Tusculum University, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy partner to give students who meet eligibility requirements a guaranteed interview

GREENEVILLETusculum University students who are interested in becoming a pharmacist will have increased potential for an interview with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy due to a new agreement between the two higher education institutions.

Dr. Heather Henson-Ramsey

Dr. Heather Henson-Ramsey

Tusculum and the UTHSC College of Pharmacy have inked a memorandum of understanding, which also calls for the two universities to collaborate to help students earn their undergraduate degree from Tusculum and then enroll in the UTHSC’s College of Pharmacy. The outcome of enrolling at the College Pharmacy would be a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, which would then enable them to be eligible for licensure required to practice in that profession.

“We have outstanding students at Tusculum who are well prepared to advance to professional schools when they graduate,” said Dr. Heather Henson-Ramsey, dean of Tusculum’s College of Science, Technology and Mathematics. “Having an enhanced route for our students who are interested in a pharmacy career to enroll in the exceptional program at the University of Tennessee will benefit them considerably. We appreciate the University of Tennessee Health Science Center for partnering with us on this initiative for our students.”

Through the agreement, Tusculum students are guaranteed an interview for acceptance and admission to the UTHSC College of Pharmacy if they meet grade point average requirements, are in the final year of completing all prerequisite courses and apply before the priority deadline. Admission is not guaranteed, but the MOU provides a seamless pathway for Tusculum students who apply to engage with the UTHSC College of Pharmacy.

The UTHSC College of Pharmacy has an excellent reputation as one of the top 20 nationally ranked programs in that field and is ranked No. 6 in the country for the number of students matched for a residency. The UTHSC College of Pharmacy has locations in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis.

Tusculum and the College of Pharmacy share a mutual passion for experiential learning, For the last five years, undergraduate chemistry and biology students at Tusculum have conducted research to help in the fight against cancer. Specifically, they have developed potential medications that can be activated by light to kill cancerous cells. They have published a paper on their research in Dalton Transactions, a chemistry publication that features research results. They have also made several presentations within the industry, including at an American Chemical Society conference.

Currently ranked No. 6 in National Institutes of Health funding, the UTHSC College of Pharmacy has also engaged in extensive research, focusing on discovering novel small molecule therapeutics for various cancers in the oncology realm. Other research includes the development of new drugs and delivery systems to treat bacterial, viral and fungal infections; examination of vascular physiology; modulation of hormonal systems; obesity; acute kidney injury; metabolic syndrome; and conditions such as epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, neuroinflammation, retinal diseases and substance abuse.

Kara Bowen

Kara Bowen

The agreement emerged from a visit from Kara Bowen, director of admissions and recruitment at the UTHSC College of Pharmacy, a couple of years ago.

“When Tusculum chemistry faculty offered the opportunity to tour in 2021, I was thoroughly impressed with the state-of-the-art labs in the Meen Center, the rigorous natural science curriculum and the research opportunities students have,” Bowen said. “Having a strong foundation in chemistry, biology and anatomy and physiology is crucial to success in a graduate pharmacy program. I am confident the caliber of Tusculum’s program will prepare students to continue their passion beyond their bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy.”

Dr. Henson-Ramsey said the College of Science, Technology and Mathematics prides itself on providing students with the knowledge and experiences necessary to transition to professional schools. She said the college offers a seminar class for freshmen to start immediately preparing for that next step. The college also supports students by conducting mock interviews, writing support letters and teaching students how to write personal statements for admittance.

“Our academic programs are strong and provide students with the foundation they need for the next step in their lives,” Dr. Henson-Ramsey said. “With the mentoring and one-on-one interaction with their professors, our students also develop a thorough understanding of the academic concepts and the soft skills that prepare them to pursue a professional school and enter the workforce. They will be on solid ground as they pursue admission to the UTHSC College of Pharmacy.”

The agreement with the UTHSC College of Pharmacy is the second Tusculum has adopted with a higher education institution in 2023 to support students’ interests in attending a professional school. Tusculum students who want to become a physician assistant and meet eligibility requirements receive a guaranteed interview with Lincoln Memorial University’s program. The agreement provides for 12 Tusculum students to have an interview for the physician assistant program, with the number equally split between the Harrogate and Knoxville locations.

Candidates accepted into the LMU program will work toward a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

Additional information about Tusculum is available at www.tusculum.edu. To learn more about Tusculum’s cancer project, please visit https://site.tusculum.edu/anti-cancer-drugs-research/. More details about the UTHSC College of Pharmacy are available at https://www.uthsc.edu/pharmacy/index.php.