Initiatives and goals

Join us Oct. 13 for the second college dialogue on racism 

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences invites its students, faculty and staff to participate in a second dialogue on racism, exploring pressing issues and possible solutions. The event takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 4-6 p.m. on Zoom.

"Meaningful conversations about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement must remain at the forefront of our priorities. As a college, we are determined to keep up our momentum and take action for change," said WSU Applebaum Interim Dean Cathy Lysack. 

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"Our June dialogue brought student voices to the forefront and gave our entire community the chance to share our experiences," said WSU Applebaum Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Mary Clark. "We listened – and we were listened to – bringing some comfort, solidarity, and hope for the future."  

Once again, participants will have the opportunity to listen and speak in smaller breakout groups facilitated by WSU Applebaum community members with participation from the Wayne State Office of Diversity and Inclusion.This dialogue series was organized by Dr. Clark and WSU Chief Diversity Officer Marquita Chamblee.

"Racial disparities touch every facet of our work as health practitioners and influence the ultimate well-being of patients in our care. We are determined to lead the way in alleviating inequality," Lysack said.

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Meet our student leaders

Inspired by the college's recent Zoom dialogue on racism, students Maya Flores and Hannah Moore are co-leading a student effort to bring fresh ideas to the administration, working directly with Dean Cathy Lysack to open conversations and spur new pathways to diversity and inclusion.

Our college mission

Our longstanding Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CoDI) is currently being reimagined to more aggressively address the impact of structural racism on pharmacy and health sciences education, and to hold everyone in our college accountable for ensuring that the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion are conscientiously woven into the fabric of our community, our research and our educational experiences.

Enhancing the diversity of our academic community has been written into the college's Strategic Plan since 2013. Specifically, we aim to increase our recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students from underserved populations to better reflect the communities our alumni serve as health care professionals. Our objectives include:

  • Increasing the number of applications for admission and acceptances into EACPHS from under-represented students in accordance with individual program strategic plans.
  • Increasing the number of applications for admission and acceptances into undergraduate research experiences by under-represented students in accordance with individual program strategic plans.
  • Identifying qualified students from underrepresented populations through collaboration with other Wayne State University programs.
  • Pooling the expertise of college thought leaders and our Cultural Competence Committee to enhance student mentoring and recruitment.
  • Increasing the number of global learning experiences for students in accordance with individual program strategic plans.
  • Increasing the diversity of faculty and staff within the College to enhance learning and support services for students and the people we serve.

Establishing a pipeline of diverse students

Our professors regularly mentor undergraduate students from underrepresented populations and involve them in high-level scientific research.

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (EACPHS) provides Detroit middle and high school students with the opportunity to participate in Apple Days, an initiative through which students learn about health education programs offered by the college. The Office of Student Affairs hosts over 500 students once a year for three hours, during which they explore programs through hands-on demonstrations and instructional lectures presented by students and faculty.

The college partners with the C2 Pipeline Program on Apple Days and other programming. The C2 Pipeline Program is a college- and career-ready initiative that exposes high school students to health and STEM careers in a project-based, hands-on learning environment. Faculty members representing the college's various programs facilitate activities to educate students about opportunities, academic requirements, and job responsibilities and encourage them to pursue health care careers.

The Student Pharmacists Inclusion Network (SPIN) aims to ensure that the Wayne State PharmD degree program reflects and supports a diverse student body, with a long-range goal of reducing health care disparities in Detroit. Undergraduate students from underrepresented populations are mentored by current pharmacy students as they work toward admission to the Doctor of Pharmacy program.

Academic Services Officer Heather Sandlin is launching the first Michigan chapter of Eye to Eye, a national mentoring program aimed to help those who learn differently flourish. Eye to Eye trains college students with learning differences, including dyslexia and ADHD, to mentor similarly-identified middle school students. Sandlin is leading the effort to bring Eye to Eye to Wayne State and a partner middle school in Detroit.

Promoting inclusion

The Student Pharmacists Diversity Council (SPDC) promotes diversity and social awareness on the pathway to becoming more culturally competent healthcare providers.

