The School of Pharmacy: Good medicine for Texas Tech

Healthwise: Dr. Quentin Smith, Dean of Texas Tech School of Pharmacy

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - This is the 50th year of the Texas Tech Medical School but the system is also celebrating another anniversary. This is the 20th year of graduates from the Texas Tech School of Pharmacy.

Based in Amarillo, the School of Pharmacy is lead by Dr. Quentin Smith, Ph.D., who serves as the Dean.

Dr. Smith says, “I’m extremely proud, graduated almost 2,000 pharmacists for West Texas and for Texas overall. What they bring to the field, a doctor of pharmacy and their management of drugs and the helping of patients, and with the graduate program comes the training of scientists.”

He says it’s a common misconception that pharmacy students have to go to Amarillo to study that field. People don’t know the school is also available through campuses in Abilene, Dallas/Fort Worth and Lubbock. He says the opportunities are widespread for a Pharmacy graduate. He explains, “It’s a tremendous profession, salary over 100,000, very competitive with many opportunities. You can do community pharmacy which is outstanding. You can do hospital management therapy with, for example, the new bio-tech drugs. You can do research.” Currently, Texas Tech is represented in government positions with 25 pharmacy graduates working with the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Smith says the duties of a pharmacist have grown a lot and changed over the years and it has been a good thing moving forward. However, he says the dream now is to bring back the small town relationship that so many people used to enjoy with their neighborhood pharmacist. There was a time when it was common for people to see their local pharmacist for advice, even more frequently than their own doctor. Now, he says, “Many people very rarely talk to their pharmacist. Our dream is with clinical pharmacy, they’re interacting with pharmacists much more commonly. You might go to a clinic. The pharmacist would be involved and advising you on drugs you are taking, adverse effects, managing therapy under the direction of the doctor. This is our dream.”

Although the TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy is barely 20 years old, the school is the largest in Texas, graduating 140 to 155 new doctors of pharmacy every year.

The school recently placed 16th and 18th among the nation’s 143 pharmacy schools in two surveys based upon the quality of its Doctor of Pharmacy program, and it ranked 12th nationally based upon low cost.

Nationally recognized for requiring students to complete more clinical contact hours with patients than any other pharmacy program in Texas and more than all but a handful across the country.

The Texas Tech School of Pharmacy is also one of a small handful of pharmacy schools in the country to require rural professional practice rotations and advanced professional practice rotations in geriatrics and pediatrics.

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