BANGOR – Husson College said Tuesday its board of trustees has unanimously approved development of what could be northern New England’s only school of pharmacy.
The college hopes that the six-year program will begin in 2008, with the first doctorates in pharmacy to be awarded in 2014.
Dr. Julian Haynes, former provost at Massachusetts General Hospital and former executive director of the American Dietetic Association, was named to lead the initiative. Trustees also gave initial approval for construction of expanded academic facilities at the Bangor campus, with emphasis on health science.
Husson’s School of Health offers a doctorate in physical therapy and master’s degrees in nursing and occupational therapy.
President William Beardsley said the School of Pharmacy fits perfectly with Husson’s other graduate-level health programs.
“The demand for pharmacists is expanding nationally and in northern New England,” he said. “We have strong support from the Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital and our cost structure is such that our program will offer a high quality, very competitive degree.”
Pointing to a national shortage of pharmacists, Beardsley noted that Maine projects 44 pharmacy job openings a year over the next eight years and said comparable figures would suggest more than 100 openings in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The University of New England, which has a school of osteopathic medicine at its Biddeford campus, has also been exploring development of a school of pharmacy. Its president, Danielle Ripich, recently said UNE hopes to open the college in either Portland or Biddeford within two years and will apply for pharmacy-school accreditation in March.
Husson said it plans to seek approval next month from the state Board of Education and with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education early next year.
The School of Pharmacy anticipates a first-year enrollment of 65 students, “and then it would go up from there,” said Julie Green, Husson’s public affairs director.
The six-year program includes two years of pre-professional studies followed by four years of concentrated professional studies.