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This online program utilizes world-class faculty who have decades of expertise in leading and managing complex health-systems and in training and mentoring future leaders who will be steering these entities into the next decade. This program is modeled after the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Master of Science Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences residential program, however the online program does not require a two-year residency. Integrating literature and experience with robust student engagement provides a rich training ground for leadership development, that is applicable in all sectors of health-system.

Our program allows for online classroom instruction that recognizes students who are employed and have many demands on their time. Students will engage in a rigorous and in-depth study of leadership in health-system pharmacy administration and the principles of the medication use process. Students will also work within multiple health systems and practice settings and network with leaders across those spaces.

View a recent webinar about our online MS program


The core curriculum consists of course work in advanced topics with human resource management, health-systems financial management, medication safety, and quality improvement, health-system pharmacy operations and much more.

Health-System Pharmacy Administration Master’s Degree

Courses are taught within the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education (PACE) through synchronous education.


Fall Year 1
Credit Hours
PACE 815 Evaluation Research and Project Design (McLaughlin) 3
PACE 833 Overview to Health Systems (Savage / Fortier) 3
PHRS 899 Seminar (Sheldon / Tryon) 1
PHRS 991 Research in PACE 3
Cumulative Total 10

Spring Year 1
Credit Hours
PACE 820 Health-System Pharmacy Leadership (Granko / Eckel) 3
PACE 825 Foundational Practices of a Successful Health-System Department of Pharmacy (Kessler / Morbitzer / Forshay) 3
PHRS 899 Seminar 1
PHRS 991 Research in PACE 3
Cumulative Total 20

Fall Year 2
Credit Hours
PACE 860 Advanced Hospital Pharmacy Operations (Eckel) 3
PHRS 899 Seminar 1
PHRS 992 Thesis Substitute 3
Cumulative Total 27

Spring Year 2
Credit Hours
PACE 832 Financial Management of Health-System Pharmacy (Bush / Rhea) 3
PHRS 899 Seminar 1
PHRS 992 Thesis Substitute 3
PHYC 434 Teaching Assistant (UNC only) 0
Grand Total 34

Course Descriptions

PACE 815 Evaluation Research and Project Design: This course provides formal instruction on critical components of evaluation research, study design, and data analyses that a Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in health system pharmacy administration graduate will need in the workplace.

PACE 820 Health-System Pharmacy Leadership: This course focuses on principles of leadership and strategies used by leaders, with an emphasis in health-system pharmacy. Active learning strategies are used to examine and model leadership principles.

PACE 825 Foundational Practices of a Successful Health-System Department of Pharmacy: This course focuses on the Foundational Practices of a Successful Health-System Department of Pharmacy. Topics covered include medication safety, pharmacy informatics, and human resources management.

PACE 832 Financial Management of Health-system Pharmacy: This course provides an overview of the current financial environment in the health care industry and is intended to familiarize students with general accounting principles and financial management skills required to lead and manage pharmacy services in a health care organization.

PACE 833 Overview to Health Systems: This course is designed to expose participants to real world issues facing health system pharmacy leaders and to teach participants to work through concepts, processes, and challenges that are and will be faced.

PACE 860 Advanced Hospital Pharmacy Operations: This course is intended to build on the basic principles of pharmacy operations learned through coursework and experience as professional students as well as work experience.

PHRS 899 Seminar: This course includes the entire MS group including first and second years and covers a range of topics such as Pharmacy Disaster Planning, Crucial Conversations, Pharmacy Financial Billing, and Human Resources. Class format consists of topical readings or assignments prior to a seminar presentation and discussion.

PHRS 991 Research in PACE: This is a variable credit course required for all Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate students by their second semester. Teaching/learning methods consist of a pharmaceutical sciences-based mentored research training experience involving independent work and research reports that must be filed at the end of the semester.

PHRS 992 Thesis Substitute: Prerequisite PHRS 991 or equivalent. Students register for thesis credits after successfully passing their comprehensive written examination. A minimum of 3 credit hours of thesis research and writing is required for Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate students.

