The Rio Grande Valley is one of the fastest growing regions of Texas and the United States. Currently, Hidalgo and Cameron Counties have a combined population of approximately 1.3 million residents. Forecasts estimate that this figure will more than double by 2040.

There is a relatively high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes throughout the region. The Rio Grande Valley has long been a health professional shortage area with particular difficulty in recruiting and retaining primary care and specialist physicians, nurses, physician assistants and clinical pharmacists.

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) has recently undergone a transition to become a primary teaching hospital for the region and the new UTRGV Medical School. As mentioned previously, the Rio Grande Valley region continues to experience major shortages of clinical pharmacists. Recent data presented by the Walgreens Corporation in Chicago, shows that the RGV has one of the most severe shortages of clinical pharmacists in the nation. As a result, in March of 2015 the University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP) established an MOU with South Texas College (STC) which has an enrollment of over 33,000 students. This MOU provides academic advising support and services for the pre-pharmacy program of students at STC.

The UHCOP is now establishing a Satellite RGV Campus to be based at the DHR academic teaching hospital and ambulatory care clinics. The presence the UT-RGV Medical School at DHR will allow our College to continue meeting the expanded Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards 2016 guidelines surrounding Interprofessional Education (IPE) requirements. We must now ensure that our pharmacy students are trained in a team-based approach with medical students as well as students from other healthcare professions. This exciting new collaborative program will produce more well-trained clinical pharmacists who will be able to provide the essential primary and preventative healthcare services that the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley desperately need.

This new UHCOP RGV Satellite Campus will also become a major teaching site for the College’s Professional Pharmacy Hispanic Healthcare Certificate Program which was approved by the THECB in June of 2015. Health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices, cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients can bring about positive health outcomes. This is the first program of its kind in the nation.

This UHCOP RGV Satellite Campus program includes a 5-year renewable contract with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. This campus will utilize a 3+1 Satellite Campus Model. Pre-designated Doctor of Pharmacy students will be assigned to our UHCOP RGV Campus for their 4th year advanced clinical rotations after completing their first three years on the main UH campus in Houston. DHR is providing funding for an Assistant Dean for the campus, four clinical faculty members, and a secretary. They are also providing the physical facilities which includes faculty offices, a reception area for the secretary, student areas, classrooms, Polycom system access, clinical space, and technical support (IT, AV, etc.). DHR is providing educational funding for the UHCOP to provide certificate training programs in Medication Therapy Management and Diabetes Disease State Management for the DHR clinical pharmacy team.

The UHCOP is very excited to establish this Satellite Campus in conjunction with Doctor Hospital at Renaissance and its myriad of very talented Administrators and Health Care Professionals. We are also excited that DHR will place our UHCOP signage on McColl Road next to the DHR signage – signifying our important collaboration and laudable missions on behalf of the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley and the great state of Texas.

About the University of Houston College of Pharmacy:

Marking 70 years of excellence in teaching, research and service, the University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP) offers a professional pharmacy degree; graduate degrees in pharmacy leadership and administration, pharmacology and pharmaceutics; combined dual professional/graduate degrees; and post-graduate residency and fellowship programs.

A member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), UHCOP has maintained uninterrupted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) since it was first awarded to the college in 1950. UHCOP is ranked among the top 50 pharmacy colleges/schools by the U.S. News & World Report, ranked 23rd in the nation for total research funding by the AACP, and has one of the nation’s highest passing rates on the national pharmacy board exams.