S.C. College of Pharmacy welcomes first students of its new Upstate campus
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

GREENVILLE, S.C. – The S.C. College of Pharmacy (SCCP) officially welcomed the inaugural class of its new Upstate campus with a ceremony today (Aug. 17). Seventeen third-year pharmacy students recently transferred to the new campus at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS) – the third campus of the statewide public pharmacy college – and are set to begin classes on August 18.

The University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina are founding institutions of the S.C. College of Pharmacy, which was formed in 2004 when the universities’ two independent pharmacy colleges integrated. The Upstate campus, which received accreditation approval this past summer, was created to better serve pharmacy students living in the Upstate and give students and faculty better access to health outcomes research.

“With the opening of this campus, we have truly arrived as a statewide institution,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, executive dean of the S.C. College of Pharmacy. “Our students have regional access to resources from a major academic medical center, a comprehensive university and a large, progressive hospital system.”

GHS has been involved in pharmacy education for more than 10 years, serving as a clinical rotation site for hundreds of fourth-year pharmacy students. In 2005, GHS announced it would invest $5 million over 10 years to help expand and promote pharmacy education in the Upstate. Fast forward to 2011, and pharmacy students are preparing to receive onsite didactic and clinical training from 16 clinical pharmacists at GHS, who also serve as part-time college faculty members.

“This is an exciting time for GHS and the Upstate community. Today we celebrate the opening of the new S.C. College of Pharmacy campus here at GHS, and a year from now we look forward to the possibility of celebrating the first class of students admitted to the new University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville,” said GHS President and CEO Mike Riordan. “We also know that medical students are likely to stay where they train, and it’s our hope that these pharmacy students, and other medical students training at GHS, will remain in the Upstate long after they’ve completed school.”

The S.C. College of Pharmacy enrolls a total of 760 students, or 190 per class, with 110 on the Columbia campus and 80 on the Charleston campus. Up to 25 total students entering their third year have the option to transfer from either campus to the new campus at GHS. A full-time SCCP Upstate regional director and GHS faculty, along with part-time faculty at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, provide student advisement.

During their third year, SCCP-GHS students will receive the same curriculum as SCCP students at the other two campuses and will use distance education technology to supplement local instruction. Typical courses include pharmacotherapy, clinical pharmacokinetics, clinical assessment and clinical applications.

In their fourth year, SCCP-GHS students have the opportunity to stay in the Upstate for the nine one-month rotations that comprise the entire fourth year curriculum, covering areas such as internal medicine, drug information, critical care, infectious disease, neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, psychiatry and primary care.

SCCP offers approximately 300 rotations each year in the Upstate, with nearly 100 of those available at GHS. Other SCCP partner institutions include Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Self Regional Memorial Hospital and AnMed Health, as well as community pharmacy partners in the Upstate.

In total, the College offers approximately 2,100 rotations annually, primarily in South Carolina but also around the country and internationally.

The new campus couldn’t come soon enough for pharmacy students like Mary Lawson, a mother of two living in Spartanburg.

“The first two years were pretty hard spending nights apart in addition to all the studying, so my family and I are super happy we will be all back together again,” said Lawson, who spent her first two years of pharmacy school splitting time between home and Columbia, where she attended classes on the SCCP-USC campus. “This year I will be in class every day, and I think the small class, getting to know professors and staff better, and being caught up in all classes will really be a great help.”

“In May, I completed my introductory hospital rotation at GHS,” she said. “It was an awesome experience and the best hospital I have ever seen. It made me even more excited to come to Greenville.”

About the South Carolina College of Pharmacy
The South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP) was formed in 2004 through the integration of the Colleges of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina in Columbia (USC) and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (MUSC). The SCCP is a statewide education, research and service institution that combines the nationally recognized faculty, staff and resources of MUSC, a major academic medical center; USC, a large comprehensive university; and Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, a large progressive hospital system, to create a statewide approach to pharmacy education that is on par with some of the most highly regarded colleges in the United States.

About Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center
Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS) is a not-for-profit academic health organization committed to medical excellence through research and education and is accredited by The Joint Commission. Its five campuses provide integrated health care to communities across Greenville County and beyond through a tertiary referral and education center, community hospitals, long-term acute care hospital, skilled nursing facility, outpatient facilities and a wellness center. For the third consecutive year, its flagship Greenville Memorial Hospital has been ranked among the nation’s top 50 hospitals in a specialty area in U.S. News’ 2011-12 publication of America’s Best Hospitals.