University of South Florida’s school of pharmacy may rival FAMU’s college of pharmacy

Aspiring pharmacists interested in studying in Florida may soon add the University of South Florida School of Pharmacy to their lists upon approval by the Florida Legislature.

Kevin Sneed, who was recently chosen as the founding dean for the new pharmacy school, said USF expects the Legislature to approve the school any day now.

If approved, USF pharmacy will join Florida’s five other pharmacy schools. They include Florida A&M, the University of Florida, Nova Southeastern University, Palm Beach Atlantic University and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“I am excited about the school,” said Sneed, who joined USF in 2007 as a visiting professor in the College of Medicine. “We don’t see the other five schools as a threat because most of them have 1,500 applicants.”

The school plans to offer a Doctor of Pharmacy Program.

“We are looking to admit 50 students for fall 2011,” Sneed said. “The initiate program is scheduled to be in Tampa in the USF College of Medicine.”

The number of students admitted to Florida pharmacy schools is only a fraction of the total applicants they received. That is where USF will come in.

For the fall 2009, UF received an approximated 1,600 applicants for the pharmacy program and only admitted 300, according to the university Web site.

FAMU can only accommodate half the total number of applicants that UF admitted.

“Our applicant pool is averaging eight-to-ten qualified applications for each of our 150 seats annually,” said Henry Lewis III, dean and professor for FAMU College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Lewis added that he does not foresee USF pharmacy school to have a significant impact on the FAMU College of Pharmacy.

“We do anticipate that some of our Clinical Clerkship sites in the Tampa Bay area will be stressed because of another pharmacy program in that area,” Lewis said.

SGA President Gallop Franklin, a third-year pharmacy student, said he’s not against USF pharmacy school and thinks it is actually good for Florida.

“I believe higher education is essential for Florida’s economy and our society,” Franklin said. “FAMU and USF programs will do fine.”

Interested students will also have to keep in mind that the process for the school to get accredited from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education will take four years.

Sneed, who taught at FAMU College of Pharmacy for eight years, said he remains in close contacts with the university.

“I still maintain a great relationship with the dean, the president and professors,” Sneed said. “I build bridges and enjoy working with people.”