University of Wyoming, Howard University pharmacy students visit Saratoga to learn about rural healthcare during exchange program
Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
Student pharmacists at 2 universities in different communities will learn how the other half practices pharmacy during a new program that will send each group across the country for part of a 9-month experience. The Health Equity Leadership Program is partly an exchange experience, designed to expose each group of students to the unique challenges, methods, and rewards of working in health care settings that are extremely rural or urban.
The program will send students from Howard University in Washington, D.C., to the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie, while aspiring pharmacists from the Wyoming school will head to the nation’s capital. In its inaugural swap, the initiative is being funded by the 23rd annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation Scholarship Program. It is 1 of 6 merit-based awards funding patient-centered, community-based coursework or other curriculum innovations.
In Washington, Wyoming students are expected to tour inner-city health care systems, visit professional associations, and meet with Congressional leaders. In Wyoming, Howard students will tour the state to evaluate rural critical access hospitals, and health care systems.
“Traditionally, diversity challenges and health disparities are focused on trying to explore differences through classroom case integration,” said Toyin Tofade, dean of Howard University’s College of Pharmacy, in a statement. “The partnership gives students from both regions an opportunity to learn lessons from each other’s environment, and to be better educated about how to serve various types of communities.”
In a press release, Kem Kreuger, dean of the UW School of Pharmacy, said students will be expected to work together to compare and contrast the vastly different healthcare delivery systems, while also sharpening their own leadership skills. “I think this program will be transformational and allow participants to work toward the Healthy People 2020 goals. We are empowering the next generation of pharmacists to lead from outside of their comfort zones”.
A spokesman for Howard University said the program is still in its planning stages with applications being vetted, and student participants to be selected this summer.
Tentative plans call for a student orientation in the early fall. The exchange portion of the program will likely occur in early 2019. Students will visit Washington first, with a Wyoming visit tentatively scheduled for March.