PREP students leave Campbell with warm memories and fierce determination

Buies Creek, N.C. – From that first Saturday’s barbecue, there was something magical about the Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences 2010 PREP class. Gabrielle Morgan, director of Admissions and Student Affairs for the college, said the connection was immediate.

“You could just tell the students felt an immediate sense of family,” she said. “They seemed to get it, that at Campbell we are who we say we are.”

The Pharmacy Readiness and Enrichment Program (PREP), held May 15-22 at Campbell, is a week-long diversity enrichment program targeting underrepresented and disadvantaged undergraduate students. It provides intense preparatory instruction for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), professional development training and active learning modules.

PREP is a valuable recruiting tool to attract the best and the brightest students to Campbell University. Morgan said. Additionally, PREP fulfills another goal of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences’ mission and that is to increase the diversity among health care professionals and to help eliminate the disparity in care that patients receive, not only in North Carolina but throughout the country.

“This program is really the epitome of the Campbell University message,” said Morgan. “We are a family, a faith-based institution that believes in the value of the individual and the profound impact of a team working together to improve everyone’s quality of life.”

Dr. Mark Moore, associate dean of Admissions and Student Affairs, underscored the point at the gala for the PREP program held Friday night at the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center.

“As a member of the North Carolina Alliance for Health Professionals Diversity, we strategize about what an ideal health care system would look like,” Moore said. “The answer is sitting right here in this room. You are the future of my profession, the link to achieving better patient outcomes if we work together as a team.”

A total of 65 students participated in the week-long pipeline program that consisted of intense study, workshops, lectures and social activities. The students represented a wide range of ethnicities, including Hispanic, Asian, African, African American and Caucasian and a variety of locations from Chicago, Illinois to Houston, Texas. Campbell’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences students, staff and faculty served as teachers and mentors to the students. They also received advice and encouragement from some of the most prominent members of the pharmacy profession such as Lt. Commander Timothy T. Thompson, Sr., a Campbell University PharmD graduate who is employed in the Medical Service Corps of the United States Navy. Thompson, who served in Afghanistan caring for patients and mentoring pharmacists, said Campbell has always set the standard.

“You students are tomorrow’s leaders. Your backgrounds are diverse, your faces are different and your paths may vary, but the one thing you all have in common is your desire to be a pharmacist in this program,” Thompson said. “Go out and educate others on the disparities in health care, tell them about this PREP program and tell them about Campbell because I assure you that your accomplishments will inspire them to reach for the stars.”

Illustrating Thompson’s point was PREP student Mary Biggs who, along with other students, gave her testimony at Friday night’s gala. A nontraditional student, Biggs attends Fayetteville State University and is just now acting on a desire she has held for 25 years.

“Twenty-five years ago programs like this didn’t exist, so you young people sitting here tonight, you are truly blessed to be in this PREP program,” said Biggs. “From that first day, I was overwhelmed with the sensation of family unity. Failure was not an option here. PREP gave me the drive to go forward. I feel this experience has given me a better chance of fulfilling my dream of becoming a 2015 Campbell University pharmacy grad!”

Photo Copy: Mary Biggs, of Fayetteville State University, speaks at the conclusion of Campbell University’s PREP program.