Brighter Horizons: The Necessity of Concentrated Sponsorship Targeted Toward Minoritized Pharmacy Students

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Journal of the American Pharmacists Association









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Due to the effects of structural racism, disproportionately lower numbers of Black, Hispanic or LatinX, American Indian, and Alaska Native students pursue a career in pharmacy and successfully matriculate into the profession. Despite these disparities being present for many years, little progress has been achieved in diversifying the pharmacy profession, resulting in a persistent lack of diversity within pharmacy leadership across employers and pharmacy organizations. Consistent with recent recommendations for improving diversity in pharmacy, the PharmGradWishlist (PGWL) initiative was created as a way for practicing pharmacists and organizations to provide direct financial sponsorship to racially and ethnically minoritized trainees to offset costs incurred during training and during the transition from student to practicing pharmacist. Many of these costs, such as residency and fellowship application fees, job interview travel costs, board exam and licensing fees, and moving expenses, are not typically subsidized by federal student funding. Offsetting these costs is an important way to reduce barriers to entering the profession and postgraduate training, the latter of which may be particularly important in trainees’ pursuit of academic and leadership positions in pharmacy. The initial development and advertisement of the initiative occurred through social media and the grassroots efforts of the PGWL team, a group of 10 volunteer pharmacists from across the country, and resulted in generous donations from a small proportion of practicing pharmacists nationwide. It is now time for the profession as a whole to embrace the role of direct sponsorship in improving diversity in the profession. We call upon pharmacists and pharmacy organizations to advocate for and participate in financial sponsorship of racially and ethnically minoritized trainees and pharmacists as a way to increase diversity and promote health equity.