WICHITA — The KU School of Pharmacy–Wichita officially opens its doors next week, as the inaugural class of 20 students begins classes on Monday, Aug. 22.
The Wichita expansion makes the school more accessible to students in central and western Kansas and will provide much-needed pharmacists to the state’s rural areas. Currently, six Kansas counties have no pharmacy, and 30 counties have just one pharmacy.
“Pharmacy practitioners are often the first points of contact, and in some instances, the only health care professionals accessible in our state’s rural counties,” KU School of Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus said. “As the only school of pharmacy in Kansas, it’s our obligation to address that need quickly and with purpose. The new facilities in Wichita represent a big step in that direction.”
The school will accept 20 new students each year through 2014, at which time that number could increase to 40. All 20 members of the first class are Kansas residents and include nine students from Wichita and one student each from Andover, Altamont, Assaria, Cimarron, Derby, Ellsworth, Great Bend, Haven, Manhattan, Minneapolis and Olathe.
Students on the new campus, located at the KU School of Medicine–Wichita, will study alongside their Lawrence counterparts. Video conferencing technology will allow students access to labs and lectures, whether they originate on the Wichita, Lawrence or Kansas City campus.
Robert Emerson, associate dean for the Wichita campus, said the KU School of Pharmacy has a strong base of support in the area, and he looks forward to strengthening those relationships in coming years. With hundreds of alumni and associates in central and western Kansas, opportunities for community involvement are immediate, Emerson said.
“For years, they’ve hosted our students during clinical rotations and provided jobs for them after graduation,” he said. “I look forward to them getting even more involved now that we’re here in Wichita.”