The College of Pharmacy (COP) at Western University of Health Sciences celebrates diversity with the support of Albertsons Sav-on Diversity Scholarships.

During a ceremony Tuesday, June 9, 2009, WesternU presented a Diversity Award to Janeen Winnike, RPh, director of pharmacy recruiting and college relations for SUPERVALU Pharmacies. Winnike is a key proponent and partner in supporting the colleges’ diversity initiative, through Albertsons’ SUPERVALU Foundation and its annual scholarship gift of $25,000.

“”It takes two to have a good partnership,”” Winnike said regarding SUPERVALU’s commitment to a long-term scholarship. “”We want to continue to hire students from Western and in this way it benefits the University, our company and the students.””

Winnike, who started her career at SUPERVALU Pharmacies 17 years ago and now advises graduates to focus on patient care, take on challenges, stay involved in the profession and reminds them to find ways to give back to the profession. SUPERVALU Pharmacies is the seventh largest pharmacy provider in the U.S., operating under 11 retail brands, including Albertsons Sav-on Pharmacy. Nationwide, they operate 2,500 grocery locations, including 920 in-store pharmacies.

Daniel Robinson, PharmD, dean of the College of Pharmacy, expressed appreciation for the amount of support WesternU has received over the years from Albertsons Sav-on.

The COP began its diversity initiative shortly after Dean Robinson arrived on campus in September 2006. With the help of Sunil Prabhu, PhD, assistant dean for enrollment management, Dean Robinson affirmed the college’s commitment to diversity, helping to build a student population that is more representative of the population in the surrounding area.

“”Dr. Prabhu and I worked very closely together on our recruitment process, recognizing that a diverse student population creates an enriched educational experience for all students,”” said Robinson. “”We broadly define diversity in a way that allows us to focus on preparing graduates who can better meet the health care needs of society.””

The WesternU College of Pharmacy, as part of its mission, is committed to creating an academic environment that celebrates diversity and the value that multicultural perspectives add to the quality of the educational experience.

Albertsons Sav-on/SUPERVALU Pharmacies, which are the original founding partners in the Colleges’ diversity program, have given an annual gift of $25,000 since 2002, and their total scholarship gifting is projected to reach $225,000 by 2013. This in large part is facilitated by SUPERVALU Pharmacies recruiters David Rose and Quang Tran.

In addition to the commitment to the scholarship, they have helped support WesternU’s College of Pharmacy special events, summer internship programs, student rotations and job fairs.

The COP is committed to increasing health professions workforce diversity and to narrow the gap in health disparities. They have awarded more than 10 scholarships to deserving students who meet the criteria.

“”I would like to sincerely thank you for selecting me as a recipient of the Albertsons Foundation Diversity Scholarship, as this generous award has provided me with a financial comfort that has allowed me to place more focus on my academic studies during my first year,”” said Steven Melgarejo, PharmD ’12, a scholarship recipient. “”In the years to come I am hopeful these funds will allow me to participate in international service trips and possibly international rotations, which I otherwise may not have been able to pursue. Thank you for supporting my appreciation and commitment to diversity.””

The College of Pharmacy was ranked eighth nationwide for graduating Hispanics according to a recently published article in “”Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine.”” They were tied with University of California, San Francisco and Loma Linda University. The rankings are based on first professional degrees in all fields, including pharmacy, conferred between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008, to Hispanic or Latino men and women using derived traditional U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System criteria.

WesternU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) was ranked sixth and the College of Veterinary Medicine was ranked fourth in the same publication.

“”Continued support is so important,”” said Jesse Martinez, PharmD, College of Pharmacy vice dean of academic diversity and development, a position developed to enhance racial and ethnic diversity within the student population. “”The biggest hurdles for underrepresented minorities to enter into a professional program like the College of Pharmacy is money and financial support and we want to alleviate some of that pressure.””

In addition, Dr. Martinez has recently received grant money for an Advanced Electives class that will allow students to take basic Spanish for practicing pharmacists. “”All of our students will soon be able to graduate with the ability to give a consultation in Spanish. That’s one of our commitments to diversity.””

Albertsons Sav-on Diversity Scholarship

Listed are the 10 recipients from the past two years. Albertsons Sav-on Diversity Scholarship provides four years of partial financial support for each student.

Students from 2007-2008, Stephanie Young, Teresa Corbala, Catalina Pulecio, Mary Jane Anosike.

Students from 2008-2009, Steven Melgarejo, Maria E. Downs, Agbomma J. Epoh, Michelle Garcia, Marcela Fausto, Patricia Aguilar.