School of Pharmacy News & Media Center
The University of Mississippi

Ole Miss Pharmacy Holds Inaugural African American Visit Day

Posted on: December 3rd, 2019 by herman

December 3, 2019

By Whitney Tarpy

JACKSON, Miss. – When the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy held its inaugural African American Visit Day at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, fourth-year student pharmacist Alisha Nicks saw her vision become reality.

Alisha Nicks and Noelle Stanley stand and hold a sign "Day Made Possible thanks to Walgreens"

Alisha Nicks, left, and Noelle Stanley

Nicks developed “Melanin and Medications,” the theme of the visit day, after seeing the UMMC Schools of Medicine and Dentistry host similar events. Nicks met with UMMC medical student Jamarius Waller to learn about the past events and to brainstorm ways the School of Pharmacy could help Jackson-area high school and college students envision pharmacy as a potential profession.

“Melanin and Medications definitely fulfilled its purpose of providing a safe, educational and honest environment for prospective students interested in pharmacy to ask current students and pharmacists of color about our experiences in the profession,” Nicks said. “We as volunteers provided encouragement to the students to show them that they can be successful in whatever path they choose, whether or not they attend Ole Miss or pursue a career in pharmacy.”

With support from Walgreens, Magnolia State Pharmaceutical Society and the Ole Miss chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, Melanin and Medications hosted a lunch and panel discussions so that prospective students could engage with current student pharmacists and advisors.

The student-led panel discussion titled “What Does Pharmacy Mean to Me?” covered why student pharmacists chose Ole Miss, the coursework required to complete pharmacy school and the experiences of being a professional student of color.

Five people sit around a table talking.

Participants enjoyed lunch and various discussions with pharmacy students and practitioners.

The afternoon panel discussion, “More Than Just Counting Pills,” allowed participants to ask practicing pharmacists about how they make an impact on patients, as well as balance their professional and personal lives.

“I am incredibly proud of our student pharmacists, faculty and staff for initiating and developing this important outreach event,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Representation in health care is absolutely critical as we continually strive to improve health outcomes.”

Noelle Stanley, the pharmacy school’s admissions counselor on the Jackson campus, was also instrumental in planning the successful event.

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to help organize this event,” Stanley said. “Alisha, her fellow classmates and the event attendees are evidence of the bright future in store for the Ole Miss Pharmacy family.”

Along with their involvement in Melanin and Medications, MSPS and SNPhA also created the Jackson Public Schools Preparatory Program last year to educate Jackson students about professional opportunities available in pharmacy and to support the dialogue about minority representation in the health care field.

“It is essential for black students in Mississippi and beyond to be able to see themselves in the experiences of current black professionals,” Nicks said. “I am very proud of the first African American Visit Day, and I look forward to seeing it grow tremendously in the future.”