School of Pharmacy’s Daryl Whitehead Forging a Path for Future Students

As School of Pharmacy recognizes Black History Month, it celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of the school’s Black community who are making a difference and inspiring others
Portrait of Daryl Whitehead

Meet Daryl Whitehead, a third-year student at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, whose goal is to serve underrepresented and marginalized groups as a clinical pharmacist while also serving as a preceptor and mentor for future pharmacists.


Why did you choose the UMKC School of Pharmacy?

I originally selected UMKC as one of my top choices for schools to attend that had a respected pharmacy program while doing research when I was in high school. Of my top three choices, UMKC was closest choice to home and also offered a well-balanced price for the program I was looking for. 

How have UMKC and UMKC School of Pharmacy embraced and supported you as a Black student?

Throughout my years as a student at UMKC, I have been offered numerous scholarship opportunities, the task of becoming an influential resident assistant and the chance to take part in numerous organizations on the campus such as UMKC's African American Cultivating Excellence (AACE) mentoring program, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, National Community Pharmacy Association, and Student College of Clinical Pharmacy. Becoming a resident assistant on campus my sophomore year of college allowed me to connect with so many residents between Johnson and Oak Hall, creating memories and long-lasting friendships along the way. Every organization on campus has allowed me to help bring student involvement opportunities to the campus and offered me the opportunity to travel to places like Canada and North Carolina which is always exciting and fun.

Why would you encourage prospective students from your background to consider the UMKC School of Pharmacy?

Whenever I encounter a student of the minority that wants to pursue a professional degree, my main encouragement is to keep going when things get tough. Whenever you feel tired, doubtful or even defeated remember who you are striving to be. Find your "Why" and use it as fuel to keep going. Whenever you do great, remember to celebrate it, embrace yourself and feel proud. Once you get to your end goal remember that you are a beacon to kids who grow up after you, and you are breaking generational barriers and inspiring kids at the same time. 

What do you hope to do in pharmacy when you graduate and how do you feel the School of Pharmacy is helping prepare you for that?

As I get closer to becoming a pharmacist, I grow more interested in becoming an ambulatory care pharmacist. I aspire to work at a veterans affairs hospital in the future and I will pursue residencies to reach that goal. UMKC School of Pharmacy helps prepare students achieve their goals by offering Pharmacy Practice Experiences that expose students to different fields of pharmacy. There is also a good number of courses and electives available to help students as well. I look forward to graduation and becoming a pharmacist, it will be a huge achievement for not only me, but for my family and the friends I have back home that root for me. As the youngest of five boys, I am the first to graduate high school and pursue a college degree, a doctorate degree at that! It makes me happy to know that I am making a way for my nephews, nieces, little cousins, the kids in my neighborhood, and students I visit when going back to my old schools. There will be opportunities for me to bridge gaps in health care for the underserved community. Helping patients be more knowledgeable about their health and creating a trusted relationship with each individual I encounter.

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