A native of Laurel, Neb., Dr. Olsen was born in Osmond, Neb. He is the son of the late Melvin and Betty Olsen of Laurel. Betty, 90, still lives in Laurel. He is a 1973 graduate of Laurel High School. His wife, Theresa Smith Olsen, is from Aurora, Neb.
Dr. Olsen will begin Jan. 7, pending approval of his appointment from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A 1980 alumnus of the UNMC College of Pharmacy, Dr. Olsen was on the college’s faculty from 1993 to 2015. He is a native Nebraskan and a 1977 graduate of Wayne State College.
"We are confident that the ongoing surge in momentum at our College of Pharmacy will continue under Dr. Olsen, a national leader in pharmacy sciences, practice and education," said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. "We are delighted to welcome him back to UNMC."
Dele Davies, M.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, concurred: "Dr. Olsen was one of our top pharmacy faculty members for more than 20 years, but now he also brings to the job the perspective of having been a sitting dean at a peer institution."
Dr. Olsen succeeds Courtney Fletcher, Pharm.D., who oversaw the rise of the college as a research powerhouse, and the planning, construction and opening of the UNMC Center for Drug Discovery and Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education. Dr. Fletcher will remain on faculty and continue his research.
During his more than two decades on the UNMC faculty, Dr. Olsen rose to chair of pharmacy practice, and was named full professor based primarily on a robust research portfolio - while also earning the college’s Distinguished Teacher Award multiple times.
At Arkansas, Dr. Olsen led a pharmacy school with approximately 480 students, 160 employees, including 13 residents, 22 graduate students and 72 faculty. The college also operates the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center and its Evidence-Based Prescription Drug Program (EBRx). He brings with him valuable executive experience in research, education, budgeting and alumni relations and development. He also was a critical care specialist for the UAMS Clinical Enterprise.
"I am honored to have been entrusted with this responsibility and am excited about the days ahead," Dr. Olsen said. "I believe my background in pharmacy education, clinical practice, scholarship and administration has prepared me for the unique leadership challenges and opportunities presented with this position."
An expert in critical-care medicine, he served consecutive terms on the Board of Regents of the American College of Critical Care Medicine. He currently serves as chancellor of that organization, the first pharmacist to do so.
Dr. Gold thanked UNMC’s search committee, led by Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., dean of the College of Allied Health Professions, for its work toward finding a new pharmacy dean: "We are very grateful to Dean Meyer, and the entire search committee, for expediting this process and bringing four remarkable finalist candidates forward," he said.
About the UNMC College of Pharmacy
--50 faculty, 240 Pharm.D. students, and 60 graduate students.
--The college is ranked 25th, in the top 20 percent, among 125 colleges of pharmacy in the nation by US News & World Report.
--The college's research funding from all sources places it among the top 10 in the nation.
--The college ranks No. 4 out of all colleges and schools of pharmacy in the U.S. in NIH research funding per FTE faculty and has been in the top 10 in this measure for the past nine years.
--Realized a 99.5 percent increase in NIH funding in the past 10 years.
--Ranks No. 11 out of the more than 145 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the U.S. in terms of NIH research funding.
--Averaged 98.6 percent over the past five years for pharmacy students passing the licensure exam on their first attempt, one of the highest pass rates in the country.
--Increased annual grant submissions by 162 percent, annual publications by 53 percent, and annual invention notifications by 93 percent.
--Became the first college of pharmacy in the U.S. to develop an affiliation with the Chinese Scholarship Council for the Pharm.D. program and the first to graduate a CSC student.
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