CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misspelled Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin's name, the article has been updated to reflect the change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Angela Kashuba officially assumed her new role as Dean of The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Tuesday, calling for a mindset of creativity that she said will not rest.
The Eshelman program has been under the guidance of interim Dean Dhiren Thakker since 2017, and Kashuba will be its first female leader. A celebration was hosted at The Carolina Club with remarks by both interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin.
Guskiewicz and Blouin said the search process was complex, but Kashuba is ideal for the position.
“This is not an ordinary school," Blouin said. "It's certainly not an ordinary school of pharmacy. It’s a special school and it needs a special leader.”
Blouin emphasized Kashuba’s credentials in research, treatment and classroom education.
“This is something that we don’t do every day,” Blouin said. “This is an important moment in the life and future of this school.”
He said Kashuba’s commitment to rural health, compassionate patient care and technological innovation is in the DNA of the Eshelman School.
Kashuba said she hopes to grow the campus diversity programs in the medical field, foster more global outreach and connect current students with successful alumni in the pharmaceutical field.
But Kashuba’s key point was the need for equal access to health care resources in North Carolina.
“Forty percent of North Carolinians live in rural counties, and they may not have all of the comprehensive health care services that they need,” she said. “I would like to make sure that we have pharmacists at the forefront of care for all of our citizens.”
Kashuba said she expects to pursue projects that train doctors and pharmacists in both telehealth care and digital treatment for rural areas. She also said she feels a responsibility to maintain UNC’s status as the top undergraduate and graduate pharmacy program in the country — but sees her own way to shape the legacy.
“I consider myself a Tar Heel," she said. "I’ve been here for 22 years. I’ve really seen the transformation at the school, and I’ve been a part of that transformation. I’ve been an educator, a researcher and in practice in a variety of different settings. I feel those experiences help me relate to the mission of the school.”
An eye for empathy and holistic care, Kashuba said, is at the center of her medical philosophy. She appreciates that UNC is focused on inventiveness, but aims to better connect with the community.
Kashuba said Eshelman students and faculty must support a school and health care system that loves people back.
Regardless, Kashuba said she is committed to excellence, practicing medicine but also bettering it. For her, the future of pharmaceutical training in North Carolina can only move forward.
“There are so many opportunities as the number one school of pharmacy in the nation,” she said. “And I think that it is great to take advantage of those opportunities as people look to us to partner on various things — be it research, or in the educational space.”
Her colleague, Associate Dean of Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Carla White, said that Kashuba is the perfect person for the job — and she just so happens to be a woman.
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