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Brittany Jennings
August 6, 2021



UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Asheville-based Pharm.D. students Haley Simkins and Brandyn Wilcox have been named North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Scholars.

The NC AHEC Scholars Program, part of the National AHEC Organization, recruits, trains, and supports a diverse group of students from across the state, creating a multidisciplinary team of health professionals committed to both community service and the transformation of health care in North Carolina.

“The NC AHEC Scholars Program focuses on interprofessional teams, community engagement, leadership, and diversity which are important values for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. This program will provide Haley and Brandyn with additional unique skills and showcase the profession of pharmacy to participants from other disciplines,” said Mollie Ashe Scott, Pharm.D., Regional Associate Dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Asheville Campus.

Program educational and training activities will support six core topics, including: interprofessional education; behavioral health integration; social determinants of health; cultural competency; practice transformation; and current and emerging health issues.

Simkins and Wilcox will participate in the scholars program in Western North Carolina – the Mountain Area Health Education Centers (MAHEC) – along with 33 of their peers.

Meet the scholars:

Haley Simkins
Class year: ESOP Class of 2023
Hometown: Clayton, New Jersey
Q: How did it feel to be selected for this program?
A: When I was notified that I had been selected for the AHEC Scholars program, I was so ecstatic. As I was going through the application and interview process, and learning more about the program and its aims, it felt like a perfect fit for me based on my current interests in areas like interdisciplinary care, ambulatory care practice, and community outreach, so being notified that I had been selected for this opportunity really solidified for me that I am on the right track.
Q: Why is participating in this program important to you?
A: This program highlights some really important topics that we sometimes only scratch the surface of in didactic classes. It also gives us the opportunity to sharpen skills that are going to really enhance our practice as pharmacists one day, like interprofessional communication and cultural competency. Getting to participate in this program is important to me because it truly aims to prepare us for a lifetime of providing real patient-centered care. The core topics of the program are going to help push me outside my box and think more about whole-patient care through the lens of pharmacy.
Q: What are you most excited about with this two-year program?
A: I am really looking forward to seeing how this program works to supplement my didactic and experiential education through my last two years of pharmacy school. One of the aspects of this program I am most excited for is the opportunity to gain more insight into how we can improve and transform healthcare and wellness in rural and underserved communities by discussing social determinants of health and health issues that greatly affect these populations. I am also really looking forward to discussing with other health professionals and gaining insight on these issues from members of other disciplines!

 

Brandyn Wilcox
Class year: Class of 2023
Hometown: Benton, Arkansas
Q: How did it feel to be selected for this program?
A: I was very excited to be selected to the program! I think it is an excellent opportunity to continue to grow both personally and as a future health care professional!
Q: Why is participating in this program important to you?
A: Participating in this program is important to me because I think collaboration is very important for health care going forward, and I would very much like to gain more experience working with others in different health care fields. This is also a great opportunity for me to continue to network and form connections. The program also seems to have a great focus on care for underserved populations. Being from a predominantly rural state, continuing to learn how to better care for this population, as well as many of the other underserved populations, seemed like a great opportunity for me to continue to grow as a future health care professional.
Q: What are you most excited about with this two-year program?
A: I am most excited for the opportunity to continue my growth as a future health care professional and network with individuals from different healthcare fields and walks of life!

 

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