Welcome to Miami (Bienvenido a Miami)! More than just a few catchy lyrics from the late 90s, it’s the tune Florida is singing to the Larkin University College of Pharmacy, the first and only pharmacy program to reach Miami’s turf.
Our university’s mission is “To educate students in a multicultural, multiethnic environment utilizing interprofessional education, state of the art technologies, and knowledge founded on evidence-based science to serve the needs of our community, our nation, and the world.” The mission aligns with the college’s primary goal of promoting and fostering pharmacy education to prepare graduates to deliver evidence-based, patient-centered care, and create compassionate and knowledgeable pharmacists. While our students look to these statements for alignment with their personal values, there are other deciding factors we considered before we chose Larkin to be our second home over the next few years.
Our choice of Larkin ran deeper than the desirable weather and touristy beaches—it was the college’s mission and vision that sold us. Many students favor Larkin particularly for the program’s culture: the learner-centered environment. This focus is apparent from the start. Administrators and faculty embrace this teaching model and appreciate the college’s learner-centered value, meaning that students’ best interests are placed at the forefront of all decision-making. Dialogue from as early on as the interview day validated this student-centered focus without making us feel like just a number. The faculty shares our same ambition to achieve something extraordinary and practice pharmacy at the top of the profession.
This program is also the first year-round, accelerated, 3-year, block-program in Florida, which was another attractive feature to students. Our experiences thus far, such as professional development, active team-based learning, and early exposure to IPPE rotations after our first semester, have armed us with enriched skillsets. In addition, the block curriculum allows us to learn in a focused format, concentrating on one major topic at a time. A typical day encompasses didactic teaching and active learning activities to enhance long-term retention and application. This prevents excessive rote memorization.
Such a robust team of administrators and professors well-known in the community and nationally is also beneficial. Larkin’s pre-existing teaching hospitals, which make up the Larkin Health System, allow the program to easily form affiliations with local organizations and participate in outreach. Reaching our local and underserved communities couldn’t be easier with the many clinical training opportunities that exist within Larkin and the Miami-Dade area. Students and faculty joined forces at multiple events within the first 6 months, including at least seven community walks and carnivals, national and local conferences, and state and federal legislative days.
Tireless effort has been put forth by these faculty members, who have embraced us with their dedication and support. And while innovative opportunities may naturally be available to an inaugural class, these pioneers are ready to push limits and make our founders proud!
Larkin received its APhA–ASP Charter at APhA2017. This would not have been possible without the support of our Chapter Advisors—Nicholas Chow, PharmD, and Christiane Chbib, PharmD, PhD, and Director of Student Services Mercedes Pino, Esq.— and APhA staff, who provided valuable assistance during our chapter’s development.
As the first chapter of a national association at Larkin, we look forward to setting a good example to future student organizations. Our Founding Dean, Gary Levin, PharmD, BCPP, FCCP, is “honored to be part of such a historical moment.” And we feel just as honored to be part of the same, and even more honored to have him lead us. Stay tuned for more from our chapter!