Dhiren and Kailas Thakker Support Global Pharmacy Scholarships with $500,000 Endowment
Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Four years ago, Dhiren Thakker, and his wife, Kailas Thakker, made a gift to initiate the Global Pharmacy Scholarships (GPS) Program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in an effort to improve health around the world and inform pharmacy practice at home.
As part of their ongoing commitment to the program, the couple has pledged additional funds to increase the Dhiren and Kailas Thakker Endowment to $500,000.
This increased endowment will support up to 20 students per year traveling to over 10 countries for pharmacy educational experiences. Those countries include Australia, China, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Malawi, Moldova, the United Kingdom and Zambia.
Next summer, Dhiren Thakker, along with new Dean Angela Kashuba, will lead a trip to Malawi and Zambia to highlight the need to support the School’s GPS Program. The 10-day Vision Trip is open to alumni and friends interested in supporting the GPS program, and will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see firsthand the impact of global education for students.
The mission of the GPS program is to enable students to learn about health care issues around the world; expose students to different cultures and healthcare systems; extend scholarship opportunities available to students; and develop the next generation of global leaders in pharmacy. Students going abroad also catalyze future collaborative research and practice-based efforts with other academic institutions and organizations worldwide.
“This gift will allow our students to experience other cultures and translate their learning outcomes back home to their local communities,” said David Steeb, director of global engagement at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
In addition to the Thakkers’ gift, the program is sustained by top supporters including alum Steve McCombs, who committed an additional $250,000 as an estate gift to establish the McCombs Family Global Pharmacy Scholarship Endowment. For the next four years, he will also support a Pharmacy GPS Scholarship. Anthony Hickey, director of the UNC Catalyst for Rare Diseases, is also contributing to fund GPS scholarships.
“The Global Pharmacy Scholars program is in its fifth year now; and well over 100 pharmacy students have traveled to countries on four different continents, worked in diverse healthcare settings, and obtained service-learning experiences. The students say these experiences have transformed their outlook on their careers and life and that is the very essence of this program! We must do everything possible to sustain and grow this life-changing program,” Dhiren Thakker said.