Black History Month: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Pharmacy

February 12, 2018

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In honor of Black History Month, the College of Pharmacy would like to share writing and a disseration from Professor Ken Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D.

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy was established in 1885. Twelve years later (1897), Arthur Lawrence became its first African American graduate. In 1910, Robert Kenneth Stephens became the first African American to receive our Pharmaceutical Chemist degree, and Fannie Jamison was our first Black female graduate in 1913. Thirty-four years later in 1947, our Distinguished Alumnus Roy Darlington was the first African American in the country to earn a PhD in the pharmaceutical sciences. Ramona McCarthy Hawkins graduated soon thereafter (1950) – she was destined to a stellar career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ramona also served as President of the National Pharmaceutical Association twice, President of the Maryland Board of Pharmacy, and was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008.

These points of pride reflect a rich tradition in diversity and inclusion at our college. African American students have been an important part of our historical mosaic since the 19th Century, but there is so much more work to be done. My doctoral dissertation in 1995 shed some light on the discrepant experiences of African American and white students in our college . We discovered key differences relating to varying experiences in the classroom, informal peer groups, formal peer groups (e.g., student organizations), and individual relationships. These factors contribute to differing social and professional involvement which ultimately mediate one’s overall experience.Our college has invested in numerous efforts to create an environment in which all students can thrive and to recruit and retain students of color over the years, but again, we can do more.

The Student Pharmacist Association for Diversity and Equity (SPADE) is the latest force to make a contribution to the college’s mosaic for diversity. SPADE was created by our students to encourage us all to do more in recruitment and admissions, in our curricula, in our socioprofessional interactions, and in our community for those who are underrepresented and underserved. We celebrate their work, as the latest evidence of our college’s passion for inclusion. From Arthur Lawrence in 1897, to the work of SPADE in contemporary times, we have reason to be proud. But we can’t let our pride get in the way of advancing new efforts to build a better environment for people of color in the College of Pharmacy at the Ohio State University. We can do more. We will do more.

Kenneth M. Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D.

View Dr. Hale's full disseration.