First class graduates from UBC Entry-to-Practice Doctor of Pharmacy program

“In the history of pharmacy practice, there are few turning points with such far-reaching implications for the profession.” 
- UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Strategic Plan 2012–2017

Yesterday, students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters gathered at the Dean's Reception to celebrate the Class of 2019 – the very first class to graduate from the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Entry-to-Practice Doctor of Pharmacy (Entry-to-Practice PharmD) program. 

The event was hosted by Dr. Michael Coughtrie, professor and dean, who noted the significance of the day in his opening remarks. “You have all worked extremely hard since starting this new program with us and your graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that truly deserves to be celebrated,” he said.

The Entry-to-Practice Doctor of Pharmacy program was created in response to the increasing complexity of pharmacy practice, with more drugs available than ever before and more people living longer with increasingly complex conditions. Additionally, the scope of pharmacy practice continues to expand. To date, this increased scope includes administering vaccinations, conducting clinical consultations with patients to optimize their medications, monitoring drug therapy, and interpreting lab tests.

In 2010, the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy, which represents all 10 schools of pharmacy in Canada, agreed that they would adopt the PharmD as the entry-to-practice degree qualification by 2020. The Faculty launched its Entry-to-Practice PharmD program in September 2015. 

“Our Entry-to-Practice PharmD graduates are medication experts who care deeply about improving their patients’ health, who are competent to practice pharmacy to its full scope and adaptable as this expands, and who are equipped to lead the profession in the directions it needs to go for the good of all British Columbians,” says Dr. Coughtrie.

Class of 2019 at the 2015 White Coat Ceremony
The Entry-to-Practice PharmD Class of 2019 recite the Pledge of Professionalism at the 2015 White Coat Ceremony. Image: Ivan Yastrebov, UBC Pharm Sci.

For the Class of 2019, yesterday marked the beginning of a new journey to sites throughout British Columbia and beyond. Dr. Alexandra Averback, who graduated head of the Entry-to-Practice PharmD Class of 2019 and received the FPS Medal and Gibb G. Henderson Memorial Prize in Pharmaceutical Sciences notes, “I think we're all really excited and happy that we’ve made it this far and to see what the future holds. I'll be moving to Campbell River to be a community pharmacist with Pharmasave. I’m really excited!”

Dr. Alexandra Averback
Dr. Alexandra Averback with Dr. Michael Coughtrie. Image: Justin Lee Ohata, UBC Pharm Sci.

The day was also significant for faculty and staff who worked to develop, launch and implement the program.

“I'm so pleased to be part of this first graduation ceremony for our Entry-to-Practice Doctor of Pharmacy class,” says Dr. Kerry Wilbur, associate professor and executive director, entry-to-practice education.

“I love seeing all the friends and family at the Chan Centre and here in our atrium to celebrate the efforts of our graduates. I'm so excited because they are our family. Like Dr. Santa Ono said – ‘We're part of the UBC alumni community.’ Our graduates are not only part of the UBC community, but part of our pharmacist alumni community. I'm thrilled about all the great things they're going to do for patient care and for our province in the future.”

Graduates of the Faculty’s MSc and PhD programs were also celebrated at the event. The 2019 Dean’s Reception program and list of graduates and award winners can be viewed here.