On the inauguration of the Japan Society for Pharmaceutical Education (JSPhE)
We are pleased to announce the foundation of the Japan Society for Pharmaceutical Education (JSPhE) in order to firmly establish pharmaceutical education as the scientific foundation for the enhancement and development of pharmacy education in the new era.
Since 2004, the year when it was decided that pharmacy education for training pharmacists was to be extended 2 academic years to become a six-year program, we have come a long way in building a new pharmaceutical education system: we have built such components as the pharmaceutical education model-core curriculum, long-term practical training, pharmaceutical common achievement tests, and the third-party review system of pharmaceutical education. In March 2012, the first cohort that completed the six-year program graduated. By the end of 2016 the fifth cohort was sent out into society. This attests to the fact that these historic reforms in pharmaceutical education are steadily advancing. Furthermore, since April 2015, the revised pharmaceutical education model-core curriculum has been implemented. This places an emphasis on learning-outcome based education, as designated in the “10 fundamental competencies required of a pharmacist”.
Although some results of our endeavors to improve and enhance pharmaceutical education over the decade have been presented at academic conferences and in papers, further efforts to evaluate and recount our work have to be made. On this matter, those training professionals in other healthcare-related fields, such as medicine, dentistry and nursing, have established their own respective academic societies, whose purpose is to organize academic activities aimed at enhancing and developing research on education in their fields. In pharmacy, universities have established centers for pharmaceutical education research, while faculty members focusing on teaching have requested to give priority to establish an analogous academic society in this field. Recent reforms in higher education have included ardent recommendations of a scientific approach to improve and enhance educational programs and to incorporate steps for recognition and evaluation on their effectiveness into practice. Against this backdrop, after two years of preparation with many times of preliminary liaison meetings consisting of pharmaceutical science-related organizations, the JSPhE has now been established. This provides the foundation for conducting research activities targeting the promotion of pharmacy education and makes pharmacists more proactive, which shall lead to the further development of pharmaceutical pedagogy as a unique scientific endeavor.
Meanwhile, as society’s expectations for pharmacists have risen, the pharmacists’ role in the medical field has also changed drastically. As the interdisciplinary team approach to medical care permeates the healthcare field, in addition to continuing the specific set of duties related to dispensing medication, pharmacists now engage themselves in a more intensive and extensive activities such providing drug management in hospital wards, instructions on medication for patients, support to physicians’ prescription and proposing medication regimens, and participation in home healthcare. In anticipation of the so-called 2025 problem, the “Vision on Pharmacy for Patients” was formulated. The vision institutionalizes, among other things, “Health Support Pharmacy”, whose aim is to enable the “family-pharmacist/pharmacy” to advise people in the community on how to lead a healthy life. These reform moves will lead to realizing a more patient-centered separation of dispensing from medical practice. In addition, the advisor-pharmacists who oversee students while they are on long-term practical training at hospitals and pharmacies have been increasingly interested in pharmaceutical education.
The immediate priorities for JSPhE are to annually hold academic conferences and to publish an academic journal “Pharmaceutical Education”. Through these projects, we expect to cultivate diverse and unique academic activities: such as interaction and information exchange among members, qualitative improvement of pharmaceutical education, building a solid scientific foundation with reliable members, improvement of research quality and accomplishment, as well as training of leaders. I am firmly convinced that through the efforts in unison by all members of the pharmaceutical education community —such as faculty members of pharmaceutical universities, pharmacists at hospitals and pharmacies, as well as those in industrial and government sectors— to improve the quality of the pharmaceutical education, we can attain the goal of nurturing highly qualified and diverse human resources in healthcare (pharmacists, researchers, or pharmacist-scientists).
Sir William Osler, the great medical doctor who lived at the beginning of the 20th century, stated that science, art and humanity are essential in medicine and for physicians. I believe these three elements are fundamentally important for pharmaceutical education and pharmacists as well. The ongoing reform of pharmaceutical education demands us to train highly qualified pharmacists who are equipped with sufficient knowledge, skills and attitudes to become outstanding medicine professionals. I would like to say that such education can only originate from integrating science, art and humanity in a well-balanced manner. It is our sincere hope that JSPhE will provide pharmaceutical education with a solid platform and contribute greatly to developing human resources in the pharmaceutical sciences that are trusted by the nation, towards a brighter future of pharmaceutical sciences.
The President, the Japan Society for Pharmaceutical Education
Professor Emeritus and Visiting Professor, Kyoto Pharmaceutical University
Ken-ichi Inui, Ph.D.