Denise White

Clinical pharmacist

Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Missouri.

What is your occupation?
Clinical pharmacist.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
When I was in junior high school my cousin James Wilson, from Detroit, Michigan graduated from medical school. He decided to do his residency at Menorah Hospital here in Kansas City. He worked long hours and he would come to our house daily for a home cooked meal. During this time I had the opportunity to connect with him and discuss his decision to go to medical school. It was at this time I decided I wanted to to into the healthcare field. Upon reflection in my years after college this experience also encouraged my desire to give back by providing role model experiences for young African Americans and especially young Black girls .

What does Black History Month mean to you?
A historical view of the history of African Americans which reflects the often unsung and unknown accomplishments of our community. While some historical figures such as George Washington Carver and Carter G. Woodson are well know it is important for our children as well as overall community to understand the wide and varied accomplishments of African Americans.

What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
Inadequate education and vocational opportunities are hurting youth's opportunities. As well many role models often go unseen by our youth. While we all applaud the outsized success of entertainers and professional athletes many more "normal" but high paying jobs go unfilled by the members of our community. Such as over the road truck driver making $60,000 to $100,000+ per year, as well as such diverse professions as pharmacy technicians and welders.

When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
My first realization of being Black in America came when I entered college to attend pharmacy school. There I was one of two Black students in the graduating class. I was raised in a family of nine children. My siblings and I attended all or mostly all black public schools and my family attended an all black church in our neighborhood. During college I realized that I had to work hard to successfully complete the program to show my younger siblings that great things could be achieved

Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My parents met attending college at Langston University and knew that education was very important. Even though 8 of my 9 siblings went to college my youngest daughter was the first to go away to college at the University of Missouri-Rolla. During her first year I had the opportunity to take several younger nieces to visit her during homecoming. They were so impressed with her college experience they committed to going away to college as well. And they all went to college with two going away to school. I then saw that exposure such as this had a major impact on the decision making of middle and high schoolers. I then began to look for opportunities to help.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
I have worked for the last five years with Awesome Ambitions which is a non-profit mentoring and college preparatory organization for 8th grade through 12th grade girls in the Kansas City area. We work to help the girls realize their goals and to reach those goals through experiences with successful women. We also expose the girls to various career choices. Through my church I also work with the younger girls, Choose Wisely. We work to help the girls build lasting self esteem, make wise choices and develop positive relationships.

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