University News

Saint Joseph’s Cuts Ribbon on Rite Aid Community Pharmacy Learning Center

The space is an extension of the University’s long-standing relationship with experiential learning sites like Rite Aid and allows students to practice basic pharmacy skills in a safe environment.

Students helping a simulated patient at the Rite Aid mock pharmacy

Saint Joseph's students working in the Rite Aid Community Pharmacy Learning Center

by Diane Holliday

Saint Joseph’s University’s Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP) officially celebrated the opening of its Rite Aid Community Pharmacy Learning Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 27, 2022. The practice pharmacy, located in the University’s Integrated Professional Education Complex (IPEX), is the first Rite Aid-branded model facility on a college campus and was made possible by a gift from the drugstore company to support the center. 

Designed to look and feel like a real pharmacy, the space features a patient intake and consultation area, drug filling station, and computers complete with electronic pharmacy records for students to practice taking basic patient, medication and allergy histories.

“Students are given the opportunity to practice basic skills in a safe environment without real patients or medications,” says Edward Foote, PharmD, FCCP, PCPS '87, PCPS '91 (PharmD), John Wyeth Dean of PCP and associate dean of the School of Health Professions. “The gift agreement with Rite Aid helps to support the overall function of the pharmacy, from purchasing supplies to paying simulated patients.”

 

Rite Aid representatives join Dean Edward Foote and Apoorva Jagadeesh USP ’22, ’24 (PharmD) for a ribbon cutting ceremony

Left to right: Ed Foote, PharmD, FCCP, John Wyeth Dean of PCP and associate dean of the School of Health Professions; Kendall Brew, university relations and professional recruitment representative for Rite Aid; Apoorva Jagadeesh USP ’22, ’24 (PharmD); Chrissy Caravello Simmons USP ’98, regional pharmacy leader at Rite Aid; and Roya Naim, university relations and professional recruitment representative for Rite Aid

First-year pharmacy students gain access to the space as part of their lab coursework. 

“It’s especially helpful for students who have never worked in a pharmacy before,” says pharmacy student Apoorva Jagadeesh USP ’22, ’24 (PharmD). “For instance, right now, students are getting sent out on rotations for the first time and it can be a little intimidating if you don’t understand the flow of how a pharmacy works. Here, you’re able to familiarize yourself with a community pharmacy setting.”

The pharmacy learning center is an extension of PCP’s long-standing relationship with experiential learning sites like Rite Aid, which frequently turn into future employers for PCP students. According to Kendall Brew, university relations and professional recruitment representative for Rite Aid, 33 Saint Joseph’s students are currently on rotation with the company.

“Now all of these students who have practiced in a simulated pharmacy get to practice with behind-the-bench pharmacists,” she says. “It’s exciting to see.”

Students, faculty, staff and executives from Rite Aid attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was organized by the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) student group.

“As both an alumna and Rite Aid pharmacy leader, I was extremely proud to see the new Rite Aid Community Pharmacy Learning Center within PCP,” says alumna Chrissy Caravello Simmons USP ’98, regional pharmacy leader at Rite Aid. “This new space will allow students to be better prepared and more confident when they start their experiential learning journey in an actual community pharmacy.”

 

Learn more about Saint Joseph’s Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.