News Release

U of M College of Pharmacy receives grant to continue diversifying pharmacy workforce

Image of a sign that has the logo for the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.
Credit: The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

To help increase the diversity of the pharmacy workforce and improve overall health outcomes for vulnerable populations, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy has announced a grant of $750,000 over three years from The McKesson Foundation. The donation will support the launch of two initiatives designed to better support minority doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students and to enhance the diversity of the pharmacy workforce.

The first, the Thrive Kickoff Program utilizes several high-impact educational practices, including learning communities and capstones to provide invited minority and first-generation PharmD students with focused, intentional support so they can thrive academically and interpersonally throughout their PharmD careers. 

The second, a racially/ethnically concordant mentoring program, is designed as a layered mentoring model to provide minority PharmD student participants with robust support from the time they are accepted into the program until they graduate as pharmacists. 

“This generous grant from the McKesson Foundation will greatly accelerate our ability to launch and subsequently expand these initiatives,” said UMN College of Pharmacy’s Dean Lynda Welage. “It will allow us to offer these programs to more minority PharmD students than we could without the McKesson Foundation’s partnership.”

For years, the College of Pharmacy has committed to recruiting historically underrepresented students and results have reflected this investment. The average percentage of incoming Pharmacy students reporting a race other than white increased from 26% from 2012-2016 to 38% in the following five years, 2017-2022. The College's programs supported by this grant funding will provide increased support to student pharmacists from diverse backgrounds, a critical component to retaining and graduating traditionally underrepresented students.

The UMN College of Pharmacy is one of five U.S. pharmacy schools to be awarded a grant from the McKesson Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporate foundation dedicated to advancing health outcomes for all.

“The innovative student support, professional development and community outreach that the McKesson Foundation is funding through pharmacy school partnerships, like the one with the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy, will help transform patient-pharmacist interactions,” said Melissa Thompson, vice president of philanthropic giving and president of the McKesson Foundation. “We believe these types of partnerships will lead to improved health equity and patient outcomes for vulnerable populations in their respective areas, as well as establish program templates that can be replicated in other locations.”

To see the full press release announcement from the McKesson Foundation, click here


About the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy

Founded in 1892, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy is the only pharmacy school in Minnesota with campuses in the Twin Cities and in Duluth. The College of Pharmacy’s mission is to improve health through innovative education, pioneering research and interdisciplinary practice development that attends to the diverse needs of the people of Minnesota and the world. For more information about the College of Pharmacy, visit

About the McKesson Foundation

Founded in 1943, the McKesson Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporate foundation dedicated to advancing health outcomes for all. It is affiliated with Irving, Texas-based McKesson Corporation, a diversified healthcare services provider. The Foundation’s mission is to remove barriers to quality healthcare across North America, especially for vulnerable and underserved communities. The Foundation works to achieve its mission through partnerships and charitable grants in three core areas: reducing the burden of cancer, diversifying the healthcare talent pipeline and accelerating emergency preparedness and disaster relief. The Foundation further amplifies its impact in the communities where Team McKesson lives, works and operates by promoting employee volunteerism and bolstering charitable giving. For more information about the McKesson Foundation, click here

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