Touro University California Pharmacy, Physician Assistant Graduates Excel in Exams Among All California Schools

Date: October 28, 2010
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Vallejo, CA – Touro University California students who graduated with Doctors of Pharmacy and Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies scored among the highest in their certifying and licensure exams among California graduate students.

In the 2010 California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists (CPJE), Touro pharmacy graduates ranked first among the seven Doctor of Pharmacy programs in the state. Touro graduates scored above University of Southern California, University of California San Francisco, University of California San Diego, Western University of Health Sciences, Loma Linda University and University of the Pacific. In the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), 97.1 percent of Touro pharmacy graduates passed the licensure testing, placing Touro fifth among California university pharmacy programs.

Pharmacy students must pass both tests to receive licenses to practice as pharmacists. The pharmacy classes are very diverse with over 90% of students speaking another language besides English.

In 2008 and 2009, 100 percent of the Touro Physician Assistant Studies Program graduates passed the first time they took the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Along with Samuel Merritt University, Touro University ranked at the top in first-time pass rate of the examination compared to other California universities with similar programs, including Stanford, Loma Linda, UC- Davis, Loma Linda and Western universities.

The Physician Assistant Program is particularly proud of the diversity of its student population. Currently, 57 percent of Touro University’s 123 students enrolled in the program speak 81 non-English languages, including 40 who speak Spanish.

“These figures attest to the academic prowess of Touro University,” said Provost and Chief Operations Officer Marilyn Hopkins. “These graduates are receiving the best education there is in the state. A large percentage of them are going on to serve this region and the state as a whole.” Dean of the College of Pharmacy Katherine Knapp said she was particularly pleased with this last graduating program.

“We have developed very strong standards and a very unique approach to teaching our pharmacy students,” she said. “Our program provides students with two years of course work coupled with two years of clinical training to better qualify them for real practice in caring for patients. Graduates must also pass comprehensive open- book, closed-book and practice skills tests before they can progress to their third year clinical training.”

Director of the Physician Assistant Program Grace Landel, said the curriculum, along with the diversity of Tour’s student body, leaves them better prepared to serve the medically underserved communities.

“Our PA program is the only one in the country where all graduates receive a Master of Public Health as well as a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies,” she said. “The combined curriculum prepares graduates to better understand the link between an individual's health and their environment.”

She is working to ensure that more of the students enter primary care upon graduating; an average of 39 percent of Touro physician assistant graduates have entered primary care over the last five years.

“We are pleased that our students have done so well on their certifying exams,” she said. “Our major goal is to encourage more of our students to go into primary care, which is a vital need in this country.”