Kari L. Franson, PharmD, PhD, BCPP
Faculty Directory

Kari L. FransonPharmD, PhD, BCPP

Kari L. FransonPharmD, PhD, BCPP

Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs & Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Kari L. Franson, PharmD, PhD, BCPP, joined USC Mann in 2020. She serves as senior associate dean for academic and student affairs and professor of clinical pharmacy. She received her doctor of pharmacy from the University of California, San Francisco, trained at the University of Illinois, Chicago Hospital and Clinics as a resident in adult internal medicine and a fellow in clinical research/drug development, and received her PhD in medical education from Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Franson is an educator with more than 25 years of experience. Throughout her career, she has focused on two areas: health professions education/workforce development and psychopharmacology.

She is an international leader in interprofessional practice, education and advocacy and workforce development to address health disparities in both the U.S. and abroad. Franson has experience in campus and distance-based curriculum development and assessment, technology-enhanced assessment/learning, experiential education, and continuing professional education and development.

Franson is also a U.S. board-certified psychiatric pharmacist and Dutch-certified clinical pharmacologist. She worked with geriatric psychiatric patients for 10 years and has performed a variety of clinical studies spanning those in early-phase clinical pharmacology to post-marketing clinical efficacy studies. She is interested in cannabinoid clinical pharmacologic effects and cannabis user safety. She has guided national and international professional, legislative, media and commercial groups on the wise study and use of cannabis.

Areas of Expertise

  • Psychopharmacology
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Experiential Education
  • Curriculum Development and Assessment
  • Cannabinoids
  • Education

    University of California, San Francisco


    Leiden University School of Medicine, the Netherlands


    University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona


    University of Portland, Oregon


    Centre for Human Drug Research, Leiden, the Netherlands


    Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy


    Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy

    Specialty Resident

  • Selected Articles

    Overcoming barriers to interprofessional practice/education through legislative reform: A University of Colorado case study

    Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice
    Franson, Kari L., and Eric H. Gilliam

    2019 Pharmacy students are required to be licensed (intern-pharmacists). Colorado statute required a licensed pharmacist to supervise students while engaging in Interprofessional clinical experiences.

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    An interprofessional education panel on development, implementation, and assessment strategies

    American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

    2015 This report provides a primer for implementing interprofessional education (IPE) within pharmacy and health sciences curricula. In 2013, a panel of administrators and faculty members, whose institutions offered IPE, funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, shared best collaborative practice models at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Annual Meeting. These presenters subsequently collaborated to write a primer as guidance for other institutions interested in successfully implementing and continuously enhancing the quality of IPE programs. In this article, these IPE faculty members provide a rationale for creating IPE reforms, discuss successful strategies for innovative IPE programs, and share lessons learned for implementing effective assessment tools. A structure and process for determining outcomes of IPE models are presented and strategies for exploring shared education opportunities across health professions and for integrating top-down and bottom-up methods for IPE programs are given.

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    Creating a culture of thoughtful prescribing

    Medical Teacher
    Franson, Kari L., et al.

    2009 In the Netherlands 170,000 patients yearly fall victim to poor communication between health care professionals, with 44% of patients receiving inappropriate therapy as a result. Evidence indicates that this problem may be due to physicians learning to communicate therapeutic content by unstructured means during training.

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    The pharmacologic and clinical effects of medical cannabis

    Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
    Borgelt, Laura M., et al.

    2013 Cannabis, or marijuana, has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. Several types of cannabinoid medicines are available in the United States and Canada. Dronabinol (schedule III), nabilone (schedule II), and nabiximols (not U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved) are cannabis‐derived pharmaceuticals. Medical cannabis or medical marijuana, a leafy plant cultivated for the production of its leaves and flowering tops, is a schedule I drug, but patients obtain it through cannabis dispensaries and statewide programs. The effect that cannabinoid compounds have on the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) found in the brain can create varying pharmacologic responses based on formulation and patient characteristics. The cannabinoid Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol has been determined to have the primary psychoactive effects; the effects of several other key cannabinoid compounds have yet to be fully elucidated. Dronabinol and nabilone are indicated for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy and of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. However, pain and muscle spasms are the most common reasons that medical cannabis is being recommended. Studies of medical cannabis show significant improvement in various types of pain and muscle spasticity. Reported adverse effects are typically not serious, with the most common being dizziness. Safety concerns regarding cannabis include the increased risk of developing schizophrenia with adolescent use, impairments in memory and cognition, accidental pediatric ingestions, and lack of safety packaging for medical cannabis formulations. This article will describe the pharmacology of cannabis, effects of various dosage formulations, therapeutics benefits and risks of cannabis for pain and muscle spasm, and safety concerns of medical cannabis use.

