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Pharmacy is Right for Me – Inspiring the next Generation

  • December 7, 2011
  • RPh on the Go

OptumRx and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) have teamed up to launch a new educational initiative for students in grades 8-12 to spark interest in the pharmacy field. 

 The centerpiece of the “Pharmacy is Right for Me” program is a new website, www.pharmacyforme.org where kids, parents, and educators can explore all facets of pharma careers. The website is engaging, colorful, and easy to navigate. An extensive resources section has links to homework support, financial support, internship opportunities, annual events, and professional pharmacy organizations. There’s a glossary for pharmacy-related terms, the history of pharmacy, brief profiles of famous pharmacists, and fun facts. Did you know that doctors wore amulets made of dried blood and ground up toads during the Black Plague? Me either.

 Information on the site is comprehensive and covers all aspects of a pharmacy career path, profiling every possible direction ranging from research and development to teaching to the neighborhood pharmacist. There are even sections for careers in compounding and nuclear pharmacies and veterinary pharmacy. In addition, the site offers advice about getting there, with info about necessary education, what to expect after high school, solid career advice delivered in simple steps, and videos of professionals telling their personal stories about why they chose pharmacy careers.

 Interactive features include: a self-assessment test to determine whether pharmacy is the right career path, DIY experiments kids can do at home, and an invitation to share personal stories with other site visitors and read what other kids have to say.

 “We created Pharmacy is Right for Me to inspire students – particularly minorities and young people from underserved communities – to explore and learn about the diverse and innovative careers pharmacy has to offer,” said Jacqueline Kosecoff, PhD, CEO of OptumRx. “Pharmacy is a vibrant and vital profession, and we’re excited to engage the next generation of industry leaders using the tools on this site.”

 With a looming health care shortage in the United States, it’s clear that the pharmacy field will need far more professionals to meet the explosive need. This initiative is designed to attract youngsters to vibrant and recession-proof careers with high-paying salaries and excellent opportunities across the country.

 It’s a step in the right direction. Pharmacists are taking a larger role in the healthcare team, and our responsibilities are ever-expanding. More than ever, we are on the forefront of community health, and in the best position to serve and advise our local population. Exciting a new generation about the possibilities is a great way to alleviate future medical personnel shortages and ensure that our customers continue to receive the best possible care and advice. Do you think this initiative will affect the next generation of pharmacists? Is it enough? What else can we, as a profession, do?

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