University of Southern California Seeks to Increase the Number of Black and Minority Students Pursuing Careers in the Pharmaceutical Sciences

The University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy has established the Dean’s Initiative for Diversity to increase the number of minority students pursuing careers in the pharmaceutical sciences. The initiative will begin educational programs with middle school students, hoping to interest them in careers in pharmacy. Undergraduate students at the university who have expressed interest in pharmacy will be paired with graduate students who will serve as mentors. The program will emphasize that there are many possible career paths for pharmacy majors including working as a community pharmacist, conducting research for pharmaceutical firms, managing a hospital pharmacy, working as a government health official, or teaching.

Walter Cathey has been hired as special assistant to the dean to oversee the diversity initiative. Cathey, who was the only African American in his class at the USC graduate school of pharmacy, has worked in and owned community pharmacies and held marketing positions with major pharmaceutical manufacturers. Most recently he has served as CEO of the Institute for Community Pharmacy, a nonprofit organization that promotes the industry.