  • In-depth knowledge, understanding, and application of core principles, content, and skills unique to health systems pharmacy administration: to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of health care and the principles and practice of pharmacy to advance human health and health systems.
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information: to identify, locate, critically evaluate, and process information to arrive at an informed opinion; identify the important information and be able to say “here is what we need to do about it”.
  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: to take an issue or a problem, learn about it, understand it, examine other ways of thinking about it, bring it all together and frame it, come up with creative solutions and new ideas (important characteristics of critical thinker: asks really good questions, is curious, approaches problems as learners not knowers).
  • Communication: to develop and express ideas and thoughts clearly and concisely in a way that fosters understanding, inspires, and creates focus; communicate effectively in written and oral form.
  • Collaboration and Influence: to work effectively with others and understand and respect differences; create networks and groups who work together toward a common goal.
  • Adaptability: to change (or be changed) to fit new surroundings and ideas; being willing and able to adapt your behavior (adaptability is a two part process that combines flexibility and versatility. Flexibility is your willingness to adapt-this is your attitude; versatility is your ability to adapt-this is your aptitude).
  • Initiative: to be self-directed, take initiative to seek out new opportunities, ideas, and strategies; and find creative solutions.
  • Curiosity and Inquisitiveness: to demonstrate a drive to learn and understand more in an effort to improve or make something better; the habit of curiosity is a constant wonder of how something might be improved or even reinvented and then coming up with creative solutions; curiosity enables life-long learning.
  • Professionalism: to uphold the highest standards of professional and ethical behavior and act appropriately, thoughtfully, and with integrity at all times.
  • Innovation: Ability to create and implement new technologies, services, programs, etc, to meet the pharmacy needs of today and tomorrows health systems.
  • Our approach to teaching and learning is student-centered – we will develop our graduate students to reach their full potential
  • To learn, one must do – immersive learning in the patient care and real-world setting is a primary laboratory for learning
  • The process of scientific inquiry, engagement, and discovery is critical to the development of our graduate students as problem solvers and critical thinkers – scholarship is central to our mission
  • We will expose our graduate students to a breadth of knowledge and experiences necessary to shape their development as pharmacist leaders in an evolving health system landscape
  • We will ensure a rigorous and intensive curriculum that deepens the graduate student’s understanding of the many facets of health-system pharmacy administration and challenges them to think critically and solve complex problems
  • We are flexible and responsive – continually positioning our graduate students to meet the emerging needs of society
  • We will continually innovate and evaluate, learning from our experiences and striving for continuous quality improvement and sustained innovation
  • We will develop and position our faculty to reach their full potential as educators and mentors
  • We will develop and nurture our students as critical thinkers, problems solvers, team players and professionals – entrusting them to a career of life-long learning and leadership
  • We will work collaboratively across all of the different partners, exposing our graduate students to the different systems, preceptors, and challenges that exist in them
  • We strive to enlighten, differentiate, and position our graduate students to bring about leadership for the betterment of health care delivery and a safe medication use system
  • Advances and innovations in technology will be interwoven, where appropriate, throughout our curriculum to enhance the learning experience

Class Lectures

Courses are taught within the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education (PACE) through digital (online) education. Class lectures are led by UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty and other leaders in health-system pharmacy. 

Supervised Project in Health-System Pharmacy

Students are encouraged to develop extensive skills and expertise in specific segments of pharmacy administration that are of personal interest. The chosen areas of interest will be emphasized throughout both the didactic and experiential portions of the program over the two years of study with the guidance of their mentor and academic and experiential program advisers. Students will take a minimum of four credit hours of Supervised Project in Health-System Pharmacy during their second year to accomplish the project objectives, which is a requirement for the master of science. This project will serve in lieu of a master’s thesis.

Final Written Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination will be administered to all students before the completion of the last semester of their program. The examination is intended to validate students’ ability to apply the knowledge and experience gained throughout the program in coursework and experiential components of their education and training.

Year 1


Scott W. Savage, Pharm.D., M.S.

Scott W. Savage, PharmD, MS received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Masters degree with a PGY2 residency certificate in Health System Pharmacy Administration from The Ohio State University Medical Center and The OSU College of Pharmacy.

Currently, Scott serves as the Executive Vice Dean-Chief Operating Officer for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Chief Financial Officer for the Eshelman Institute for Innovation.  Prior to joining the School, he served in a myriad of leadership positions for UNC Pharmacy Services within UNC Health Care System.  Most recently as the Regional Director of Pharmacy for UNC Medical Center, its associated campuses in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, NC, and Chatham Hospital located in Siler City, NC.  He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Education within the Practice Advancement and Clinical Education division of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and serves as a course coordinator within the MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences in Health System Pharmacy Administration.

Prior to joining UNC, Scott served in leadership and management roles in other academic medical centers and a community based hospital.   He is an active member of AACP, NCPA, ASHP, ASPL and AMCP.  He enjoys developing and implementing new approaches to integrating pharmacy services in all facets of patient care.  Additionally, he enjoys time at home with his family, UNC and Ohio State sports, running, and advocacy for individuals living in recovery from addiction.


