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Joint Daemen-D'Youville programs to boost student savings, job prospects

D’Youville College students who one day will head into a variety of jobs in health care already intermingle in classroom settings, but the school plans to open a new Interprofessional Educational Center in the 2018-19 school year to spur even more interactivity.

Daemen College over the last several years has integrated several health-related programs, including health promotion, athletic training and natural sciences.

The two schools also have looked beyond their campuses. They recently announced they have forged a partnership to create joint pharmacy and public health programs that will allow participating students to shave a year off their academic careers.

The agreement – which took about two years to develop and finalize – will save students a year of tuition and give them an extra year of earning power in two lucrative health care fields. It also will spare the two colleges of the need to create competing programs in a Western New York higher education climate where the pool of potential students is shrinking.

“We must collaborate,” said Arup Sen, D’Youville vice president for academic affairs.

Students who enroll in the new joint 3+4 program will take three years of undergraduate courses in the natural sciences at Daemen, then move to the D’Youville School of Pharmacy. Their fourth year will apply to both their bachelor’s degree and first year of pharmacy school, which normally runs four years. A similar 4+1 agreement will allow students to earn a doctor of pharmacy degree from D’Youville and a master of public health degree from Daemen in a five-year process that normally would take six years.

“These programs are meant to reduce costs and provide a greater opportunity for students,” said Michael Brogan, vice president for academic affairs and dean at Daemen. The same number of credits will be needed, he said, but compressed into a “very busy experience.”

Brogan, Sen, and Canio Marasco Jr., dean of the School of Pharmacy and professor of medicinal chemistry at D’Youville, talked this week about the collaboration.

Q. Can you share a bit more about the Interprofessional Educational Center?

Sen: The plans are that all health care disciplines – from chiropractic to pharmacy to nursing to physician assistant to physical therapy to occupational therapy – can all work together, because that's what you're going to be doing in the real world. When they learn together, and go out into the market for professionals together, they're trained to work ... with each other.

Q. Why collaborate?

Brogan: We’re both private liberal arts colleges, very similar in size (2,750 to 3,000 students) and offerings, and very similar in mission. But we’re also in a climate of higher education that is very, very competitive and is running into great limits and challenges. … If we were to build the same programs and compete against each other, we’re only going to hurt one another in enrollment, recruitment and so on.

Marasco: It affords us the ability to offer our students various combined degree programs that would normally be available at a large university, without sacrificing our culture.

Q. Are other forces of work? Free tuition in SUNY schools under the Excelsior Scholarship program?

Sen: As a private institution, we have to consider it, even though this year we haven’t see a major impact because it came out so late.

Brogan: Excelsior is an opportunity for free tuition but most importantly, where is a student going to be successful? Hopefully, they’re choosing an institution that fit’s their profile. Is it large or small? Public or private? Research or teaching?

Sen: I’ve taught at undergraduate programs at UB. ... Everybody is not suited to go to a university where there are 300, 400 students in a class. Here there’s a choice.

Q. What does the nature of what’s happening in the health care field nationally have to say about what you’re doing?

Marasco: I'll speak to the PharmD and master's of public health. When we teach our pharmacy students to become pharmacists, we say they are patient-centered. It's not just the dispensing. When someone comes in to get a prescription filled, you're treating that person as a patient. You want a very holistic view and interaction with your patient. By adding the master's in public health, what you can do for the one, you can do for the many. You're a medication expert. You added to it a degree that allows you to look at various populations and the health issues affecting them, and start to come up with policies and programs to address those needs.

There is now a point of emphasis on interdisciplinary and interprofessional education. In all health professions, you work as a team. You want to effectively communicate, to understand what each member of that team brings. So when you think of a degree like this, you're kind of becoming interprofessional yourself. You have greater perspective.

Q. Any sense in how much in student loans someone would need for these programs? Will professional salaries soften that blow?

Marasco: Community pharmacy would start out at between $105,000 and $110,000, and if you’re in a clinical setting, about $5,000 higher than that. We tell people they’re entering a profession where the starting salary is high. It will plateau quickly, but they start out rather high. The rule of thumb is you don’t want to go more into indebtedness than your first year of salary. If you save a year of tuition ... and you’re going to have at least a year more of earning and you go to a private school that tends to cost a little bit more than a public school, you’ve just saved $130,000. ... At our School of Pharmacy, our employment rates have been in the high 90s in terms of percent.

With a combined degree, you could go into the pharmaceutical industry. Work for insurance companies, managed care organizations, public health agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, not-for-profits, especially if they're focused on a specific chronic disease. Having that additional degree would make you more employable.

Brogan: Strictly public health would start at between $65,000 and $80,000. If you have somebody with a PharmD an and master’s in public health ... very, very few people will come out with those credentials. So when you have those credentials in a really efficient package, now you’re at the top of that applicant pool.

Sen: All in all, it’s a great collaboration and great programs that we’ve built, and it makes us a lot more competitive in attracting students.

For more information, contact the Daemen Office of Admissions at 839-8225 or the D’Youville School of Pharmacy at 829-8440.

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