Message from the Dean

dean vanderveen

The USC School of Pharmacy plays a distinctive and essential leadership role in the academic and professional evolution of the pharmaceutical professions. Since its inception more than a century ago, the School has remained a place of innovation, creativity and excellence in pharmacy education. As the needs of society and the profession changed, the School pioneered new programs to better prepare future pharmacists for an expanded role in the health care profession.

USC developed the nation’s first Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 1950 and we were among the first schools of pharmacy to establish a clinical curriculum, beginning in 1968. Those were radical advances at the time but are now considered the foundation of training for all pharmacists throughout the US.

Consistently the top-ranked private school of pharmacy, the School continues to be an innovative program in pharmacy education that meets the needs of a changing world, launching the nation’s first PharmD/MBA dual degree in 1990, the first PhD in pharmaceutical economics and policy in 1994, and the first professional doctorate in regulatory science in 2008. Our faculty, alumni and students remain passionate about enhancing the quality and scope of the profession and providing service to those most in need. The School holds a leadership position in a national movement promoting pharmacy practice in safety-net clinics serving the homeless and uninsured.

Today the School offers numerous dual- and joint-degree programs—in such fields as law, public health, regulatory science and gerontology—that are creating graduates with unique skills and knowledge who are highly sought for a variety of career options. Our location in Los Angeles and on USC’s Health Science Campus provides students an array of clinical experiential opportunities in a wide variety of settings, working with a diverse range of patients and disease states.

USC is the only private school of pharmacy on a major health sciences campus. This affords our students a unique environment of professionalism and opens the doors for clinical opportunities immediately on campus, including those at the Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital, and the three pharmacies owned and operated by the School. USC School of Pharmacy students also find a rich professional and social atmosphere on the Health Sciences Campus, interacting with colleagues and faculty from various schools.

This interdisciplinary environment also fosters leading-edge research and strengthens the School’s dedication to revolutionizing health care through discoveries and innovations that improve people’s lives. Our research enterprise has been rewarded with significant grants from the National Institutes of Health that support the School’s unique interdisciplinary approaches to drug development, targeting, delivery and discovery. Our drug research platforms are complemented by a vibrant program in health economics and policy, which includes a unique collaboration between our School and the Price School of Public Policy in the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.

In fact, the USC School of Pharmacy is #1 in the nation for external research funding for private pharmacy schools. This provides an exciting and engaging environment for students pursuing MS and PhD degrees at the School. Also, the School’s Regulatory Science program, preparing the next generation of leaders for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, offers both MS and DRSc degrees. Since many of our regulatory science students are working executives, classes are offered in either a traditional or distance learning format.

Whatever you choose to study at the USC School of Pharmacy, you will find a welcoming place where talented individuals solve complex problems by working collaboratively – with colleagues in other disciplines throughout the university and at academic institutions around the world, as well as with industry and governmental partners. We transcend traditional ways of thinking to creatively generate transformative ideas and outcomes.

The School also helped pioneer the transformation of the pharmacist’s role from a traditional dispenser of medicines to a direct provider of patient care. Changes in the way health care is delivered and the emphasis on wellness and prevention of disease have helped shape our curricula.

The School continues to evolve and grow. What remains constant is our commitment to preparing students to be agents of change within their field, seeking to apply their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of people nationwide and around the world.

R. Pete Vanderveen, PhD, RPh
Dean
John Stauffer Decanal Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences