Since 2016, the Bernie Klouda Memorial Scholarship Program has helped support
Alaska’s first-year pharmacy students attending the University of Alaska Anchorage/Idaho State University Doctor of Pharmacy Program. This year nine students each received a $1,000 scholarship in honor of the late Bernie Klouda.
A well-respected independent pharmacist who opened Bernie’s Pharmacy in 1980, Klouda believed strongly that educating pharmacists was important to ensure the health of Alaskans. He passed away in 2015, one year before the UAA/ISU Doctor of Pharmacy Program welcomed its first class of students. To honor his legacy, his wife and now owner of Bernie’s Pharmacy, Teresa “Terri” Hall-Klouda, partnered with First National Bank Alaska to create the Bernie Klouda Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund provides a $1,000 scholarship for every first-year student in the program. Funds are generated from the annual Klouda Foundation summer golf tournament.
The first class of pharmacists graduated from the joint UAA/ISU program in 2020, and currently every graduate of the program has remained in Alaska, many filling desperately needed rural and underserved community positions. Alaskans work together in times of need, and it’s that frontier spirit that led to the creation of the Bernie Klouda Memorial Scholarship.
Even after bringing the pharmacy program to Alaska and celebrating two graduating classes, Alaska’s need for pharmacists remains high. The Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development reports that there are at least 20 new vacant pharmacist positions annually throughout the state, and projects an additional 4% growth in pharmacist positions by 2028. Historically, students in health related fields often choose to remain in the state in which they studied.
With the help of community institutions like Bernie’s Pharmacy and First National Bank supporting pharmacy education, and growing interest in the large variety of available pharmacy careers, innovative partnerships like the UAA/ISU Doctor of Pharmacy Program are the prescription for Alaska’s healthier future.