UCSF

Youmans among honorees at Office of Diversity and Outreach anniversary celebration

The UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach (ODO) celebrated its five-year anniversary on Friday, January 15, 2016 with a ceremony at the Millberry Union Event & Meeting Center on the Parnassus campus, honoring six campus leaders who were instrumental in the development of the office.

Included among those ODO champions was UCSF School of Pharmacy Vice Dean Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH, who oversees the School’s education and diversity initiatives.

“Sharon has been a key campus leader, advocate, and contributor,” said UCSF Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, in introducing Youmans. “She’s collaborated with our office from the very beginning. She worked with me—late into the night sometimes—drafting and creating our strategic plan.”

In brief remarks, Youmans reflected on her career at UCSF, which began in the early 1980s as the only African-American pharmacy student in her class. She noted that she drew inspiration from School alumnus, administrator, and faculty member emeritus Robert Gibson, PharmD ’58—the first African American to receive the American Pharmacists Association’s highest award, the Remington Honor Medal—who “back in the ‘70s wrote grants in order to increase the number of minority students in our school of pharmacy. He definitely laid the foundation for me and inspired me to continue on with this work.”

She also recalled, after joining the School’s faculty in 2001, trying to fill a single pharmacy school table at an annual dinner gala held by the UCSF Black Caucus, which was established in 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King to further equality on campus.

“I’m happy to say that this year we’re going to buy three tables,” she said to applause. “We now have a critical mass and that is part of the cultural shift on this campus.”

In closing, Youmans asserted: “We believe that with diversity, we can be even more excellent than what we are. This is really hard work; it is work of the mind, the heart, and the soul. And it is lifelong work. We can never stop advocating for inclusion, equality, and creating a nurturing environment for all of our faculty, staff, and students. We can never be satisfied with the status quo, and we should always be mindful and ask the question, ‘Who else needs to be at the table?’ ”

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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.