Diversity Committee

Welcome! The Diversity Committee is open to all pre-professional and professional pharmacy students, graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. The group meets monthly during the academic year.

CONTACTS: Interested students should contact the committee's faculty advisors Dr. Adrian Hernandez at adrian.hernandez-diaz@uconn.edu or Dr. Chinenye Anyanwu at chinenye.anyanwu@uconn.edu.

Current Initiatives

Students of Color (SoC) Mentorship Program

Students of Color (SoC) Mentorship Program

The Students of Color (SoC) Mentorship program is a pilot program launched by the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Career Development, and Alumni Foundation. The program aims to connect students with alumni to support their career/professional development needs while fostering a sense of community and optimism as they navigate being a student in a predominantly white institution (PWI). Five departments/schools participate in the pilot program including the School of Pharmacy, School of Allied Health Science, Human Development and Family Studies department, Digital Media and Design, and the Marine Sciences department. Faculty leads at the respective schools/departments are responsible for overseeing the mentors/mentees and creating programming centered on professional development that both students and alumni would benefit from (e.g., interview prep, personal branding, networking, career shifts/changes, etc.).

There are currently 10 School of Pharmacy students participating in the pilot program, who are matched with an alum who serves as their mentor for one-on-one support.

There were also several professional development events conducted this school year to provide students and alum with practical tips to having a successful pharmacy career. In 2021-2022 we had 4 speakers.

Plans are underway to develop programming for the 2022-2023 academic school year. Members of the Diversity Committee are working with their faculty advisor to build a list of topics and speakers to invite in 2022-2023. 

Climate Assessment Project

The School of Pharmacy's Diversity Committee has been engaged in efforts to conduct a climate assessment project that will involve administering a school wide survey, open to all students, faculty, and staff, and focus groups (for students only). The purpose of this project is to understand students’, faculty, and staff members’ perceptions of the School of Pharmacy’s climate as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The committee began work on this effort during the Fall 2020 semester and is excited to get it off the ground! One of the primary catalysts for this work was the 2020 UConn Racial Microaggressions Study. As a result, several schools and departments on campus began undertaking efforts to assess the climate in their respective schools. What sets our efforts apart from others however is the use of both surveys and focus groups to understand the experiences of members of the UConn School of Pharmacy community. Conducting diversity climate assessments are a necessary first step to understand the extent to which institutions truly value and prioritize inclusivity and create a system for institutional accountability.

Ultimately, the findings from this project will be shared as a report with the school and will include recommendations on DEI specific strategies for the Dean and school to consider. The committee is awaiting IRB approval and planning to begin work at the start of the 2022-2023 academic school year. While participation in this project is strictly voluntary, it is our hope that members of the School of Pharmacy community will see the importance of this work and prioritize sharing their perspectives. Several students, alumni, faculty, and staff have been engaged and supportive of this project and we look forward to their continued support.

 

AACP Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute

In an effort to build capacity among the committee, four members participated in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute hosted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in January 2022. During the 3-day workshop, members advanced their knowledge of core DEI concepts, connected with students and faculty from other schools, and identified promising practices to inform development of the Diversity Committee’s Action Plan. One of the members who participated shared the following about her experience:

“The institute was a great opportunity to learn what other universities are implementing or have implemented into their DEI action plans. The pre-work involved looking over your university’s strategic plan. This helped with implementing DEI initiatives that are tailored to your university. The mixed cohorts gave an opportunity to talk with students and professors from across the country, sharing ideas and creating networks to further the initiatives of DEI. At the end of each day, we had the opportunity to meet with the student liaisons from our university and our faculty advisor to de-brief about the content of the conference.

My personal favorite part of the conference was the student testimonials. They spoke about their experiences at their universities. The best parts, the struggles, and how they navigated them. They spoke candidly about facing microaggressions from faculty and staff and how to be your own advocate. It can be scary and uncomfortable, but those are the defining moments in life that shape you into the individual you are today”

Diversity Committee Sponsored Lunch & Learns

In 2021 the Diversity Committee Diversity Committee  sponsored its first Lunch and Learn  featuring Rita Lewis, MPH, Deputy Director of Clinical Quality Improvement in the Clinical Affairs Division at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). Her presentation included the importance of health centers, the role pharmacists play in community health centers, and the linkages of pharmacy and clinical quality. Students learned about opportunities to engage with NACHC through internship opportunities and professional development events.

The Committee looks forward to planning more events that are open to the entire pharmacy student body.

Student Resources

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at the School of Pharmacy