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Albany College of Pharmacy receives landmark gift from The Community Foundation for the Capital Region
   December 17, 2003


Albany College of Pharmacy’s cytotechnology program has received a $10,000 grant from The Community Foundation for the Capital Region to purchase a state-of-the-art microscopic digital projection and computer system that will greatly enhance instruction and training, President James J. Gozzo, Ph.D., announced.

The grant is the first from The Bender Scientific Fund of The Community Foundation for the Capital Region, endowed in September 2002 with a $1.6 million gift from the Bender Scientific Laboratory. The grant will allow the purchase of a microscope projection and computer capture system, an important step as the college expands its cytotechnology program.

“We are gratified to receive this support from The Community Foundation for the Capital Region,” Dr. Gozzo said. “Upgrading our equipment as we expand our cytotechnology program is critical in order to meet the demands of a growing student body while continuing to deliver the same high-quality individualized instruction that has become a hallmark of this program.”

Cytotechnology is the science of examining cells. It is a vital tool in detecting and fighting diseases such as cancer. Albany College of Pharmacy offers a one-year post-baccalaureate cytotechnology certificate as well as a bachelor of science in biomedical technology with a concentration in cytotechnology.

The cytotechnology program has existed in the Capital Region since 1963 – it moved to the college from Albany Medical Center in 2002. It is one of only 46 such programs nationwide. The program has graduated two-thirds of the nearly 70 cytotechnologists working in the area today.

With 12 current students, Albany College of Pharmacy already has one of the nation’s largest cytotechnology programs. It plans to expand to 20 students over the next two years as it strives to meet workplace shortages in this vital front-line laboratory profession. Congress is considering a bill, The Medical Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act of 2003 (H.R. 623), designed to address shortages in a variety of laboratory professions, including cytotechnology.

“This program has consistently supplied the needs of the surrounding community for well-trained cytotechnologists,” said Jean Taylor, the program director as well as a graduate. “Each year, graduates of this program fill vacancies in our region, which has allowed this area to maintain adequate staffing levels for this vital allied health profession while many other areas of the country are experiencing critical shortages.”

With the new equipment, students in a lecture setting will be able to view slides from a variety of cases in real time. It also will allow the capture of millions of images to be used in student research projects, and will allow faculty to develop improved testing and study materials that incorporate these archival images from glass slides into new learning modalities. Albany College of Pharmacy will be one of only a handful of cytotechnology programs in the nation with the equipment to facilitate these capabilities.

The inaugural grant from The Bender Scientific Fund is squarely in line with the objectives established when the fund was endowed, said Judy Lyons, president and CEO of The Community Foundation for the Capital Region. Bender Scientific Laboratories has been a long-time supporter of the area’s cytotechnology program, and the fund was created specifically to support and promote discovery and development in medicine, science and technology.

“This is a perfect opportunity for us to fulfill the mission set forward when The Bender Scientific Fund was established,” Ms. Lyons said. “The need in our community for Albany College of Pharmacy’s cytotechnology program, with its outstanding history of academic achievements, to expand and continue to support our regional health care requirements is critical. We are proud to be able to support this worthy academic program.”

The Community Foundation for the Capital Region is a collection of permanent charitable funds created by people who want to improve the quality of life in the four-county area surrounding New York state’s capital. Founded in 1968, it is one of more than 600 community foundations nationwide and, with charitable endowments of more than $27 million, donates approximately $2 million in grants each year.

Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy is the oldest pharmacy school in New York state and one of the only private, independent pharmacy schools in the United States. The college has a long history of serving its students and health care professionals as one of the premier pharmacy colleges in the nation. The college now enters a new era in health care with a focus not only on pharmacy, but also on pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical technology and research.

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