Binghamton University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences opens new doors at Health Sciences Campus
First classes begin in brand-new pharmacy building
“It was really exciting and pretty impressive,” said Refat Zaman of her first day of classes in a brand-new, state-of-the-art building.
One of 85 first-year students in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University, Zaman, from Queens Village, N.Y., is considering pursuing a career as a clinical pharmacist in oncology. She said she wasn’t expecting the building and school to be quite as impressive. “I was blown away.”
The $60-million, four-story building housing the pharmacy school at Binghamton University’s new Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City, N.Y., opened its doors to students for the first time Aug. 22. The building features technology not available in many pharmacy schools.
“Most students have never seen a facility that is as up to date as this one,” said Founding Dean Gloria Meredith. “We have taken great care to make sure that everything in this building will enhance their pharmacy education and that we will turn out some of the nation’s top pharmacists.”
Students will learn skills in labs that include high-tech simulator patients, a community pharmacy with a robotic dispenser, a hospital pharmacy with a sterile room for compounding appropriate ingredients for individual patients and a community healthcare environment where students will work in a home setting and practice telehealth as well.
“These facilities are the closest we can get to real-world experiences,” Meredith said. “And our students are also working with other members of the healthcare team with students in social work and nursing as part of our interprofessional focus. It will make their transition into the real world as a professional pharmacist much easier.
“Our students learn to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals and how to work with simulated patients before they practice on real patients – and they’re learning on the top-notch equipment they will be dealing with when they begin their careers,” she added.
Meredith struggled to put her excitement into words. “I can’t describe it,” she said. “One out of every five jobs is in healthcare and now we’re educating top-notch healthcare providers on our Health Sciences Campus with the best equipment around. It’s truly a big deal.”
The Health Sciences Campus, which will include a research and development building for the pharmacy school and the Decker School of Nursing when complete, is actually larger than its individual parts, Meredith said. “To be near the major hospitals (UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City and Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton) is also fantastic because our students will be practicing in them.”
Second-year students begin their hospital rotations this year at UHS Wilson, Lourdes, Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., and SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y., while first-year students will begin rotations in community pharmacies.
Most of the first-year students are from New York state, but several out-of-state students have enrolled from as far away as California, Meredith said. The first SUNY Broome students, as well as students who earned their bachelor’s degrees from Binghamton University are part of the entering class. “All of our students come from very high-quality undergraduate institutions with either a bachelor’s degree or two or three years of undergraduate work.
“We’re hoping to keep a lot of them here following their graduation,” Meredith added. “We have a concentration in rural healthcare and are working closely with the Decker School of Nursing. There’s a strong need for pharmacists in this part of New York.”
Brian Kam, a first-year student from Scarsdale, N.Y., called the new building “extraordinary.”
“I was nervous but excited when I arrived,” he said. “But everyone is really nice and the faculty is amazing and I’m glad to be here. I’ve already seen a lot of the equipment and the compounding room and look forward to practicing real, live medicine that I can learn from.”
“We need our graduates to be highly competitive,” Meredith said. “We want them to have all of the skills and résumés to impress and they will. We are very confident that our students will compete with and be the best themselves, so we’re very excited about having them here in the first building on the Health Sciences Campus.”