FAMU, Other HBCUs Join with Bristol Myers Squibb in Launching Tomorrow’s Innovators to Increase Recruitment of Black Talent in Biopharma Industry

August 13, 2021
Pharmacy Students
FAMU, Other HBCUs Join with Bristol Myers Squibb in Launching Tomorrow’s Innovators to Increase Recruitment of Black Talent in Biopharma Industry

Florida A&M University (FAMU) is one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) collaborating with Bristol Myers Squibb to launch Tomorrow’s Innovators, a five-year, multimillion-dollar strategic alliance designed to reach diverse talent sooner in their undergraduate career and provide the support and education needed to reach their career goals within the biopharma industry. 

Along with FAMU, other collaborating HBCUs include Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the global biopharmaceutical company announced this week.  A number of graduates from the FAMU College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health, are employed by Bristol Myers Squibb.

Tomorrow’s Innovators serves as a groundbreaking roadmap for Bristol Myers Squibb and its participating HBCUs to enhance the student and alumni experience while improving Black representation in the bio-pharma industry. FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., welcomed the new initiative.  

“The bio-pharma industry is a natural area of collaboration for FAMU given our College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health,” Robinson said. “We are prepared to explore opportunities for faculty research and career development for our students. FAMU and other HBCUs are a largely underutilized source of talent for the bio pharma industry. We want to change that. This agreement provides a framework for progress.”

Tomorrow’s Innovators extends the health equity and diversity and inclusion commitments announced by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2020, which includes the goal of increasing the diversity of the company’s workforce. By 2022, Bristol Myers Squibb aims to achieve gender parity at the executive level globally, double executive representation of Black/African American employees in the U.S., and double executive representation of Hispanic/Latino employees in the U.S.

 Through this alliance, Bristol Myers Squibb and the HBCUs hope to:

  • design and host specific career-focused workshops for diverse talent
  • increase HBCU collaboration with the bio-pharma industry
  • develop a two-way exchange program with commercial leaders and faculty members to facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration, and research development opportunities
  • create custom bio-pharma curriculum to further prepare diverse students for internships and career opportunities within the biopharma sector, which is an area of historical underrepresentation.

“At Bristol Myers Squibb, we believe that bringing innovative medicines to patients requires a workforce with diverse experiences, perspectives and personal backgrounds that reflect the patients and communities we serve around the world,” said Chris Boerner, executive vice president, chief commercialization officer at Bristol Myers Squibb. “While there is still more to do in addressing racial and societal equity, programs like Tomorrow’s Innovators provides a critical opportunity to reach diverse talent sooner and cultivate a richer talent pipeline within our industry. When diversity is celebrated and inclusion is intentional, everyone benefits, especially our patients.”