ARLINGTON, Va.— NACDS remains committed to directly addressing disparities in health care and shedding light on those Americans who face a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 and other disease. In 2020, NACDS created the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Awareness (IDEA) Task Force to identify and pursue opportunities to bring about progress in these critical areas.
As a part of this longstanding commitment – and through NACDS’ inclusion, diversity and equity program – NACDS has united with Elizabeth Seton High School and their Pharmacy Technician Program to prepare students for careers in the healthcare profession. Located in Bladensburg, MD, Elizabeth Seton High School is an all-female college preparatory school with its student population composed of seventy-two percent racial and ethnic minorities.
The Elizabeth Seton Pharmacy Technician Program offers students basic knowledge about the practice of pharmacy, skills in pharmacology and the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacy technician.
Through the innovative program, these young women have the opportunity to work as externs with community-based and hospital pharmacies in the surrounding Metro DC area. Upon completion of externships, students are eligible to apply for Maryland State certification as a Pharmacy Technician.
Four NACDS member company pharmacies are currently collaborating in the community externship program, including CVS Health, Safeway Pharmacies (a subsidiary of Albertsons Companies), Weis Markets Inc. and Walgreen Co.
NACDS is dedicated to expanding the initiative to include additional member pharmacies as community partners; cultivating meaningful community partnerships that strengthen the pipeline for diverse, skilled professionals to enter the pharmacy workforce; and helping shape the future for licensed pharmacy technicians in the community pharmacy space.
“It takes a special person to be a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician. You come into contact with a lot of people, a lot of sick people, a lot of people who have concerns, a lot of people who are scared, but it is those people who trust the pharmacist and the pharmacy technician — who rely on you — to guide them, to talk to them [and] to help them leave that store before they take their own healthcare into their own hands,” said Christie Boutte, senior vice president of reimbursement, innovation and advocacy at NACDS, during the Elizabeth Seton High School White Coat Ceremony.
“The pharmacist is most often the first person patients see when they need help because they are readily accessible … Whether your path leads you to becoming a pharmacist, a doctor, a nurse, know that this is the first step in being a very key part of the healthcare team.”