Background and EDI Task Force

In 2020, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) appointed the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force to begin the work of institutionalizing the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and UMSOP values of equity and justice. The task force’s work and the ongoing work of the newly established role of assistant dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion is to develop priorities for UMSOP that centers around the themes of the UMB strategic plan: University culture, engagement, and belonging, to “create a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive culture of care that collaboratively engages and embraces all members of the University community, and the broader community, with respect, and in a manner that fosters belonging, understanding, trust, and equity."

The task force — comprised of faculty, staff, and students and reporting to the School’s Executive Council and Administrative Board — conducted an internal and external environmental scan, developed EDI priorities and goals, attended EDI conferences, and hosted EDI townhalls at the School. Their work culminated in the hiring of the first assistant dean for EDI, Chanel Whittaker, PharmD, BCGP, FASCP, and the development of short- and long-term recommendations

UMSOP’s Inclusive Excellence Plan has five key perspectives that reimagines excellence through the lens of inclusion, a lens that seeks to “systematically leverage diversity for student learning and institutional excellence. ”To promote organizational transformation around these values, EDI initiatives must be a priority. 

The UMSOP EDI priorities include:   

  1. Accountability and sustainability 
  2. Access and equity  
  3. Inclusion and belonging  
  4. Inclusive practice, research, and teaching  
  5. Community partnerships and pharmapreneurism  

The strategic planning process will continue through 2023, and the planning committee will welcome input from internal and external stakeholders. The process will culminate with a formal report. 

The task force included three working groups to cover different aspects of the School. The task force was co-chaired by Wendy Camelo-Castillo, Amanda Oglesby, and Chanel Whittaker. 

(1) Practice, Education and Training Workgroup

Co-Chair: Amanda Oglesby, PhD, associate professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC)

Advisor: Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation

  • Sandeep Devabhakthuni, PharmD, BCPS-AQ, associate professor, Department of Practice, Sciences, and Health Outcomes Research (P-SHOR)
  • Katherine Dugan, PharmD '22
  • Maria Palmer, PharmD '22
  • Rachel Shelton, PharmD '22
  • Margaret Hayes, MS, former director of student services and outreach, Office of Student Affairs
  • Brent Reed, PharmD, former associate professor of P-SHOR

(2) Leadership Development and Career Advancement Workgroup

Co-Chair: Chanel Whittaker, PharmD, BCPS, CGP, FASCP, professor of P-SHOR

Advisor: C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor of P-SHOR and executive director of the PATIENTS Program

  • Ava Norris, executive administrative manager
  • Yolanda Johnson, business services specialist in P-SHOR
  • Lisa Finn, MPH, program manager
  • Erica Chaffin, MBA, director of human resources
  • Jamie Hoots, former administrative director in P-SHOR

(3) Research, Pharmapreneurism and Community Advocacy Workgroup

Co-Chair: Wendy Camelo-Castillo, PhD, assistant professor of P-SHOR

Advisor: William Cooper, MBA, senior associate dean for administration and finance

  • C. Raman, PhD, professor of PSC
  • Jacquelyn McRae, P-SHOR graduate student
  • Nhu Truong, PSC graduate student
  • Cassandra Nelson, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in PSC
  • Lisa Jones, PhD, former associate professor of PSC

Each of the three work groups developed short- and long-term recommendations. The short-term recommendations focused on developing EDI–informed competency-based outcomes for the PharmD curriculum, developing a structure for affinity groups, creating a repository of EDI resources for the School website, and offering professional development on inclusive hiring and retention practices and implicit bias for SOP community.   

Longer term, the overarching goals are to engage in an ongoing process to identify and eliminate any form of discrimination, exclusion, oppressive policies or practices within the School community and curricula towards a more equitable, inclusive, and multicultural community. Four organizational priorities that emerged from the task force’s work to help guide this process include: community building, community competence, community equity and accountability, and community inclusion. 

In June 2022, the School established the inaugural assistant dean for EDI role. The assistant dean for EDI has begun the strategic planning process by building upon the School's reputation for excellence in research, practice, and scholarship. UMSOP’s Inclusive Excellence strategic plan integrates the task force’s recommendations, evidence-based practices in higher education, and aligns with UMB’s strategic plan and core values with a focus on equity and justice.

About EDI with Assistant Dean Chanel Whittaker

The assistant dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), Chanel Whittaker, shares the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy's vision for inclusive excellence.