UT College of Pharmacy Establishes Minority Center of Excellence

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The UT College of Pharmacy received a three-year, $2.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund a Minority Center of Excellence.

The University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy received a three-year, $2.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health & Human Services to fund a Minority Center of Excellence.

The Minority Center of Excellence will continue to foster the UT College of Pharmacy’s success in recruiting under-represented minority students, faculty and staff, while also improving educational activities related to minority health concerns. The UT College of Pharmacy has more than doubled its percentage of minority students in the last 10 years and has the highest percentage (17 percent) of African-American students of any non-minority pharmacy school. Additionally, the college has tripled its number of minority faculty within the last three years.

“The UT Health Science Center is experiencing great success in regard to minority recruitment and retention,” said Dick Gourley, PharmD, dean, UT College of

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Pharmacy. “There has also been an increase in interdisciplinary research within the minority community. We are excited about the new center as it will open up even more opportunities for us.”

The minority center will provide an array of workshops, diversity programs and resources to help improve academic performance, training and retention, as well as understanding of minority health issues. Emphasis will also be placed on research, said James Eoff, PharmD, executive associate dean and principal investigator of the grant.

“The UT Center for Health Disparities serves as the nucleus of the minority health research efforts on campus, and it has a significant number of ongoing research projects on minority health,” said Dr. Eoff. “We hope to collaborate and expand on those projects.”

Another goal is to establish linkages with other institutions of higher education and local school districts. By doing so, the college will increase the quality of minorities recruited, and augment the number of minorities filling post-doctoral training and graduate program positions, residencies, fellowships and eventually, faculty and industry positions, said Dr. Eoff.

“We want to become a national leader in educating and preparing minorities for professional practice, as well for faculty positions and as researchers in the pharmaceutical industry,” he said. “That will be the ultimate evaluation of our success — how well we transition minorities from the classroom and the clinic into positions of leadership in the profession.”