On June 22, ASA's Patient Focused Certification (PFC) Training Program unveiled its new training platform, developed with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
The partnership between PFC and the university's Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions (CIPS) will be the first cannabis training program to be offered through a university and accredited. The partnership will extend the reach of the PFC training program by making courses available through the University of Maryland's online learning platform at www.pfctraining.org.
PFC is a project of ASA that builds on the organization's experience educating the medical cannabis industry since 2002. The certified training courses cover best practices and regulatory guidelines for the burgeoning medical cannabis industry, including cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries and labs. Regulators, operators and industry workers enrolled in the program will learn how to comply with state regulations and industry best practices, ensuring improved safety for patients and providers.
"The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is responding to the urgent need for a knowledgeable and well-prepared medical cannabis workforce," said Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, who is the executive director of CIPS as well as associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation, and a professor of pharmacy practice and science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. "The School of Pharmacy's partnership with ASA uses our online educational technology to meet the training needs of medical cannabis industry employees and advocates in 30 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Through this partnership, we seek to promote medication safety through training and ultimately educate healthcare providers on the consideration of medical cannabis in treatment decisions."
Each of the US states and territories with a robust medical cannabis program either has or is implementing training requirements for personnel who work in the cannabis industry. The PFC training program was designed to meet that need in those 30 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. PFC trains industry personnel based on standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) that ensure safety, quality and professionalism. Training materials are specific to each segment of the medical cannabis industry, from cultivation and manufacturing to distribution and laboratory analysis.
With a goal of national standards for policies, operating procedures and products, PFC will continuously update its training programs to incorporate emerging research and accommodate growth and change in both the industry and regulatory environments.
"When considering a training program, one of the first things you should ask is who is accountable for the outcome?" said Dr. Jahan Marcu, ASA Chief Scientist and PFC Director. "PFC's partnership with a university and accreditation body is unprecedented in the cannabis industry."
Accreditation for the new PFC training is expected by August 15. Founded in 1841, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has a 175-year history of pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement. ASA brings 15 years of hands-on expertise in helping develop and implement state medical cannabis laws and regulations.