Focusing on diversity

Today, minorities account for 43% of Americans under 20 years of age, and it is projected that over the next two decades minority students will be almost 40% of the total college population, according to Academic Medicine. Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (COPHS) sees this growing population of scholars as an opportunity to enhance diversity in the field of pharmacy.

Improving health care outcomes is the foundation for Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ Diversity Enrichment Program. In 2005, Campbell’s School of Pharmacy recognized the need for cultural and ethnic diversity in the pharmacy profession to help eliminate health disparities among minority populations in North Carolina. The School of Pharmacy obtained a state grant to promote and stimulate interest in the field for minority students with the goal of increasing the number of qualified minority applicants to pharmacy school. The result was the Pharmacy Readiness & Enrichment Program (PREP).

Dr. Ronald Maddox, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences believes diversity in the pharmacy workplace must begin with diversity in the pharmacy classroom.

“The College of Pharmacy’s diversity program is designed to increase awareness, identify and train talent in underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities across North Carolina in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and clinical research.” The college has recently hired Toni Carthan to be the Coordinator for Diversity Recruitment and Retention to help maintain this commitment.

Carthan, most recently a Corporate Trainer, originally served as a public school teacher in southern California for several years. Continuing her love for education, she transitioned to higher education and served as an Assistant Registrar, Graduate Program Advisor and Financial Aid Officer at several major universities including Duke University, the University of Southern California and Western State College of Law. Desiring professional growth in the corporate setting, Carthan set her sights on Human Resources. As Workforce Development Advisor for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, she was instrumental in implementing their diversity initiative.

Carthan began her new role in the College a few weeks ago and has already hit the ground running. Besides, familiarizing herself with the campus and building relationships with current students, she has given several presentations at health and job fairs and classroom presentations at several universities about PREP.

“Not everyone realizes the various areas with the pharmacy profession,” said Carthan. “PREP is designed to prepare participants for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and provides a host of activities to educate students on the wide variety of career options available within the pharmacy profession.”

The goal for this year is to increase the enrollment in the PREP program. This translates into increasing the recruiting efforts. Pharmacy admissions counselors normally attend Health Fairs at targeted colleges and university campuses in the fall. This year they are looking at attending fairs that are offered in the fall and spring and other recruitment activities.

Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Professions is dedicated to promoting diversity. This commitment has resulted in establishing a diversity advisory board, cultural and sensitivity training for faculty, staff and students and the PREP Program.

Photo Copy: Toni Carthan, Coordinator for Diversity Recruitment and Retention