Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy is at the scientific forefront in pharmacy, pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry education and research. As pharmacy’s role in team-based health care continues to evolve, the school's location within the VCU Medical Center offers students and faculty tremendous opportunities for interprofessional collaboration.
VCU School of Pharmacy was established in 1898, and has a long history of pioneering changes in the field. Pharmacy practice has changed dramatically, from the art and science of compounding and dispensing medicine to a patient focused practice. The school has committed to developing progressive models of pharmacy practice while maintaining the foundational pharmaceutical sciences.
In the early 1950s, the school saw a need for advanced education to meet the challenges of change and established a graduate program. About 90 students currently are enrolled in the M.S., Ph.D. and combined degree programs in the Departments of Medicinal Chemistry; Pharmaceutics; and Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science.
In 1971, VCU was one of the first pharmacy schools in the nation to require that all students spend their final year in a practice setting under the supervision of faculty preceptors. About 70 percent of graduating Pharm.D. students go directly into pharmacy practice, while the remainder are accepted into residencies and graduate or fellowship programs. Many residency opportunities are available within the school and the VCU Health System, including residency positions in community pharmacy. The school will open a new Center for Compounding Practice and Research in 2015.
The traditional B.S. degree program gave way to the Pharm.D. (doctor of pharmacy) in the late 1970s, and the transition was completed in 1996. To accommodate the growing student population and provide more educational and experiential diversity, the school opened two satellite campuses for third and fourth year Pharm.D. students: the Inova Fairfax Campus in 2007 and the University of Virginia Division in 2012.
The School of Pharmacy’s extramural funding for research and development in the pharmaceutical sciences topped $8 million in fiscal year 2013-14. Faculty from each department have active research programs and are available to mentor graduate students. The school is home to the Institute for Structural Biology, Drug Discovery and Development, the Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine, the Bioanalytical Laboratories Service Center, the VCU Coagulation Advancement Lab, the Aerosol Research Group and more.
The School of Pharmacy has consistently attracted faculty who are leaders in their fields, including well-respected researchers and practitioners. The faculty is committed to active community engagement and recently has been recognized with the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and with the Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., is Dean and Archie O. McCalley Chair.