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February 2007 Issue

Daniel Acosta, PhD, dean of the College of Pharmacy, recently led a review to assess the quality of pharmacy programs in the United Arab Emirates.
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UC Dean Solicited to Help Improve Pharmacy Education in the Middle East

Published February 2007

During a recent classroom visit, UC's College of Pharmacy Dean Daniel Acosta, PhD, noted that men and women were taught in separate classrooms and even walked through different hallways to get to class. 
He wasn't in a classroom at UC, but at a pharmacy school in Dubai, where the Muslim religion requires that men and women are taught separately.
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Middle Eastern country comprising seven smaller countries each ruled by its own "emir" or prince. Acosta was asked by the UAE Ministry of Education to lead review teams assessing the quality of the pharmacy program at Ajman University of Science and Technology in Dubai and at a new school in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, which is expected to open this fall.
"The United Arab Emirates is a fairly new country (established in 1971)," explains Acosta. "Unlike the United States, they don't really have a group of established pharmacy schools that have gone through the accreditation process -that's why they asked us for help."

Acosta says the curriculum at the UAE pharmacy schools is very similar to that in the United States. One difference, however, is that they offer a baccalaureate degree in pharmacy instead of a doctorate, and they don't currently offer a clinical pharmacy degree. 

Since males and females are educated separately, faculty members also teach the same courses twice a day. Once UAE students graduate, however, both sexes work together.
The review team recommended to the colleges that students receive more practical experience working in community, hospital and industrial settings to complement their curriculum with real-life experiences as a pharmacist or scientist.

Although Acosta was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to review educational programs, he says the experience of going to a part of the world he has not previously visited was educational for him.

"I was able to learn more about the culture, and see how students behave and how they interact with faculty," says Acosta.

"I'm happy to be able to help my international colleagues strengthen their pharmacy programs to graduate students who will practice good pharmacy."

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