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Pharmacy students hit high mark in residency match program

UMKC School of Pharmacy students Maggie Bruce, Kimberly Ehrhard and Bradley Erich celebrate their residency match.

As the pharmacy profession continues to evolve, the number of students choosing to enter pharmacy residency and fellowship programs is rising as well. The UMKC School of Pharmacy set an all-time record for the school with 37 percent of the 2019 graduating class accepted into residency and fellowship training programs.

More than half of the 55 students who matched to the post-doctoral programs will conduct their training at Missouri institutions including Kansas City’s Truman Medical Center, Saint’s Luke’s Hospital, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Research Medical Center, and North Kansas Hospital, as well as University Hospital in Columbia and Cox Medical Center in Springfield.

Many also placed at highly competitive national programs including Duke University, the Medical University of South Carolina, University of Illinois-Chicago, Wake Forest and others across the country.

“We had more students apply this year for post-graduate training programs,” said Patricia Marken, Pharm.D., FCCP, associate dean for student affairs. “Pharmacy is changing. With increasing availability and sophistication of technology, pharmacists are moving towards clinical side of the health care. Students are looking into the future.”

She said there is still a strong market for pharmacy graduates who choose not to pursue post-doctoral training in a residency.

“We’re proud of all of our students who graduate. They will all go on to have an economically viable and professionally fulfilling career,” Marken said. “Residency and fellowships offer opportunities to students interested in different professional spaces. It’s definitely a good thing to do. That’s why we had 37 percent of the class do residencies this year.”

Marken pointed out that the residency match is an extremely competitive process. More than 68 percent of the school’s students who applied for residencies this year received a match, well above of the national match rate of 64 percent for year-one programs.

Two students were also selected for pharmaceutical industry fellowship programs. The students will enter two-year programs providing advanced, focused training in medical affairs.

“To get two people into fellowships this year is a big deal,” Marken said. “You have to be thinking about that path early in school to have the credentials to shine in that very competitive field.”

Fourteen students from the class of 2018 who are now completing their year-one residencies also matched into second-year specialty programs.