Executive Vice Dean Youmans honored with ASHP-ABHP Joint Leadership Award

Executive Vice Dean Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH, a faculty member in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, has been named a recipient of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)-Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists (ABHP) Joint Leadership Award for 2023.

Established in 2009, the ASHP-ABHP Joint Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

Youmans has been the School’s representative for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for the past 15 years, leading the transformation of the admissions process to encourage diversity and ushering in a system that considers candidates’ life experiences along with their academic record.

She also helped to transform the PharmD program to better support students as they progress through their training. Most recently, in October 2023 she was awarded the Chancellor Award for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership.

Youmans, who received her PharmD degree from the School in 1985, has led initiatives that help underserved communities since joining the faculty in 2001. She has received more than a dozen professional honors that recognize her work as an educator, including being named teacher of the year in 2004, and being selected for the UCSF 150th Anniversary Alumni Excellence Award in 2015.

“Sharon’s teaching and research strengths include public and global health, communication, cultural humility, and health disparities, as well as pharmacy education, and administration,” said Dean Kathy Giacomini, PhD, BSPharm. “Her contributions to our community and our culture have been invaluable, and it’s wonderful to see her recognized with two prestigious awards this year.”

A broader definition of diversity

Youmans has served for a decade on the UCSF Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion (4CI), helping to guide the implementation of training materials and metrics in support of the university’s anti-racism initiative. She is also a member of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) board of directors, part of her ongoing work to foster an inclusive learning environment that supports the well-being of students, faculty, and staff.

Reflecting on her career at UCSF, which began in the early 1980s, Youman always makes a point to credit her teacher and mentor, 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.

“I always want to give homage to Dr. Bob Gibson, who wrote grants back in the 1970s to increase the number of minority students in our School. His legacy also included revamping our admissions to be welcoming to all nontraditional learners,” Youmans said.

Layers of recognition

“With this award in particular, Dr. Gibson laid the foundation not only for me, but for two other recognized alums. Of the award winners since 2009, three have been from UCSF under his tutelage, and all three were black women, which is pretty miraculous.”

Youmans was presented with the award during the ABHP Luncheon on December 5, 2023, at the 2023 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, California. She described the recognition she received during the event, from both within the UCSF community and beyond, nationally, as “surreal.”

She said she “felt like a rock star,” even getting the chance to meet actress Viola Davis, who led the event’s opening session. In the event’s opening ceremony, two current third-year UCSF students, Linda Cheng and Siavash Panahi, were announced as first-place winners in the 2023 ASHP National Clinical Skills Competition.

“It has been an honor to follow in Dr. Gibson’s footsteps when it comes to diversifying our student body, especially with underrepresented students,” Youmans said. “We have to remember our past and that we all stand on the shoulders of somebody. Our ultimate aim is to create a workforce that is more reflective of the communities we serve.”



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.