Robert A. “Bob” Blouin, Pharm.D., is the Vaughn and Nancy Bryson Distinguished Professor, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina and director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation.
Since Blouin became dean in July of 2003, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has seen significant growth and has undertaken a number of innovative initiatives.
The School and its doctor of pharmacy program are ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Enrollment has increased by 23 percent since 2005 to approximately 650 students. A number of those students study at the School’s satellite campus in Asheville, North Carolina, which was launched in 2011.
The research enterprise has expanded greatly during Blouin’s tenure. The School’s total research funding stood at approximately $2.2 million in 2002. By 2015, funding had grown to nearly $27 million, and the School is currently second among the nation’s pharmacy schools in total research funding. The size of the School’s facilities has nearly doubled to 315,000 square feet with the opening of the Genetic Medicine Building in 2008 and Marsico Hall in 2014. Most of the space in the new buildings is dedicated to research.
The number of faculty at the School has grown by more than 70 percent since 2005 to nearly 110, and there are more than 100 graduate students enrolled, an increase of more than 25 percent since 2005.
In 2014 the School received a $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman, the largest from an individual in the University’s history and the largest ever made to a pharmacy school in the United States. The gift established the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, which aims to inspire a culture of innovation where imagination and creative solutions accelerate change in education, research and health care. The institute provides a mechanism for faculty, staff and students to seek funding for bold ideas and also provides opportunities to educate and train students and postdoctoral fellows; foster collaboration, creativity, and innovation; and stimulate commercialization of intellectual property and entrepreneurial development.
The School launched an initiative known as the educational renaissance to transform the way pharmacy is taught. Many faculty worked to “flip” their classes by moving lecture material online and delivering it to students outside of class. This allows class time to be spent on more engaging activities that focus on application, problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork.
The School established an Office of Educational Technology Research and Development to support its efforts in the classroom, followed by the creation of the Academy, a unit within the School designed to create and nurture a community of faculty educators dedicated to enriching professional, graduate and postgraduate learning and advancing education. The School plans to roll out a re-engineered PharmD curriculum in the fall of 2015.
Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of business operation has also been a priority for Blouin. Infoporte is a system developed at the School to gather and transform accounting information of legacy University systems and present it in a way that was useful to faculty and staff. Infoporte has since been adopted by and rolled out across the University. The School also reorganized its operation into a business-cluster model, which relies on centralized subject-matter experts and specialists servicing the entire School rather than many generalists embedded in different units.
Before coming to UNC, Blouin was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy from 1978 to 2003. Blouin last served as professor and associate dean for research and graduate education from 1997 to 2003 at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. His responsibilities as associate dean included overseeing the development and expansion of the Center for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology, a multimillion-dollar cGMP drug formulation and manufacturing facility. As the executive director of the Office for Economic Development and Innovations Management, he served as the College of Pharmacy representative on all issues external to the University of Kentucky and those relating to economic development of the pharmaceutical sciences. He represented the college on several statewide biotechnology initiatives and has worked to advance faculty-based intellectual property.
- Effects of disease (infectious disease and trauma) on altered physiologic states (i.e., aging and obesity)
- The expression and regulation of drug metabolizing enzymes (i.e., cytochrome P450, glucuronosul transferase, and glutathione transferase).
- Doctor of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, 1978
- Residency, University of Kentucky Medical Center, 1975 to 1978
- Bachelor of Science, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, 1975