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Dhiren Thakker, Ph.D., and his wife, Kailas Thakker, Ph.D.

Four years ago, former Interim Dean Dhiren Thakker, Ph.D., and his wife, Kailas Thakker, Ph.D., made a gift to initiate the Global Pharmacy Scholarships (GPS) Program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in an effort to improve health around the world and inform pharmacy practice at home.

“Giving our students a global experience is a passion of mine,” Dhiren Thakker said. “It is my hope that their experience in the GPS program will be transformative, opening their hearts to the health-care challenges of people who are less fortunate and their minds to learning from the rich diversity of people and cultures around the globe.”

The mission of the GPS program is to enable students to learn about health care issues around the world; expose students to different cultures and healthcare systems; extend scholarship opportunities available to students; and develop the next generation of global leaders in pharmacy. Students going abroad also catalyze future collaborative research and practice-based efforts with other academic institutions and organizations worldwide.

“The GPS program allows our students to experience other cultures and translate their learning outcomes back home to their local communities,” said David Steeb, director of global engagement at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

For the 2020-21 academic year, 55 students were accepted as GPS scholars.

To help secure the future of the GPS program, Dhiren and Kailas Thakker are issuing a special challenge. If 100 people make a gift to the Dhiren and Kailas Thakker Global Pharmacy Scholarship Fund during GiveUNC, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s day of giving, they will give an additional $250,000.

“The students say these experiences have transformed their outlook on their careers and life. That is the very essence of this program! We must do everything possible to sustain and grow this life-changing program,” Dhiren Thakker said.

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