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Logistics Experts May Fill Pharmacy's Needs

Donna Young

When Daniel M. Ashby, M.S., pharmacy director at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, attended a career day a few months ago, he discovered an untapped resource for pharmacy management: students graduating from supply-chain management programs.

"I was speaking to one student for several minutes before I realized he was not a pharmacist," Ashby said.

The student was from the supply-chain management program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Ashby said hospitals should consider recruiting graduates from programs like Duquesne’s to fill the pharmacy department's administrative and management positions responsible for logistics and supply-chain management.

"Then pharmacists can be free to be more involved in patient care," he said.

Ashby said the use of supply-chain management professionals in pharmacy departments could also help relieve some of the problems encountered in filling management positions during the current pharmacist shortage.

John Mawhinney, executive assistant professor in residence at Duquesne, said supply-chain management students are "trained to manage the flow of material goods and services in any business environment."

Mawhinney said many students in the program complete internships with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

Because of the pharmacist shortage, Mawhinney said, he hopes his program can partner with Duquesne’s pharmacy school to offer courses for students who want to specialize in pharmacy logistics and supply-chain management.

Mawhinney said Duquesne keeps the size of its supply-chain management program relatively small. It has about 50 juniors and seniors enrolled this term.

Many universities offer logistics and supply-chain management programs, including Ohio State, Penn State, Florida State, University of Arkansas, Arizona State, and Michigan State, Mawhinney said.