Caring for the Underserved Certificate

The Caring for the Underserved Certificate empowers pharmacists and nurse practitioners to support underserved populations and make an impact on community health.

Offered by the University of Cincinnati's colleges of nursing and pharmacy, the certificate provides students in PharmD and advanced-practice nursing degree programs the opportunity to focus their required coursework and real-world experiences on mastering the skills needed to provide quality, equitable and culturally competent care to underserved populations through:

  • Team-based interprofessional coursework
  • Mentorship from faculty who work with underserved populations
  • Experiential learning with community partners who serve underserved populations

Meet our Students

Meet our first cohort of Caring for the Underserved Certificate program students, which includes two UC nursing and three pharmacy students.


Students complete a minimum of 11 credit hours through a combination of online elective courses and experiential learning. The certificate shows on a student's official transcript and does not require additional credit hours beyond degree requirements for a PharmD, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Caring for the Underserved Certificate Curriculum
Course No.
Course Title
NURS 7002 Health Issues of Vulnerable & Marginalized Populations 3
PHRX 7099
Health Care, Public Health and the Underserved
PHRX 9041/
NURS 8099
Clinical Pharmacy Project I (Pharmacy) or Capstone (Nursing) 1-2
Professional Experience Rotation/clinical experience in an organization that serves underserved populations 4-8

Application & Admissions Process

Admissions Timeline for Fall 2023
Application Opens Application Due Personal Interviews Admission Decision
May June TBD TBD

Students apply through the UC Graduate School. The application and admissions process requires:

  • A current resume or curriculum vitae (CV) with program GPA
  • Letter of intent
  • One-page essay that answers one of the following questions: How will the skills obtained through this certificate program benefit your professional career? Or what skills do you hope to obtain by completing this certificate program?
  • Short paragraph (500 words or fewer) that describes adversity that the applicant has overcome in the past.
  • Letter of recommendation from an individual who can speak to the applicant's character and desire to help those less fortunate (e.g. a manager, volunteer coordinator or spiritual leader)
  • Personal interview

Note: Though the application gives the option to record a personal video statement, video submissions will not be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions

UC College of Pharmacy students in PY2 or PY3 of the PharmD program or UC College of Nursing students in a community-focused advanced-practice specialty program, i.e. an MSN or DNP in adult-gerontology primary care, family nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery or women’s health. Note: PharmD students must apply in PY2 to start in PY3 in order to complete their degree on time.

For students in the College of Pharmacy the certificate fits within students' program of study and does not require additional credit hours to complete. For students in the College of Nursing, it depends on the graduate degree program in which students are enrolled. Nursing students should talk to an advisor to find out whether the certificate would add additional credit hours and time to their degree.

Applicants must pay a $25 fee to submit their application through the UC Graduate School. For College of Pharmacy students, the program does not add to tuition totals. For College of Nursing students, it depends on the graduate-degree program in which a student is enrolled. Nursing students should talk to an advisor to confirm how much the program would add to their tuition.

The College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing have longstanding relationships with primary care sites in the Greater Cincinnati region where students can complete their practicum or rotation. Alternatively, these experiences could be integrated into practica or rotations already in progress. Faculty will work individually with students to assess these opportunities.

More Information

For more information, nursing students should contact Rebecca Lee.

Headshot of Rebecca C. Lee

Rebecca C. Lee

Assoc Professor, CON Nursing

212 Procter Hall


Dr. Rebecca C. Lee currently serves as an Associate Professor of Nursing in the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing where she teaches courses in the RN-BSN, BSN, and PhD programs. In August 2019, Dr. Lee began an appointment as the Director of the RN-BSN online program in the College of Nursing. Dr. Lee is also a member of the Center for Improvement Science (CIS), under the leadership of Dr. Jack Kues. This group is part of the Center for Clinical & Translational Translational Science & Training at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Lee holds advanced certification in Community/Public Health Nursing as well as Advanced Transcultural Nursing and was inducted as a Transcultural Scholar by the Transcultural Nursing Society in 2012. From August 2015 to July 2017, she served in the appointed role of Director of the Institute for Clinical Inquiry at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. In August 2019, Dr. Lee was appointed as Director of the RN-BSN Online program in the UC College of Nursing. In this position, she endeavors to facilitate the seamless advancement of associate prepared nurses to achievement of their baccalaureate degree. She is a Past President of the Beta Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and was a scholar in the inaugural cohort of the Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (ENFLA) of Sigma Theta Tau and Chamberlain College. In 2016, she earned a Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in recognition of her advanced training in this area.

Dr. Lee provides service to the College of Nursing, the University of Cincinnati, and the profession of nursing through participation on various committees and councils, including the College of Nursing RN-to-BSN and PhD programs, the UC IRB and Ethics Center Steering Committee, Beta Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, Midwest Nursing Research Society, and the Transcultural Honor Society, where she serves on the Board of Trustees as Treasurer of this international organization.

Dr. Lee values collaboration with colleagues from across the university. In August 2018, Dr. Lee was selected by the University of Cincinnati Office of Research to complete a one-year fellowship in the Transdisciplinary Research Leadership Program. As one of six scholars on a transdisciplinary team, Dr. Lee continued her collaboration with colleagues on a grant proposal to explore transdisciplinary approaches to address loneliness in older adults. This study built on a previous qualitative study of the impact of COVID-19 on loneliness in older adults living in a senior living community. In addition, she is currently engaged in multiple research studies focused on vulnerable populations, both as PI and Co-I, exploring ED nurses’ attitudes, beliefs and experiences caring for homeless populations, food insecurity in college students, and nutritional health promotion among Black women survivors of breast cancer. In 2021, Dr. received funding as PI through the Ohio Board of Nursing to support the development of a Nurse Educator Track in the CoN RN-BSN online program. In addition, in December 2021, Dr. Lee moved from a consulting role to PI role on a HRSA funded project aimed at public health workforce development in Appalachian communities. As a first-generation Appalachian, she is uniquely qualified to lead this interdisciplinary research team.

Dr. Lee has conducted several funded research projects, made numerous presentations in local, regional, and national venues, and published papers in the areas of family homelessness, health promotion, human rights, diversity, and cultural competence. Her long-term research goals are to promote the health of vulnerable populations such as those experiencing homelessness or living in poverty through the development of culturally congruent interventions that support resilience, health, and well-being.