Pharmacotherapy Division History
The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy founded the Pharmacotherapy Division [originally called the “Off Campus Clinical Division”] on the campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1973. The first Doctor of Pharmacy class entered in 1974. The program was originally placed in the Department of Pharmacology and administered through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences through an agreement with Dean James Dolusio and Dr. Arthur Briggs. Since that time, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio have partnered to offer degree programs.
The Pharmacotherapy Division was the original home for the College’s Doctor of Pharmacy “graduate” degree program; a program for those pharmacists who had already earned their pharmacy Bachelor’s degrees, but sought additional clinical research training. Several of these PharmD graduates have become national academic leaders, including at least four college of pharmacy deans and numerous department chairs. Dean M. Lynn Crismon, current Dean of the UT Austin College of Pharmacy, is one of these graduates (Doctor of Pharmacy 1979).
In 1999, the national accreditation council for colleges and schools of pharmacy mandated that all pharmacy programs in the nation offer the PharmD degree as the entry-level degree for practicing pharmacists; therefore, the PharmD degree became a “professional” degree instead of a “graduate” degree. The curriculum was revised accordingly; clinical research training was replaced with greater training on patient assessment, therapeutics, and clinical decision-making. Recognizing the continuing need for advanced research training for pharmacists, the Pharmacotherapy Division developed new Masters and PhD graduate programs in 2001 to provide this type of training for those pharmacists who had already earned their PharmD degrees.
In 2006, the Pharmacotherapy Division was formally recognized as the Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center (PERC) within the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Medicine. Dr. Christopher R. Frei, PharmD, MS (Doctor of Pharmacy 2001, Master of Science in Pharmacy 2003) serves as the PERC Director and Pharmacotherapy Division Head. The PERC’s mission is to train and educate pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists to provide specialty pharmacotherapeutic services, including primary care, and to conduct innovative translational, transdisciplinary research. In keeping with its mission, the program partnered with three other universities in San Antonio, including the UT Health Science Center, to develop a new Translational Science PhD program in 2011. Collectively, the San Antonio pharmacy programs consist of 14 full-time faculty and more than 50 adjunct faculty, who train nearly 90 professional and graduate students and 20 pharmacy residents annually.
The UT Austin College of Pharmacy is currently ranked #3 in the nation.