A student-led Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) chapter was established in spring 2020. The group also has a book club.

Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity in Action (IDEA) promotes inclusion, diversity, and equity in Wayne State's Doctor of Physical Therapy program through education, outreach, and the creation of a safe platform for minority concerns within the WSU Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Student Haley Boccomino is working to incite policy changes that improve care for LGBTQ people. She is helping create a three-hour educational lecture on LGBTQ patient care for presentation at the DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, and her article "Five Ways to be an LGBTQ Patient Ally" was recently featured on the American Physical Therapy Association blog.

Physical therapy students raised money to support an adaptive sled hockey team as part of the program's annual day of service.

A series of Women in Science events led by Dean Lysack bring together academics and researchers for camaraderie, networking and support.

Teaching inclusion & cultural competence

The majority of our degree programs have a cultural competence component officially built into the curriculum, and it is a theme woven into many aspects of classroom learning. In addition, experiential learning in the City of Detroit plays an important role in the education of our students.

The physician assistant studies program has been affiliated with Special Olympics Detroit since 1998. PA studies students work in conjunction with students from the college's physical therapy and occupational therapy programs and medical residents and staff at Sinai-Grace Hospital to provide monthly pre-sport health appraisals for the underrepresented minority, mentally and physically challenged population in the Detroit Public Schools. The program has enabled approximately 1,200 mentally and physically challenged athletes to participate annually in the Special Olympics Detroit events. The program has received two awards: the Community Based Project Grant from the Physician Assistant Foundation and the 2000 AAPA/PA Foundation/Pfizer Recognition Program.

The Community Homeless Interprofessional Program (CHIP) started in late 2013 when a local church, the Cathedral of St. Paul, approached the medical school about providing basic medical services after a weekly breakfast they hosted for people of Detroit who were experiencing homelessness.  WSU health professions programs collaborated to develop an initiative to educate homeless individuals about medical and community resources and provide them with some basic health services. A monthly clinic program was designed, and the first program occurred in April 2014.  Each college is responsible for providing both a faculty member and students at the monthly clinic.  The Doctor of Pharmacy Program and the Schools of Medicine and Social Work have further developed CHIP and thus have become the CHIP core students and faculty.

Established in 2011, the Diabetes Education and Wellness (DEW) Clinic is an interdisciplinary, student-run free clinic that seeks to enrich the educational experiences of students as well as expand access to health care services for uninsured or underinsured individuals with type 2 diabetes. Students from several disciplines in the EACPHS, including Pharmacy Practice, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Dietetics and Nutrition, Social Work, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and Medical Practice, work in partnership with the Super All Year (SAY) Detroit Family Health Clinic, which was founded by columnist and author Mitch Albom. With the support of faculty and staff from different departments and through interdisciplinary coordination, the clinic provides well-rounded free education about the many aspects of type 2 diabetes to individuals in the community.

The Super All Year (SAY) Detroit Physical Therapy Clinic is a free, student-run initiative that offers physical therapy services to medically underserved and uninsured residents at no cost. Its goal is to help students become experienced physical therapists through volunteer experiences that help them develop leadership and other skills. This past April, physical therapy students organized the DEW What You SAY 5K to raise money for the Diabetes Education and Wellness (DEW) Clinic and the Super All Year (SAY) Detroit Physical Therapy Clinic. Students are to be commended for coordinating such a successful first event; there were 120 registered runners, and they raised more than $2,200.

The Interprofessional Team Visit program (IPTV), a collaboration between WSU's medicine, pharmacy, nursing, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs, serves 450 older adults in the Detroit area annually.

Second-year students in the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) participate in Underserved Clinical Activities through which they interview patients in 10 Detroit area clinics that serve the underinsured and uninsured. Students learn the value of clinics to provide medical care to the underinsured and uninsured, learn how medical conditions and treatment affect patients' quality of life, enhance their communications skills in obtaining medication histories, and provide patients with consultation on medications. They also assist clinic staff in dispensing medications and obtaining medications from various prescription programs.