Dompé Therapeutics Challenge 2021: young talent will change the world

Team NAHK 1st place

As with many sectors of society, segregation within the health care system has historically been very prevalent1,2. Healthcare providers are among those leading the charge to increase diversity and address racial healthcare disparities2,3. This includes pharmacists who can also contribute to this “quiet revolution”1,2. By having more minority faculty and enrolling more minority students, pharmacy schools can be a key influence of change. According to a study published in 2016, African American or Black (13.4% of the general US population according to the Census bureau) comprised only 4.7% of pharmacy faculty, with LatinX (18.5%) comprising 2.9%, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0.1%, and Native American and Alaska Native 0.2%.4

Furthermore, 2018 data reported by Mathew indicate that of the 65,540 students across 143 US pharmacy colleges, only 6.1% were African American, 4.1% were LatinX, and 0.6% were Native American or Alaska Native.1, 2 It is clear that when compared to the US general population, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are underrepresented among pharmacists, and increasing diversity can better meet the health care needs of the population.

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), together with their parent organization, are devoted to “increase the number of minority pharmacists who are active in organized pharmacy; Raise money to provide scholarship support for pharmacy students who are active members of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association; Be a strong voice on issues affecting minority pharmacists and underserved communities.” 5,6 Through a partnership, Dompé is excited to help support this mission.

As a result, Bianca Baker, PhD, Director US Medical and Clinical Affairs, Ophthalmics believed a Dompé Therapeutics Challenge for pharmacy students would be a perfect collaboration. With the help of both Nadia Zaveri, PharmD, Associate Director of Diabetes, Medical Affairs and Nancy Reyes, PhD, Senior Medical Science Liaison and in partnership with SNPhA leadership, we worked on the development and execution of this initiative.

During the inaugural challenge, teams were tasked with writing a formulary evaluation, including an argument to be added to a health system formulary, of a Dompé medicine. Additionally, the teams were asked to create a patient-friendly educational brochure of the Dompé medication. Five teams, with a total of 15 students submitted entries. After evaluation of the submissions, top teams were identified, where they then presented their proposals to Dompé employees followed by a Q&A. Adam Appril, Danielle Flannery, and Nicholas Gross from our US HR & Commercial teams contributed to the selection of the winners. The winning teams were announced at the 2021 SNPhA Annual Conference and included: Team Managed Keratitis Christian Capo and Zachary Krauss from Cedarville University (1st place), Team NAHK Simone Augustine, Filmon Haile, Sergey Kustov, Doreen Nilo from USC School of Pharmacy (2nd place), and Team EYEwitnesses Vedanshi Bhojak, Cynthia Agu, Randy Nguyen from Keck Graduate Institute (3rd place). [see pictures for 1st place winners]

In reflecting on the importance of initiatives such as the Dompé Therapeutics Challenge, Bianca Baker, Director US Medical and Clinical Affairs, Ophthalmics shared “It's important that we not only address the unmet medical need for patients but also in the broader communities that often impact a patient’s access to treatment. Dompé is thrilled to be partnering with SNPhA to help make sure that healthcare is as diverse as the patients we serve!”

Team Managed Keratitis had this to share about why they participated in a challenge such as this, "In the field of pharmacy, new medications can sometimes come with trepidation and concern, especially in diverse populations. Mistrust in the medical community is common in minority populations, and it takes knowledgeable and confident practitioners who care about patients in order to dispel those concerns. We feel that this competition helped us to better be able to research new medications, determine how it applies to current practice, find the best way to provide recommendations to a physician or administrator, and how to explain a novel medication to our future patients in a way that they can understand."

In addition, Nicholas Gross, Associate Director of Commercial Strategy Ophthalmology stated, “I truly enjoyed participating in the inaugural Dompé Therapeutics Challenge, as it was a sincere reflection of our commitment to be the most human, courageous, and responsive biotech in the U.S. It is inspiring to work for an organization that is dedicated to social change and invests in the development of diverse communities. In our industry, there is a great need for more programs that provide meaningful outreach, visibility, and mentorship for underrepresented talent. It is exciting to see the Dompé team take a leadership position on such a critical issue!”

The 2nd Annual Dompé Therapeutics Challenge in 2022 will further develop the collaboration with SNPhA.


  1. Coppock, Kristen. Understanding healthy disparities in Pharmacy. Jul 22, 2020.
  2. Matthew DB. Opening General Session: A Lawyer’s Prescription for Pharmacists’ Role in Achieving Health Equity. Presented at: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Virtual Pharmacy Education 2020. Jul 13-31, 2020.
  3. Kogut SJ. Racial disparities in medication use: imperatives for managed care pharmacy. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2020;26(11):1468-1474.
  4. Hagan AM, Campbell HE, Gaither CA. The Racial and Ethnic Representation of Faculty in US Pharmacy Schools and Colleges. Am J Pharm Educ. 2016;80(6):108.