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APhA, OptumRx whet student interest in pharmacy career
October 28th, 2011
WASHINGTON – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and pharmacy benefit manager OptumRx have introduced "Pharmacy is Right for Me," an initiative to educate students in grades 8 to 12 about a career in pharmacy.
OptumRx and APhA kicked off the collaborative effort Thursday with an interactive forum in Washington, D.C., and the launch of the program's website, pharmacyforme.org. The forum was attended by science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education champions, leaders in the pharmacy field and health care executives at APhA's headquarters in the nation's capital.
Pharmacy is Right for Me aims to provide middle school and early high school students, their families and educators with information and resources about the diverse career opportunities in the pharmacy arena. Educational units on the history of pharmacy, groundbreaking discoveries and the challenges ahead are designed to provide teachers with classroom resources that spur student interest in pharmacy, science and medicine.
At the heart of the program is an interactive website with engaging, easy-to-read and useful features such as a self-assessment test dubbed "Is Pharmacy Right for You?", fun facts, career profiles and educational requirements needed for related careers. The site also has video testimonials from current and future pharmacists who explain why they chose pharmacy as their profession.
"The Pharmacy is Right for Me program is helping to increase young people's understanding and appreciation of the broad career opportunities that exist within the pharmacy profession," APhA executive vice president and CEO Thomas Menighan said in a statement. “Now more than ever, pharmacists play a vital role in working alongside patients and their health care providers to help people better manage their health conditions. Students across the country will require access to needed tools and resources if we wish to continue meeting our nation's needs and inspire youth to pursue careers as pharmacists.”
APhA received support for the program through an educational grant from Salix Pharmaceuticals Inc. The campaign and website content are guided by an advisory board of pharmacy leaders and experts from academia and the health care industry.
"We created Pharmacy is Right for Me to inspire students — particularly minorities and young people from underserved communities — to explore and learn about the diverse and innovative careers pharmacy has to offer," stated Jacqueline Kosecoff, chief executive officer of OptumRx. "Pharmacy is a vibrant and vital profession, and we're excited to engage the next generation of industry leaders using the tools on this site."
OptumRx provided the funding for the development and ongoing implementation of the program as part of its STEM and social responsibility commitment, which includes participation in Change the Equation (CTEq), a nonprofit CEO-led initiative. OptumRx is one of 110 CTEq member companies committed to transforming STEM learning in the United States.