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Edward Foote P’87, PharmD’91 Returns to Alma Mater as New PCP Dean
Although he discovered the pharmacy profession through a standardized aptitude test, it was his years as a student at USciences, then known as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (PCP&S), that helped Edward Foote P’87, PharmD’91 gain an appreciation for the important work of patient care provided by the pharmacist.
Now more than 30 years since he first graduated and took his first job as a night pharmacist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Dr. Foote has returned to his alma mater as dean of his former college to help a new generation of pharmacists prepare for successful careers.
“I saw a great opportunity to make an impression on students the same way that my experience here was transformative for me,” he said.
Although Dr. Foote started his career as a hospital pharmacist, he returned to USciences to earn his PharmD before completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in nephrology and pharmacokinetics at the Hennepin County Medical Center/University of Minnesota. In 1993, he took his first academic position as assistant professor at Rutgers University. In 2000, he took a position as associate professor at Wilkes University where he worked for the past 18 years, 14 as chair of the department of pharmacy practice. During his career he practiced as a clinical pharmacist in nephrology, taught numerous courses, and provided leadership to his department faculty. Over the past several years, he’s focused much of his energies on developing the interprofessional curriculum at Wilkes University.
“One of the things that I’m really passionate about this job at USciences is having the opportunity to enhance the student experience,” Dr. Foote said. “Through my experience in higher education, I’ve learned that students have to feel that they are valued, that their learning experience is meaningful and not just a grind or a series of obstacles they need to overcome to earn a degree.”
Dr. Foote came to PCP&S as the youngest of 10 siblings from Jermyn, a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
However, he found an even larger family in the friends, faculty, and staff he met here.
The one-time president of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity credits much of his personal and professional growth to his experience in the fraternity. “It was really that interaction, leadership skills, and friendships that I still have today from my fraternity that were so transformative for me as a student. Heck, I even met my wife through Pi Lam!” Dr. Foote’s wife, Corinne, is sister to Bill Catalutch P’87.
Dr. Foote says he was neither an all-star student or one who drew concern from professors. “While I had a great relationship with the faculty here, I can’t say I’d ever been into the dean’s office until I started this position,” he joked. He keeps in touch with many of the faculty that influenced him so many years ago, many of whom are still at USciences.
Dr. Foote says some of his first tasks in his new position will be having frank discussions about the future of the college with all of the stakeholders, both on campus and off. In particular, he looks forward to meeting with the students when they return in the fall.
“People, I think, expect change,” he said. “And I’m really excited because I’ve received a lot of support, and I feel very positive about the future here.”
He will also help support a new doctor of pharmacy curriculum, which will roll out starting in the 2018–19 academic year, that places an increased focus on demonstrating competency in tasks rather than grading students solely through tests.
“This new curriculum creates a robust system that truly measures student learning,” said Dr. Foote. “Students today want to have a hands-on approach to learning. They want to be able to demonstrate that they are able to do something. We can give tests, but taking care of patients isn’t a multiple-choice process. It is about being able to apply our knowledge and skills and, most importantly, a caring attitude.”
Since his return to USciences was announced, Dr. Foote says he’s received encouraging messages from fellow alumni who have expressed their commitment to the future of the institution.
“I’ve been away 30 years, but, you know, I’ve always cared deeply about this place. Healthcare and higher education are undergoing extreme change. We can’t go back to where we were, but as we move forward, I’m here to listen to all of our alums,” he said. “I encourage folks to reach out to me, engage, let me know what is on their mind, and come back to visit.”
Categories: News, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Pharmacy, Alumni, Announcement, Feature Story