Walgreens Collaborates with Pharmacy Colleges to Enhance the Field of Pharmacy

Walgreens Initiates Collaboration with Pharmacy Schools to Enhance the Future of Pharmacy Practice

Title: “Walgreens Initiates Collaboration with Pharmacy Schools to Enhance the Future of Pharmacy Practice”

In its ongoing commitment as a reliable local healthcare hub for millions of Americans, Walgreens is strengthening its ties with colleges of pharmacy by establishing the Walgreens Deans Advisory Council. This collaborative effort aims to elevate the pharmacy profession and provide enhanced support for pharmacists delivering crucial care within their local communities. The Council, comprised of 17 pharmacy school deans and Walgreens leadership, is spearheaded by Rick Gates, Chief Pharmacy Officer at Walgreens, co-chaired by John Colaizzi Jr., PharmD, FNJPhA, Vice President, Pharmacy Practice at Walgreens, along with Angela Kashuba, Dean of UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Lorri Walmsley, Director of Walgreens Pharmacy Affairs, serving as the vice chair.

Pharmacists have long been integral to community healthcare, offering timely interventions and bridging gaps in care. Despite the anticipated growth in demand for pharmacy services in the coming years, the industry faces a significant labor shortage. Pharmacy school applications experienced a 22% decline in 2022-2023 compared to the previous year, and there has been a steady decrease of over 60% in the past decade. Recognizing the need for evolution in the pharmacy operating model, Walgreens is partnering with pharmacy school deans to address the current workforce challenges impacting both the industry and school enrollment.

Rick Gates expressed the importance of collaboration within the pharmacy profession and emphasized the transformative work ahead. The Deans Advisory Council, meeting quarterly, will focus on attracting, recruiting, and creating a dynamic workplace for pharmacists. Initial objectives include rebuilding the talent pipeline, showcasing community pharmacy as a preferred practice setting, tackling staffing challenges, advocating for pharmacist practitioner services, and advising on various aspects of community pharmacy strategy and administration.

The Council’s collaboration aims to address the changing landscape of community pharmacy, particularly in the face of recent initiatives by Walgreens to reimagine its operating model. These initiatives involve leveraging centralized services, implementing micro-fulfillment, adopting flexible store and staffing models, and eliminating task-based retail metrics from annual performance reviews. The Council, set to convene in March 2024, will play a pivotal role in providing valuable insights and guidance to shape the future of community pharmacy.

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