UI Program Aims To Meet High Demand For More Pharmacists

Iowa City, Iowa — At the height of the pandemic, many Iowa drug stores cut hours or closed a few days a week due to staff shortages, and pharmacists and pharm techs remain in very high demand.

Liz Davis, director of admissions at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, says pharmacists play an exceptionally crucial role, as they’re arguably the state’s most accessible healthcare providers.

Given the added stresses of the job during COVID, the state lost several dozen pharmacists due to burnout. While the U of I program graduates about one-hundred new pharmacists every year, that’s still not enough to meet demand from drug stores and hospitals statewide.

Davis says the U of I’s Assured Admission Program is designed to create a direct path for high school seniors to start a pharmacy education, headed for the Pharm-D, or Doctorate of Pharmacy degree.

The University of Iowa and Drake University in Des Moines offer the state’s only pharmacy programs. Davis says pharmacy technicians are also vital to keeping operations running smoothly, and they’re in high demand as well.

Davis says University of Iowa College of Pharmacy graduates are now practicing in 94 of Iowa’s 99 counties, while five in every ten pharmacists in Iowa were trained at the U of I.