburgh. Proving to be overwhelmingly successful, the program concentrates on clinical skills for effective long-term management of what has now become a chronic disease state. Further successes have been seen in the smoking cessation program, which has trained and certified thousands of pharmacists from coast to coast. Pitt’s School of Pharmacy is the country’s forerunner in the development of certificate programs, ensuring that practicing pharmacists are qualified and keep pace in a managed health care system. Plans to address topics like obesity and anticoagulation are also being planned at Pitt.

"These programs will provide the tools and knowledge for a better clinical practice while ensuring clients, providers, and employers that pharmacists have successfully completed a rigorous program certifying their competency," added Dr. Vanscoy.

For more information on Pitt’s School of Pharmacy’s certificate programs, please call 412-624-2791. Those interested specifically in the smoking cessation program may call toll free, 1-888-412-5821.


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