U.S. News has ranked the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, including its integral Pharmacotherapy Division located at the Health Science Center, as the No. 3 pharmacy school in the nation. The school was previously ranked No. 4 and has been a top 5 school for decades.
The College of Pharmacy is based in UT Austin, but the college founded the Pharmacotherapy Division on the UT Health Science Center San Antonio campus in the mid-1970s. The Pharmacotherapy Division is one of five divisions in the college, and is the only division located outside of Austin.
The college’s first Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program began in 1973, and was originally offered only in San Antonio.
Several Pharm.D. graduates have become national academic leaders, including at least four deans and numerous department chairs. Dean M. Lynn Crismon, current dean of the UT Austin College of Pharmacy, is one of those graduates (Pharm.D. ’79).
In the 2000s, national mandates required that all of the college’s campuses offer the Pharm.D. program as the entry-level degree for the profession. Recognizing the continuing need for advanced research training for pharmacists, the Pharmacotherapy Division in San Antonio began new master’s and doctoral graduate programs in 2001 to provide this type of training for those pharmacists who had already earned their Pharm.D. degrees.
In 2006, the San Antonio pharmacy programs were formally recognized as the Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center (PERC) within the Health Science Center’s School of Medicine. Christopher R. Frei, Pharm.D, M.S.(Pharm.D class of 2001 and master’s class of 2003) currently serves as the PERC director at the School of Medicine and the Pharmacotherapy Division head for the UT Austin College of Pharmacy.
The PERC’s mission is to train and educate pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists to provide specialty pharmacotherapeutic services, including primary care, and to conduct innovative translational, transdisciplinary research. In keeping with its mission, the program partnered with three other universities in San Antonio, including the Health Science Center and the UTSA, to launch a joint translational science Ph.D. program in 2011. Dr. Frei serves as program director for the program.
The San Antonio pharmacy program now consists of 12 full-time faculty and more than 120 part-time or preceptor faculty, who train nearly 80 Pharm.D., M.S., and Ph.D. students, and 20 pharmacy residents in affiliated programs, annually.