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Four years ago in a unique partnership among Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Express Scripts, Inc. and St. Louis College of Pharmacy known as BESt developed a program to promote pharmacy careers to diverse regional high school students.

The idea for the summer program began with Steven Player, PharmD, MBA, inpatient pharmacy manager at Barnes-Jewish. “Most pharmacists train in areas where they go to school,” Player says. “I began to think of our own region and what could be done to develop potential talent within our multicultural high school student population to fill the shortage of pharmacists, particularly underrepresented minority pharmacists.” 

Dimigher Clark, BESt student, left, and Valerie Raney, PharmD resident and BESt lab instructor, check Clark's calculation during lab exercises at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

This year the BESt Pharmacy Summer Institute enrolled 58 students from 26 public high schools in the metropolitan St. Louis region for an intensive six-week course. Rising high school senior students attend classroom sessions in precalculus and English 101 taught by college instructors and receive eight hours of college credit upon successful completion. Younger students take courses in math, science and communication, while all students take Pharmacy 101, ACT prep and do coursework in professional development. In addition to classroom coursework, all participate in laboratory exercises.
“The intensive coursework coupled with the ability to live on campus gives students a sense of what college might be like,” says Player. “This program brings the best and the brightest together with other best and brightest. They learn to help each other to make that bridge to get ready for college. In return, the program provides a potential pipeline of diverse candidates for the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.”

Learn more about the BESt program.
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