Published December 6, 2021

A new endowed scholarship will assist students seeking dual degrees in pharmacy and medicine.

A $2 million grant from the family foundation of alumnus Ernest Mario PHARM’61 will enable students to become highly skilled practitioners in pharmacy and medicine.

The grant commitment will offer scholarships to PharmD/MD dual-degree program students completing their final two years of pharmacy education.

ernest marioThe funds will establish The Mario Family Foundation Endowed PharmD/MD Scholarship to help students in the unique and highly selective program, which is designed to create an elite group of interdisciplinary practitioners who are highly skilled in both pharmacy and medicine.

Launched in 2013, the dual program was the first PharmD/MD program in the United States and is considered a model for preparing expert leaders in health care policy, research, and clinical settings. To date, 45 students have participated in the program.

Graduates of the program enter the workforce trained in a collaborative practice model of patient care and equipped with expert interprofessional knowledge of both pharmacy and medicine for a broad understanding of the health care landscape.

“Rutgers continues to train the finest pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in the world, with the ultimate goal of improving the human condition through science, research, and application,” said Dr. Mario, a member of Rutgers’ Hall of Distinguished Alumni. “The delivery of quality care to patients continues to become increasingly interdisciplinary. The PharmD/MD program ensures that physicians have peers who are trained in pharmacy to facilitate the best outcomes for all patients.”

Dr. Mario and The Mario Family Foundation have established and supported numerous programs at the pharmacy school, including The Mario Family Foundation Tuition Assistance Fund, established in 2020 to support undergraduate and graduate students who have been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a real game changer in that it will provide support to future health care innovators who will use the strengths of both professions and become change agents in pharmacy and medicine,” said Joseph Barone, dean of the school.

Graduates of the program have gone on to residencies at nationally recognized medical institutions such as Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, UCLA Medical Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

These impressive residency placements clearly demonstrate the impact the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences are having on the trajectories of future health care leaders.

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