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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI names former official with national pharmacists’
society to head its College of Pharmacy

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 2, 2001 -- The former director of accreditation services for the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) has been appointed the new dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy. The announcement was made by M. Beverly Swan, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Donald E. Letendre, 48, who served in the accreditation post for the national organization since 1982, succeeds Louis Luzzi, who retired as dean last spring after more than 20 years leading the college. Luzzi has returned to the faculty as the first to hold the Ernest Mario Distinguished Chair in Pharmaceutics.

Letendre, who is one of the youngest pharmacy deans in the country, began his duties Aug. 1. He will also serve as a professor of applied pharmaceutical sciences.

"I am pleased that we could attract an individual who has great knowledge of the profession and a vision for where we should be," Swan said.

As dean, he will be responsible for the leadership, supervision, advocacy and support of the College, which has about 40 faculty members and about 570 undergraduate and 70 graduate students.

"I feel the enthusiasm and energy of this College," Letendre said as he readied his new office at URI. "We have a tremendous corps of faculty with which we can build a pre-eminent school of pharmacy.

"We want to work with practitioners and have the college be an instrument of change," he said.

He said the pharmacist is going to be increasingly important in the health care of the future as the population ages and medication use rises exponentially. "The pharmacists are the ones who will be called on to manage this care, yet we also have a shortage of pharmacists," Letendre added.

Critical to advancing pharmacy, are collaborative efforts among health practitioners, fully integrating technology in all pharmacy settings, and assisting pharmacists to become better managers of therapeutic knowledge and its applicability to disease states they are helping to manage.

He has ambitious plans for the college’s physical facilities and for the health science disciplines at URI as a whole.

"I want to build a new College of Pharmacy. We are training more pharmacists than this building can accommodate," Letendre said of Fogarty Hall. "Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we had a health sciences complex here in Kingston?"

Letendre also wants the college to work closely with its colleagues in medicine, nursing, dentistry, psychology, gerontology, physical therapy and exercise science and biomedical engineering.

"I would like to facilitate a health sciences consortium, so that together we can all better serve the people of this state," Letendre said. "We recognize Brown’s leadership in the medical community, but we need key opinion leaders and decision makers to recognize that URI can bring a great deal to the table in addressing Rhode Island’s health care needs."

Letendre said patient care is best delivered by a team approach. "My strength is in building coalitions and partnerships. I don’t see pharmacy as an island.

"One of the key reasons I came to URI was the leadership of the University, from Dr. Carothers and Dr. Swan to the vice presidents and deans."

As former director of accreditation services for ASHP, which is based in Bethesda, Md., Letendre managed a profession-wide accreditation service program for more than 600 postgraduate pharmacy residencies and about 90 pharmacy technician training programs nationwide. At ASHP, Letendre supervised development and maintenance of 24 pharmacy residency and technician accreditation standards and conducted a national Resident Matching Program, which involved more than 1,200 students last year.

Prior to his position at ASHP, Letendre served concurrently as assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, and assistant director of the Dept. of Pharmacy and director of the Investigational Drug Unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Letendre holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a doctor of pharmacy from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. He then completed three years of residency training at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Medical Center, having served the last year as chief resident.

He has served as a liaison to groups such as the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacists, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the National Institutes of Health. He has an extensive research and publication record as well as considerable experience at the administrative level.

Letendre is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmaceutical Association and the American Society of Healthy-System Pharmacists.

He has received several awards including the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences and the Paul F. Parker Lecture Award from the University of Kentucky.

URI's College of Pharmacy offers a six-year entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree. The College also awards two graduate degrees: the Master of Science (M.S.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in pharmaceutical sciences.

The oldest of eight children, Letendre and his wife, Louise, have four children: Allyson, 21, Jacob, 19, Philip 17, and Matthew, 14.

For a digital image of the dean, please call Dave Lavallee, 874-5862 or e-mail dlavallee@advance.uri.edu .
For Information: Don Letendre 401-874-2761, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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