Posted on: February 13, 2020
Diversity and inclusivity are high priorities within higher education. Developing initiatives that enhance our ability to attract a more diverse student enrollment remains a focal point for Amy Grant, Pharm.D., MBA, associate dean for student affairs and diversity.
Grant points out that diversity does not refer solely to race. Diversity also includes gender, nationality, age, religion, sexual orientation and physical disabilities. “Patients don’t come in one shape and size,” says Grant. “It is incumbent on us as educators to help prepare our students to provide care to such a diverse population.”
Patients don’t come in one shape and size. It is incumbent on us as educators to help prepare our students to provide care to such a diverse population.
Amy Grant, Pharm.D., MBA Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity
Grant says patients build a stronger trust with health care providers they can relate to through similar experiences, whether it be ethnicity or cultural backgrounds. “We have made a concerted effort to have our student body reflect the patients they will eventually serve.”
The College of Pharmacy is actively working to build those experiences for student pharmacists through recruitment, admissions and training. Grant’s team seeks opportunities to engage with students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. “We take our program out to schools, with an emphasis in underserved areas where students may not have the chance to travel to, giving them presentations about what we can provide and about scholarship opportunities,” she says.
The college’s Student Government Association learns about socioeconomic diversity via service days supporting low-income families, along with other events such as health fairs, food drives and clothing collections for those in need.
Asia Johnson, P3 and current Student Government Association president for the College of Pharmacy, understands the benefit of having both a diverse student body and faculty. “Having that other perspective is important in group projects and in discussions and what we can learn from each other,” she says. “And our faculty is diverse not only in their backgrounds but also within their career paths which helps make students aware of career possibilities.”
Alumnus and donor Lindsay Cobbs, ‘92, hopes to help build diversity within the College of Pharmacy through an endowed fund he established in honor of his parents. The Elizabeth and James Cobbs Diversity Outreach Fund focuses on expanding career options for pharmacists and encouraging minority students to consider pharmacy as a career. “I know what it is like to walk in the door and be one of a minority in the room,” he says. “I feel it is important to help shape the future of the industry and to make others aware of how they can be successful by sharing opportunities with them.”