The Office of Organizational Diversity and Inclusion hosted the Art and Science of Diversity and Inclusion Symposium on Sept. 7.
Student, faculty, staff and alumni attendees reviewed research supporting the need for greater diversity in pharmacy education and discussed the infrastructure changes needed to support greater inclusion at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Interim Dean Dhiren Thakker, Ph.D., delivered opening remarks and Assistant Professor Antonio Bush, Ph.D., led a discussion on the need for diversity and inclusion in education.
The symposium also included a panel discussion on student perspectives on diversity in the School. PY3 Rasheed Mohammed said that as a first-year student, he wasn’t sure where he belonged because he had very few black male mentors at the School.
“I want to be a mentor for the first and second year students,” he said. “I think the school has done a good job allowing more diversity in the peer mentoring program.”
PY4 Raena Rhone said it was important for students to feel welcomed at the School, regardless of skin color.
“When students make an effort to come to an event like this marked ‘Diversity,’ it means so much to me,” she said. “We need to work to get more students invested and involved in this movement.”
PY2 Roderick Gladney said the School should train students to work with people from different backgrounds.
“I think it’s so important for all of our students to take a course in cultural competency,” he said. “These tough situations need be talked about before the clinical setting.”
Feedback from students and alumni is an important facet of the School’s strategic plans to increase inclusivity, said Associate Dean of Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Carla White.
“The symposium is a critical aspect of our environmental scan,” White said. “Gathering the perspectives of students and alumni will best position us to leverage diversity and inclusion to contribute and innovate at the level needed in society.”