Photo of Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Integrating equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into all aspects of the Faculty is a top priority for the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, and the development of a comprehensive strategy and action plan is underway.

“Together we’re working to expand and deepen our focus on equity, diversity and inclusion as guiding forces for the education we deliver and the research we lead.”

“We must do more to increase the complement and improve the experience of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour as a Faculty and as a profession,” said Dean Lisa Dolovich. “Together we’re working to expand and deepen our focus on equity, diversity and inclusion as guiding forces for the education we deliver and the research we lead.”

Over the summer, Dean Dolovich and the leadership team began a discovery phase in partnership with U of T’s Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office. The purpose of this collaborative exploration is to deepen community engagement and understanding while creating opportunities for students, staff and faculty to discuss matters of EDI, including systemic discrimination.

This fall, the Faculty will organize engagement opportunities for students and all community members to have a voice in shaping the Faculty’s EDI action plan. These insights will be incorporated into the Faculty’s forthcoming academic plan, in which EDI principles will be the foundation of all academic, research and community impact pillars.

Broad engagement is important, but the Faculty is also making two immediate changes to recruitment and admissions.

First, two new student awards will be introduced this September to encourage more Black and Indigenous students to pursue a pharmacy or pharmaceutical science education at the Faculty.

“We know that more support is required for students of racialized communities and we’re pleased to establish new awards in this area to help those facing financial and other barriers,” said Dolovich.

The Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Faculty and Staff Undergraduate Award for Black and Indigenous Students will create a $25,000 endowment and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Staff and Faculty Graduate Award for Black and Indigenous Students will create a $50,000 endowment that will award $1,000 and $2,000 to students, respectively, every year in perpetuity.  Faculty and staff members are making their own personal contributions to these awards, which will be matched by the Faculty.

Second, the Faculty is also ensuring that its admissions processes allow Black and Indigenous students to self-identify. The Faculty Registrar is adjusting its forms and protocol, as well as deploying a student self-identification survey to ensure accurate information is collected about the student community – critical to evidence-based decision making.

Dolovich acknowledges that there’s more work to be done. There are also plans to expand the Summer Mentorship Program, refresh faculty and staff hiring practices, host education workshops, integrate EDI into program curricula, and ensure accountability within Faculty governance.

“Beyond our walls, we will also work in partnership with the Ontario College of Pharmacists on a profession-wide strategy to increase the number of Black and Indigenous pharmacists in the province,” said Dolovich.

Removing systemic barriers and sweeping change take time, but by balancing efforts at a professional and Faculty level, while creating immediate opportunities for students to share their insights, the Faculty is laying the groundwork to transform pharmacy, in the next five years

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