SPECTRUM – Empowering Pharmacists, Serving Communities: The Impact of Roseman University’s CVS Health Spanish Pathway Program

June 1, 2024 By Jason Roth

Featured in the Summer 2024 print edition of spectRUm magazine.

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, diversity and cultural competency have become integral components of education and practice. Recognizing this imperative, Roseman University’s College of Pharmacy established the CVS Health Spanish Pathway Program in 2018. This innovative initiative, borne out of a strategic collaboration between Roseman University and CVS Health, aims to address the unique healthcare needs of Hispanic (Spanish-speaking) communities in Nevada and Utah, while nurturing a new generation of bilingual pharmacists.

The demand for pharmacists who are proficient in Spanish is substantial due to the increasing necessity for pharmacists to possess language skills and cultural awareness to deliver safe and effective healthcare to the Hispanic community. This community is sizeable, expanding, and diverse. Data from the Census reveals that Hispanics make up around 19.1 percent of the total U.S. population, in Nevada 34.3 percent, and in Utah 19.9 percent. However, less than five percent of employed pharmacists nationwide are Hispanic, indicating an underrepresentation of Hispanics in the pharmacy workforce.

Dr. Susan Nguyen, co-founder of Roseman’s CVS Health Spanish Pathway Program, sheds light on the program’s significance in addressing the disparity. “The program is rooted in three core objectives: introducing bilingual and Spanish-speaking students to pharmacy, recruiting and retaining them at Roseman University, and ultimately, serving the healthcare needs of Hispanic communities,” explains Dr. Nguyen. With over $350,000 in funding from CVS Health, the program has been able to provide scholarships, mentorship, and transformative educational experiences to Roseman’s students.

Dr. Nguyen emphasizes the importance of boosting the presence of Spanish-speaking pharmacists due to its positive impact on enhancing access to healthcare within the Hispanic community. By increasing the number of Hispanic pharmacists, communication barriers can be dismantled, and a deeper level of cultural understanding can be provided, leading to better healthcare outcomes and services tailored to the needs of this community.

Since the launch of the CVS Health Spanish Pathway Program 2018, the College of Pharmacy has seen 53 percent increase in the number of enrolled pharmacy students who identify as Hispanic/Latino. “We’re very proud of what we have achieved with this program,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Over time, as our graduates enter the pharmacy workforce in Nevada and Utah, and surrounding states, we hope they will inspire others in the Hispanic community to pursue the profession.”

Dr. Kalin Pascacio, a CVS Health Spanish Pathway 2023 graduate.

Dr. Kalin Pascacio, a CVS Health Spanish Pathway 2023 graduate, shares her journey and the impact of the program. “I’m originally from California, and then I moved to Las Vegas when I was a teenager. I grew up with my dad, who’s Mexican, and I always felt a connection to my Hispanic culture,” she explains. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with aspirations to become a physical therapist, Dr. Pascacio’s experience working at a Las Vegas community pharmacy in a Hispanic neighborhood exposed her to the critical need for Spanish-speaking pharmacists in her community, motivating her to pivot and instead pursue pharmacy as a career.

“I was working as a front store employee of the pharmacy as the only Spanish speaker in the store,” recalled Dr. Pascacio. “They always requested my help for translation in the pharmacy, so I began to spend more and more time there. Eventually, they encouraged me to train as a pharmacy technician. My interest in pharmacy grew from there and I started taking the prerequisites for pharmacy school before applying to Roseman.”

Once enrolled in Roseman’s Doctor of Pharmacy program, the CVS Health Spanish Pathway Program offers students like Dr. Pascacio unique opportunities to enhance their education and cultural fluency. “In addition to their regular pharmacy curriculum, Spanish Pathway students receive mentorship, access to a medical Spanish course, immersive rotations at CVS Health pharmacies located in Spanish-speaking communities, and opportunities for community service through Movimiento Estudiantil Roseman, a student organization that provides medical Spanish workshops for health professional students and participates in health screenings and educational events within the Latino community,” says Dr. Nguyen. “These experiences not only strengthen their language skills but also prepare them to provide personalized care to Spanish-speaking patients.”

While fluent in Spanish and engaged in her Hispanic community, what benefited Dr. Pascacio the most was learning important medical terminology. Furthermore, she shares how the program fosters a sense of community and support among students who come from different backgrounds. “I loved the CVS Health Spanish Pathway Program. It really brought us together, and I felt like we were a community of like-minded individuals,” shares Dr. Pascacio. “Even though not all students were fluent in Spanish or of Hispanic background, they recognized the importance of increasing access to healthcare for Spanish-speaking communities.”

The impact of the Spanish Pathway Program extends beyond the classroom, as graduates become advocates for healthcare equity and cultural competency. “I feel like this is where I’m needed,” said Dr. Pascacio. “Being in the program and serving my community motivated me to be part of a movement towards greater healthcare access and understanding, and also showing others in the Hispanic community that they can pursue pharmacy too.”

Since graduating from Roseman with her PharmD, Dr. Pascacio has been working as a CVS district support pharmacist floating between locations. She recently landed a position at a CVS Pharmacy y más store in a primarily Spanish-speaking neighborhood in Las Vegas. Her long-term goal is to be a provider of medication therapy management (MTM) to her Hispanic community.

Like Dr. Pascacio, as CVS Health Spanish Pathway graduates embark on their professional journeys, they are poised to make a significant impact in the healthcare landscape. “Our students and graduates are not just pharmacists; they are leaders, advocates, and role models within their communities,” affirms Dr. Nguyen. “Through their dedication and commitment, they are transforming the delivery of care for Spanish-speaking populations and inspiring a new generation of pharmacists.”

CVS Health Spanish Pathway


  • Collaborate with like-minded individuals who want to serve the Hispanic/Latino communities
  • Connect and network with local, regional, and national CVS Health mentors
  • Complete Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) at CVS Health pharmacies with a large Spanish-speaking population, when possible
  • Eligible to receive annual scholarship funds
  • Develop leadership and project management skills
  • Eligible for a part-time, paid intern job with CVS Health
  • Receive access to a medical Spanish certification course
  • Receive mentorship from Spanish Pathway faculty

Follow us on Instagram at @rosemanspanishpathway or email spanishpathway@roseman.edu