Walgreens Deans Advisory Council Created to Boost Pharmacies

The Walgreens Deans Advisory Council has been created to enhance the pharmacy profession, better support pharmacists & increase pharmacy school enrollment

In a move to enhance the pharmacy profession, better support pharmacists and increase pharmacy school enrollment, healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader Walgreens is expanding its long-standing relationships with colleges of pharmacy through the formation of the Walgreens Deans Advisory Council. 

The Council, consisting of 17 pharmacy school deans and led by Walgreens, will meet quarterly starting March 2024 to identify ways to attract, recruit and create a dynamic workplace for current and future pharmacists.

Rick Gates, Chief Pharmacy Officer at Walgreens is sponsoring the Council, with John Colaizzi Jr., PharmD, FNJPhA, Vice President, Pharmacy Practice at Walgreens and Angela Kashuba, Dean, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy as co-chairs and Lorri Walmsley, Director, Walgreens Pharmacy Affairs as vice chair. 

“Collaboration within the pharmacy profession has never been more important, and I’m grateful to the many academic leaders who have joined the Deans Advisory Council as we work to transform the future of pharmacy,” says Gates.

“I look forward to working with the deans to ensure Walgreens expands our reach beyond neighbourhood pharmacies into the fast-growing areas of healthcare and drives outcomes that matter most to our pharmacists, patients and partners.” 

Supporting the future of pharmacies

Despite pharmacies being the frontline of healthcare for so many, The Pharmacy Graduate Application Service (PharmGrad) reports that pharmacy school applications were down 22% in 2022-2023 compared to the previous year and have decreased by more than 60% over the past decade. This decrease in applicants is concerning considering the labour shortage facing the healthcare industry, and the steady increase in reliance on pharmacies.

 The Council’s initial objectives include: 

  • Rebuilding the talent pipeline and focusing on recruitment efforts, including through programs that expose high school students to careers in pharmacy.  
  • Elevating community pharmacy as a practice setting of choice through direct feedback from colleges.  
  • Addressing staffing challenges and helping pharmacists experience greater job satisfaction and better patient interactions.  
  • Evolving the community pharmacy business model and advocating for pharmacist practitioner services. 
  • Advising on all aspects of community pharmacy strategy, practice and administration-related topics. 

“As the recent pandemic highlighted, pharmacists are the most accessible, trusted healthcare providers. They serve as the front door to health in their communities, yet community pharmacy remains one of healthcare’s most underutilised resources,” shares Kashuba.

“Our schools train pharmacists to fill healthcare gaps and improve patient care through disease screening, prevention and treatment. I’m excited to collaborate with Walgreens to better align workplace conditions with training to transform the future of community pharmacy.” 

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