Huge grant for local school helping Hispanic students find success in pharmacy field

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thanks to CVS an innovative program for the Central Valley is coming to life. Prospero Program: Pathway to Pharmacy Careers is designed to help Hispanic and bilingual high school students springboard into health care jobs.

"We want to make sure that we create a really good pipeline for Hispanic students to come into our program," said Wendy Duncan, CHSU provost.

On Thursday, the company awarded a $250,000 grant to California Health Sciences University.

"We know that there's a deficit in pharmacists-- those that can speak Spanish and those that are Hispanic, so we're looking forward to creating a culturally diverse workforce that represents CVS health, but represents the pharmacy profession as well," said Amy Holland, CVS.

"Parents are using their kids to try and translate to them, but we certainly need a professional who is talking to the parents and getting the information across in the perfect way because this is a matter of life," said Dora Westerlund, Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation CEO.

They will start with students at Clovis Unified School District in their junior year and help them transition into Clovis Community College. The students will be mentored for five years, making them fully prepared as they enter their first year of pharmacy school.

"A lot of students don't even think about pharmacy. We get students that are interested in health care, quite often they say they want to go into medicine or nursing. So part of our approach is helping students realize how exciting a career in pharmacy can be," said Duncan.

The program is designed to reduce the amount of time they spend in school-- essentially lowering the cost of their education.

"This is really opening the doors for kids to see what the possibilities are, and I know our students are excited about it. Our faculty is excited about it," said Dr. Janet Young, Clovis Unified Superintendent.

It is a chance for Hispanic students to serve their community in more ways than one.
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