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The Dean's Letter

Dean’s Message | Summer 2019

If there is one thing we can all agree on it is that change is inevitable. Some people find it easy to embrace change. They view change as an opportunity to improve and strengthen their organization or discipline. Change can also bring an air of uncertainty and unease. For many of us, change is uncomfortable.

In the world of health care, change is certain. New innovations are constantly being introduced, which cause us to rethink our strategies and long-held beliefs. For those of us who have made health care our life’s work, I believe we have a responsibility to respond to the research and innovations that impact our area of practice.

Change can be challenging, but it also brings new opportunities for collaboration. Within the School, we are currently undergoing a notable transition. Pacific has decided to grow its health care programs and create a new School of Health Sciences. The University has announced three inaugural master’s degree programs in nursing, clinical nutrition and social work. In addition to these new programs, the new school of health sciences is anticipated to house Pacific’s existing programs in athletic training, audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies and speech-language pathology. The pre-pharmacy, doctor of pharmacy program and pharmaceutical and chemical sciences programs will remain in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. We are working toward a seamless transition. I am confident this change will help strengthen our programs and Pacific overall.

I, personally, am also in a season of change. Since announcing my plans to retire, I have been reflecting on the colleagues I have had the honor to work closely with over the years. When I came to Pacific over 22 years ago, Carolyn Hultgren, MPH, PT, professor emerita of physical therapy, was chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. In fact, she was a member of the search committee that recommended me to President DeRosa for the position of dean.

Hultgren is just one example of an emeriti faculty member who has been an ardent advocate for their profession and a steadfast supporter of our students. She recently established an endowed scholarship for doctor of physical therapy students. I am so grateful for the generosity of our donors who make it possible for our students to reach their full potential.

As we embark on a new semester, I encourage you to take a moment and acknowledge the teachers, mentors or family members whose support made it possible for you to reach the point you are at today.

University of the Pacific - Phillip R. Oppenheimer
Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD
Professor and Dean
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