UCSF

Impact of Curriculum Transformation Awards given for assessing new PharmD curriculum

As the second class of students in UC San Francisco’s new and evolving doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program arrives on campus this summer, School of Pharmacy faculty members are developing and applying new ways to evaluate and further support the program’s success through an awards program made possible by an endowed fund in memory of a farsighted former dean.

“The Impact of Curriculum Transformation Awards open up new ways for us to determine how well the new curriculum is working,” explained School Vice Dean Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH. “The awards give us more evidence about the teaching and learning approaches we need to aggressively support, or change, or consider adding.”

The School’s new PharmD curriculum is designed for students to continuously apply scientific thinking across all coursework, added Youmans. “By the same token, we’re applying scientific thinking in how we assess the curriculum,” she said. “Our mantra to students to continually ask why, why not, what if, how—applies equally to us as teachers and research faculty.”

Impact Award funds are made possible by the Troy C. Daniels Distinguished Professorship in Pharmaceutical Sciences, an endowed fund established in 2012 to honor former School of Pharmacy Dean Troy C. Daniels, PhD, who died in 1986. As dean from 1944 to 1967, Daniels aggressively recruited PhD research scientists to the School while leading bold pharmacy curriculum changes that resulted in the School raising its pharmacy degree to the level of the doctorate.

The purpose of the distinguished professorship is to “support the overall teaching, research, and service activities of the School of Pharmacy as determined by the holder,” who is to be the current dean of the School, a position now held by B. Joseph B. Guglielmo, PharmD.

“There is no more appropriate way today to honor the bold legacy of Dean Daniels than by applying these funds to support innovative research intended to improve the PharmD curriculum,” stated Guglielmo.

Six proposals received, in mid-June, Impact Award research funding of up to $10,000 each for more than $47,000 in total funding:

Daniels in front of a chalkboard

As dean from 1944 to 1967, Troy C. Daniels aggressively recruited PhD research scientists to the School while leading bold pharmacy curriculum changes.

Assessing the validity of a curriculum through stakeholder engagement and curricular mapping

Principal applicant: Katherine Gruenberg, PharmD, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Award funding: $8,210

The project: A curriculum map tracks the breadth and depth of topics taught within an education program and identifies gaps and redundancies. Gruenberg will survey faculty members to assess how intended components of the core PharmD curriculum actually align with content that students receive. She’ll then evaluate how the core curriculum is experienced by students, tracking students’ perceptions of content coverage and their self-perceived abilities to achieve learning outcomes.

Preceptor development for competency-based assessments

Principal applicant: Valerie Clinard, PharmD, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Award funding: $9,000

The project: Along with a competency-based PharmD curriculum came new experiential learning goals and adoption of new American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Core Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) for Pharmacy Graduates. EPAs are essential activities and tasks that all new pharmacy graduates must be able to perform without direct supervision upon entering practice or postgraduate training. EPAs are incorporated into students’ Introductory and Advanced Pharmacy Practices Experiences, which are under the guidance of pharmacy practice preceptors. Clinard will develop and evaluate several preceptor development programs aimed at ensuring preceptors accurately assess student EPA competency as they progress through the curriculum.

A characterization of APPE readiness by faculty, preceptors, and students

Principal applicant: Katherine Gruenberg, PharmD, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Award funding: $2,400

The project: Expanding the pilot research made possible with her Mary Anne Koda-Kimble Seed Award for Innovation, Gruenberg will assess student cognitive and emotional readiness, beyond academic learning, for entering clinical settings during Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). Gruenberg will record focus group discussions with faculty members, preceptors, and students, and analyze the transcripts using thematic analysis to find patterns of meaning. The ultimate goal is to give students the support they need to thrive in their APPEs.

Comparing learning outcomes of pharmacy students enrolled in a vertically integrated versus conventional curriculum

Principal applicant: Stephanie Hsia, PharmD, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Award funding: $7,700

The project: The new PharmD curriculum switches from a conventional, siloed learning model to an integrated model. Although this model has been widely studied in medical education generally, there currently is limited research on the model’s effectiveness in pharmacy education. Hsia will use case-based, multiple choice, and free response questions to evaluate students’ application, integration, and retention of didactic material in their neuropsychiatric and infectious diseases coursework. She’ll also use Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) to evaluated students’ communications skills and application of therapeutic concepts to real patient scenarios.

Integration of the evidence-based health care domain in the inquiry curriculum in Foundations I and the Cardiovascular Theme

Principal applicant: Jaekyu Shin, PharmD, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Award funding: $10,000

The project: In the new PharmD curriculum, students learn both science and therapeutics, and inquiry skills, through the lens of eight integrated themes, highlighting eight organ systems and disease categories. Critical appraisal and application of drug therapy literature are key inquiry skills, and this is why they are introduced early in the new PharmD curriculum, starting with the first Integrated Theme [Cardiovascular (CV) Theme] and in Foundations I. Student comments and the overall passing rate on questions assessing this domain in the CV Theme show there is room to improve. Shin will work with the faculty members who direct Foundations I, the CV Theme, and the inquiry component of all Integrated Themes to modify the inquiry component of the curriculum and evaluate the impact of the revision.

Leadership self-evaluation and academic performance (LEAP)

Principal applicant: Kevin Rodondi, PharmD, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Award funding: $9,932

The project: With the implementation of the new PharmD curriculum, major changes were made including the addition of a leadership curriculum and the use of formative and summative assessments as the main evaluation tools. There is currently no longitudinal tool to assess changes in academic performance over time in relation to student perceptions of their own individual growth. Rodondi will evaluate evidence gathered from students’ periodic leadership self-assessments and from student reflections to learn of possible links to academic performance.


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.