U.T. Tyler may soon be teaching future pharmacists - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

U.T. Tyler may soon be teaching future pharmacists

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

If you have waited in a long line for your prescription medications lately, you may think it's painfully obvious East Texas has a shortage of pharmacists.

U.T. Tyler may soon help to change that. A bill recently signed by Governor Rick Perry has brought pharmacy school one step closer to prospective students in East Texas.

Now that Senate Bill 566 has been signed, The University of Texas System Board of Regents need to officially establish the school, and it's a done deal. Alisa White, senior vice-president of academic affairs, says that UT Tyler is already taking the first steps of bringing the school to their campus.

"We are interviewing now, even today, for the position of the founding dean of the school of pharmacy, and we've got several candidates coming the next few days," White revealed.

The school will be self-sustaining, operating from student tuition and donations requiring no state funding. It's a great deal for East Texans who want a career in pharmacy.

"The reason it's such a good deal for them is there is no opportunity for them to get into a lot of the pharmacy schools in Texas. About 600 students are going to school out-of-state right now because there's no room in Texas schools. So this gives them some capacity, gives them the ability to get an education in pharmacy here in-state," White said.

"There are a lot of pharmacists in the state, but a lot of them are in the metropolitan areas. We want to make sure the folks in the rural areas are served," White stated.

The plan is to be able to handle up to 400 students.

"I'm very excited. This is a good thing for East Texas, it's a good thing for the University of Texas at Tyler, and frankly it's a good thing for the UT System," White concluded.

The four-year program is slated to begin in the fall of 2015.

When U.T. President Rodney Mabry found out hundreds of Texans were going out of state for pharmacy he contacted State Senator Kevin Eltife with the idea for the school.

State Senator Kevin Eltife authored the bill and ushered it through the legislative process , which he says took about 18 months.

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