Leadership team assembled for College of Pharmacy

December 6, 2012


December 6, 2012
Contact: Richele Kleiser
Phone: (559) 440-8392
Email: rkleiser@gvhomes.com

FRESNO, Calif. – The founding dean and other administrative leaders have joined California Health Sciences University (CHSU) to open a privately funded post-graduate College of Pharmacy in Fresno, with hopes of starting classes in fall 2014.

It would be the first professional pharmacy program in the central San Joaquin Valley.

The Fresno business partners of Granville Homes, Central Distributing, and Valley Orchard are the main principals of this effort.

The College of Pharmacy is to be the first college in CHSU. The university hopes to add a dental school, medical school, and school for allied health professions, the partners say.

“There’s a huge need for more health professionals in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Darius Assemi, one of the partners. “Our goal with the university is to give Valley students a special opportunity for these advanced degrees, and then we hope to keep those young professionals here in the Valley to improve access to care. We will work cooperatively with local hospitals and educational institutions every step of the way.”

The federal government forecasts a 25 percent increase in pharmacist jobs over the next 10 years, and the need for pharmacists will be especially high in the San Joaquin Valley. That’s the main reason why the College of Pharmacy will be the university’s first project.

David Hawkins, who previously was the founding dean at California Northstate University College of Pharmacy in Sacramento, has joined CHSU as founding dean for the College of Pharmacy. Dr. Hawkins has more than 35 years of academic experience and served as an administrator at four pharmacy colleges. He earned a B.S. degree in pharmacy at the University of Georgia and a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Hawkins arrived in Fresno over the summer and is now working full-time for CHSU, focusing on the applications for initial regional and programmatic accreditation for the College of Pharmacy and on recruitment of other staff and faculty for the college.

In addition to Dr. Hawkins, Florence Dunn, former bank executive, has joined the university as its president, and John Martin, PhD, is the associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Pharmacy.

The College of Pharmacy will likely employ more than 50, mostly faculty, and aims to graduate 80 pharmacists a year, Dean Hawkins said.

The Board of Trustees for CHSU has also been assembled, comprised of local leaders from the fields of Pharmacy, Higher Education, Healthcare, Banking, etc. The Board of Trustees includes: Board Chair, Dr. John Welty, President of California State University, Fresno; Board Vice Chair, Susan Abundis, Senior Vice President, Bank of the West; Khaja Ahmed, Regional Pharmacy Director, Clovis Community Medical Center and Fresno Heart & Surgery Hospital; Farid Assemi, Principal, Maricopa Orchards; Gerald V. Lyles, Vice President, Lyles Diversified; John McGregor, Esq., Partner, McCormick Barstow, LLP; and Paul W. Rohrer, Esq., CEO, Professional Pharmacy Alliance of California, Inc.

“California Health Sciences University already has hired some accomplished administrators, and talented faculty will be next,” Dr. Welty said. “And the university has reached out to other educational institutions and health care organizations in the region, in an effort to cooperate early on. I’m looking forward to helping launch this new university which will be a great addition to the Central Valley.”

Graduates will earn the doctor of pharmacy degree.

CHSU is excited to announce it has secured the initial school site for its College of Pharmacy. The newly acquired, state-of-the-art, 32,300 square foot commercial building is located near Clovis and Herndon Avenues and highway 168.  Adjacent to the building, an additional one acre parcel was purchased to accommodate for growth as future classes are implemented in the coming years.  With a collective long-term partnership of the Administration and Staff of the City of Clovis, CHSU expects to be occupying the Clovis site in early spring of 2013.

Over the longer term, the partners expect to construct an entire health sciences university campus in Fresno.

“My partners and I understand this is a huge undertaking. We are humbled by the opportunities and excited about the possibilities,” Assemi said. “Our region needs this. We’re committed to provide the necessary resources, and we’ve invited experienced, respected experts to join the team and create a first-rate, competitive pharmacy program and university.”