ACP expands pharmacy doctoral program to Abingdon
The Appalachian College of Pharmacy has expanded its Doctor of Pharmacy program to the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon in response to increased post-pandemic demand for pharmacists.
ACP aims to accommodate students from Abingdon and surrounding areas, helping to retain talent locally. Classes began at the center on Aug. 29, with 10 students in the cohort.
Susan Mayhew, ACP’s provost, dean and chief academic officer, says there were many factors behind the move, including demand and the college’s desire to expand recruitment along the Interstate 81 corridor.
“Nationwide, there has been a downturn in pharmacy admissions,” she says. “Just this year, we’re seeing a real uptick in demand of pharmacists, so I expect that supply and demand pendulum to start swinging the other way.”
ACP’s main campus is located in Oakwood, about an hour from the center in Abingdon.
“We can accommodate the students who live there so it’s more convenient for them to get that Doctor of Pharmacy degree,” Mayhew says. “We help retain them in the area. If they don’t move away to go to school, they’re more likely to stay where they got educated.”
After prerequisites, the college’s Pharm.D. program takes approximately three years to complete, compared with four years elsewhere. The first two years are predominantly classroom-based, with the final year consisting of pharmacy rotations.
Currently, only the second year is offered at the SWVA Center via synchronous delivery from the main campus in Oakwood. Along with an office at the center, ACP also has faculty there to assist students.
Mandy Stiltner, a second-year pharmacy student from Lebanon, used to have a 45-minute one-way commute to Oakwood; now it takes her 20 minutes to get to Abingdon. A mom with two kids, Stiltner now has more time for family and homework.
“I needed extra time to study, and it’s just a great option for those of us who are parents,” she says. After graduation, she plans to stay in the area and work.
The center is located on the campus of Virginia Highlands Community College.
“There are a number of students who are already coming to our campus,” says David Matlock, executive director of the center. “It’s just a natural fit. They can go from high school to the community college to the Appalachian College of Pharmacy and do it all right here on this campus.”