Pharmacy Students Given a Dose of Diversity Off Campus

Nova Southeastern University’s SNPhA chapter brings healthcare screenings to South Florida’s underserved populations

Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy is a reflection of the cultural melting pot of South Florida, so it may be surprising that even here some students require help seeing the need for healthcare workers in underserved communities.

“They all come in with preset ideas of what they want to do,” says Michelle Clark, associate professor and chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Nova.

To help open those eyes to the many possibilities in a healthcare career, Clark is the adviser for the Nova chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association. SNPhA’s mission is to educate pharmacy students concerned about the poor minority representation in pharmacy and other health-related professions.

Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy’s Day of Dignity
Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy’s Day of Dignity

SNPhA focuses on core health initiatives such as diabetes, stroke prevention, chronic kidney disease, and HIV.

With 150 members, Nova has one of the largest chapters of SNPhA.

Its president, third-year pharmacy student Chadwick Wynter, says the members learn by getting out into the community, interacting with them and holding health screenings.

For many in those communities, the Nova-led screenings are a rare opportunity to access healthcare.

“They might see screenings, but they don’t get enough of them,” Wynter says.

And for SNPhA members like Wynter, the screenings are an opportunity to grow beyond the classroom.

“I have learned how to embrace new ideas and see through the eyes of other cultures and am more inspired to engage SNPhians and patients,” Wynter says.

With 28,000 students coming from 116 countries, Nova’s student body is very diverse, and SNPhA members include a variety of ethnicities and cultures. That’s key, Wynter says, because these diverse members bring different issues to the group’s attention. These diverse perspectives make it possible for SNPhA to target multiple underrepresented patient populations that have similar health histories.

The NSU chapter of SNPhA coordinates many events throughout the year at local senior centers and churches, including free health screenings, blood pressure and blood glucose screening, medication counseling, and disease state education.

The culturally rich backgrounds of the members enhance their overall educational experience and are a part of the rich fabric of the college, Clark says. SNPhians celebrate individual cultures and plan social events like a Cultural Foods Potluck where the members get to wow each other with flavorful dishes from around the world.

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association was founded in 1972 on the campus of Florida A&M University and now has chapters throughout the country.

Its goals are as follows:

  • offer student members the opportunity to develop leadership and professional skills;
  • educate students about and promote active participation in national healthcare issues;
  • develop the role of the minority health professional as a vital member of the healthcare team
  • develop within communities a positive image of minority health professionals; and
  • educate communities on better health practices and increase their awareness and understanding of diseases.


If you are interested in organizing a SNPhA chapter on your campus, visit●