ASHP Continues to Strive for a More Diverse Pharmacy Profession

Dear Colleagues,

A diverse workforce that reflects our communities benefits us all. Despite some progress, racial and ethnic gaps persist among practicing pharmacists and student pharmacists. As we celebrate Black History Month, I want to update you on ASHP’s ongoing efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in our profession.

Research shows that diversity can make an important difference in healthcare. As a Howard University College of Pharmacy colleague reminded us in a recent news story, a racially and ethnically diverse workforce can help build trust with patients from underserved communities. And we know that a trusted patient–provider relationship can lead to benefits like better medication adherence and fewer skipped appointments.

Recognizing this powerful dynamic, ASHP’s Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2020 recommended that we boost diversity by engaging with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions, and schools with high Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) enrollment.

We were pleased to share an update early last year on progress we have made in implementing the recommendations of the task force. However, we have much more work to do, which is why ASHP has been working diligently to continue these critical efforts.

Last year, we welcomed the third cohort of participants in our six-month Guided Mentorship Program, which connects student pharmacists and new practitioners with seasoned mentors. We invited students from colleges of pharmacy at HBCUs to enroll, and the overall response was strong. More than half of the students and more than one-fifth of the mentors identified as BIPOC.

Another ASHP initiative, the Pharmacy Administration and Leadership Residents’ Collaborative, hosted student leadership workshops that targeted HBCUs and other colleges of pharmacy with a high percentage of BIPOC student populations.

The ASHP Foundation also continues to do critical work on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Now accepting applicants in its third cycle, the Pharmacy Leadership Scholars program provides up to $10,000 for research projects that examine the impact of race and ethnicity on patient outcomes and pharmacy education. Last year, the program awarded $40,000 in grants.

The ASHP Foundation’s Pharmacy Student Scholarship program last year supported students from underrepresented communities by awarding a total of $25,000 to third- and fourth-year pharmacy students enrolled at one of five HBCUs. The Foundation will offer these scholarships again this year.

The Midyear Travel awards, offered by the Foundation in partnership with #PharmGradWishlist, provided $500 stipends and registration fees for 50 PharmD candidates who self-identify as racial and ethnic minorities to attend our 2023 Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition. We invite you to listen to what some of these students had to say about their Midyear experience. Plans are underway to offer the awards for the 2024 Midyear meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

ASHP is also marking Black History Month with new content, including podcasts, webinars, AJHP articles, and News Center profiles of Black pharmacists. I encourage you to listen to the recently released podcast series on the role of pharmacy in addressing health disparities. We are also pleased to share a podcast featuring ASHP immediate past president Paul Walker on the legacy of Wendell T. Hill, ASHP’s first Black president, and a feature article capturing Hill’s career and ambitious vision for the profession of pharmacy. Visit ASHP’s Inclusion Center for a collection of more resources and tools.

ASHP’s DEI journey is still beginning, but our commitment to fostering a more inclusive profession continues to shape our work.

This spring, ASHP will launch a national public awareness campaign to educate patients about health-system and hospital pharmacists and the societal benefits that our profession delivers to patient care. We hope this important initiative will also encourage others to join us and become pharmacy professionals as we strive to make sure these invaluable pharmacy teams reflect the diverse communities they serve.

Thank you for all that you do for your patients and our profession.



Posted on February 20, 2024