Dhiren Thakker, PhD, and Kailas Thakker, PhD, have pledged $100,000 to fund the first Global Pharmacy Scholarships at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dhiren Thakker is the Howard Q. Ferguson Distinguished Professor at the School and associate dean for entrepreneurial development and global engagement. Kailas Thakker is president and cofounder of Tergus Pharma, a contract-research company focusing on development of topical drug products.
Their gift will create six Dhiren and Kailas Thakker Global Pharmacy Scholarships each year for five years that will cover travel and housing expenses for fourth-year students participating in the School’s Global Pharmacy Scholars Program.
“Giving our students a global experience is a passion of mine,” Dhiren Thakker says. “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 Global Pharmacy Scholars
The GPS program is a competitive program with students applying each fall. During their fourth year, pharmacy students in the GPS program will spend one month on a rotation in countries that currently include Malawi, Japan, Moldova, Australia, and England.
The first eligible class for the GPS program is the Class of 2016 with international experiences starting in the summer of 2015. The School’s goal is to provide Global Pharmacy Scholarships for more than half the fourth-year class each year by 2020.
“By establishing the School’s first Global Pharmacy Scholarships, the Thakkers are opening doors to a wider world of pharmacy practice and scholarship for our students,” says Robert Blouin, PharmD, dean of the School. “They are also creating opportunities to build partnerships and relationships that will improve health around the world and inform pharmacy practice here at home.”
The GPS program will enable pharmacy students to experience different health-care systems in underserved and in developed countries around the world and to develop innovative solutions to existing challenges in health care and beyond. Students going abroad will catalyze future collaborative research and practice-based efforts with other academic institutions and organizations worldwide. They will also contribute to improving the health of people in other countries, especially those in underserved areas of the world.
The School will evaluate the contributions made by the Global Pharmacy Scholars in the countries where they serve as well as the impact that the experience has on the student. When a GPS program is initiated in a country, a faculty member will accompany the first scholar to identify preceptors at the new site and develop potential research opportunities.
Those interested in supporting the Global Pharmacy Scholars program should contact Annie Hager-Blunk, associate dean for advancement, at 919-843-9970 or email@example.com.