Dhiren Thakker and his wife, Kailas, pledged $100,000 to fund six scholarships at the UNC Eshelman School of PHarmacy.  The scholarships will cover travel and housing expenses for fourth-year doctor of pharmacy students participating in the school's Global Pharmacy Scholars Program.

Dhiren Thakker and his wife, Kailas, pledged $100,000 to fund six scholarships at the UNC Eshelman School of PHarmacy. The scholarships will cover travel and housing expenses for fourth-year doctor of pharmacy students participating in the school’s Global Pharmacy Scholars Program.

By David Etchison
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Pharmacy professor Dhiren Thakker and his wife, Kailas Thakker, have pledged $100,000 to fund the first Global Pharmacy Scholarships at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Dhiren Thakker is the Howard Q. Ferguson Distinguished Professor at the pharmacy school and associate dean for entrepreneurial development and global engagement. Kailas Thakker is president and co-founder of Tergus Pharma, a contract-research company focusing on development of topical drug products.

Their gift will create six Dhiren and Kailas Thakker Global Pharmacy Scholarships each year for five years that will cover travel and housing expenses for fourth-year doctor of pharmacy students participating in the school’s Global Pharmacy Scholars Program.

“Giving our students a global experience is a passion of mine,” Dhiren Thakker said. “It is my hope that their experience in the GPS program will be transformative, opening their hearts to the health-care challenges of people who are less fortunate and their minds to learning from the rich diversity of people and cultures around the globe.”

Global Pharmacy Scholars

Meet Adam Bernstein, 2015 Global Pharmacy Scholar

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Adam Bernstein in Malawi, summer 2015

Fourth-year doctor of pharmacy student Adam Bernstein reflects on a month spent in Malawi:

The goal of this rotation was to learn about medication supply chain management, however, pharmacy practice was only a small piece of the growth I experienced. This journey removed my comfort zone and challenged me to adapt. It introduced a new culture, way of thinking and friends that will last a lifetime. I developed tools to live a richer and fuller life, as well as expand my potential as a health-care professional.

Excerpted from Bernstein’s reflection paper.  To read the entire reflection, click here.

The GPS program is a competitive program with students applying each fall. During their fourth year, pharmacy students in the GPS program will spend one month on a rotation in countries that currently include Malawi, Japan, Moldova, Australia and England.

The first eligible class for the GPS program is the Class of 2016 with international experiences starting in the summer of 2015. The school’s goal is to provide Global Pharmacy Scholarships for more than half of the fourth-year class each year by 2020.

“By establishing the school’s first Global Pharmacy Scholarships, the Thakkers are opening doors to a wider world of pharmacy practice and scholarship for our students,” said Robert Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school. “They are also creating opportunities to build partnerships and relationships that will improve health around the world and inform pharmacy practice here at home.”

The GPS program will enable pharmacy students to experience different health-care systems both in underserved and in developed countries around the world and to develop innovative solutions to existing challenges in health care and beyond. Students going abroad will catalyze future collaborative research and practice-based efforts with other academic institutions and organizations worldwide. They will also contribute to improving the health of people in other countries, especially those in underserved areas of the world.

The pharmacy school will evaluate the contributions made by the Global Pharmacy Scholars in the countries where they serve, as well as the effect that the experience has on the student. When a GPS program is initiated in a country, a faculty member will accompany the first scholar to identify preceptors at the new site and develop potential research opportunities.

Those interested in supporting the Global Pharmacy Scholars program should contact Annie Hager-Blunk, associate dean for advancement at the pharmacy school, at 919-843-9970 or annieh@unc.edu.