Viewpoint: 'Hospitals serve as the mountaintop of American healthcare, but pharmacies form the base'

Washington State University's pharmacy college is pioneering higher rural healthcare standards, according to a staff editorial published Feb. 7 in The Columbian, a Washington state news outlet.

The Spokane-based school received an anonymous $2.2 million donation in 2022, which helped build its Rural Health Initiative that aims to better equip pharmacy students with rural healthcare specialties. Pharmacy students in the program commit to work in pharmacies for at least three years in rural Washington after they graduate, according to The Spokesman-Review

"The pharmacist is the most accessible healthcare provider in America," Erik Nelson, who owns pharmacies in Washington, told the Review. "Because you can walk into pretty much any pharmacy and talk to a pharmacist in less than a minute."

The Columbian's editorial staff called the university's program a "laudable step."

"Hospitals serve as the mountaintop of American health care, but pharmacies form the base," the staff wrote. "Troubles there reflect shortcomings that will spread to urban areas and throughout the system."

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