Expert: The Cultural Evolution in Patient Care Is Present in the Pharmacy


Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, discusses the role of the individual in progressing structural and systemic changes in the pharmacy ecosystem.

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 her presentation at the APhA 2023 Annual Meeting & Exposition titled “Cultural Evolution in Patient Care.”

Pharmacy Times: What is the cultural evolution underway in patient care, and how do we as a profession have a conversation about how to identify our own implicit bias?

Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA: Yeah, I think that one of the things that we're trying to do is make sure that the conversation doesn't stop at one session or one sort of anything and for us to really continue to have this evolution and talk about how all of us are impacted repeatedly, over and over again, through our interactions, not only with each other, but also with our patients.

In this session [at the APhA 2023 Annual Meeting & Exposition], we're really going to cover a lot of one on ones, but really understanding what diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging mean. We're actually going to frame it in the context of showing up as an individual, what that means for myself, what that means, then for my community in my organization, and then take it more high level in terms of how I can become part of the larger [picture in] moving the needle in this topic, and really progressing ways in which we can make structural reform, what that means, for example, for policies and programs, etc. Because all of us participate in this ecosystem of these organizations and places where structurally we have a lot of oppressive, programmatic and procedural things that we can remedy. But in order for us to show up and make an impact, we have to understand what our own relationship on an individual level is with this.

Image Source: Adobe Stock - Gorodenkoff

Image Source: Adobe Stock - Gorodenkoff

Then when I engage with the community, what does that look like? How can I better that and then that will sort of create a larger impact in the system level. So, again, I think every time I talk to [Pharmacy Times], I bring up that there's always a multi-pronged approach that it can't just be individual, that it also has go hand in hand with structural and systemic changes. And so that's what we're hoping to do with the session and attendees can expect some interaction, some content, but also just really understanding the emotional intelligence it takes to show up in this space and what that means—how do we start uncovering our own biases to our encounters, how do we start holding each other accountable in a way that seems nurturing and in a way that seems progressive, but not to blame and kind of shut down the conversation. So moving from that very uncomfortable sort of panic zone to embracing the discomfort that it takes for all of us to actually progress things in a much more collective manner than just the individual.

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