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ETSU among last schools standing in Clinical Pharmacy Challenge

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JOHNSON CITY (September 18, 2013) – A student team from East Tennessee State University’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy is among the last eight standing in a clinical skills challenge that started with more than 100 participating schools from around the nation.

The ETSU team will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., for the final rounds of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Clinical Pharmacy Challenge, being held Oct. 12-14. The Gatton College of Pharmacy is the only team from Tennessee left in the competition.

Three fourth-year students from the Gatton College of Pharmacy – Brandon Leeson of Indianapolis, Josh Whaley of Greeneville and Allie Torrence of Jefferson City – will test their knowledge of clinical skills and pharmacotherapy in head-to-head competition against teams from seven other schools of pharmacy. The ETSU contingent also includes two other fourth-year students, Chancey Carothers of Kingston and Tracy Carter of Saltville, Va., who serve as alternates.

Dr. David Cluck, an assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice who is ETSU’s faculty liaison to the ACCP, has observed the students throughout an event that is essentially the pharmacy equivalent to basketball’s “March Madness.” The initial 100 participating schools are spread out across the nation, and the first four rounds were completed online.

During the online rounds, Cluck could be in the same room as the ETSU team answered questions related to clinical pharmacy, but he could not contribute; nor were students permitted to use the Internet or cell phones to research answers. ETSU has scored in the top quartile of each round, and, in the third round, it posted the highest score among all schools.

“I’ve watched our student pharmacists compete from the beginning, and it’s impressive to see the team dynamic and how well they work together,” Cluck said. “Their performance speaks to the many hours of preparation they’ve put into this. It’s also a testament to the strength of our school’s curriculum and the education they’re getting from the ETSU faculty.”

Dr. Larry D. Calhoun, dean, also expressed admiration for their results so far.

“I’m certainly proud of our students for their performance in this competition,” Calhoun said. “I also look at this as validation that the Gatton College of Pharmacy has been able to recruit great students and great faculty.”