EL PASO- Six University of Texas students will be honored in the 13th annual White Coat Ceremony on Friday.
The ceremony, which is held at 6:30 p.m. at the Tomas Rivera Conference Center, honors pre-pharmacy students by giving them white lab coats, needed for pharmacy school.
The students are part of the UTEP-UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program, a six-year curriculum that leads to a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the UT Austin College of Pharmacy in cooperation with UTEP’s College of Health Sciences. Under the program, students enroll at UTEP for two years to complete their prerequisite courses. They then spend the next two years at UT Austin for the first two years of their pharmacy education, and then finish their last two years of pharmacy school at UTEP.
“The program, created in 1999 to help alleviate the shortage of pharmacists, has helped get more Latinos into the pharmacy field,” said José O. Rivera, Pharm.D., program director.
When the partnership started, an average of two El Paso students enrolled in pharmacy programs each year. Now, 12 to 15 students from El Paso go to pharmacy school annually through this program.
“The shortage of pharmacists at the regional level is huge,” Rivera said. “With the number that we’re graduating, which is 12 or 15 students a year, we still cannot catch up.”