School of Pharmacy Receives Gift to Support Technology-Enhanced Learning

Picture of Dr.Portaro“The Technology we need to advance our profession is available, we need to embrace it now,” says Denis Portaro, PharmD (’71), JD, past chair of the School’s Board of Councilors.

Portaro and his wife, Sandra, have made a substantial gift to the School expressly to support technology-enhanced learning. Having received his law degree through an online program, Portaro saw the power of distance learning firsthand.

“With an online course you have access to the leading thinkers in your field,” says Portaro. “It’s analagous to today’s pharmacy students having access to their classroom lectures online, since most are video captured, allowing students to revisit them at their convenience and to focus on what’s being said in class rather than on writing notes.”

With dispensing becoming ever more automated, Portaro sees this as a time when the profession needs to make haste, establishing the pharmacist’s clinical credentials.

Associate Professor Jeffery Goad, the newly named Vice Chair for Continuing Professional Development, Credentialing and Distance Education, is doing just that by expanding the School’s professional development activities with a decided preference toward distance courses. While the School will continue to offer popular face-to-face programs – like the annual Winter Retreat in January and the Hawaii course in August – Goad is putting together a roster that will provide working pharmacists with information on advances in research, technology and practice. Courses will be offered completely online or provided primarily online complemented by a face-to-face module.

“Jeff’s project is exactly the kind of thing we need to advance the profession, and give the mass of working pharmacists an opportunity to be gain knowledge and skills to take advantage of emerging revenue sources,” says Portaro. “I think it could radically change the face of continuing education, from something viewed as onerous and obligatory to something viewed as essential.”

The new offerings will cover a wide range of topics such as travel medicine, immunization and medication therapy management. The Portaro gift jumpstarts the new professional development opportunities at the School. Eventually, it will add features that further enhance the profession, like a credentialing center.

“With the automation clock ticking very fast, it seems like a now or never situation. We are delighted to be able to help in this way,” says Portaro.

To learn more about School of Pharmacy continuing professional development, visit

Caption: Dean Vanderveen with Sandra and Denis Portaro who have made a substantial gift to support technology-enhanced learning.