KINGSTON, R.I. – September 1, 2009 – CVS Caremark Corp. has made a $2 million pledge to the University of Rhode Island in support of its College of Pharmacy.
The donation, the largest single corporate gift in the 52-year-history of the College of Pharmacy, is part of the $100 million Making A Difference capital campaign under way at URI.
Of the $2 million gift, $1.1 million will support construction of the new, $75 million home for the College of Pharmacy in the new science district of the northern portion of URI’s Kingston Campus. The remaining $900,000 will fund research in the area of clinical pharmacy practice.
The building construction project is supported primarily by a $65 million bond issue approved in November 2006, with remaining support coming from private donations, including the CVS Caremark pledge. When completed, the five-floor, 148,000 square-foot building will be the largest academic structure on campus, surpassing the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, which opened last winter in the North District. Groundbreaking for the new building is expected to take place this fall.
URI President David M. Dooley said, “I am very pleased by the confidence expressed by CVS Caremark Corporation in the students and faculty of the College of Pharmacy at URI, as shown by this pledge. The very productive and mutually beneficial relationship between URI and CVS Caremark Corporation exemplifies what can be accomplished by partnering for the benefit of human health. We are proud to be working with the CVS Caremark team.”
“CVS Caremark is committed to educating and training outstanding future pharmacists,” said Larry Merlo, executive vice president, CVS Caremark, and president of CVS/pharmacy. “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with URI, a school that has so many accomplished alums working as CVS Caremark pharmacists.”
Ronald P. Jordan, dean of the College of Pharmacy said the gift by CVS Caremark is just another in a long line of commitments that enhance the college programs which have been made by the company.
“Just like CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy provider in the nation and also leads its industry as an integrated health information company, The College of Pharmacy leads the University in health care related research, teaching and outreach services that have direct effects on people. This gift will have a significant effect on Rhode Island patients, numerous health care professionals, our nation’s health and even the world as we grow our work in these areas” Jordan said.
Glen R. Kerkian, president of the URI Foundation, which oversees fundraising for the University, said, “The URI partnership with CVS Caremark has been a lasting and extremely productive one. What is most impressive about this gift is the range of purposes within the college that will be impacted so significantly. Prospective pharmacy students and parents alike should conclude that they are gaining access to a first rate program here at the University of Rhode Island.”
In recognition of the gift from CVS Caremark, four separate areas of the new building will be given the following names: the CVS Caremark Pharmacy Teaching Wing, CVS Caremark Advanced Human Patient Simulator Center, CVS Caremark Professional Practice Laboratory and the CVS Caremark Multi-Purpose Teaching Laboratory.
Jordan said the simulation center will consolidate two existing centers at URI, one at the College of Pharmacy and the other at the College of Nursing. “Both colleges will use the new facility in simulated heath care delivery training. Ultimately physicians will also be able to join in training on the equipment electronically from remote locations, as the center will cooperate with a similar center in Providence,” Jordan said.
“Health care is becoming more interdisciplinary. Health care professionals need to work as a team and communicate across disciplines to deliver the best care to patients. This gift and these teaching spaces will help enhance URI’s ability to provide interdisciplinary training for our students. The new suites named in honor of CVS Caremark will help sharpen our advanced education model in pharmacy that is focused on achieving optimum patient care.
“You have to remember that the pharmacist is the last person you see before you take that little bit of technology called a pill. The pharmacist’s knowledge and help is needed to ensure that this technology works properly and that you receive the full promise of the medications prescribed,” Jordan noted.
The $900,000 portion of the gift earmarked for research will enhance studies related to pharmacy practice and medication therapy management. Jordan said the nation is moving toward “precision medicine,” a new term that describes how very targeted medication technology will be applied to each individual patient based on many variables including their specific genetic profile.
He noted that in addition to educating the next generation of pharmacists in the precision medicine model, this part of the gift will help the college play a key role in evolving health care system policy through its leading research in epidemiology and pharmacoeconomics — the areas of research that help determine how best to apply new therapy by studying the costs and benefits of various options through population-based research.