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Bowles rejects UNCG proposal for pharmacy school

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010

UNC President Erskine Bowles stunned UNCG and the Triad at large last week by setting aside the proposal for the highly sought after standalone school of pharmacy at UNCG for two years and will proceed instead with plans to establish a UNC-Chapel Hill satellite campus at UNC-Ashville.

Documents from the UNC Board of Governors meeting dated April 9 cited “uncertainty” in the pharmacy field and its expansion, the “…increasing reliance on automation and robotics as a way to handle prescription volume and reduce costs; and, perhaps most importantly… the uncertainty of the health care reimbursement system with regard to creating a revenue stream to compensate pharmacists for patient care services, which is the primary focus of our current Pharm.D programs.”

 “We believed,” said Brady to the News & Record last Monday and repeated in a later statement, “that there was a need in the Triad, particularly for a research-intensive school of pharmacy that would not only train pharmacists, but would indeed be heavily engaged in research in areas consistent with our mission and our commitment to nanoscience and our partnership, as well, with Wake Forest (University School of Medicine).”

The door has not been closed to bringing a pharmacy education program of some scale to UNCG. The final report on the pharmacy school stated that the board would “…reevaluate the pharmacist workforce in the Central region in two years and, if a compelling case can be made for an additional pharmacy program in Greensboro, consider creating a full four year pharmacy program as a joint venture between UNCG and UNC‐CH so that the program would utilize UNC‐CH’s curriculum and distance delivery methodology to create an efficient, effective, high quality program.”

It was also suggested that the Board of Governors might “…explore joint pharmaceutical sciences graduate/research programs between UNCG, UNC‐AT and UNC‐CH that identify and build unique strengths for UNCG, e.g. biotechnology, nanotechnology, linkage with genomics, clinical research, translational research.”

The initial proposals for the UNCG School of Pharmacy stated that the cost to build an actual school would cost around $10 million while the UNCA satellite campus was estimated to cost around $3.5 million.

Still, the consensus of the community appears to be one that goes past Brady’s surprise and disappointment.

“I don’t think anybody here would know what to do to put a better case on the table,” said Pat Danahy, CEO and president of the Greensboro Partnership, whom manages Greensboro’s three major economic development companies, to the News & Record.
A poster to the message board to the News & Record said of Bowles “…after 2-3 years of hearing about the importance of economic development statewide through the UNC Tomorrow initiative, UNCG had the audacity to push a program that could do great things for the Triad and state. Instead, Erskine “Ee-Bee” Bowles will bag this solid gold proposal by UNCG, with almost universal support in the Triad, in favor of the UNC flagship plan.”
 “We are in the middle of a pharmacy shortage,” said one retail pharmacist who asked to remain anonymous, “and a school at UNCG would have helped generated more pharmacists to help us out.”

For the complete report from the April 9th meeting go to, click on the April ninth meeting and go to PDF file entitled “Tab 7 – Report on Pharmacy.”


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