UF Health’s Jacksonville Campus Aims to Inspire Next Generation of Pharmacists Through DCoT Program

High school students from the Paxon School for Advanced Studies were introduced to pharmacy practices at the UF Health Jacksonville campus this spring as a part of the Doctors and Clinicians of Tomorrow, or DCoT, program.

DCoT participants and faculty

The program, which started in January, aims to inspire students with diverse backgrounds to pursue clinical careers in medicine, nursing or pharmacy. Every month, a different health care topic is covered, allowing freshmen and sophomore students to gain exposure to a variety of careers in a hospital setting. Under the guidance of University of Florida College of Pharmacy Clinical Assistant Professor Chardaé Whitner, Pharm.D., the lesson included interactive experiences in several areas of pharmacy, including pharmacogenomics, compounding and inpatient hospital care.

Despite being one of the most ethnically diverse states, Florida falls short on diverse clinicians in comparison to its population and has critical demand for pharmacists. The impact of DCoT could potentially serve as a pathways program to increase student diversity in the health colleges.

“Many people are unaware that there is a pharmacy school in Jacksonville. That exposure alone might inspire these students to study pharmacy in their hometown,” Whitner said.

The pharmacy lesson included a skills lab where the students compounded a Tylenol suspension and learned to count out medications using skittles.

Paxon studnets in skills lab
Dr. Joseph with Paxon students during the compounding lesson, where the students compounded a Tylenol suspension.

“The pharmacy session was my favorite, as I really liked the hands-on experience,” said Zedtriana Magpantay, a participant in the program. “Participating in this program gave me insight into the diverse lifestyles of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, and based on my experience, I would highly recommend it.”

DCoT’s goal is to increase diversity in the health care workforce to ensure equitable health outcomes and to foster the next generation of doctors, clinicians, and health care leaders.

The DCoT program was established by the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville and partners with faculty from the UF College of Nursing and the UF College of Pharmacy.

For more information, please contact Madeline Joseph, M.D.