Students Receive National Scholarships for Community Outreach and Academic Excellence

National ScholorsThis year marks the first for students from the USC School of Pharmacy to be recognized by the National Association of Medical Minority Educators (NAMME) scholarships committee – and they were recognized in a big way, earning two of only eight annual awards.

Henry Delu and Folayemi Fashola, both PharmD candidates and Rho Chi honor students, received scholarships at the 2012 National NAMME Awards & Scholarship Program, which took place September 15 in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference included exhibitions, a student recruitment fair and a keynote address by Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the organization, “Created in 1995, the NAMME Scholarship is awarded annually to underrepresented minority students who have completed the first year of health professions training. Nominated students are selected based upon their academic record, community service, financial need and personal statement.”

Delu and Fashola both excel in all of the scholarship criteria. In addition to his high academic standing, Delu acted as co-chair for the Diabetes Initiative as part of the USC Chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

“As part of the Diabetes Initiative, I gave presentations to patients with diabetes on hypoglycemia and how to use their medications, led workshops on diabetes at homeless clinics, and did free diabetes screenings in minority communities,” said Delu. “In addition, I wrote health literacy articles and submitted initiative reports to the national SNPhA organization.”

Delu is also an active member of the scholarship committee at his church, and hopes to pursue a career as both a community pharmacist and clinical pharmacist.

“As I continue towards my educational goals, I plan to continue the legacy that NAMME started, and continue to prove the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: ‘All of us can be great, since all of us can serve,’” said Delu.

Fashola has also been actively involved with SNPhA, serving as the group’s vice president, and has participated in various activities as a Kaiser Permanente pharmacy intern.

“The NAMME scholarship is an honor, as well as much appreciated financial assistance, but more importantly it’s a nod of encouragement for me to continue putting my best foot forward,” explained Fashola. “It also pushes me to intensify my mentorship efforts to increase minority representation in pharmacy.”

Fashola ultimately hopes to have a career that enables her to promote health, be involved in developing and implementing meaningful programs, and mentor others.

Both students were nominated for these awards by Dr. Walter Cathey, who leads the Diversity Initiative at the School of Pharmacy. Cathey is also the advisor to the USC SNPhA chapter.

“These two students have been extremely instrumental and engaged in providing leadership to the Diversity Initiative at the USC School of Pharmacy,” he said. “For Yemi and Henry to win these very competitive scholarships demonstrates again to the rest of the country the quality of our students.”