Student Pharmacists Diversity Council hosts discussion on racial disparities in health care on Feb. 26

By Joseph Paul Javier

In commemoration of Black History Month, the Student Pharmacists Diversity Council will be hosting a panel discussion on health disparities and systemic racism. The event will take place over Zoom next Friday, Feb. 26, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. This timely initiative is organized by the SPDC P1 Outreach Committee headed by SPDC President-Elect Brooke Penny. 

SPDC P1 Outreach Committee: Obioma Opara, Johnie L. Bailey and Linh Pham

The featured panelists will include Dr. Amber Duncan, PharmD, pharmacy manager from CVS Health, and Karine Pawlicki, senior health planning and promotions consultant at Health Alliance Plan and chair of HAP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This informative session with be followed by an interactive question-and-answer segment for student pharmacists in attendance.

“We want to give students a voice and vehicle to speak and address cultural biases that exist in our community,” said P1 Obioma Opara, Wayne State Student Senate representative for the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and active service member in the U.S. Army National Guard. “There is a need to address the fact that Black, Indigenous and People of Color [BIPOC] do not receive the same quality of health care as compared to patients of other races. So many factors contribute this inequity and we must admit that health care professionals are instrumental to address this situation.”

Fellow P1 Linh Pham added: “These racial disparities in health care hinder the quality of care patients receive. SPDC wants to bring awareness and educate others on these important issues so we can help future pharmacists recognize and eliminate these inequalities. Having these discussions is an important step to help improve our practices and ensure patients of color receive the care they deserve.”

“Working with the SPDC outreach committee has been both challenging and rewarding; interacting with individuals from various backgrounds has been a privilege and a continuous learning opportunity,” said P1 Johnie L. Bailey. “As an advocate for marginalized groups, I joined Student Pharmacists Diversity Council with the goal of increasing awareness on issues affecting minorities. Our ultimate goal as health care providers should be to produce optimal health outcomes from our direct interventions and practices. While many of the faces we will encounter may not look like ours, it is vital to understand that treating those we serve competently requires an understanding of the unique challenges marginalized groups face in receiving adequate health care.”

Watch the recording of the discussion.

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