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Alumna Broadcasts Black, Female Experience on Black Women Pharmacists, The Podcast

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on December 22, 2020

Ijeoma Ekeocha In an effort to provide an outlet to support Black Women pharmacists and highlight their success in the field, Ijeoma Ekeocha PharmD’09, Clinical Pharmacy Manager for Specialty Pharmacy Services at a large academic institution in New York City, created a podcast in 2020, Black Women Pharmacists, with no previous experience.

“I created this podcast during a time when I became discouraged with pharmacy,” said Dr. Ekeocha. “I knew very well there were plenty of black women pharmacists that had similar experiences as I did, and yet, they were pharmacy leaders who were involved in local and national pharmacy organizations -- and they really enjoyed their pharmacy careers.” 

She set out to learn from them and share their stories with others. 

“I wanted to provide valuable information that I wish I had when I was a pharmacy student,” she said. “I wanted them to learn how to really maximize their degrees and avoid pitfalls along the way.”

Since grabbing the mic, Dr. Ekeocha had interviewed dozens of women about their journeys, successes, failures, and advice that they would share with others. Her subjects span the pharmacy industry and include CEOs, consultants, professors, marketing professionals, and attorneys.

Ijeoma Ekeocha“Now more than ever it is important to ensure we have adequate representation of the Black experience from the black perspective,” said Dr. Ekeocha on why she continues to create and promote her podcast in addition to her full-time career. “There are schools that don’t have any Black faculty members or have an extremely small percentage of Black students. That needs to change. I envision my podcast filling in some of those gaps, not only for Black students but for the non-Black communities that need to learn about our experiences.”

Most inspirational to Dr. Ekeocha was Sheneisha White who finally landed a role in industry after submitting 150 applications. “ I remember reading about her before the episode and thinking to myself, this is what not giving up looks like...and look where that got her,” she said. “I absolutely love her story and think that anyone having difficulty landing a role at this time needs to listen to her episode for some inspiration! I know I was inspired and still am.

Dr. Ekeocha wasn’t sure of her own career path when she was a student and even as she graduated from USciences’ Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, but found her way into a successful career by continuing to gain experience and keeping an open mind. 

“It is ok to want to do different things - learn all the different things and then use those experiences to customize a niche that will still allow you to serve and give back to the profession,” she advises prospective students. 

Ijeoma EkeochaThe pharmacy program provided extensive training in acute care settings and enforced professionalism very early on, preparing her for APPE rotations at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and her subsequent career at the same institution. Dr. Ekeocha was the first and only pharmacist to complete an ASHP-accredited non-traditional pharmacy residency program at Johns Hopkins after a few years of working in the field. Now she oversees accreditation and regulatory services for a specialty pharmacy and has led additional pharmacy-driven projects for the institution. 

“I absolutely love what I do and I think my foundation at USciences has really helped me leverage a myriad of opportunities I’ve come across in my career,” she said. 

Dr. Ekeocha said she appreciated how USciences was a tight-knit community. She was able to find a supportive advisor and great friends.  She made close connections with a lot of students who majored in other disciplines as well as close friends in the PharmD program that would share long nights where they studied hard and laughed even harder, particularly for Pharmacy and Therapeutics classes.  

“It was no fun to stay up all night and I would not recommend that today, but being with a group of my peers really made it fun and enjoyable,” she said. “I remember eating candy and popcorn and creating mnemonics for the different drug categories.”

As her career advances, Dr. Ekeocha wants to become more involved in public speaking, particularly at pharmacy schools to help future pharmacists understand how dynamic the PharmD degree can be. She also hopes to continue to grow Black Women Pharmacists to become a household name.

For more information and to listen to the podcast visit blackwomenpharmacists.com.

Categories: News, Alumni, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Pharmacy, Proven Everywhere, Bicentennial