From left to right, Roy Armstrong, market pharmacy director from Houston, and Oscar L. Ortiz, R.Ph., pharmacy supervisor in Corpus Christi, give a $10,000 grant to support increasing diversity among professional student pharmacists to Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., professor and founding dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.

From left to right, Roy Armstrong, market pharmacy director from Houston, and Oscar L. Ortiz, R.Ph., pharmacy supervisor in Corpus Christi, give a $10,000 grant to support increasing diversity among professional student pharmacists to Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., professor and founding dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.

Walgreens awarded a $10,000 grant to the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy Oct. 24 to fund the college’s 2013-2014 scholarships, programming and curriculum initiatives to support increasing diversity among professional student pharmacists.

Roy Armstrong, market pharmacy director from Houston, and Oscar L. Ortiz, R.Ph., pharmacy supervisor in Corpus Christi, presented the grant on Oct. 24 to Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., professor and founding dean of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.

“We are honored to have Walgreens’ support as we continue to promote cultural competence in our professional student pharmacists,” Reddy said. “Our college is actively engaged in finding new ways to embrace diversity and to understand the health care needs of the people we serve.”

The competitive gift will support the Walgreens Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award, Walgreens Diversity Scholarship, diversity programs and inclusion curriculum efforts.

Margaret “Nikki” Dang, fourth-year professional student pharmacist, recently received the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Dang as a contribution to her education, but she instead shared it with the Cultural Diversity Committee as a way to give back to the organization.

“I hope the money will be put to good use for diversity programs at the college,” Dang said. “If this donation brings more awareness to the organization and its purpose to serve the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, I think it will be great.”

Professional student pharmacists are taught to recognize beliefs, values, language preferences and health practices in multiple cultural perspectives, as well as seek an understanding and respect for another person’s culture. They discuss differences in cultural attitudes toward medicine, illness, gender of health care professionals and nonverbal communication, along with considering belief systems and their impact on patient care as it relates to pharmacy.

Margaret “Nikki” Dang, fourth-year professional student pharmacist, recently received the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship and donated half of the $1,000 scholarship to the Cultural Diversity Committee.

Margaret “Nikki” Dang, fourth-year professional student pharmacist, recently received the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship and donated half of the $1,000 scholarship to the Cultural Diversity Committee. She gives the donation to the adviser Eva Bennett and Leslie Currie, director of institutional advancement.

As part of this grant, Walgreens requires the college to report on how the annual funds were used to support diversity initiatives throughout the year.

Last week, the Cultural Diversity Committee celebrated Dia de Los Muertos, showcasing the traditional Hispanic Holiday of the Day of the Dead. The students shared food with the community and participated in activities, including Loteria (Mexican Bingo).

The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy sponsors the International Extravaganza for students and the community to obtain a glimpse of some of the cultural traditions at the Santa Gertrudis School. In spring 2013, more than 300 people participated as many cultures were represented – Europe, Asia, India, the Islands, Mexico and South America. Students exchanged and shared an understanding of the health benefits of ethnic foods, shared multilingual lyrics and music, and played multicultural games originating from different parts of the world.

Walgreens has donated nearly $50,000 to the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy since 2010. Since 2008, Walgreens has donated more than $1 million annually to support diversity initiatives at schools and colleges of pharmacy nationwide.

Founded in 2006, the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy is a highly successful, top-50 ranked pharmacy school and the first and only professional program located south of San Antonio. The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy doctorate of pharmacy degree, or Pharm.D., is a four-year professional-level degree. The curriculum offers the education and experiential training that provide professional student pharmacists with the knowledge, skills and ability required of the pharmacy practitioner in the 21st century. 

Walgreens gift strategy is three-fold: to increase the availability of education assistance for underrepresented students enrolled in pharmacy programs; to support the development of pipeline and recruitment programs targeting minority students; and to support awareness initiatives and programs that focus on building a diverse, supportive and inclusive culture.

— Cheri Shipman

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