When the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) was founded in 1881, it was one of just 14 schools of pharmacy in the country. Today, there are more than 130 pharmacy programs across the United States, and ACPHS is recognized as a leader in contributing to students’ outcomes. In 2015, the Brookings Institution ranked us the #1 Value-Added college in the nation.
Despite the growth of pharmacy education over the last 135 years, Vermont was just one of three states without a pharmacy program when we opened our Colchester campus on Water Tower Hill in 2009 (Delaware and Alaska were the others). Fast forward to 2016, and the campus is home to nearly 200 full-time students, and 30 faculty and staff. It is still the only pharmacy program in the state.
A Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) is the degree now required to practice pharmacy in the United States. The majority of our Vermont students are enrolled in our Doctor of Pharmacy program, with a few others enrolled in our Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Filling a Need, Not Just
We opened our Colchester campus in part because of a growing shortage of pharmacists in the region. We also saw great opportunities for our students to benefit from Vermont’s progressive health care system – one which offers pharmacists and pharmacy students a wider scope of practice than what is available in other states.
For example, in Vermont a student can earn their pharmacy intern permit at the beginning of their first year of pharmacy school. This allows them to gain more responsibility at an earlier point in their education.
Vermont students and faculty are actively involved in addressing health issues, such as the national opioid epidemic. They collaborated with the Vermont Pharmacists Association and Vermont legislators in support of an opioid bill that was passed into law this year. ACPHS students receive education on life-saving overdose interventions such as naloxone, as well as training to counsel patients, individuals and families. ACPHS also provides continuing education for working Pharmacists, and has hosted a White House sponsored community forum on opioids.
Being a Community Partner
From the beginning, it was important for the College to not simply have a presence in Vermont but to make a positive contribution to the state and its local communities. Our students, faculty, and staff frequently organize blood pressure clinics, volunteer at non-profits, speak at local schools on medication safety and healthcare career opportunities, and assist with drug takeback programs.
Two years ago ACPHS students also took on the responsibility of organizing the annual Health and Wellness Fair at Colchester High School. This community event offers a free dinner, flu shots, and information about a variety of health
The College itself has been active in partnering with Vermont organizations and is a proud member of the Vermont BioSciences Alliance, Vermont Business Roundtable, Association of Vermont Independent Colleges, and Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. ACPHS has also forged relationships with 55 pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals throughout Vermont where it places students for hands-on learning opportunities.
Now in our eighth academic year in Colchester, we are a diverse, international family of scholars, intent on advancing the practice of pharmacy. We have graduated 254 students since the campus opened. Many were native Vermonters or chose to stay in Vermont after graduating.
The data shows they leave ACPHS well positioned for success. Of more than 4,000 colleges on the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, ACPHS ranks #3 in the country for “Salary After Attending,” with students earning an average of $118,800 ten years after beginning their studies at the college.
And we’re just getting started. With our students’ passion for science and a 135-year tradition of success, we are striving to expand the role of pharmacy in health care, and ultimately, help redefine the future of human health in Vermont and beyond.
For us, discovery doesn't end
in the lab. It's a lifestyle.
To request info or schedule a tour, visit acphs.edu
Vermont Campus, 261 Mountain View Drive, Colchester, VT 05446