College of Pharmacy receives accreditation for residency program

October 18, 2012

A residency program in community pharmacy, giving licensed pharmacists opportunities for further training through Hawaiʻi’s College of Pharmacy (CoP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, has been awarded national accreditation.

“Pharmacy residency programs are similar to training that allows medical doctors to gain postgraduate training,” noted Anita Ciarleglio, assistant professor in CoP’s Department of Pharmacy Practice. Accreditation by both the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is necessary for the program to be considered a validated educational experience.

The UH Hilo pharmacy residency program has been conducted on the island of Maui where Ciarleglio is the project’s program director. She began compiling data that met standards for accreditation more than two years ago with assistance from Bill Jones, a pharmacist who was the pharmacy residency director for 23 years at the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Tucson, Arizona.

“Receiving a three-year accreditation was a coup for us because we’re so new,” Ciarleglio said. “It means we can continue to concentrate on patient care while giving licensed pharmacists from all over the country the experience they need to get on with their careers and gives them credentials to compete for jobs.”

Thus far, five pharmacists have gone through the program at Maui Clinic Pharmacy and are able to get retroactive credit for being part of an accredited program. All have since left the program to attain gainful employment as pharmacists. They include Sheena Jolson (University of Arizona Class of 2010), Amy Baker (University of New Mexico Class of 2010), Tehane Ornellas (UH Hilo CoP Class of 2011), Erika Miyahira (UH Hilo Class of 2011) and Christina Mnatzaganian (University of Arizona CoP 2011). Mnatzaganian has joined the CoP faculty.

Ciarleglio referred to these women as “true trailblazers” for believing in the program while it was still being accredited.

“These women are redefining community pharmacy,” Ciarleglio said. “They primarily act as the liaison between the community, the hospital and the physician, and provide a continuity of care that just wasn’t there before.”

Accreditation for the residency program mirrored the accreditation process for the College, which was awarded last year after the inaugural class graduated from UH Hilo, Ciarleglio said.

Hawaiʻi’s College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo is the only school for pharmacists in the Pacific. In addition to its Residency Program, degree programs include the Doctor of Pharmacy, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Masters in Clinical Psychopharmacology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Pharmacy Studies, which are available to students enrolled in the PharmD program.

See more news from 2012.