MISSOULA – The United States Health Resources & Services Administration recently awarded a $3 million grant to investigators in the University of Montana Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

The five-year grant will assist students at UM who wish to enter the health professions, but face financial or educational hurdles.

The grant will be administered by co-project investigators Lori Morin from the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Mark Pershouse from the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Wilena Old Person will coordinate the grant.

The HRSA grant will fund two different programs. One is composed of 10 scholars already admitted to pharmacy school who are given an intense preview of their upcoming classes and school experiences through a four-week summer “boot camp” held on the UM campus. Students receive $90 a day to cover living expenses and spend at least six hours a day preparing for fall enrollment in pharmacy programs. Five large, $10,000-per-year, renewable scholarships are given to students to help with the financial aspects of professional school.

In the second program, 25 undergraduates enroll in a health careers academy to support them throughout their training as they prepare for application to medical, dental, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant or other health care professions schools. Support will take the form of tutors, student and faculty mentors, and financial aid advisers, as well as case workers, who will ensure students have every chance to realize their dreams.

This grant works closely with the existing advising structures at UM, as well as regional high schools, tribal colleges, health care pipeline programs and others to find suitable students who could maximally benefit from the program.

For more information, email lori.morin@umontana.edu, mark.pershouse@mso.umt.edu or wilena.oldperson@mso.umt.edu. Application forms and more detailed information will be announced in the near future.


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