The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences would collaborate with the rest of the Stony Brook Medicine schools. (BOREUM LEE / THE STATESMAN
The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences would collaborate with the rest of the Stony Brook Medicine schools. (BOREUM LEE / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook University is starting the approval process to open up the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences within the university.

The School of Pharmacy will be housed in the Health Sciences Center. The founding dean, L. Douglas Ried, Ph.D., anticipates the first class will be enrolled in August 2018.

Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, sees the benefit within the university for the addition of this new program.

“A School of Pharmacy would also draw outstanding Stony Brook students from the undergraduate campus who are seeking careers in the health sciences,” Kaushansky said in an email.

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“A minimum of 3 years of undergraduate studies will be required as pre-requisites to pharmacy school and they will be able to earn them at Stony Brook.” Reid said in an email. “So, a student who wants to come to pharmacy at Stony Brook could do their undergraduate work here versus going to another 4-year institution.”

Currently, Stony Brook has an undergraduate major in pharmacology inside the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a graduate program. Each student must apply and be accepted into the undergraduate program separately from his or her initial acceptance into the university.

The undergraduate program takes 25–30 students annually who have an interest in subjects such as chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology. according to the Stony Brook School of Medicine website.

“Pharmacology is an interdisciplinary science which investigates the actions of drugs and chemicals on biological systems,” the website states.

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As of right now, New York has seven colleges and universities that have a school of pharmacy. University of Buffalo is the only SUNY institution that has a pharmacy school.

Other schools that have a pharmacy program in New York include St. John’s University in Queens, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany and Touro College in Manhattan.

“There is a need in New York State for an additional school, as there are only seven schools of pharmacy in New York,” Kaushansky said. “The need for pharmacists locally in Suffolk County remains strong, as Suffolk has fewer pharmacists per capita than the rest of the State.”

Finding work as a pharmacist is becoming prevalent because of the increase in elderly that need more prescription medications, according to the United States Department of Labor website.

“Employment of pharmacists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations,” the website states. “The population is aging, and older people typically use more prescription medicines than younger people.

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In 2012 an average of 286,400 jobs were found in a pharmacy field with an average pay of $116,670 per year.

The pharmacy field has many different jobs for graduates with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree to get involved in once they graduate. According to the University of Southern California website, a graduate student can go into hospital pharmacy, where he or she would monitor patients and the amount of drugs that they receive. Students can also get jobs in community pharmacy and home healthcare.

The School of Pharmacy will become a part of the university’s participation in the program Start-Up New York that gears towards starting businesses in New York.

“The School of Pharmacy would be a major entity as part of Stony Brook’s involvement in Start-Up New York, which aims to bring biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to the state.” Kaushansky said.

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will be used as a research and learning facility in the same way as the other medical schools at Stony Brook.

“Researchers within the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Health Technology and others would collaborate with faculty and students in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to bring potential products to market,” Kaushansky said.

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Update: Jan. 28, 2017

This story has been updated to include additional information about the opening of the school.

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