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Navigating the Pharmacy Profession: Leading with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Written by SOP Communications on February 27, 2023

On Thursday, Feb. 23, CU Pharmacy transformed its regular lunch and learn into an Alumni Association panel discussion for Black History Month. Hosted by the CU Pharmacy Alumni Association, in collaboration with the Career Services Office and the School’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, the event provided the opportunity for students to network with alumni and ask questions about their journey in the pharmacy profession.

Watch the Discussion


Meet the Panel

Benjamin Abraham, PharmD ’24 CandidateBenjamin Abraham, PharmD ’24 Candidate
Benjamin Abraham is an Eritrean-American and 3rd year Pharmacy student born in Washington D.C  and raised in Commerce City, CO. He attended Colorado State University Fort Collins, where he received his B.S in Biochemistry. He currently works at Capsule Pharmacy as a pharmacy intern but has been working in pharmacy since 2014. As a pharmacy student at Skaggs, he has enjoyed being involved in Student Senate, Phi Delta Chi, and APhA-ASA. He is excited to start his APPEs this coming summer where he’ll get the opportunity to practice in many different settings in Colorado and abroad. In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, photography, and online video games.


Dorothy Agyemang, PharmD ’23 CandidateDorothy Agyemang, PharmD ’23 Candidate
Dorothy Achiaa Agyemang is currently a 4th year Doctor of pharmacy candidate who completed her undergraduate degree at the university of Northern Colorado, majoring in chemistry with an emphasis in pre-health. She is from Ghana, West Africa, but currently live in Aurora, Colorado, with her two younger brothers and parents. During undergrad, she got the opportunity to conduct research about the effect of cannabinoid on breast cancer cells which led to manuscripts publications and countless oral and poster presentations. Currently at Colorado university, she had direct patient care experience and held varies leadership positions. Additional she works for Pharmaceutical agency called Precision Value. She works as medical communication and publications associate. She is seeking post-doctorate opportunity in the Pharmaceutical industry, in hopes to secure a job as an SNR manager and use her knowledge to mentor students interested in the pharmaceutical industry. Dorothy’s  long term goal is to be an international pharmacist managing pharmacy stores within developing countries in Africa.

Kayla Ervin, PharmD ’24 CandidateKayla Ervin, PharmD ’24 Candidate
Kayla Ervin is a third year pharmacy student from Baltimore, MD. She received her B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry from George Mason University. Prior to pharmacy school, Kayla worked as a Chemist for the State of Maryland and McCormick & Company Inc. specializing in analytical testing and regulatory compliance. Kayla’s passion for pharmacy stems from assisting in the care of her younger brother. She currently works as a pharmacy intern at Walgreens. As a pharmacist, she hopes to improve individuals quality of life and provide culturally competent care.


James Ogbeide, PharmD ’16James Ogbeide, PharmD ’16
James Ogbeide is a PharmD graduate from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He also completed his bachelor’s in biology from the University of California, Riverside. James is a Senior Manager, Medical Communications Lead for Alexion Pharmaceuticals. James has over five years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with various roles in Medical Affairs involving medical information, scientific communication, and data generation.


Harold Okocha, PharmD ‘12Harold Okocha, PharmD ‘12
Dr. Okocha is a PharmD graduate from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, and received his MBA from Arkansas State University. He received his CPM certification from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). Harold is involved in clinical pharmacology services. His experience as a community leader along with his national and international involvement in various pharmacy organizations provides him global exposure and an understanding of various cultures.


Meet The Moderator

Dr. Erika FreitasDr. Erika Freitas, PhD

Dr. Erika Freitas (she, her, hers) is excited to join SSPPS as the founding Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. With almost 20 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Freitas has dedicated her career to preparing culturally responsive healthcare professionals. She holds a PhD in pharmacy education and she is a certified Anti-Defamation League trainer and a diversity consultant with extensive experience in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in academic and professional settings. Through her work, Dr. Freitas has developed a reputation as a strong advocate for minoritized communities, and as a skilled facilitator of difficult conversations about race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of identity. As the Assistant Dean for DEI in our school, she will be responsible for developing and implementing programs and initiatives, in partnership with faculty, staff, students, and other campus leaders, to foster the sense of belonging and ensure that all members of our community feel valued, supported, and included.


Meet The Emcee

Carlos Catalano PharmD, PhDCarlos Catalano PharmD, PhD
Dr. Catalano wears several hats with the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as a member of the faculty, a researcher and the current chair of the CU Pharmacy Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The studies in his lab fall into three broad categories that seek to understand the molecular mechanisms of virus development in the complex double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses. He also acts as an advisor for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), which serves as a pipeline program to create equitable environments for student in underserved communities with an interest in healthcare careers.

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