Leading Diversity in Pharmacy and Beyond

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has been honored with a 2022 Triangle Business Journal Leaders in Diversity Award

Story by Ryan McDaniel & Kelly Collins | Photo by Kelly Collins | Published October 18, 2022

A central feature of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s BEYOND: Strategic Plan for 2021-2024 is to foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with accountability for clearly defined metrics. Our School believes that it is the people of this institution that make it thrive and maintaining an inclusive, equitable, and diverse culture is essential to excellence in performance. Through the leadership of our Office of Organizational Diversity and Inclusion and the consistent efforts of our entire community, the School has made great progress in preparing leaders and innovators who are diverse, empathetic, and culturally responsive. On Wednesday, October 12th, those efforts were recognized with the Triangle Business Journal’s Leaders in Diversity Award.

The awards program, now in its tenth year, honored ten individuals and ten companies who have shown an exceptional commitment to promoting practices that advance diversity in the workplace and in business leadership. “This year’s group of winners are at the front and center of changing their organization’s vision, values and principles – all along keeping diversity, inclusivity and equality in mind,” said Jason Christie, Triangle Business Journal’s market president and publisher. “We are glad to have created a forum to celebrate the achievements of these individuals and corporations.”

The School has long recognized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in fulfilling our mission. In 2007, Dean Bob Blouin established the Office of Organizational Diversity and Inclusion under the leadership of Associate Dean Carla White. When Dean Angela Kashuba held her first town hall as dean in 2019, she spoke to her vision for building a community that feels valued and connected and reflects the demographics of North Carolina. Shortly thereafter, the School developed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan, which was subsequently brought to the forefront of the BEYOND strategic plan.

Eager to support the School’s strategic goals, the Pharmacy Alumni Association convened a new Alumni Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. “In 2020, I was asked to lead the first subgroup of our school’s alumni board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” recalls Vicki Gardin, PharmD ’03. “Today, we were formally recognized for the efforts and work. Special thanks to Dean Kashuba and Dean White!”

Built upon feedback from key stakeholders from learners to alumni, the School is focused on advancing three specific diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities: recruit and retain diverse talent, prepare culturally intelligent professionals and build an inclusive community. “This award reflects Dean Kashuba’s commitment to cultural intelligence and the full engagement of our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” reflects Carla White, Associate Dean for Organizational Diversity. “Our impact is resonating in pharmacy and beyond. Our School community should be proud.”

Amanda Storyward, Program Manager in the Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Office agrees, with an eye on the future: “I hope that this recognition will continue to energize these groups toward creating the most inclusive environment possible and add numbers to our efforts.”

The School’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Impact Report outlines the significant progress that has been made toward our goals. In the past two years, the percentage of underrepresented PharmD students has doubled through the development of partnerships with HBCUs/MSIs across the state as well as innovative recruitment programs. Additionally, the School has incorporated topics that address diversity issues into the curriculum, prepared faculty to facilitate inclusive learning practices, and led initiatives to create a community where everyone is educated, connected, valued, and has an opportunity to contribute.

“I am humbled by the number of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners that have enthusiastically come together to meet the strategic goals we launched in 2020,” says Dean Kashuba. “Our work is far from done, but this recognition demonstrates that we are moving in the right direction under Associate Dean Carla White’s leadership. We are a more dynamic and more innovative school because of these efforts.”

If you are interested in supporting the Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion there are opportunities to do so, including an alumni DEI Committee or serving as a mentor. Visit the Organizational Diversity and Inclusion page on the School’s website for more information.