Published on July 23, 2014 by Philip Poole  

Samford University's McWhorter School of Pharmacy has received a $250,000 gift from Cardinal Health, Inc., of Dublin, Ohio, to fund scholarships for senior pharmacy students preparing to serve in independent pharmacies.

This is the third gift from Cardinal Health for this purpose. In 2012, Cardinal Health established the Cardinal Health Annual Independent Pharmacy Scholarship in McWhorter School of Pharmacy as a part of their organizational commitment to supporting the growth of independent pharmacy. Cardinal Health has contributed $480,000 to their Samford scholarship fund since its inception.

“We are grateful for Cardinal Health’s continued support of students in the McWhorter School of Pharmacy,” said Michael A. Crouch, pharmacy school dean. “Having been around independent pharmacy much of my life, I know first hand the essential role the community pharmacist plays in the healthcare system. These funds are already having an impact and they uniquely support our mission to improve health.”

Nationwide, only nine schools were selected to receive support from Cardinal Health’s Pharmacy Scholarship Program in 2014. According to Cardinal Health, schools are chosen based on their commitment to advancing the independent pharmacy profession. These schools offer curricula focused on operating an independent pharmacy; support student-run chapters of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA); endorse internship and co-op programs with local independent retail pharmacies; and demonstrate high post-graduate placement rates in community pharmacy settings.

"We know community pharmacists play a critical role in improving the cost-effectiveness of healthcare, and in helping patients better manage their overall health," said Mike Kaufmann, chief executive officer of Cardinal Health's Pharmaceutical segment. "We're proud to support tomorrow's community pharmacy leaders through this scholarship program, and we're inspired by the impact we know they'll have on their patients and communities, when they become pharmacy owners."

According to Josh Knight, a senior pharmacy student and the 2014 recipient of the Cardinal Health Annual Independent Pharmacy Scholarship, a career in community pharmacy is an opportunity to serve. “Community pharmacy will allow me to not only provide for the community’s health care needs, but to also be involved in making the community a better place,” said Knight. “I’m grateful for this scholarship, because it reduces the financial burden of pharmacy school, which will help me to own an independent pharmacy sooner,” he added.

Independent pharmacies are not directly affiliated with pharmacy chains and are not owned by publicly-traded companies, but are pharmacist-owned and privately-held businesses. They are known for high standards of customer service.

As part of the partnership, Cardinal Health also provides mentoring resources to students holding the scholarship, providing them with practical guidance beyond their scholarship, Dean Crouch noted.

Cardinal Health has donated nearly $4.2 million to more than 20 universities through this program since its launch in June 2011. Cardinal Health, Inc., is a Fortune 500 health care services company that specializes in distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical products, serving more than 60,000 locations.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 1st nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.