Volume 20 | issue nº 1 Spring 2018

Success in High Doses

By Alyce Abi Shdid

More in this issue

How the School of Pharmacy's programs prepare graduates for thriving careers in Lebanon and abroad

A rigorous program that takes a multifaceted approach to education: That’s the reason so many graduates of LAU’s School of Pharmacy (SOP) are successful in their field — in Lebanon and beyond.

“The school’s mission for academic quality is driven by continuous improvement, inter-professional and collaborative work, integrity, innovation, leadership, and public service,” says SOP Dean Imad Btaiche.

The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program boasts an intensive curriculum, accreditation and clinical practice experiences that prepare graduates for postgraduate residency, and fellowship positions leading to clinical pharmacy practice in different specialties. Below, five PharmD alumni speak about how their experiences in the program prepared them for success.

Sarah Alameddine, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy informatics at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, says LAU’s PharmD program is effective because it is so challenging. “No one can deny that the curriculum is tough,” she says. “But I realized how strong and well drafted the pharmacy curriculum was when I felt competent and confident enough to apply for post-graduate programs in the US. I got accepted into the Pharmacy Informatics Fellowship Program as the only research fellow from a big pool of national and international applicants.”

Louis Lteif, assistant professor of pharmacy practice in infectious diseases and board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, concurs. “The program is very intense and robust, covering diverse topics in-depth and ensuring students have a deep understanding of disease states beyond the basics,” he says. “I believe this is vital to securing clinical specialty positions, as pharmacy is continuously advancing, and pharmacists are now expected to know more than just about medications.”

LAU’s PharmD program is geared to provide built-in opportunities for graduates in diverse fields and settings. It holds itself to the advanced standards of pharmacy education in line with the American Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

“The transition was smooth with no major roadblocks,” says Cynthia El Rahi, clinical pharmacy specialist and board-certified oncology specialist at Houston Methodist in Texas. And because the school is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), licensing becomes much easier.

The PharmD program’s clinical practice element is another major factor in the success of graduates. Mary Nauffal, a hematology/oncology clinical pharmacy specialist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School in Boston, says the experience she gained as a student at the SOP helped reassure her that she was making the right career choice. “The hands-on experience solidified my desire to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy. The extensive experiential learning offered me confidence, independence, adaptability and flexibility to thrive in new settings.”

Caroline Der Nigoghossian, clinical pharmacy manager in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit and board-certified critical care specialist at the Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, also attributes her success to her LAU roots. “My experience at LAU’s School of Pharmacy definitely prepared me for my current position,” she says.

Btaiche evaluates the success of the PharmD program on the high quality of education, faculty experience, and the caliber of students’ and graduates’ success. “Our graduates are achieving great things by distinguishing themselves in their commitment to lifelong learning and forging successful career paths, thereby enriching the legacy of LAU’s School of Pharmacy.”