Emphasis on Education for Cultural Competency for Pharmacists

At the end of the day, we're interdisciplinary in terms of how it is that we need to manage our patients.

Jacinda C. Abdul-Mutakabbir aka “JAM”, PharmD, MPH, AAHIVP, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy, spoke with Pharmacy Times about her session at McKesson ideaShare 2022 titled "Cultural Competence in Pharmacy Practice".

JAM: So I think that, and the presentation harps on these points that I'll be giving today. But I think first and foremost education. So we have to start with educating ourselves about what cultural competency means about what it means to actually confront these biases. But more important, we have to advocate for education, in our training curriculums. We have to really center our training curriculums to building our students that will make the future of pharmacy, we have to make them equity minded. So we have to really advocate for that placement there. And then we have advocacy. So we have to advocate for health equity, we have to advocate for that prioritization of health equity. And I think that I have, well, I've only been a pharmacist about five years, but I think that in this time of COVID-19, I've just seen how pharmacies have really advocated not only for ourselves, to be able to help patients, but have really placed patients at the forefront, and have honestly been the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of vaccinations, in terms of making sure that people knew about the limitations and the barriers that patients face. So I think that we really need to continue to push forward with that advocacy, and then accountability. We have to be able to know and understand that we are human, you may have missed it, but also be able to hold ourselves accountable. But then to hold other team members, whether it be pharmacist colleagues, whether they be physician colleagues and nursing colleagues, we have to hold them accountable for identifying their barriers, like it's one thing for us to lift our profession up. But at the end of the day, we're interdisciplinary, in terms of how it is that we need to manage our patients. So we have to think about that and be able to hold folks accountable.