$1.5M will aid efforts to close diversity gap, improve health outcomes

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The College of Pharmacy has been awarded $1,527,279 over five years from The McKesson Foundation to help increase the diversity of the pharmacy workforce and improve overall health outcomes for vulnerable populations.

The funds will support two initiatives: Pharmacy Community College Connect (PC3) and the McKesson Foundation Health Equity Seminar Series.

Research demonstrates that a diverse health care workforce is necessary to meet the needs of a diverse population, and that people of color face challenges in accessing equitable health care. While gains in racial and gender diversification have been seen in the field of pharmacy, the workforce does not yet fully reflect the patient populations it serves.

PC3 will build a bridge with students from Michigan community and tribal colleges, aiming to attract these students to careers in pharmacy. Accepted students will travel to Ann Arbor twice for 10-week summer programs. The students will receive academic advising, preparation for pharmacy prerequisite classes, and exposure to all that a career in pharmacy can offer.

PC3 students will receive a stipend and living expenses during their summer participation for both years, and funds for travel to and from Ann Arbor. The students will have no out-of-pocket costs. In addition to the summer programs, students will be supported year-round with virtual mentoring events, seminars and more.

“We are excited to have the support of the McKesson Foundation in bringing forward this innovative program that allows us to support students from two-year institutions, and especially those underrepresented in the pharmacy workforce, in partnership with those institutions,” said Regina McClinton, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We believe that by building a community of support around these students that their likelihood of success is strongly enhanced.”

Guided by input from Black community leaders from Detroit, Flint and Dearborn, Hispanic community leaders from Detroit and Ypsilanti, and health practitioners from rural Michigan communities, the McKesson Foundation Health Equity Seminar Series will explore disparities in health care for affected communities.

Topics addressed will include social and community context relative to health equity, health care access and quality, food insecurity impacts on health disparities, environmental factors in health equity, disability and injury impacts on health equity, racism in health care, and rural health care.

Speakers, including local community leaders and nationally recognized authorities on health disparities, will meet with groups of students, faculty, and college and university leaders.

U-M is one of five U.S. pharmacy schools to be awarded a grant from the McKesson Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporate foundation dedicated to advancing health outcomes for all.

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