Expert: Dismantling Structural Racism Requires Sustained, Collective Effort


Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, explains how APhA as an organization is opening discourse among its members regarding unpacking and dismantling structural racism in the organization and in the profession at large.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, professor at St. John's University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and clinical advisor to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, on a session she participated in at the APhA 2023 Annual Meeting & Exposition titled “DEI Town Hall: Accountability in Action: Sustaining Organizational Efforts.”

Pharmacy Times: What is the DEI town hall, and why is the focus on accountability in action?

Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA: So the APhA task force in recent years—Adrienne is also part of that—we've convened some town halls the past couple years at APhA annual meetings to really start having a discourse as an association in terms of reckoning with a lot of things that we might all be grappling with: What does this mean in terms of unpacking and dismantling structural racism within APhA and how APhA shows up within the profession at large? But then also, how do we again hold our organization and each other accountable so that we're all learning and progressing collectively to move towards this.

Image Source: Adobe Stock - Djavan Rodriguez

Image Source: Adobe Stock - Djavan Rodriguez

We are grateful that we actually are forming a permanent [diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging] committee, and so in the town hall [at the APhA 2023 Annual Meeting & Exposition], we're going to be talking a little bit about that, and what that structure may look like. We've gotten some really great interest from members within APhA to apply for that committee. So we're going to be there as a resource to ensure that we can help answer any questions, and also get some ideas so that we can have something for the newly formed committee when it convenes to actually have some considerations and suggestions.

So we're seeing a lot of great momentum and we really just want to keep it going within the association and answer any questions. But really making sure that we're having a more thoughtful approach, planning it properly, and making sure that people who are part of this committee when it actually forms have something to go off of that has been based on member engagement and conversation so far.

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