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    Measuring learning from the TRC pharmacology E-Learning program

    British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
    Franson, Kari L., et al.

    2008 Clinical pharmacology at the Leiden University Medical Centre is primarily taught by the Teaching Resource Centre's (TRC) Pharmacology database. The TRC program contains schematic graphics using a unique icon language, explanation texts and feedback questions to explain pharmacology as it pertains to pathophysiology. Nearly each course of the curriculum has a chapter in the TRC database offered for self‐study. Since using the TRC program is not compulsory, the question remains whether students benefit from using it.

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  • Affiliations
    • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

    • American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

    • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

    • Association of Medical Educators in Europe

    • College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists – Founding member

    • Colorado Pharmacists Society

    • Dutch Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmacy

  • Accomplishments

    Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) in Pharmacy

    March 2019

    Rho Chi Lecture Award. Alpha Alpha chapter Creighton University

    February 2019

    Commended Poster

    Pharmacists’ perception of international PharmD (ITPD) training to meet local patient care needs. Academic Pharmacy Section, International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Annual Meeting, Glasgow, ScotlandSeptember 2018

    Walmart Scholar Mentor for Fiona H. Wong

    American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Annual Meeting, Boston, MassachusettsJuly 2018

    Member, Academy of Medical Educators University of Colorado School of Medicine

    Excellence in Instructional Development & Curriculum Design and Educational Administration & LeadershipApril 2018

  • Research Grants

    Determination of an optimal Cannabis dosing strategy that elicits physiological changes in mice.

    Skaggs School of Pharmacy Seed Grant,

    November 2018-June 2019 Co-Principal Investigators: N Reisdorph, K Kuhn, K Franson, M Wempe.

    Developing PHCC’s ambulatory care pharmacy services

    Primary Health Care Corporation, State of Qatar,

    September 2018-April 2019 Principal Investigator: JV Malhotra; Co-Investigator: KL . Franson.

    Egyptian Doctor of Pharmacy Degree development

    Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt,

    October 2017-August 2021 Principal Investigator: KL Franson; Co-Investigator: JV Malhotra.

    Developing experiential training at an acute care hospital

    Developing experiential training at an acute care hospital,

    September 2017 Principal Investigator: JV Malhotra; Co-Investigator: KL Franson.

    Planning grant for an Egyptian Doctor of Pharmacy Degree program

    Planning grant for an Egyptian Doctor of Pharmacy Degree program,

    May 2017 Principal Investigator: KL Franson; Co Investigator: JV Malhotra.

  • Selected Media Appearances

    Consumption of marijuana edibles rises amidst scarce research into their health impact

    PBS News Hour | 01/21/2019

    As more states legalize recreational use of marijuana, edible forms of the drug are also becoming increasingly popular. But little research has been done on potential complications of consuming the substance, and some scientists believe they can cause hallucinogenic reactions. Special correspondent Lori Jane Gliha of Rocky Mountain PBS reports on the controversial trend...

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    Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposure Among Colorado Children

    The New York Times | 07/25/2016

    Consistency of dosing and portion size remains a problem. Dr. Kari L. Franson, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, noted that edible marijuana, such as candy bars or brownies, typically contained several servings. “But what kid doesn’t eat an entire brownie?” she asked. “And you know the toddler doesn’t read the label.”...

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    Why are more women turning to medical marijuana?

    Today | 04/15/2016

    Marijuana-infused lotions and gels applied to the skin are said to relieve symptoms like cramps and headaches, and these “topicals” are twice as popular with women, particularly among baby boomers. But doctors question the efficacy of the products. NBC’s Morgan Radford reports for TODAY...

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    Can Whoopi Goldberg’s pot-infused bath soaks soothe menstrual cramps?

    PBS News Hour | 04/01/2016

    But psychopharmacologist Kari Franson of the University of Colorado, Denver, said taking a bath to soak up THC — the chemical that produces most of marijuana’s psychological effects — isn’t necessarily the most effective way to treat pain...

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    Marijuana Topicals Have Become Twice as Popular With Women as Men

    NBC News | 04/15/2016

    What’s behind the new topical marijuana phenomenon? They give pain relief without the high associated with the drug...

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