Appalachian College of Pharmacy Moves Forward in Application Process to Offer Doctor of Public Health Degree

OAKWOOD, VA (FEBRUARY 1, 2022) – Students at the Appalachian College of Pharmacy (ACP) will have the option of pursuing two different degrees in the near future at ACP as the college seeks approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to add a course of study leading to a Doctor of Public Health degree. Currently, ACP offers a course of study leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

It’s one of the first formal collaborations between ACP and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) stemming from a June 2020 agreement with the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation, of Roanoke, the single member of VCOM in Blacksburg, which then resulted in ACP and VCOM becoming sister institutions.

SACSCOC will examine ACP’s application for substantive change to offer the new degree, which could be approved to be offered as early as fall 2023.

“We are starting the process now to apply to SACSCOC for the approval needed to offer the degree at the college,” said ACP Dean Susan Mayhew. “It will primarily be an online program with a research component related to public health or global health.”

SACSCOC recently completed its virtual accreditation review of ACP to approve the substantive change which occurred when ACP and VCOM became sister institutions in 2020.

Under the terms of the agreement which made ACP and VCOM sister institutions, the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation is providing $5 million to ACP for the purposes of establishing the new Doctor of Public Health program and other new programs; and to build a new laboratory at Oakwood.

“Ultimately, we hope to also share rotation sites, increase student enrollment and expand the depth of our research endeavors through the partnership with VCOM,” Mayhew said.

Already, the two colleges have increased their interaction and collaboration, Mayhew said, noting that several ACP professors had taken part in a research retreat hosted by VCOM at a South Carolina location in December.

“ACP is working with VCOM President and Provost Dixie Tooke-Rawlins to develop the program of study for the Doctor of Public Health degree and in fact, we are actively looking for someone now to lead the program,” Mayhew said.

A link to the application for that post will be posted on ACP’s website at in the near future.

“This will be a collaborative degree with VCOM, offered through ACP as an add-on for both medical and pharmacy students,” Mayhew said. “We’re in the beginning stages of planning and making application for the approval from the accrediting bodies to offer it.”

ACP currently offers a traditional pharmacy school program which has been compacted into three years by offering classes year-round in order to save students significant time and expense. ACP continues to offer Virginia’s only three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program. 

ACP President Mickey McGlothlin said the offering of the Doctor of Public Health degree is one more step toward enhancing the ability of ACP to fulfill its mission. The mission of the college is to improve the general health and well-being of rural or underserved populations, particularly vulnerable populations within central Appalachia by educating pharmacists who embrace knowledge and technology to optimize pharmacists-delivered patient care and health outcomes in an interdisciplinary health care environment. 

“With the increased emphasis on public health as a result of the COVID pandemic, this degree is very timely,” Mayhew said of the new public health degree offering. “We look forward to finalizing the program of study for it and to bringing on a new director for the program this spring.”


The Appalachian College of Pharmacy is the only three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 2003, the college accepted its first students in 2005. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Its mission is to cultivate a learning community committed to education, community outreach and the professional development of pharmacists. Its graduate pharmacists are now practicing throughout the United States.

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