Equity, inclusion, and diversity are among the foundational elements of Kaiser Permanente’s strategy. Because of this commitment, the Apothecary Circle Pharmacy program began in 2007, with strong support from Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Regional Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Department. ACP partners with high school and college recruiters each summer to offer internship opportunities to about 10 candidates from underrepresented groups. In the pharmacy profession, underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans.
For up to 3 summers, participants rotate between multiple pharmacy departments to explore the roles of pharmacists and pharmacy support staff. These rotations include a combination of job-shadowing and educational days with the goal of immersing students in this rewarding field and preparing them for admission to pharmacy school. ACP partners with universities such as Western University College of Pharmacy in Pomona, California, to provide academic guidance to participants.
“It has been my pleasure to work with these amazing students and the dedicated KP pharmacists who make the time to mentor them as they prepare for pharmacy school and fulfilling careers,” said Art Dominguez, PharmD, clinical operations manager, Baldwin Park Medical Center and Apothecary Circle Pharmacy program chair.
“We have witnessed the program grow from 2 students to 10, with a student now at nearly every Kaiser Permanente Southern California Regional medical center. We have seen our students become pharmacists and pharmacy residents, taking their place and providing care for patients in our community.”
Through Art’s leadership over the past 10 years and the dedication of the pharmacists who mentor ACP interns, the program boasts 14 students from diverse backgrounds in pharmacy schools across California and 5 pharmacist graduates.
The Apothecary Circle Pharmacy program is currently implemented at these KP Medical Centers: Baldwin Park, Downey, Fontana, Los Angeles, Panorama City, Riverside, South Bay, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills.