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ARC Grant Puts ETSU Pharmacy School over the Top in Meeting Governor's $7.5 Million Challenge

April 2006


WASHINGTON, April 3, 2006—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) today announced approval of a $50,000 grant for the new East Tennessee State University (ETSU) College of Pharmacy. With this grant, ETSU has now met a $7.5 million start-up funding challenge issued by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen in March 2005.

The ARC grant will be used to establish a technologically advanced dispensing laboratory, two classrooms, Internet connections, and videoconferencing equipment for students and professional mentors. The communications equipment will also benefit the ETSU Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Public and Allied Health.

"This is great news for east Tennessee," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. "The new ETSU pharmacy school will have a tremendous impact on both the local economy and rural health care in the area. I commend ETSU and the Appalachian Regional Commission for their efforts to improve access to health care in underserved portions of the Region."

The ETSU College of Pharmacy will serve students and communities regionally in eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Kentucky.

Congressman Bill Jenkins said, "This is another tribute to the remarkable teamwork that many people and many agencies have shown for the pharmacy school. If we continue to support such projects, we can accomplish much for our Region."

ETSU health-care programs actively recruit students from Appalachia and provide field work and mentoring opportunities that uniquely prepare them for service in rural and isolated communities. This community-based education approach has gained ETSU national recognition as well as a strong record of placing doctors and other health-care professionals in underserved areas.

A report by the Pharmacy Manpower Project, Inc., estimates that demand for pharmacy services will far exceed the number of pharmacists in the United States by 2020. The report indicates the shortfall is potentially more than 150,000 pharmacists. In addition to helping meet this growing need and improving access to health-care services, a study by Steb Stipple of the ETSU College of Business and Technology estimates that the pharmacy school's economic impact on the area will be more than $33 million over the first five years, and it will create more than 400 new jobs.

"Once again an ETSU initiative is meeting two important needs: providing quality health care for people in a four-state area and educating students for high-paying jobs in a high-growth sector of our regional economy," said ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope. "With the need for pharmacists growing faster than the supply, the addition of the pharmacy school at ETSU will have a great, positive impact on people's lives in Appalachia."

ARC investments target four strategic goals: retaining and expanding jobs; advancing workforce competitiveness through health, education, and training; building basic infrastructure such as water, sewer, and advanced telecommunications; and completing the 3,090-mile Appalachian Development Highway System. ARC has helped support or build 400 rural health-care facilities in Appalachia and supports efforts to encourage professionals to serve rural communities in the Region. ARC has also provided support for the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine in Kentucky and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.