AMCP Stands Against Racial Injustice
This week, I want to share the following statement AMCP President Marissa Schlaifer, MS, RPh, and I recently wrote and sent to AMCP members. After considerable thought and discussion among AMCP leaders and staff, we felt this letter was a crucial step for AMCP to take in the fight against racism and inequality. While we sent this message to AMCP members, we believe all pharmacy professionals have a pivotal role to play in addressing the racial disparities in health status and health care access that have long existed in our country.
Dear AMCP members:
Like many of you, we are pharmacists who took professional oaths to “consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.”
The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless people crying out for racial equality are catalysts for individuals and organizations to reflect on our values and take action.
AMCP's mission is to improve Americans’ health by ensuring they have access to high-quality, cost-effective medications and other therapies. With this mission, we have a moral imperative to dismantle systemic and structural racism that has resulted in significant racial disparities in health status and access to quality care.
The data tell an urgent story. According to the "2018 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report" from AHRQ, Blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders received worse care than Whites for about 40 percent of the 250 quality measures assessed.
People of color also are suffering more during the global COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.
Demonstrating the pharmacy profession's commitment to eliminate racism and inequality, the AMCP Board of Directors decided unanimously last week to join 13 other national pharmacy associations in a joint statement.
AMCP and the other pharmacy associations committed to take action to ensure the care provided by pharmacists upholds the highest standards. These actions include but are not limited to:
- Working together to provide opportunities to address health care disparities and strengthen affected communities.
- Providing pharmacist, student pharmacist, and pharmacy technician education on social injustices and systematic challenges impacting health care.
- Delivering strategies that focus on change through communications, partnerships, and solutions to address health care disparities.
- Continuing dialogue among pharmacy organizations and stakeholders to identify and implement change.
We recognize that these are broad goals, and, as such, they are only the beginning. Now, our job is to translate them into specific, long-term actions that improve patient outcomes and ensure that we are collectively accountable for health equity among all Americans, including Black Americans, indigenous people, and people of color.
Your feedback and ideas are essential to AMCP as we move forward. Please email us at email@example.com with your thoughts about how we can implement the actions listed above and what additional actions we need to consider as managed care pharmacy professionals. We look forward to an open dialogue as we work together toward change.
Susan A. Cantrell, RPh, CAE
Marissa Schlaifer, MS, RPh