In 2014, the University of Missouri-Kansas City opened a third site for its PharmD program: Springfield.
Henry’s decision became simple. Go there.
“It was a no-brainer,” Henry said.
The collaborative program allows students like Henry to register in the UMKC School of Pharmacy. They then complete course work on the Missouri State campus.
Henry rented a loft in downtown Springfield. He lived a few blocks away from pharmacy classrooms and labs at Brick City 1.
“The price I got (for the loft) was unimaginably (inexpensive), compared to Kansas City,” Henry said. “I would’ve wound up living on the edge of Columbia at that price.
“Instead, I rented a loft downtown, two blocks from my school. That’s just not an experience I could’ve had anywhere else.”
Quality and savings
Before pharmacy school, Henry attended Missouri Southern State University. He earned degrees in chemistry and political science.
As an undergrad, he took a job as a lab technician in a hospital pharmacy department.
“It was strictly to pay the bills,” he said.
Working alongside other pharmacists inspired Henry.
He decided on a career change but knew pharmacy school didn’t come cheap.
“At the end of the day, a drug works the same no matter who taught it to you. The information’s the same. If I can get that information (inexpensive), I think I’ve done myself a service.”
The Joplin native gained admission into an out-of-state pharmacy program. It had much higher costs.
“It would’ve cost me $60,000 to $70,000 more over the course of four years than here,” Henry said. “That’s a great deal of debt to be starting your career with. You’re going to graduate with student debt. How much debt do you want to be servicing for the first 10 years of your career as a pharmacist?”
Henry saved tens of thousands of dollars by enrolling in the UMKC-MSU collaborative program. It’s the state’s only public pharmacy program.
Learning from ‘rock star’ faculty
Henry graduated in May. He’s part of the first Springfield class to come through the four-year program.
Henry knew he’d made the right decision when he saw his new faculty.
Among the first hires for the Springfield campus were:
- Paul Gubbins, associate dean at MSU
- Diane McClaskey, clinical assistant professor and assistant director of experiential education
- Heather Lyons-Burney, clinical assistant professor
“All of them had decades of experience in clinical situations. Not just academics. They know what they’re talking about when they open their mouths,” Henry said.
“They went out and found three rock star people in pharmacy to build this program around. This was a great start for the program.”