(Posted March 11, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy have signed an agreement that will allow qualified Juniata pre-pharmacy students early entry into the medical school's pharmacy program, giving Juniata students the opportunity to earn a doctor of pharmacy degree in as little as five years.

"Juniata has for years specialized in preparing student for the heath professions," says Debra Kirchhof-Glazier, professor of biology and director of Juniata's Health Professions Program. "One of the ways the college has gained an edge in placing students in health-related programs is through our affiliation agreements. The agreement with LECOM gives Juniata students a head start in an up-and-coming health profession -- pharmacy."

A traditional doctor of pharmacy degree takes six years to complete, says Kirchhof-Glazier. However, under the new agreement, students would attend Juniata College for two or three years of pre-pharmacy education and then would complete LECOM's accelerated professional pharmacy program in three years. LECOM is one of only a few pharmacy schools nationwide offering an accelerated three-year professional degree program. Dubbed the "2 + 3 Pharm.D and the 3 +3 B.S./PharmD. Accelerated Program in Pharmacy," the affiliation gives students the opportunity to accelerate their education toward a professional degree, while also earning a Juniata degree in the "3 + 3" program. LECOM's new School of Pharmacy will open in September 2002.

"We're pleased that the Juniata has recognized the opportunity to train more qualified professionals for the pharmaceutical health care field," says Diane S. Swaffar, dean of the new School of Pharmacy. "Juniata has a fine reputation for educating future health care professionals. The graduates of this program will find a rewarding pharmacy career in a field that now has a high demand for new professionals."

According to the agreement, LECOM also will allow Juniata students to visit LECOM's campus for four to five days to observe classes and interact with LECOM faculty and students.

Juniata has a similar accelerated degree affiliation with LECOM's medical school. In the medical program, Juniata students take three years of classes at Juniata and can opt to enter the accelerated program to enter and finish medical school in four years.

Currently, Juniata graduates one to two students per year in the college's pre-pharmacy program. Kirchhof-Glazier estimates that approximately ten Juniata graduates enter medical school each year, with one to two students choosing the LECOM campus for their education. An additional 30 to 40 students apply each year for other health professions programs.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.