Welcome from Dean Evans

Dean Evans and Student at White Coat Ceremony

On behalf of the faculty, staff and students, I’d like to welcome you to Auburn University’s James I. Harrison School of Pharmacy. On this website you will find information for prospective students, alumni and friends, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

The field of Pharmacy is redefining itself to meet twenty-first century healthcare needs, but our primary focus is the integration of patient care, ethics, and knowledge. Our education, outreach and research missions are intended to assist in improving primary care for Alabama citizens.

Beyond Auburn University’s prowess on the football field, the Harrison School of Pharmacy also stands out as a winner in higher education. We continue to prepare pharmacists who help manage patients’ care today and are equally prepared to do so tomorrow. We provide the science to improve patient care and develop pharmacist practice models that can be adapted into community practice. Following are notable highlights.

Making Medications Work

Everything we do here is for the purposes of improving the way we treat patients with medication. So, the slogan of “Making Medications Work Through Innovative Research, Education and Patient Care,” takes it from the very beginning, a conceptual idea, to true application of drug therapy.

This slogan keeps us on track with a vision. If you were beginning to say, “how can we improve the way we use medications and the medications we use,” it effects every aspect of what we are going to be doing now and in the future. It is a statement that says that we have a huge responsibility as a professional school that engages in various forms of education, research and direct patient care, that we stick to the slogan, that it drives what we do.

Innovative Research: Faculty will discover and develop new drugs, and improve how existing medications can be used more effectively. Our groundbreaking research enterprise will engage in interdisciplinary collaboration with other researchers across the globe to save and improve patients’ lives.

Innovative Education: The Auburn graduate will be ready to adapt to a changing practice environment and provide leadership to capitalize on those changes for the betterment of patient care and the profession. Graduates will be exceptionally prepared to contribute to a safe and effective drug distribution system, increase access to primary care and ensure that patients’ drug therapy is optimized.

Innovative Pharmacy Practice: By directly engaging patients and health care systems, we will improve health outcomes and promote progressive changes in practice. The School will establish, maintain and evaluate collaborative inter-professional patient care practices for the betterment of patient health and advancement of the profession.

Curriculum Focus Creates Highly Prepared Pharmacists

In 2005, we introduced an innovative new curriculum which keeps our students engaged with patients continuously through their four years. While we believe in our curriculum, we also believe that is, like most things, can always be improved. Therefore, we actively participate in the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) concept. Continuous improvement is most effective when it becomes a natural part of the way we conduct ourselves every day and that is something we strongly believe in. In our current curriculum, we concentrate on four core themes:

Seamless Integration. Students learn more from a program that seamlessly integrates knowledge, skills, and attitudes with the goal of teaching pharmaceutical science, clinical applications, and the psychosocial aspects of a disease in an integrated manner in the same courses, as well as across courses, with their relevance to patient care as the key.

Student-Centered. Student pharmacists drive their own learning, with faculty coaching and guiding. Since students will always need to learn more throughout their careers, learning through self-directed, evidence-based problem solving and teamwork serves them and their patients well.

Accountability for Competence. Traditional exams are now being replaced with case-based and practical exams. Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), which measure whether a student can perform pre-established skills, are given at the end of the second and third years. The third year OSCE is critical: without achieving a minimum expected performance, the student cannot progress to year four.

Professionalism. HSOP has implemented a high-stakes developmental program where student pharmacists must demonstrate behaviors consistent with professional tenets. Poor progress can result in dismissal or intensive professional development training.

Mobile Campus Meets Needs of the Gulf Coast Area

The partnership with the University of South Alabama has been a great success, and our Mobile campus, which opened in 2007, had its first graduates in spring 2011, most of which will remain in the Gulf Coast area to address manpower shortages. The Mobile campus has flourished, expanding the reach of HSOP. Students in Mobile learn alongside the students in Auburn, networking through a newly-installed high-definition videoconferencing system that links classrooms, team rooms and offices.

The Promise and Potential of Pharmaceutical Research

The university is strongly supporting the growth of research on campus, but today’s research is no longer a solo endeavor; it must be collaborative in individual and multiple disciplines. Outstanding partners on and off campus have energized our environment, as have new pharmaceutical researchers and leaders. Our first full-time associate dean for research and graduate programs, Dr. David Riese, is on board, as are department heads: Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam, Drug Discovery and Development, and Dr. Richard Hansen, Health Outcomes Research and Policy.

With the influx of great investigators, an excellent leadership team, and our research infrastructure, HSOP is moving toward the cutting edge of research. In order to grow fully into this new era, we will once again need the support of the HSOP family, including our friends and alums, to achieve a critical goal: provide laboratory space to support researchers, plus equipment use and technical and scientific expertise to individuals and companies working on drug development.

Dedication to Practice Model Pays Off for University, Community

For more than 10 years, HSOP has invested in a practice model where pharmacists assumed an active role in creating optimal medication therapy outcomes. We first established the Auburn University Pharmaceutical Care Center for our university community, followed by an employee pharmacy. These initial strategies engaged pharmacists and students in proactive medication management, plus wellness and intervention programs, to address critical healthcare issues. Then, once the employee pharmacy opened, we focused on reducing the cost of medications for the employees and university. The results have been outstanding.

Throughout this process, we ensured the model could be applied to the community practice environment, external factors allowing. Subsequently, HSOP was asked to work with the State Employees Insurance Board on a wellness center with multiple providers and a dispensing pharmacy. That project began in June 2010 and has been a resounding success.

I’ve only touched on a few of our accomplishments, but none would have been possible without an extraordinary team of faculty, staff, students, university leaders, and other members of a loyal Auburn Family. As you will see from this report and our recognition of our contributors in its insert — our future is bright and we are indeed grateful we can shape the future of our profession, our science, and the care of patients. Thank you all.

Dean Evans's Signature

R. Lee Evans, Pharm.D.
Dean and Professor


Last Updated: February 21, 2017