Since 2017, the UI College of Pharmacy has collaborated with other healthcare colleges on campus to give college students underrepresented in the health professions a chance to explore them. After a few virtual years, the UI Summer Health Professions Education Program is back in person.
The goal of the program—abbreviated SHPEP—is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of such students, and to prepare them to successfully apply and enroll in the fields of pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, and public health.
The six-week program is free to students and provides housing, meals, stipends, travel assistance, guidance, and more.
“We try to plan activities that expose the students to various areas within Pharmacy and everything you can do with a PharmD or PhD,” said College of Pharmacy Admissions and Enrollment Services Manager Liz Davis. Davis and Susan Vos—Clinical Professor and Associate Dean of Student Affairs— meet one on one with students to build relationships with them. “We try to do something different every week they are on campus,” she said.
The five students participating in the Pharmacy track this year come from Iowa and other states, Davis said.
“We try to plan activities that expose the students to various areas within Pharmacy and everything you can do with a PharmD or PhD"
Activities include traveling to tour pharmacies in the community and hospitals, making things such as lotion, lip balm, bug soother, and bug repellent in special labs for compounding, and interacting with faculty members and pharmacists about the profession and field.
Being back in person is a welcome change, Davis added. “Being in person has just made it easier for us to all connect through traveling together to local pharmacies and participating in compounding labs.”
While each student will select a specific track to focus on, all students will receive exposure to the four fields through universal topics such as basic science, writing and communications, and health and society. In addition, the program will offer training in interprofessional skills, opportunities for networking, and access to healthcare leaders.