Christopher R. Fortier, Pharm.D., FASHP

Chief Pharmacy Officer
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Christopher Fortier is the Chief Pharmacy Officer at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.  Chris is the Chair of the Partners Healthcare Chief Pharmacy Officers Council and works to move pharmacy strategic initiatives forward at the Partners system-level.

Dr. Fortier received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Connecticut in 2003 and completed both a PGY-1 Practice Residency and a PGY-2 Health-System Pharmacy Administration Residency at the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center.  Additionally, Chris serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy, Northeastern University School of Pharmacy, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.

In 2013 Dr. Fortier was recognized as a Fellow of ASHP and received the Tradition of Excellence Award from the University of Connecticut Alumni Association.  Additionally, in 2008 he received the ASHP New Practitioner Forum’s Distinguished Service Award.


Robert P. Granko, Pharm.D., M.B.A., FASHP

Mid-Atlantic Director of Field Pharmacy Services
Premier Inc.
Charlotte, NC

Robert P. Granko, PharmD, MBA, FASHP is the Mid-Atlantic Director of Field Pharmacy Services at Premier Inc.   Dr. Granko is the former Director of Pharmacy at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, NC, a 536-bed community teaching and flagship hospital for the Cone Health Network. Dr. Granko founded and directed the Cone Health Network Health-System Pharmacy Administration/MS PGY-2 Residency Program and maintains an academic appointment at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Granko is Director at large serving on the Section of Pharmacy Practice Leaders Executive Committee for the 2018-2020 term and was recognized as an ASHP Fellow in 2018.   He is a past faculty member with the ASHP Managers Boot Camp and the past chair of the Section’s Advisory Group on Manager Development.  Dr. Granko has served as ASHP Delegate representing North Carolina and is a 2016 ASHP Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers Distinguished Service Awardee.

Dr. Granko has published several manuscripts and presented nationally and internationally on topics related to leadership development, clinician well-being and resilience, pharmacy operations management, and clinical benchmarking. His research interests include leadership, management and well-being.  Dr Granko received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Long Island University School of Pharmacy, his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy, and his Master’s in Business Administration from Pfeiffer University, School of Graduate Studies.


Kathryn Morbitzer, Pharm.D., M.S.

Kathryn Morbitzer, Pharm.D., M.S., is an assistant professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education and director of educational development in CIPhER at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Wayne State University and her Master’s in biomedical and health informatics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and an academic research fellowship at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Currently, her research focuses on optimization of the medication use process and admission/residency predictive modeling.

John Kessler, BS Pharm., Pharm.D.

John M. Kessler, BS Pharm., Pharm.D., is the founder and Chief Clinical Officer of SecondStory Health, LLC. He has more than 40 years of experience in safe medication systems design, adverse drug event reporting and errors analysis. He has a combined experience of 30 years in serving as a member on both academic Institutional Review Boards and Independent Review Boards, with 11 years serving in the Chair role overseeing human protections in clinical research. He has chaired the United States Pharmacopoeia’s advisory panel on medication errors and he has served as an ex-officio member of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. He has consulted with healthcare organizations and regulatory authorities in the United States, South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East on medication safety.

Elizabeth Forshay

Elizabeth Forshay is the Director of the Carolina Value Department of UNC Health.  Her focus includes operational improvement, entity margin improvement, and throughput and capacity management improvement.

Prior to her current role, Elizabeth led financial and operational areas in the UNCH Department of Pharmacy.  Elizabeth earned her pharmacy degree from UNC Chapel Hill and her MBA from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.  She trained as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Kaizen Coach.

Elizabeth and her family live in Durham, North Carolina where Elizabeth volunteers her time as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Families Moving Forward, a homeless shelter for families in downtown Durham.

Katie Sheldon, Pharm.D., M.S.

Katie Sheldon, PharmD, MS is the Division Director of Pharmacy Operations at Mission Health System headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina. In this role, Katie is responsible for the oversight of pharmacy operations and compliance at all pharmacy locations within the health system.

Prior to her current role, Katie served as the Director of Pharmacy at Mission Hospital, an 813-bed community teaching hospital located in Asheville, North Carolina.  In this role, Katie also served as the residency program director for the PGY1/PGY2 Health-System Pharmacy Administration residency program at Mission Hospital.

Katie graduated from the University of Georgia with a PharmD degree and received her Master of Science degree in Health-System Pharmacy Administration at The Ohio State University.  Katie also completed a 2 year residency in Health-System Pharmacy Administration at The Ohio State University Medical Center.

Year 2

Stephen Eckel, Pharm.D., M.H.A.

