New course prepares students for personalized medicine

Using a patients’ individual genetic information to select drugs and drug dosages specifically effective for them is part of pharmacy’s future. A recent study of a new course in pharmacogenomics at Washington State University Spokane found the class expanded students’ understanding of these possibilities for their profession.

“It was rewarding to observe this course shifting the mindset of our student pharmacists’ expectations,” said Sayed Daoud, associate professor in the WSU College of Pharmacy and corresponding author on the article that was published on Feb. 25 in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (

“As more and more research is done on the interaction between our genes and pharmaceuticals, information from this class will be especially pertinent,” said Joe Ashmore, a pharmacy postdoctoral research associate and co-author on the article. “Graduates of the WSU pharmacy program should be well equipped to offer informed assistance to their patients.”

The evolution and growth of personalized medicine (a.k.a. precision medicine) and the pace of medical innovation are continually changing the standards of patient care management. That is why seven colleagues from pharmacy and one from the philosophy department collaborated to build a better curriculum within the WSU doctor of pharmacy program with the new pharmacogenomics course, which debuted in 2015.

“Pharmacogenomics is anticipated to expand the potential for personalized medication for patients and could transform pharmacy practice,” the team wrote in the study.

The research group tracked student performance in the course, as well as students’ self-reported assessment of confidence in analyzing patient-based genomic testing results.

“Pharmacy education must prepare pharmacists who can optimize medication therapy in the provision of patient-centered and population-based care,” said Daoud. “This course was designed and structured with that purpose in mind, and to give our student pharmacists a lead in their future practice of health care management. It serves as a model to prepare pharmacists to competently practice cutting edge health care.”

[Lori J. Maricle] 3/16/2017

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