School of Pharmacy welcomes the Class of 2022

The first hour of the first day of class for UCSF doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students started with a real-life patient interview. The Class of 2022 is the School of Pharmacy’s second cohort to embark on a newly revamped curriculum built on a foundation of critical thinking, one of the essential skills required to successfully interview a patient for a complete medication history.

Gathered in an auditorium on the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus, class members watched faculty member Jennifer Cocohoba, PharmD, interview Kelly, a patient with HIV, diabetes, and bone issues.

Cocohoba, a member of the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy faculty and a specialist in medication adherence, women’s health, and HIV treatment, went through Kelly’s electronic medication list.

The list is a useful starting point for understanding a patient’s current medical situation, but, Cocohoba warned, it’s far from comprehensive.

“Your best source is Kelly, your patient,” Cocohoba told the students.

“Listen to your patients,” Kelly said when asked what advice she would give the future pharmacists. “Let them have a say also.”

On to great things

Days earlier, at orientation, B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, the School’s dean, greeted the incoming students and welcomed them to their new profession. "Our relentless questioning and methodical approach to discovery distinguishes this pharmacy school worldwide," Guglielmo said. Over the next three years, students will learn to find and evaluate information and to solve complex problems using scientific thinking, he explained.

Ta at a discussion on pharmacy

From right to left: Richard Ta, a fourth-year PharmD student, Claire Bainbridge, PharmD, a first-year post-doctoral pharmacy resident, Marilyn Stebbins, PharmD, Guglielmo and Joel W. Gonzales, the School’s admissions director.

In essence, these students will become lifelong learners and problem solvers. It’s a necessity for a field that continually evolves with changes in science, health policy, and health care access.

The PharmD students heard more about their futures in pharmacy in a roundtable discussion with Guglielmo; Marilyn Stebbins, PharmD, a faculty member in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy; Richard Ta, a fourth-year PharmD student; and Claire Bainbridge, PharmD, a first-year post-doctoral pharmacy resident.

Ta told the entering students that their lives as professionals have already started. “As pharmacy students … you represent more than yourself,” he said. “You represent UCSF, the health care community, and ultimately the standards set before you,” he said.

Guglielmo and Stebbins

“Welcome to the profession,” Stebbins said.

“Once people hear you’re in pharmacy school, they suddenly think you know everything about drugs. You’re going to have to come up with a professional answer,” Stebbins advised. “You need to take on that professional responsibility yesterday. Welcome to the profession, because here you are.”

Diversity in backgrounds and in education

The new class of 127 students is 74 percent female and 26 percent male. The majority of the class, about 73 percent, entered from University of California undergraduate programs. Seven percent of the students earned their undergraduate degrees from a California State University, 15 percent from an institution outside of California, and two percent from an institution outside of the United States.

In addition to science degrees, these first-year students come to UCSF with degrees in accounting, art, economics, environmental studies, humanities, music education, psychology, and toxicology. Six students have already earned an advanced degree.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Class of 2022 to UCSF and the School of Pharmacy,” said Cindy Watchmaker, MBA, MEd, associate dean of the School of Pharmacy. “They bring a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences, and their energy and enthusiasm is contagious.”

Students listen to a panel on becoming a pharmacist

Members of the Class of 2022

The students hail from Armenia, Bangladesh, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, South Korea, Macao, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Syria, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. Underscoring the diversity of the class, 16 percent come from groups underrepresented in the PharmD program.

“All of you are bringing something unique and special to the table, and we want to create space so you can blossom and grow,” said Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH, vice dean of the School of Pharmacy. She told the students that “the sky is the limit” when it comes to pursuing their interests in the field—and to let their professional curiosities run free.

“We see you as our partners, and we will learn and grow together as we implement this new curriculum and improve it as we go along. Welcome! We’re very proud and excited that you’re here,” Youmans added.


School of Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.