ECU & UNC partnering for healthcare future

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Two North Carolina universities are teaming up to train the next generation of healthcare leaders.

The University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy and East Carolina University have established an early assurance program.

The UNC pharmacy school is ranked as the best pharmacy school in the country, and so ECU will make it easier for current and incoming students to be able to transfer to those courses.

“There is a huge need for pharmacists in rural parts of eastern North Carolina, so we hope that by establishing this program, we will be able to select some students who will want to go back and work in their communities after they graduate,” said Elizabeth McAllister, ECU’s director of pre-professional advising. “The partnership will give them opportunities to network with and shadow current pharmacists and participate in workshops with leaders from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.”

ECU hopes that it will encourage students to stay here in Eastern Carolina as they start their careers post-graduation.

“It’s really about creating an opportunity, and really with the hope that by accepting ECU students that the students they accept will want to go back and work in their local community because there is a great need for health care providers in the rural parts of the state,” ECU Academic Advising and Support Associate Director Elizabeth McAllister said.

ECU says that the first group of 10 students who will participate in this will be selected. Eligible students will need to complete a minimum of two years as an undergraduate while maintaining certain academic standards.

Throughout the program, participating students will be required to:

  • Participate in pre-pharmacy advising at least once each semester prior to beginning the Pharm.D. program;
  • Participate in a program seminar series; and
  • Meet prerequisite coursework/grade requirements.

Once accepted will be able to network with and shadow current pharmacists and participate in workshops with leaders from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

“These early assurance programs help get the dialogue going so the students are ultimately prepared when they apply. We want them to get in because we really want to recruit more students to then go back and service the people of Eastern North Carolina,” UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Regional Associate Dean Betsy Sleath PH.D. said.

Students that apply through the program will also have additional opportunities to engage with staff and current students.

“They’re going to be working with representatives from UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy starting in their sophomore year so they are going to have that early access that as a student who is not in the program and not at UNC, typically just would not have.”

The first group of ECU early assurance scholars will be selected in the spring of 2024

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy also has early assurance partnerships with UNC Pembroke, Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, UNC-Asheville and UNC-Wilmington.