VCU partners with CVS Health to increase Spanish-speaking students in medical field

Infographic by Clare Smith

VCU announced a partnership with CVS Health to increase the number of Spanish-speaking applicants to the School of Pharmacy on March 9.

The company will be giving $248,500 to the School of Pharmacy to create a Spanish-speaking applicant pipeline and increase cultural awareness within the school. The program aims to help students provide better care of Spanish-speaking patients.

This grant also provides funds for a select number of undergraduate students to volunteer as medical interpreters at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry and Southside Community Health Center. These students, who will be trained in medical interpretation beforehand, will work alongside professional pharmacists, nurses and physicians.

“We’re looking to mainly Spanish-speaking students, to expose them in the clinic setting,” said Kelechi Ogbonna, associate dean of admissions at the VCU School of Pharmacy. “While shadowing a pharmacist in the clinical setting, they’re also going to be able to provide interpreter services along the way.”

The program plans to address the health care needs of Virginia’s growing Latinx population through the translating services of these students. Though only 10 students will be interpreters in the program’s first year, that number will increase by five students each year afterward.

Money from the CVS Health grant will also be used to fund the “boot camp” and mentorship programs for aspiring pharmacist undergraduates which will help them to enter into the School of Pharmacy.

“For our company to thrive we need innovative partnerships with institutions like VCU School of Pharmacy to help produce a highly trained, culturally diverse future health care workforce for companies like CVS Health,” said Eileen Boone of CVS Health.

Anya Sczerzenie, Contributing Writer

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