Albany College of Pharmacy receives $25,000 grant for distance learning initiative

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ALBANY, N.Y. - February 28, 2005 - Albany College of Pharmacy has received a $25,000 grant from the Hudson Mohawk Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to help fund start-up costs for the college's video conferencing program, a key part of its distance-learning initiative, Dean Mary H. Andritz, Pharm.D., has announced.

Through this program, ACP plans to expand its learning environment beyond its campus parameters and serve a wider audience across New York state, including more rural and underserved areas. In the process of expanding its overall academic mission to include a range of degree programs and career pathways, ACP will use the funding to enhance its distance-based outreach in the continuing education of clinical laboratory technologists, cytotechnologists, pathologists, physicians and nurses in addition to pharmacists.

"Albany College of Pharmacy stresses the importance of lifelong learning for all of our students, and the financial support of Hudson Mohawk Area Health Education Center is helping us fulfill this important mission," Dr. Andritz said. "Bringing the educational event to the health care provider through this mechanism will allow for greater participation of rural area professionals with less expense and time invested while maintaining high-quality educational opportunities."

The funding will be used for hardware and fiber installations, which will link ACP to University Heights neighbor Albany Medical Center. This will enable ACP to connect with the Adirondack Area Network, which provides advanced telecommunications services such as distance learning, telemedicine, Internet connectivity and videoconferencing to geographically remote areas in the Adirondack Region of Upstate New York.

As a result of the new video-conferencing program, ACP expects to double its continuing education offerings and increase its number of continuing education students from 7,500 to 9,000. Additionally, the college will be able to create and administer bioterrorism education programming, a critical need in the post-9/11 era. Bioterrorism programming will include first responders, clinicians at all levels, nursing providers, laboratorians and pharmacists. The topics for such programs will be diverse, including diagnosis, containment, psychological care for victims and providers, decontamination, site management and investigation.

The Hudson Mohawk AHEC strives to improve the health of residents in a 10-county area of northeastern New York by linking academic and health care resources in programs that promote health careers, facilitate community-based education, support recruitment and retention efforts, and organize community health initiatives.

"We are pleased to partner with Albany College of Pharmacy and support their efforts to expand the access to continuing education and distance learning," said Lynn Young, executive director of Hudson Mohawk AHEC. "This technology will also enhance the access to pharmacists and pharmacy services for our most rural communities."

Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy is the oldest pharmacy school in New York state and one of the only private, independent pharmacy schools in the United States. The college has a long history of serving its students and health care professionals as one of the premier pharmacy colleges in the nation. The college now enters a new era in health care with a focus not only on pharmacy, but also on pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical technology and research.