Instrumental Access 2016
University of Technology, Jamaica: School of Pharmacy
Meet the School
The School of Pharmacy is based in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica. The School runs the only training program for pharmacists on the island and is the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean. They recently developed a new undergraduate program in pharmaceutical technology with the goal of creating an educated workforce to meet specific needs expressed by Jamaica’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. To further their commitment to producing work-ready graduates, the School is equipped with a functional pharmacy that is licensed by the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica. Students gain hands-on practical experience in a pharmacy, dispense prescriptions, and counsel patients.
Filling a Critical Gap: Dr. Marcia Williams
Dr. Marcia Williams is Director of UTech Jamaica’s new BSc program in pharmaceutical technology. She specializes in industrial pharmacy and has current research projects focused on drugs used to treat diabetes, hypertension, and infertility.
After working for a few years as a pharmacist, she realized that she wanted to do more than dispense medicines. “Realizing that Jamaica had a shortage of pharmaceutical scientists, I decided that this is a niche area where I could fill a gap and make a contribution to my university, my country, and the Caribbean at large,” she says.
Dr. Williams likes challenges and the excitement that comes with testing theories and making discoveries. “I find it quite fascinating to see theory being played out in the laboratory,” she says. “Naturally, the area of science that appeals to me is the development of medicines. It is my dream to make a major contribution in this field some day.”
The School of Pharmacy has a cadre of qualified faculty and staff, but “we have been hampered by the lack of space and equipment,” says Dr. Williams. The School has recently increased their laboratory space capacity and will be refurbishing existing labs. “The next step in our thrust toward increasing research capacity is equipping the lab space, as this is the only cog missing in the wheel of research at the moment. Having the right equipment in place will certainly unleash our potential to do great things.”