Campus News

Provost IMPACT Award supports collaboration across pharmacy colleges to build relationships, advance Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2024) — The Institutional Multidisciplinary Paradigm to Accelerate Collaboration and Transformation (IMPACT) Awards were launched in 2023 to champion the necessary and groundbreaking work done by University of Kentucky faculty and other campus community members.

The inaugural IMPACT Awards total more than $600,000 — with a particular emphasis on proposals that are transdisciplinary, innovative and aligned with some aspect of The UK-PURPOSE, the UK Strategic Plan.

In 2024, IMPACT will continue to fund projects similarly aimed at supporting the university to continue leading in teaching, research, service and care.

This spring, UKNow is highlighting the 2023 IMPACT Award projects and the faculty who are leading them. Today, we learn more about the project titled “Faculty Exchange Initiative” in the UK College of Pharmacy.

Led by Trenika Mitchell, Pharm.D., associate dean for diversity and inclusion in the college; Craig Martin, Pharm.D., professor and chief operations officer; and Unique Young-Nutter, diversity and inclusion coordinator, the Faculty Exchange Initiative aims to build meaningful relationships with colleges of pharmacy across diverse geographical, structural and cultural contexts.

Last month, the initiative kicked off with a successful exchange that brought four visiting faculty to the UK College of Pharmacy for two weeks. During their stay, these educators shared their expertise, engaged in deep cultural and community exchanges, and fostered lasting partnerships. Each visitor conducted seminars, collaborated with UK administrators, faculty and students, and participated in a variety of enriching campus and community activities.

UKNow caught up with the team to learn more about the project. You can read more in the Q&A session below.

UKNow: How has the IMPACT award inspired innovation at UK with your research?

The purpose of our project was to build relationships with colleges of pharmacy that have different geographical, structural and cultural compositions than our own. In the Faculty Exchange Initiative, our college sent one faculty member (Craig Martin) to Xavier University of Louisiana and one faculty member (Melody Ryan) to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and we hosted one faculty member (Jasmin Eugene) from Xavier and three faculty members (Drs. Vicki Howe, Christopher Medlin and Denise Pinal) from UTEP for two weeks during April 7-20, 2024. During that time, both the faculty members and colleges exchanged ideas, learned about the culture of the institutions and their communities and made long-lasting connections. Each faculty member provided a seminar on their areas of expertise, met with college administrators, faculty and students and participated in college and community activities. In addition, faculty participants had other experiences that were specific to their needs and interests such as participating on clinical rounds in their specialty areas, connecting with people within the college and university that have similar areas of interests, and learning about curricular, extracurricular and experiential programs that they may want to bring to their home institutions.

The institutions themselves, including us at the UK College of Pharmacy, greatly benefited from the information provided in the faculty participant seminars, meetings that provided space to exchange ideas concerning various projects, curricular, and programmatic initiatives in the participating institutions and building bridges for future collaborations with the participating institutions.

UKNow: What positive impact will your research have on Kentucky and beyond?

Maya Angelou wrote an amazing poem titled, “Human Family.” The last few lines repeat the words, “for we are more alike my friends than we are unalike.” I am a firm believer in those words. By sharing our experiences (our highs, lows, successes, failures) even though the populations may differ, we can apply the knowledge gained to our areas of the world.  The Faculty Exchange Initiative has made the faculty participants stronger and each individual institution stronger. This will have a positive impact on college communities, especially our students, who will then go into the state of Kentucky and provide better care for its citizens.

UKNow: How did you decide on this particular topic or research area?

I currently serve as the associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the College of Pharmacy, and I am always interested in finding ways to bring people together and creating spaces where they can learn from one another. The IMPACT award was the perfect opportunity to allow our college (its students, faculty and staff) to better connect with colleges that are different culturally, structurally and geographically from our own. I felt the faculty participants would have a rich, two-week experience that truly gave them the opportunity to learn about the participating colleges, their people and their surrounding communities. 

I also knew that our college would benefit from the innovative ideas that the participating faculty would bring. What creative things are they doing to promote community engagement in their respective colleges? How are they supporting their students academically, emotionally and mentally? How are they supporting their faculty and staff? What does pharmacy practice and experiential education look like in their areas? What health disparities are unique to their communities, and how are they combating them? How do our colleges differ and how are they similar? How can our colleges help and collaborate with one another?

UKNow: What comes next for your research? 
I plan to survey the faculty participants and also meet with them to learn more about their experiences. What were the highlights?  What can be done differently? How can we continue to collaborate together? Is this experience worth repeating? I will also meet with key organizers from each institution to discuss similar questions. 

If we find that the Faculty Exchange Initiative was a positive, meaningful, productive experience, it is my hope that we can repeat it in the future. I also plan to follow up on possible future collaborations with the colleges that are in the very early discussion phase.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.