ARLINGTON, Va. — Last week, through the 26th Annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation Scholarship Program, the NACDS Foundation awarded $130,000 in scholarships to seven schools and colleges of pharmacy for their innovative and diverse educational programs which aim to advance patient care and public health. The 2021 recipients were celebrated and presented with their merit-based awards at a virtual ceremony hosted by the NACDS Foundation.
This year, the NACDS Foundation distributed five innovation-focused awards in the amount of $20,000 each in order to fund patient-centered, community-based programs or other curricular innovations.
Additionally, two diversity scholarship winners were selected to each receive $15,000 grants. These scholarships encourage and support educational diversity by awarding institutions based on their current or proposed diversity programs to advance pharmacy education in under-represented populations.
The awardees of the 2021 NACDS Foundation innovation track scholarships include the following initiatives:
- Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy will organize inter-professional COVID-19 vaccination strike teams, consisting of vaccinators, Spanish-language translators and staff, in socially vulnerable areas throughout Southern California.
- South University School of Pharmacy will develop a community academic partnership to expand migratory and seasonal agricultural workers’ access to public health services and to enhance student pharmacists’ cultural competency.
- Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will incorporate a mandatory Mental Health First Aid training course for student pharmacists, preparing them to identify and support individuals who are experiencing mental health challenges.
- Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health will implement a cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention program so that students can provide telehealth services to high-risk, underserved patients.
- Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic University will engage local non-profit organizations and a team of pharmacists and student pharmacists to enhance awareness of vaccinations; to address vaccine hesitancy; and to provide appointment-based vaccinations for patients in under-represented racial and ethnic communities.
The awardees of the 2021 NACDS Foundation diversity track scholarships include the following initiatives:
- Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences will enact a student-led initiative to mentor Black and Latinx students in their first and second years of undergraduate pre-pharmacy education. Students will also be provided opportunities to engage with community pharmacists of similar backgrounds.
- Marshall University School of Pharmacy will enhance the representation of minorities in the pharmacy profession through mentorship of undergraduate students; will provide academic assistance through relevant science and math courses and workshops to under-represented minority students; and will host service projects supporting local youth, under-represented minorities and individuals over the age of 65.
The NACDS Foundation Scholarship Program is designed to fund prospective projects that have the potential to significantly advance patient care. Accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy were asked to submit applications for projects that may include community-based research projects and patient-centered coursework, or other innovative curricula.
This year, the NACDS Foundation received more than 40 scholarship applications from schools and colleges of pharmacy.
“Thanks to the outstanding support of our generous benefactors, schools and colleges of pharmacy nationwide continue to have the opportunity to pilot innovative, community-based programs and develop patient-centered coursework,” said NACDS Foundation president Sara Roszak. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shed light on the health inequities and disparities that exist in our country and disproportionately affect some of the most at-risk populations facing health threats and limited access to health and wellness – and these upcoming educational initiatives are helping to serve as solutions to these critical issues.
“We greatly appreciate our sponsors’ unwavering commitment to the Annual NACDS Foundation Scholarship Program. Their contributions allow the NACDS Foundation to continue its ongoing commitment to advancing patient care through pharmacy education by supporting the next generation of public health champions.”
Since the inception of the NACDS Foundation Scholarship Program, more than $4.5 million in scholarships have been provided for pharmacy education thanks to the generous support of the program’s benefactors.