Dr. Brenda Jamerson
Director, Clinical Research Center
Associate Professor of Clinical Research
BS, Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
PharmD, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy
Location: Hight House, Room 204
With a passion to work with youth, Brenda Jamerson, PharmD, is reaching beyond the classroom to inspire the next generation of students. The associate professor of clinical research and director of the Clinical Research Center at Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS) founded FreshLife, Inc, a non-profit organization, in 2002 as a youth centered program to help develop students’ life skills and provide exposure to future career opportunities. The mentoring program works primarily with minority students starting in sixth grade through early high school.
“These are vulnerable years in a child’s life,” explains Jamerson. “Through my personal experiences, I have seen children who can’t seem to find their way because they never envision what is possible for their life. I thought if just one person can reach out to youth during those teenage years and start working with them to channel their energy in a positive way it would make a huge difference for their future.”
FreshLife has worked with the Durham County Public School System and neighborhood churches the past few years to provide classes in life skills development. Students receive a foundation in leadership and character development to learn positive behaviors to improve themselves and their relationships with others. Students find out about various career paths and also receive exposure to a model that will help them achieve future career goals.
“A crowning moment for me was when a high school counselor told me that her student’s father said that out of all the classes his son was attending, the FreshLife program was the best course he was enrolled in,” says Jamerson. “I guess the positive behavioral traits were showing up at home.”
Jamerson’s involvement with FreshLife translates into why she wanted to work in academia. “I came to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences from the pharmaceutical industry seven years ago because I wanted to help youth discover their full potential,” she says. “This goes back to my childhood when I discovered science and was told what I could and couldn’t achieve by my teachers. There are limitations that some kids hear; I think these are well meaning adults but sometimes because of their pre-conceived ideas, limitations may be placed on certain youth.”
Jamerson also serves as a committee member on the Diversity Board of Advisors at CPHS. This initiative at the College promotes the recruitment, development and enrichment of a diverse faculty and student body.
“A lot of minority youth don’t understand the science behind the profession of pharmacy. We [the pharmacy profession] might be losing some of our best candidates to other health care degree programs because these individuals aren’t aware of the numerous opportunities this field has to offer,” says Jamerson. “Campbell is on the cutting edge of trying to make sure the exposure level is there and individuals are prepared to walk through the door that has been opened. This is one of the stages FreshLife is working toward. That is, reaching out within the community to help make sure individuals understand the career opportunities that are available to them.”