When the opportunity arose to join the USC College of Pharmacy’s Greenville campus, Jennifer Clements saw it as a way to combine her passion for education and track record for practice and research.
“I have always been part of student advising and mentoring,” says Clements, who was hired in 2022 as director of pharmacy education. “With an existing relationship with Prisma Health and their residency program, it brings about an opportunity to work more collaboratively in building an interprofessional relationship to connect our students and make our program stronger.”
The campus, launched in 2011, provides training for up to 20 third-year students. When they enter the College of Pharmacy, these students agree to conduct their third-year studies in Greenville. Clements notes that the smaller class size allows the students and staff to build comradery along with a team-based atmosphere.
“The personalized advising and mentorship that we can offer provides an excellent learning environment,” she says, “and because of what Prisma Health has invested in the program with the simulation lab and clinical skills, these students will be well prepared to go into clinical practice.”
Julie M. Sease, senior associate dean, says that in order for the college and its students to take full advantage of the opportunities available at the Greenville location, a faculty member dedicated to advancing pharmacy education at the site was required. She says Clements is a perfect fit to help the campus move forward.
“She brings with her years of experience in both pharmacy practice and pharmacy education. Dr. Clements provides an individualized mentor-advisor relationship for our students in Greenville that just could not exist without a faculty member being physically located there,” Sease says. “She provides small group laboratory and other learning opportunities for our students in Greenville and ensures their educational experience and overall well-being are taken care of.”
The program shares classroom and laboratory space within the USC School of Medicine-Greenville at Prisma Health-Upstate. Because many lectures are held virtually with students on the Columbia campus, students learn to balance distance-learning with hands-on learning and mentoring, within a modern facility.
After earning a Pharm.D. from Campbell University in 2006, Clements completed a primary care pharmacy practice residency at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. She then began her academic career, holding full-time faculty appointments with Shenandoah University before transitioning to the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, where she served as professor and director of postgraduate education.
She developed pharmacy practice sites in a Veterans Administration Medical Center and rural-health family medicine clinic with a focus on chronic disease management, specifically diabetes and obesity. She also oversaw inpatient diabetes management at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in South Carolina.
Tenia Slade, Thuy Kieu and Emily Herring, Class of 2024, chose to complete their third-year studies at the Greenville campus.
Being a native of Greenville and the opportunities to make connections in another part of the state influenced Slade’s decision.
“The proximity to Prisma Health and other local pharmacies puts you at an advantage when it comes time to complete your fourth-year rotations and apply for jobs after graduation,” she says.
Kieu, also from Greenville, was unaware of the Greenville campus until she interviewed for a spot in the College of Pharmacy.
“I liked the aspect of being able to be closer to home for my studies,” she says, “and I have had the chance to get to know my classmates better. I think it will help me in my career path after graduation.”
Emily Herring serves as president of the student cohort for the Greenville campus. Initially, she was unsure about committing to attend the upstate location for her third year, but she says it turned out to be a great decision.
Clements is focused on growing opportunities for students.
“I want to see us more integrated with the campus through research, service, interprofessional opportunities and working with clinical pharmacy specialists in the hospital and with residents who do postgraduate training,” she says. “I see myself as an advocate to improve the Greenville experience in providing a distinctive program for our students to take advantage of in their professional education.”