Research suggests that health care outcomes and access to health care improves when providers are culturally competent and ethnically diversified. In 2005, minority registered pharmacists represented only four percent of the practicing pharmacists in the state of North Carolina and as many as 45 out of 100 counties in the state were without minority pharmacists.
Recognizing the need for cultural and ethnic diversity in the profession, Campbell University obtained a state grant to promote and stimulate interest in the field of pharmacy for minority students with the goal of increasing the number of qualified minority applicants to pharmacy school. The grant was used to create a program called the Pharmacy Readiness and Enrichment program (PREP) which relies upon strong relationships with partner institutions Central Carolina Community College, Fayetteville State University, Shaw University and the University of Carolina at Pembroke. These institutions recognize and encourage minority students to participate in Campbell's PREP program, a week-long summer camp held at Campbell designed to expose participants to pharmacy career options and prepare them for the Pharmacy College Admissions test.
A total of 35 students, ranging from college sophomores to graduates and including African Americans, Native Americans, Africans, Asian, Hispanic, Indian and Indonesian students, were accepted to the summer camp. Minimum requirements for the camp include 40 semester hours and a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale
One of the students, Jude Ude, who is originally from Nigeria, said his reasons for wanting to participate are very personal.
"I was ready for my first year of college when I found out my dad was sick back in Nigeria," Ude said. "The hospital system in Nigeria wasn't that great and he was given the wrong medications and eventually passed away. That touched me so much because people in my country cannot get the right medications."
Ude decided to go to school at Temple University in Philadelphia and take business management courses. He worked for Prudential Financial, but he couldn't put aside his concern for his people and a growing interest in pharmacy.
"I looked online for pharmacy schools that were located in smaller metropolitan areas and Campbell University kept hitting me in the face," he said. "I think it is what God wants for me."
Ude came to Campbell as an undergraduate and wants to get into pharmacy school. "Even if I don't get into pharmacy school I will continue working in clinical research," he said.
PREP students will learn about pharmacy career fields from current students, alumni and other professionals. Students will also participate in a biochemistry seminar presented by the faculty sponsor, Dr. Darryl Bing, of Shaw University. In addition, they will receive preparation tips for the admissions process, as well as participate in activities which will enhance their interviewing skills. They will also have the opportunity to be mentored by leaders of the school, as well as state and local leaders in the profession.
"We are committed to this program and we plan to expand our partnership with other institutions," said Dr. Mark Moore, assistant dean of Student Affairs and Admissions for the School of Pharmacy. "The health care profession needs this important service and most of all the patients need it."