SPRINGFIELD (AP) - Southwest Missouri health care leaders are hoping a pharmaceutical program that's coming to Springfield will train new pharmacists who will remain in the region, where many rural areas are underserved.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City plans to open a 30-student satellite program at Missouri State University, starting in 2014. That will make Springfield the fourth city in the state to have a pharmacy education program, along with Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia.
"This is great news," said Lynn Morris, owner of Family Pharmacy, who plans to set up two scholarships for area students to study in the new program.
Morris said locally educated pharmacists are likely to remain in southwest Missouri, where there is a need for their services.
"All of southwest Missouri kind of has been neglected for that kind of education for our residents, for potential pharmacists," said Heather Burney, immediate past president of the Missouri Pharmacy Association.
Officials at the two universities worked through the summer to set up the Springfield program after state lawmakers agreed to fund it earlier this year.
Clif Smart, interim president at Missouri State, was scheduled to meet in Springfield with Steven Owens, interim president of the University of Missouri system, Friday afternoon to sign a memo of understanding.
UMKC expects most classes for the satellite program to be transmitted to Springfield from either Kansas City or Columbia. UMKC will be responsible for admissions, curriculum and faculty of the program and will manage the program's finances.
The pharmacy school plans to hire nine faculty members and two staff members for the Springfield program, said Russ Melchert, dean of the UMKC School of Pharmacy.
The school will pay Missouri State for its share of the costs, such as space and technology services.
Interim Missouri State provost Frank Einhellig said his school will benefit from the program because it expects to enroll more pre-pharmacy students who will take their prerequisite courses at the university.