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Motivation Monday: UTEP School of Pharmacy

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El Paso is now growing its own pharmacists. The new School of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at El Paso is not only taking measures to generate interest among elementary school students in the area, but working with local high schools to help teenagers accelerate into the pharmacy program.

Take Christian Ruiz, for example: "I finished my associate's before iI actually graduated from high school, so iI had like 60 or 70 hours of college credit when iI graduated." Christian is 21 now, and his brother, who is 19, is also in the School of Pharmacy as a result of the accelerated credit high school program in our area school districts.

Those who are in charge of running the college say having a pharmacy school in El Paso with accredited doctoral programs is critical. As Mary Chavez, one of the deans, explained, Texas has fewer pharmacists per 100,000 population than the rest of the United States. Chavez said that 86 pharmacists per 100,000 is the ideal ratio. However, El paso only has 55 per 100,000, clearly a major shortfall.

Chavez also points out the Hispanic population is sitting at 17 percent -– about 55 million nationwide. But by 2060, the projection is that the Hispanic population will more than double to 29 percent. UTEP believes our area is best qualified to produce pharmacists who can serve the Hispanic segment of the population, since our area is so heavily Hispanic.

In the next segment, we see how elementary school students reacted to being in a scientific lab and how the recruitment program works.

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