VCU School of Pharmacy partners with CVS Health to increase Spanish-speaking applicant recruitment

(From left to right) Amy Oliveira, senior director for pharmacy talent acquisition at CVS Health; Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy; and Kelechi C. “K.C.” Ogbonna, Pharm.D., associate professor and associate dean of admissions and student services at VCU School of Pharmacy. (Photo credit: Kevin Morley)
(From left to right) Amy Oliveira, senior director for pharmacy talent acquisition at CVS Health; Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy; and Kelechi C. “K.C.” Ogbonna, Pharm.D., associate professor and associate dean of admissions and student services at VCU School of Pharmacy. (Photo credit: Kevin Morley)

CVS Health has partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University to increase the number of Spanish-speaking applicants to the VCU School of Pharmacy and improve cultural awareness among students enrolled in the school’s doctor of pharmacy program. On March 12, the nation’s largest pharmacy innovation company presented the VCU School of Pharmacy with a $248,500 check, which will be spread across five years to fund a Spanish-speaking applicant pipeline for the school.

“To be the best health care providers, we must understand and be able to relate well with the communities that we serve,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy. “VCU School of Pharmacy and our partners are committed to enhanced, culturally sound health care delivery for Virginia’s growing Latino population.”

The program’s purpose is to establish a formal education pipeline for Latino science, technology, engineering and math undergraduate students to learn about pharmacy school and career opportunities. The grant will include support for undergraduate students to volunteer as medical interpreters at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry and Southside Community Health Center. Ten students will be selected for participation in the first year, and the number of available positions will increase by five each year. Students selected as interpreters will receive medical interpretation training and will participate as members of the health care team along with pharmacists, nurses and physicians.

“CVS Health is committed to diversity,” said Amy Oliveira, senior director for pharmacy talent acquisition at CVS Health. “We need innovative partnerships with institutions like VCU, which is providing state-of-the-art learning environments and is helping to produce a highly trained, culturally diverse health care workforce. We look forward to working closely with VCU as we continue to bridge the current health care shortage in the U.S. and enhance access to quality care for underserved populations.”

In addition to the pipeline program, grant funding will support the School of Pharmacy’s undergraduate mentorship program and the school’s preparedness boot camp, which assists undergraduate students interested in a career in pharmacy with preparing school applications and studying for entrance exams.