Limitations, Barriers from Lack of Cultural Competency

We spend a lot of time harping on vaccine hesitancy, but one thing we don't talk about is vaccine access, and that is really a very key indicator to a lack of cultural competency.

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 the big one that we see now are just the vaccine inequities. And I think, you know, we spend a lot of time harping on vaccine hesitancy. But one thing we don't talk about is vaccine access, and that is really a very key indicator to a lack of cultural competency. Because of this lack of cultural competency, then we don't think about, you know, those limitations or barriers that may exist accesswise, so we don't think about that individuals of minoritized groups. Well, they may take mass transit, will are they able to, you know, take that mass transit, and to go to the vaccine clinics, and then they may not have computers to register for the vaccine appointments; well are we thinking about that? Are we thinking about how we can make that easier for them? And then when we think about Paxlovid. I think it's amazing that now pharmacists have this ability to prescribe. But even when we think about just equity, are we thinking about, once again, the fact that individuals have minoritized groups? Well, now they still have to get in their cars and have a positive test to even have the pharmacist be able to write this prescription? Are we making it so that, yes, Paxlovid, we fought very hard to get the prescribing authority, but are we going to be prescribing to those people that are socially vulnerable that we needed the most? So I think that, you know, those are really big inequities that we see in pharmacy and that are very tangible to us, because we are right in the midst of COVID-19 right now. But even when we think about opioid prescribing patterns, and just different things that patients have moved, the number of patients that you may have on cardiovascular medications and likely are, you know, people with minoritized groups versus others in a lot of areas when we think about what patients pick up when they come to the pharmacy. So I think it's a lot of things that we can think about, we can talk about in terms of healthcare inequities, and I think it's really up to us to keep our eyes open on what it is that we see and to do our part, as integral members of the healthcare team to narrow it.