Pathway for PharmD Students to Earn a Graduate Certificate in Innovations in Aging

Nov. 16, 2022


The Innovations in Aging Certificate Program was developed to meet the need to serve a growing older adult population in Arizona, nationally, and globally, with courses that cover diverse topics in aging. The program launched as a graduate interdisciplinary program in the Fall of 2021 and was designed to be offered as a graduate certificate or elective course option for any students interested in understanding and serving aging adults.

The certificate is a collaborative effort between faculty across all five colleges in the University of Arizona Health Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, and the College of Fine Arts.

Jeannie Lee, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, FASHP, assistant dean of students services in the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, is on the executive committee for the graduate certificate and teaches one of the courses, “Human Aging: Interprofessional Practice, Communication, and Older Adults.” She recognized a great interest among many PharmD students to expand their studies in the field of aging.

Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required prior to admission into a graduate program. However, with the collaboration and support of the Graduate College, the College of Pharmacy and UArizona Health Sciences, an agreement was created to offer PharmD students the opportunity to apply for admission to the Innovations in Aging Graduate Certificate upon completion of 120 credit hours of undergraduate and PharmD professional course work. This allowed current PharmD students to enroll in the certificate without a bachelor’s degree.

This unique approach to meeting the interprofessional needs of students across colleges was realized with 10 PharmD students enrolled in Fall 2022 courses. A special note of appreciation goes to Dr. Lee, Elizabeth Hall-Lipsy, JD, MPH, director of the PharmD Forward program, Barbara Collins, director of student services at the Coit College of Pharmacy, Maggie Pitts, PhD, associate dean at the Graduate College, and Melissa Colchado, assistant vice president and chief of staff for strategic initiatives and planning at UArizona Health Sciences, for making this unique program a reality.

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