College of Pharmacy Hosts Innovative “Shark Tank” Capstone Course

Daniel Helfand

Doctor of pharmacy students got the chance to participate in a unique experience as part of their capstone course this year, as the College of Pharmacy gave them the opportunity to test their business sense with Shark Tank-style presentations.

A capstone course is the culminating class of a course of study where students demonstrate all that they learned. Based off the television show Shark Tank, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy Stuart Beatty led the way in bringing this teaching model to fruition.

Teams of students prepared new pharmacy services to present to a panel consisting of Dean Henry Mann; Erin Delffs, College of Pharmacy Chief Fiscal Officer; Robert Weber, Assistant Dean for Medical Center Affairs; Steve Lawrence, Cardinal Health Senior Vice President of Independent Sales; and Allen Vrable, Chief Executive Officer and President of Vrable Healthcare.

“This event was a fantastic opportunity to show students the business and entrepreneurial side of the practice of pharmacy,” said Mann. “Our students were able to think about issues they are truly passionate about and develop ideas down to the minor details and then receive feedback from experienced leaders in the pharmaceutical industry.”

The four best ideas from the teams were presented to the panel and then the panel voted on a winner. The teams worked with coaches who helped them prepare and craft their services. Several different areas were covered through the proposed services, including antibiotic stewardship, smoking cessation, health information technology and heart failure.

After vetting the teams’ proposals, the panel elected to choose the group that presented on the topic of cutting hospital costs through an antibiotic stewardship program. While not every team could win, the experience allowed them to propose solutions to real healthcare problems.

“We hope that this teaching model will leave a lasting impression on the students who participated, and I think everyone involved had fun with this experience,” said Mann.