Dean Phillip Oppenheimer will receive the 2014 Oustanding Dean award from the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists during the APA annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., on March 28.

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Pacific News

Oppenheimer Named Pharmacy Dean of the Year

The American Pharmacy Association Academy of Student Pharmacists 2014 Outstanding Dean Award recognizes Dean Phil Oppenheimer for promoting the education of student pharmacists through community service, leadership and professional activities.
Mar 18, 2014

Phillip R. Oppenheimer, who has led University of the Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for almost two decades, has been named the 2014 Outstanding Dean by the American Pharmacists Association's Academy of Student Pharmacists.

The award recognizes Oppenheimer for promoting the education of student pharmacists through community service, leadership and professional activities.

Oppenheimer will receive the award during the American Pharmacists Association annual meeting in Orlando March 28.

"Dean Oppenheimer is widely respected for his vision and innovation in pharmacy education, and for preparing pharmacists who will give back to their communities," said University of the Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck. "He richly deserves this national honor."

Under Oppenheimer's leadership, the school has become a leading provider of care for underserved communities. Pharmacy students, working with faculty and preceptors, last year provided more than 100 free health care programs and served thousands of patients throughout Northern California, offering health screenings, immunizations and Medicare Part D clinics to help the elderly lower their annual prescription drug costs.

One in three pharmacists practicing in California has a degree from Pacific's school of pharmacy. Graduates of the school, established in 1955, have included the CEO of the American Pharmacists Association and the presidents of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and American Society of Health System Pharmacists. 

And graduates attain among the nation's highest passage rates on the Pharmacy Licensure examination.

Seven current and former students and faculty colleagues nominated Oppenheimer for the dean of the year award, among them Liliya Kolozian, current president of Pacific's chapter of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists.


"Dean Oppenheimer has an open door policy and encourages students to approach him with any concerns or questions they might have," she wrote in her nomination letter. "His welcoming personality allows students to open up to him and feel comfortable to ask for help or advice."

Sarkis Kavarian, vice president of communications for the student chapter, cited Oppenheimer's emphasis on developing students as professionals.


"His support and dedication to our student body, his willingness to aid in student projects, and his selfless collaborative nature have all helped foster a spirit of excitement and compassion at our campus," Kavarian wrote. "Life is vibrant here; students and faculty alike are eager to address the needs of our healthcare system."

Pharmacist Michael Pastrick, past president of the California Pharmacists Association, wrote of Oppenheimer's leadership in pharmacy education. He cited such curricular innovations as Pacific's combined Pharm.D./Ph.D. and Pharm.D./MBA degree programs; its AmerisourceBergen Good Neighbor Pharmacy Entrepreneurial Pharmacy Practice Program,  the first of its kind in pharmacy education; and its incorporation of traditional basic sciences coursework into an integrated approach to pharmaceutical care and disease state management.

Oppenheimer also established opportunities for students to gain early clinical practice in community and long-term care practice settings, well before such experiences became a requirement of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

The son of a community pharmacist, Oppenheimer received his doctor of pharmacy degree from UCSF in 1972 and completed a clinical pharmacy residency, also at UCSF, in 1973. He joined Pacific as dean of the pharmacy school in 1997, following a 24-year career as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Southern California.

University of the Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences also encompasses speech-language pathology and physical therapy degree programs, and operates an audiology patient clinic. The school will open an additional audiology clinic at Pacific's new San Francisco campus this summer, and next fall will introduce Northern California's first doctor of audiology degree program.