Larkin College of Pharmacy accepts first student
Larkin Health Sciences Institute College of Pharmacy is right on schedule for an August opening and has already accepted 30 students for its first class.
The private, non-profit school is expecting 80 to 100 students this year and eventually 120 per class, which is the maximum the newly renovated facility can accommodate, said Dean Gary Levin. He said the college is still accepting applications through May 18.
The 44,000-square-foot building at 18301 N Miami Ave. is almost complete, Dr. Levin said, with the conversion of 30-seat classrooms into larger ones suitable for medical training that can hold 120 students.
Larkin Community Hospital bought the former Everest University building for $5.5 million, President Dr. Jack Michel told Miami Today last year. Rather than wait for the groundbreaking on the 48-acre site the hospital bought on the Naranja Lakes community near Homestead for its health sciences campus, he said it was more cost effective to renovate the building than build a new facility.
Dr. Levin said last week the building required several hundred thousand dollars for renovations. It’s part of Larkin Community Hospital’s 10-year strategic plan to move the college of pharmacy to the Naranja Lakes campus, he said, at which time the name will change to Larkin University along with growth in programs.
So far, the college has 16 full-time employees, Dr. Levin said, and will hire another six to eight by August. Within the next two or three years, he said, the staff will grow to 35 to 40.
Several weeks ago, Larkin Health Sciences Institute College of Pharmacy was approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for a comprehensive on-site evaluation April 27-29. The goal of the visit, Dr. Levin said, is for the ACPE team to recommend at its June board meeting that the college move forward to pre-candidate status.
A pre-candidate status allows the college to start classes, Dr. Levin said. A year later, ACPE will send a team to review the college for candidate status, he said.
Pharmacy colleges can’t receive full accreditation until one class has graduated. However, Dr. Levin said, candidate status allows students coming out of Larkin Health Sciences Institute College of Pharmacy to sit for boards in any state.
The first college of pharmacy in Miami, Larkin Health Sciences Institute College of Pharmacy will grant graduates a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy, Pharm.D, in a three-year period including summers.
The college’s website states that although students will complete degrees in three rather than the traditional four years, “due to the design of the curriculum students will have approximately 25% more contact time than traditional programs.”
The block curriculum will allow students to learn in a focused format so they can concentrate on one major topic at a time, according to the program description.
Additionally, “there will be several courses that will be taught longitudinally over the year in order to apply the knowledge that has been learned within each block.”
In a typical day, the program description says, the class will meet with faculty, engage in didactic teaching, and participate in active learning activities to allow the large amounts of information learned in pharmacy school to be applied regularly, limiting the need for excessive memorization.
“Application of knowledge is a proven methodology for long term retention,” the program description goes on to say. “In addition, there are many clinical training opportunities that exist within Larkin and the Miami-Dade area, limiting travel outside of the Miami area only to those students who desire to do so.”
The primary goal of the college is to promote and foster pharmacy education to create compassionate and knowledgeable pharmacists who will be prepared to pursue a multitude of career options including post-graduate education.
Dr. Levin said the scope of pharmacy practice is changing in Florida, “which will allow pharmacists to help alleviate the pressure of our primary-care physician shortage in underserved areas of the state and nation.”
Currently, he said, Florida law allows hospital pharmacists to immunize adults and order lab tests to perform their duties.
However, Dr. Levin said, bills are now pending on the state and federal level that, if passed, will permit pharmacists to be involved in comprehensive medication management as full members of a health-care team.
Details: Applications accepted through www.ularkin.org www.pharmcas.org