On a recent Saturday in July, 21 future and prospective West Coast University doctorate of pharmacy students got a good look at what’s ahead of them for the next four years.
“This class is the Class of 2020,” WCU's PharmD Dean Reza Taheri said. “The idea around this event was having that 20/20 vision, having a perfect vision for your current and future in the practice of pharmacy.”
Held at WCU’s Center for Graduate Studies in Los Angeles, the day began with Dr. Taheri and Dr. Kyle Sousa, assistant PharmD dean of student affairs, introducing themselves to the incoming class, and their friends and family in attendance. Contemporary Forums cohosted the event and had an expert on hand to answer any questions about the organization’s high-quality continuing healthcare education.
Keynote speaker Dr. Brian Yamate then took the stage, sharing with them the history and future of pharmacy, plus the diversity of opportunities in the field.
“A pharmacist could be a clinical pharmacist in a hospital setting, a host of different activities in the community, a military-care setting, the pharmaceutical industry, managed care. The list is very long,” Taheri said. “Another aspect of pharmacy that's always rewarding is the ability to impact people's lives.”
After a brief break, the audience broke into two groups. Family, friends and significant others of incoming students went into one room to have a support discussion. Back in the auditorium, there was a students-only panel discussion where the incoming class was allowed to ask anything.
Jade Wilia, a third-year WCU PharmD student on the panel, said most of the questions focused on academics — what was the hardest class, the toughest professor or what was grading like. Wilia, who is also class president, said she told the group to not be short-sighted and to focus on the bigger picture.
“I tried to make them think more about their learning outcomes rather than their grades because honestly, the way that you're going to be able to gauge your knowledge is by interacting with patients," Wilia said. "If you can answer the patient's questions and be able to tell them how to manage their condition, that's when you know you've learned the material.”
During the third panel discussion, both the incoming class and their family got to ask questions to a trio of PharmD professors — Drs. Amber Verdell, Keri Hurley and Mark Sherman — on their thoughts about the four-year doctorate program.
"West Coast is a rapidly growing institution in the arena of healthcare and has diverse program offerings which is a wonderful opportunity to engage in what we refer to as interprofessional education," Taheri said. "Our interprofessional education, engaging our students with various professions, is a great opportunity here on this campus — the Center for Graduate Studies — as well as other campuses."