Oncology Pharmacists Renew Hope in Addressing Health Equity in Cancer Treatment

Pharmacy Times Oncology Edition, August 2022, Volume 4, Issue 4

Health care systems have made great strides by examining the diversity and equity of staffing.

Although much work remains in addressing the underlying causes of social determinants of health (SDOH) in the country, health care systems have made great strides by examining the diversity and equity of staffing. During July’s 2022 Advanced Topics for Oncology Pharmacy Professionals Summit in San Diego, California, keynote speaker Vibhuti Arya Amirfar, PharmD, MPH, discussed dismantling racism by moving beyond the individual and addressing systemic structures allowing racism to continue, whether the cause be environmental, social, political, or otherwise. Pharmacy Times® attended this conference, with highlights covered on page 13 of this issue. A video interview with Amirfar—a global lead for gender equity and diversity workforce development for the International Pharmaceutical Federation based in The Hague, the Netherlands—is available at pharmacytimes.com.

In the cover feature on page 10, Justin Lindhorst, MBA, examines SDOH in the context of cancer treatment. He explains how this places specialty pharmacies at a critical point in addressing SDOH that may be contributing to cancer health disparities. Lindhorst discusses 5 actionable ways to address SDOH in specialty pharmacies and the potential impact of these interventions on patient health outcomes.

As part of addressing health equity, author Dea Belazi discusses trends in oncology pharmacy that are moving the field toward virtual care and a patient-focused approach to treatment (page 18). Belazi explains how more pharmacists are shifting to high-value, patient-focused roles in response to trends remodeling the market beginning in 2022. Belazi notes that these pharmacists will have a key impact in shaping the future of the field in a strategic way.

Additionally, in this issue, Pharmacy Times Oncology Edition (PTOE) welcomes its new editor in chief, Lisa E. Davis, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, BCOP, who sits on PTOE’s editorial advisory board. With a background working in the early phase clinical trial and breast cancer programs at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Davis brings a wealth of knowledge on research and practice areas relating to medication adherence, symptom management, drug development, drug resistance, and factors influencing anticancer drug disposition and response. Davis examines key points affecting the oncology pharmacy field in her first Editor’s Note for PTOE.