The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) Doctor of Pharmacy Distance Education Pathway has ranked fourth among the best online Ph.D. and doctoral programs in the United States, according to the online education platform Study.com.
In conducting its analysis of Ph.D. and doctoral programs available in hybrid or fully online learning formats, Study.com evaluated U.S. Department of Education data, including each school’s student retention figures, tuition costs and graduation rates. The ranking also took into consideration the type of academic support each institution offers its online students, such as library database access, writing assistance and tutoring help.
LECOM launched its Doctor of Pharmacy Distance Education Pathway in 2014 at its campuses in Erie and Bradenton, Florida. The four-year program allows students to take the bulk of their courses online. Students complete foundational coursework in year one and clinical practice training is introduced in years two and three. Hands-on Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences in community, institutional and clinical settings are completed during the fourth and final year. Students also have the opportunity to dig deeper into their field through the LECOM School of Pharmacy Center for Drug Information and Research.
“LECOM has always been a national leader in innovation in health professions education, and this spirit of innovation gave birth to a fully online Doctor of Pharmacy program,” said Hershey Bell, M.D., LECOM vice president of academic affairs and dean of LECOM’s School of Pharmacy. “It is immensely gratifying to see that in less than a decade, the success of our program has been recognized by groups like Study.com who have ranked us among the best in the nation.
“Our incredibly supportive LECOM administration – as well as the faculty, staff and students of the LECOM School of Pharmacy – are responsible for this highly significant achievement,” Bell added.
LECOM’s Distance Education Pathway was the second online distance education program for pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in the U.S. In addition to this innovative program, the LECOM School of Pharmacy also offers a three-year Accelerated Pathway at its Erie campus and a four-year Florida Pathway at its Bradenton location.
“Our Distance Education program was developed with the goal of making pharmacy education more accessible to those who are unable to attend a traditional program,” explained Katherine Tromp, Pharm.D., LECOM associate dean for the school’s Florida Pathway. “With the use of technologies such as Zoom and Easygenerator, we have created engaging courses that allow for frequent and regular communication between students and faculty. These technologies have also been used to elevate the on-campus pathways in Erie and Bradenton while shortening the distance between the two schools, allowing our students to gain the benefit of a more diverse teaching cadre.”
LECOM opened its School of Pharmacy in 2002, believing new trends in the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum complemented the goals of total-person, patient-centered care fostered by osteopathic medicine. Through the integration of the sciences, critical thinking skills and effective communication, LECOM prepares future pharmacists to be strong patient advocates and leaders in their communities, in their professional associations and in their research activities.
The school’s faculty are educators first. Many hold advanced degrees in education and are committed to providing students with every opportunity to realize their goals of becoming Doctors of Pharmacy as well as highly skilled clinicians in all aspects of pharmaceutical care.
LECOM consistently offers one of the lowest tuitions among the nation’s private pharmacy schools. Since its first pharmacy class graduated in 2005, more than 2,500 Doctors of Pharmacy have received their Pharm.D. degrees from LECOM, and the LECOM School of Pharmacy on-time graduation rate has consistently exceeded the five-year national average.