Developing global pharmacy leaders is no small task but the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY) School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is accomplishing its mission through a collaboration with The University of the West Indies (UWI).
The affiliation agreement was established in 2016, though the two universities had been building a partnership since the SUNY Global Health Institute was formed in 2013. The UWI Mona campus has served as the central hub for this partnership and has worked with the University at Buffalo (UB) to establish educational initiatives in Kingston, Jamaica. The UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPPS) has worked with the UWI Faculty of the Medical Sciences to assist in many innovative educational initiatives between the two universities. These initiatives were driven by an in-country global health implementation research fellow, which was established through the collaboration and holds a dual appointment at both universities.
The SPPS developed a research task force, identifying areas of general need that would advance health sciences research in Jamaica. As part of the needs assessment for this collaboration, clinical health research priorities were established which included the following areas: infectious disease, cancer, liver, renal and metabolic diseases, natural products/cannabinoid sciences, and health information technology (HIT).
“We focused on how we could meet their needs with the educational expertise we have here at UB,” said Dr. Gina Prescott, clinical associate professor and director of global outreach at the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Many of the needs centered on viruses; Zika was prevalent at the time and Jamaica has a very good foundation for microbiology. The country also experiences large numbers of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and kidney disease. Oncology was another big need; they have virtually little oncology care down there.”
The UWI is committed to developing a highly-trained pharmacist workforce that will be able to assist in advancing clinical practice in Jamaica. From an educational perspective, the UWI needs pharmacists trained at the Pharm.D. level to support the growth of faculty and clinical preceptors. Clinical preceptors also need continual professional development from a global perspective. Finally, there is a need to assist with clinical research projects in order to increase capacity, advance pharmacist practice and train students. The UB students and faculty are able to work collaboratively with students and faculty from the UWI, gain clinical or research experience from a global perspective and stimulate an interest for advancing the level of pharmacy practice worldwide.