The need for research and scholarship in pharmacy is inherent. While ACPE recognizes this need and supports the role of research within the pharmacy curriculum, no specific direction on research training is alluded to within ACPE accreditation guidelines. It is up to each school then to impress the tenets of evidence-based medicine upon students, teach them critical literature evaluation skills, enhance critical thinking ability by offering lab and clinic-based research experiences, and widen the student mindset by fostering the development of research-related skills. These are skills necessary for the pharmacy field to survive long term and form a critical link in human healthcare- joining pre-clinical endeavors with the practice of care.
Pharmacists integrated into clinical settings are poised to play a central role as the facilitators that can make this possible. They must first have education on interpreting and integrating clinical trial results, understanding basic science literature, and understanding statistics. This may be a critical factor behind the widely utilized “research experience” requirement requested by so many post-graduate residency programs.
Because research is integral to pharmacy and research experience is preferred by postgraduate education programs, we then have a responsibility to offer an organized method by which interested PCSP students can learn about both laboratory and clinical research in a documentable and trackable way.
The Certificate of Research and Scholarship is intended to provide the framework for executing pharmacy-related research, be it laboratory-oriented or pharmacy practice-oriented research. The certificate will allow students to improve research skills and disseminate discoveries through posters, presentations, and/or publications. Upon completion, graduates will be able to better conduct research in addition to collaboration with other laboratory scientists and practicing pharmacists.
Throughout the certificate program, students will be educated and have opportunities to practice the following:
- Formulation of relevant clinical research questions
- Literature search and critique
- Study design
- Analytical methodology
- Research ethics
- Research funding sources and management