Pharmacy Students Receiving more Prestigious Opportunities

The workload for a pharmacy student is colossal. According to Western University of Health Sciences in California, the typical pharmacy student spends an average of 60 hours a week engaged in some form of schoolwork, such as class time and homework. 


On top of this, sixth-year Pharm.D. students at St. John’s are required to take six Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs), which are four-week experiences designed to provide real-world experience for pharmacy students to apply their classroom teachings.  


According to a press release from the University on Jan. 14, the number of APPE electives available through the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has grown, with more than 300 APPE sites affiliated with St. John’s, and more students are being accepted into prestigious and competitive pharmacy sites, both nationally and globally.


In the press release, Dr. Kanmaz, the Associate Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean for Experiential Pharmacy Education shared that there have been almost 30 out-of-state requests this academic year, stating, “Sending student on APPEs out of state gives them the opportunity to learn about the laws and the state of practice in those places.”


“Venturing outside the New York Area to pursue exciting and unique APPE sites is one of the strongest moves you can make as a prospective student,” Chirag Gosolia said, pharmacy student at St. Johns. “I suggest this of students with interests in residencies and fellowships.”


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking 12 to 15 students every year to participate in an APPE rotation, with a cumulative total of 91 students completing one with the FDA. This is a drastic increase from years prior when only one or two students would be able to participate in an FDA rotation.


The press release continues to describe an increase of students accepted at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to Dr. Kanmaz, there were five students placed at Walter Reed this year in comparison to the typical one to two students placed there each year. In addition, for the first time, the CDC accepted two St. John’s students this year.


Globally, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers three APPEs: in Taiwan, Jamaica and Guatemala. For the program in Taiwan, which assigns students to one of the country’s hospitals that is affiliated with Taipei Medical University, students must have a working knowledge of Mandarin. In Jamaica and Guatemala, students work with medical missions, “bringing health care to underserved communities.” 


These global opportunities are possible due to alumni contributions, both through financial aid and providing contacts for teachers. In the Jan. 14 press release, Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, said, “Our alumni have been extremely generous in helping us open doors at their respective workplaces.”