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Pharmacotherapy About Us

Our History

The University of Utah was the first American university to form a full academic department of Pharmacy Practice. 

The University of Utah was the first American university to form a full academic department of Pharmacy Practice. In 1977, the programs in clinical pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, pharmacy administration, nuclear pharmacy were then distributed among other departments in the College of Pharmacy and were unified in the newly designated Department. 

All pharmaceutical practice and practice-related research at the University was then integrated into the new academic department. The majority of colleges of pharmacy in the nation have now established departments of pharmacotherapy. In 2005, the name of the Department was changed to Pharmacotherapy to better reflect the range of activity of the Faculty.

From its inception, the Department developed innovative and highly regarded programs leading to:

  • accreditation of a Residency in Pharmacy Practice at University Hospital in 1979;
  • the largest radiopharmacy in the Intermountain West;
  • an integrated MS, MBA, and residency program in institutional practice management;
  • an MS degree program in pharmacy administration, and one of the most highly acclaimed postbaccaluareate Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programs in the country.

With the nation-wide change to the PharmD as the entry level degree for pharmacy in recent years, the Department has continued its pioneering activities in the development of advanced residencies in specialized areas of pharmacy practice in collaboration with the Department of Pharmacy Services at University Hospitals and Clinics, development of post doctoral research fellowships in a range of clinical and scientific disciplines, expansion of both the University Hospitals and Clinics Drug Information Center and the Utah Poison Control Center, and most recently, the development of the Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center that focuses on pharmacoeconomics and health-related quality of life outcomes of pharmacotherapy.

pharmaceutical care practices and teaching

In addition to operating nationally respected, sophisticated, statewide Drug Information and Poison Control Centers, faculty in the Department have developed and maintained advanced level pharmaceutical care practices and teaching sites in:

  • General internal medicine
  • Ambulatory primary care
  • Anticoagulation
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Cardiology
  • Critical care
  • Gastroenterology
  • General surgery
  • Neonatology
  • Neurology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pulmonary medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Rheumatology
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Vascular surgery services
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Oncology
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Pain management
  • Palliative care


Pharmacotherapy faculty conduct collaborative research with faculty from several departments in the School of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Health and other academic units within the University.

Department faculty have held leadership positions in numerous national professional and scientific societies, the Utah Pharmaceutical Association and Utah Society of Health-system Pharmacists, and serve as editors and editorial board members on a number of professional and scientific journals. Department of Pharmacotherapy faculty members are frequently invited to speak at regional, national, and international professional and scientific meetings.


Faculty within the Department have filled leadership roles in a range of University activities including the Academic Senate; University Honors Program; University Professorship; Institutional Review Board; University Writing Program; Affirmative Action Committee; Retention, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Appeals Committee, and Learning and Teaching Committee.

Read about our Graduate Programs

The pharmacist faculty members who have chaired the Department are:

  • Arthur G. Lipman, PharmD, 1977-1987
  • Jean K. Devenport, PharmD, 1988-1990
  • Gary M. Oderda, PharmD, MPH, 1991-2001
  • Diana I. Brixner, RPh, PhD, 2002-2014
  • Karen Gunning, PharmD, BCPS, Interim 2014-2017
  • Daniel Witt, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS 2017-Present