The University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy has received three-year $260,250 grant from The McKesson Foundation to support increased access to health care providers whose cultural and ethnic background is similar to the populations they serve.

“The generosity of the McKesson Foundation will allow us to support under-represented students from across New Mexico as they prepare for pharmacy school and to provide them with experiences in providing health care to patients in the rural, traditionally underserved communities of our state,” said Dean Donald A. Godwin, PhD, in the announcement of the award.

Research shows patients often have better outcomes – and believe their chances of being heard are better – when their clinician shares a similar cultural background. With the U.S. currently experiencing a primary care provider shortage, and more than 90% of Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy, people often visit their local pharmacist more regularly than their primary care doctor. It is critical to ensure more students with under-represented backgrounds pursue careers as pharmacists and are well prepared to serve all patients.

Sixty percent New Mexico’s population identifies as under-represented minorities, significantly higher than that of the U.S. as a whole (39.8%). The UNM College of Pharmacy is one of the most diverse pharmacy programs in the nation, ranking second for enrolling the highest percentage of Hispanic and American Indian student pharmacists. Enhanced access to educational opportunities in health care fields is essential to helping under-represented students become effective practitioners and leaders within their communities throughout the largely rural state of New Mexico.

The McKesson Foundation grant will help achieve this goal by increasing knowledge of the pharmacy profession, recruitment, applicant retention and holistic review/admission of a diverse student body and supporting student pharmacists to succeed academically and return to provide culturally responsive quality care in underserved communities.

The UNM College of Pharmacy is one five U.S. pharmacy schools to be awarded a grant from the Irving, Texas-based McKesson Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporate foundation dedicated to advancing health outcomes for all.