Minority Challenges in Pharmacy

According to an article written by Dr. Barbara Hayes, former chair of the Council of Deans for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, “pharmacy is experiencing many of the same challenges faced by dentistry, medicine, and nursing in increasing representation of minority students in their professional programs. These challenges include the level of K-12 educational preparation of minority students for college work, including inadequate science education; inadequate numbers of faculty members from minority groups to advise, teach and mentor underrepresented minority students; increasing costs of higher education and declining levels of financial aid; lower performance on admission tests; an over reliance on standardized testing in the admissions process3; unsupportive institutional cultures3; lack of sufficient funding for student support services; and lack of administrative leadership to guide the development and implementation of sustainable programs to address recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented minority students. There are some emerging issues in pharmacy education that have the potential to negatively impact future enrollment of underrepresented minority students. These issues include increasing the number of hours of pharmacy prerequisites and making the baccalaureate degree a requirement for admission to the PharmD program.”

According to the AACP’s Profile of Pharmacy Students, underrepresented minority candidates submitted 12.6% of pharmacy applications in 2003-2004 (Black, 8.4%; Hispanic, 3.7% and American Indian, 0.5%)4; 11.2% in 2004-2005 (Black, 6.9%; Hispanic, 3.9%; and American Indian, 0.4%) 5; and 13.3% in 2005-2006 (Black 8.9%, Hispanic 3.9% and American Indian 0.5%). 2 There are some limitations to the interpretation of these data due to colleges and schools reporting applicants that had applied to multiple colleges or schools. This impacted our ability to accurately assess the size and composition of the applicant pool.

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