Western University of Health Sciences and California State University, San Bernardino continue to strengthen their ties in turning CSUSB graduates into health professionals.

California State University, San Bernardino President Albert Karnig, PhD, and Western University of Health Sciences President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, signed a linkage agreement on May 31, 2012 that will bring CSUSB graduates into WesternU’s College of Pharmacy program.

CSUSB will identify pre-health professions students who wish to enroll in WesternU’s Doctor of Pharmacy program and who meet academic requirements and display the motivation and personal qualities that give evidence of their suitability for a career in pharmacy.

WesternU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific has partnered with CSUSB for about a decade, and this agreement broadens WesternU’s relationship with CSUSB.

“We look forward to a much broader, much more interactive collaboration with WesternU that will cross the spectrum of different kinds of programs and different kinds of courses,” Karnig said.

The signing ceremony also served as a way to thank Dr. Karnig, who will retire this summer after serving as CSUSB president since 1997. A large number of WesternU graduates come from CSUSB, said WesternU Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Development Elizabeth Rega, PhD.

“We would like to take an opportunity to honor him for his support and for the quality of students coming from his program who are able to graduate as health professionals,” she said. “We’re looking forward to maintaining a close working relationship with CSUSB.”

CSUSB students come from diverse backgrounds, and by recruiting them WesternU helps create a health care workforce that reflects local populations, Rega said.

The linkage agreement also is beneficial because it helps identify high-quality candidates who might otherwise be passed over when strictly looking at grade point average.

“We rely on the expertise of our undergraduate partners who are able to identify candidates based on their undergraduate advisers,” Rega said. “We get to know them over a period of a couple of years rather than a 30-minute interview.”

Academic grades are important, but the human aspect is also important, Pumerantz said.

“It’s important to find students who have an interest in working with people with caring and compassion,” he said. “You have to be able to cultivate the right type of student to do that.

I’ll bet there are a lot of those students in the Cal State system who are charming and caring and compassionate. We need to identify them and bring them here.”

The linkage agreement helps students focus on a career, said David F. Maynard, PhD, dean of the CSUSB College of Natural Sciences. They will develop a better understanding of what it means to be a pharmacist or a physician.

“The result is those students will be far more focused toward their professional career,” he said. “It will also be something that will get our faculty more involved in the admissions process because we will actually be recommending students for the linkage program.”