More Than Our Enemy: Making Space for the Microbiome in Pharmacy Education

  • Sarah P Collier Lipscomb University
  • Abby J Weldon William Carey University
  • Jessica L Johnson William Carey University
Keywords: microbiome, pharmacomicrobiomics, curriculum, and microbiology


The microbiome is the collection of commensal microorganisms along with their genomes inhabiting the human body. Despite the many known beneficial effects of these microbes on human health, the 2016 ACPE Standards for Doctor of Pharmacy curricula describe Medical Microbiology in Appendix 1 with a pathogen-centered focus. Over the last twenty years, evolving biotechnology has enabled a deeper understanding of the microbiome in the context of both wellness and disease. Retail stores are allocating increasing shelf space to commercial probiotic products, while the approach to PharmD training on the selection and use of these natural care products remains static, creating a disproportionate footprint between PharmD curricula and consumer markets. Looking to the future of patient care, we brief pharmacy educators on the current evidence and invite discussion around a proposed revision to the 2025 ACPE Standards that would add language recognizing the beneficial role of the commensal microbiota and expanding therapeutic applications of microbiome supplementation. We suggest a variety of opportunities within Doctor of Pharmacy curricula as leverage points for including relevant aspects of the microbiome in the training of future pharmacists.


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Received 2022-01-06
Accepted 2022-02-28
Published 2022-03-03