A budding partnership with Korean regulatory science pharmacists

On August 22, a delegation from South Korea visited the School of Pharmacy to engage in information-sharing and to sign a Memorandum of Understand (MOU).

Led by the Korea Regulatory Science Center (K-RSC), the delegation was greeted by Dean Kathy Giacomini, PhD, PharmD; Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH; Executive Vice Dean; Lawrence Lin, PhD, Vice Dean and Chief of Staff; and Igor Mitrovic, MD, Co-Vice Dean of PharmD Education.

Among the topics discussed were contrasts in the relationship between American schools of pharmacy, the FDA, and other governing bodies, compared with the relationship between Korean schools of pharmacy and Korea’s governing bodies for medicine and pharmacy.

Immigration challenges and differences in the roles played by pharmacists and MDs also were part of the conversation, along with questions about corporate and community involvement in standards of pharmaceutical practice.

The visitors were particularly curious about research projects underway in the UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI). Largely funded by the FDA to facilitate interactions between academic scientists and industry, CERSIs help develop standards for safety and efficacy.

Group with signing documents

The K-RSC functions similarly, as a bridge between Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the way academic research rolls out to the nation’s bio-health industry sector. A productive discussion followed about the potential of collaborations between the UCSF School and Korean schools of pharmacy.

The MOU outlines possibilities that include: coordinated development of training programs; exchange of information and perspectives on regulatory scientific research and policies; co-hosting regulatory science conferences; and visiting Korea’s representative agencies.

The Korean collaboration includes Ajou, Chung-Ang, Dongguk, Kyung Hee, and Sungkyunkwan Universities alongside the K-RSC. While Korea’s academic pharmacy programs are significantly smaller than American counterparts (an average of 30 students per class vs. an average of 127 in classes at the School), they are equally competitive, and equally hungry for the innovation and exchange this new partnership will provide.


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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.