Student pharmacists who pursue advanced degrees can look forward to greater career opportunities, thanks to their increased knowledge and experience. However, not just the students benefit. The rewards of an advanced degree in pharmaceutical sciences also extend to students’ peers and patients.
Advanced pharmaceutical degrees may help improve patient outcomes. For example, a doctor of pharmacy degree prepares pharmacists to counsel patients on medication adherence and managing chronic conditions. Graduate students in pharmacy school often participate in research projects that help further healthcare knowledge and benefit large or underserved populations. Pharmacists who participate in research as graduate students can more effectively collaborate with other researchers and clinicians, and may be better able to turn around and communicate those research findings to patients.
Unfortunately, a lack of funding continues to restrict these opportunities for student pharmacists, which puts those future benefits at risk. Students and researchers may face inconsistencies in the funds they do receive, even if the amounts are adequate. Without a steady source of funding, many students cannot pursue an advanced degree or participate in their desired research projects.
The American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE), with the help of donors, seeks to alleviate this problem for student pharmacists. For more than 75 years, AFPE has supported pharmaceutical science education through a variety of funding opportunities. AFPE’s Gateway to Research Scholarship program is one such opportunity. Available to students currently enrolled in an ACPE-accredited school of pharmacy, this program helps them understand the importance of research. Recipients can improve their clinical skills and participate in a faculty-mentored research project. Candidates must be recommended by a faculty member, propose a relevant research topic and demonstrate superior academic performance.