Kean University in New Jersey, a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and Howard University signed a dual degree agreement this week, which will provide a pathway for underrepresented students who want to earn a doctoral pharmacy degree.
Through the accelerated degree program participants will earn bachelor’s degrees in chemistry from Kean and a PharmD from Howard over the course of seven years, shaving a year off of the typical time spent earning a doctoral pharmacy degree. Kean chemistry students will be able to apply to Howard’s pharmacy program starting their sophomore year and, if accepted, concurrently enroll in pharmacy school in their senior year. Starting in April, Howard representatives will begin visiting Kean to recruit students for the dual degree program.
“[The program] will bring students from diverse backgrounds into this critical field,” Kean President Lamont Repollet said in a press release. “As a Minority-Serving Institution, Kean shares profound similarities and deep-rooted values with Howard. We look forward to learning from this partnership and are committed to strategically aligning with other institutions to optimally support and elevate our students’ experiences and opportunities.”
Programs like these are particularly important given the lack of representation within the pharmacy field. In New Jersey, in particular, only 4.3% of pharmacists are Black and 3.6% are Hispanic or Latino, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. With the partnership involving the most recognizable historically Black university in the country and an HSI, the program aims to rectify the historic underrepresentation in this field that is vital in addressing health equity.