Stephen Eckel, Pharm.D., M.H.A., is associate dean for global engagement and a clinical associate professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education. He is the division’s vice chair for graduate and postgraduate education. In addition, he is director of graduate studies overseeing the two-year Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in health-system pharmacy administration. This degree is hosted at multiple sites across North Carolina. At UNC Hospitals, he is associate director of pharmacy, where he leads and develops a dynamic group of patient-care providers, and director of pharmacy residency programs. He has worked with almost 200 residents over the years. Eckel is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist.

As an innovator and entrepreneur, Eckel spearheaded the development of UNC Pharmacy Grand Rounds with ASHP and launched ChemoGLO, LLC with Bill Zamboni, Pharm.D., Ph.D. He is the editor of the health-system edition of Pharmacy Times and a passionate supporter of the role of the pharmacist in patient care. He conducts and publishes his research and is frequently asked to speak around the world on these issues.

Eckel has been very active in the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists and current serves as president. He has also served many years in the American Pharmacists Association and ASHP House of Delegates. In 2012, he was presented with the APhA the Distinguished Achievement Award in Hospital and Institutional Practice, and in 2013, he was awarded the Excellence in Innovation award by the North Carolina Association of Pharmacist. He is a fellow of ASHP, APhA, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the National Academies of Practice in Pharmacy.

Jennifer E. Tryon, Pharm.D., M.S., FASHP

Jennifer E. Tryon, Pharm.D., M.S., FASHP, is the Associate Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina and the Residency Program Director for the HSPA Residency Program. Formerly, Jennifer was the Chief Pharmacy Officer at the University of Chicago Medical Center and served as the Director of Graduate Pharmacy Education. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director of Pharmacy and PGY1 Residency Program Director at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, and the Assistant Director at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. Jennifer completed her pharmacy degree at the University of Iowa and her MS at the University of Wisconsin. She completed a two-year Administrative Residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals. An active member of ASHP, she is the immediate past Chair of the SPPM, Chaired the Pharmacy Management Council, served on the Nominations Committee, and held leadership roles with state affiliates. Jennifer teaches in the ASHP Foundation’s Pharmacy Leadership Academy.


Paul W. Bush, Pharm.D., M.B.A., BCPS, FASHP

Vice President for Global Resource Development and Consulting
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)
Bethesda, MD

Paul Bush is the Vice President for Global Resource Development and Consulting for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).  He has held the positions of Chief Pharmacy Officer for Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC, Director of Pharmacy Services for Medical University of South Carolina, St. John Hospital and Medical Center and Detroit Osteopathic Hospital and was Corporate Director for Clinical Pharmacy Services for Horizon Health System.

Dr. Bush received his B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Michigan and Pharm.D. and M.B.A. from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  He serves on the faculty of University of North Carolina Eschelman School of Pharmacy and Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  He previously served on the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina (1999-2009) and Wayne State University (1984-1999) and served as Clinical Associate Dean for Medical Center and Health Systems for the South Carolina College of Pharmacy.

He has served as presidential officer, board member and Chair of the Board of Directors of ASHP.  Dr. Bush is Past-Treasurer of the Michigan Pharmacists Association. He has served on the Michigan Society of Health System Pharmacists Board of Directors and held the position of President-elect.  Dr. Bush is Past-Chair of the ASHP Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers, Past-Chair of the University HealthSystem Pharmacy Council and has served as a member of the ASHP House of Delegates, Commission on Credentialing, Commission on Goals, and the Practice Model Summit Advisory Committee.  He is a member of APhA and ACCP.

Dr. Bush was awarded the John W. Webb Lecture Award by Northeastern University and ASHP, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Campbell University, the Distinguished Service Award by the ASHP Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers and the NCAP Pharmacy Ambassador Award

He co-authored Managing and Leading – 44 Lessons Learned for Pharmacists, and chapters in Building a Successful Ambulatory Practice, Financial Management Basics for Health System Pharmacists, Handbook of Institutional Pharmacy Practice, and the Pharmacy Certified Technician Training Manual.

Gene Rhea, Pharm.D., M.H.A.

Gene Rhea, PharmD, MHA serves as the Associate Chief Pharmacy Officer for Retail and Specialty Pharmacy Services for Duke University Hospital where he oversees multiple retail and specialty pharmacy operations as well as a robust patient assistance and prior authorization program. Dr. Rhea received his Bachelors in Chemistry from DePauw University, his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Purdue University and his MHA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Most recently he had also served as the Director of Pharmacy Finance, Business Intelligence and Analytics at Duke where his work specialized in financial analysis and planning as well as revenue cycle management. He is also Chair of the 340B Oversight Committee and coordinates program operations and compliance activities.

Tuition and Fees


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