Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

AACP Special Taskforce White Paper on Diversifying Our Investment in Human Capital

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

AACP Special Taskforce White Paper on Diversifying Our Investment in Human Capital

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION AND COMMITTEE CHARGES

The 2013-2014 Argus Commission was charged by 2013-2014 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) President Peggy Piascik, to respond to the following strategic question: "How can we more effectively address and serve the diversity in our membership at both the institutional and individual levels and prepare our learners to serve an increasingly diverse population of consumers?" (1)

The Commission assessed the status of academic pharmacy with respect to diversity and inclusion in the broadest sense, and in all elements of the academic mission. Two policy statements were forwarded to the House of Delegates for adoption and seven recommendations were made for a significantly expanded effort in support of our members' goals in this area. (1) In need of a "game changer," a Special Taskforce on Diversifying Our Investment in Human Capital was appointed for the period of 2015-2017 by 2015-2016 AACP President Cynthia Boyle, to address these recommendations and further assess successful practices of members and colleague organizations.

Previous studies and the work of similar AACP Taskforces provided a base of understanding and offered insight into the unique challenges present in matters of diversity and human capital in academic and professional pharmacy. This Taskforce considered a myriad of available resources and current recommendations within the construct of human capital, (2) including the lenses of climate, people, and financial implications, frameworks that impact our investment in the people who make up academic pharmacy--students, faculty, administrators, and staff. The Taskforce was charged to: 1) identify barriers that inhibit the diversification ofhuman capital in colleges and schools of pharmacy; 2) find "game changers" in professional education, healthcare or related areas where substantial improvements have been achieved, and; 3) recommend strategies, vetted through the AACP Councils for input, for short and long-term solutions. (3)

What has become evident both through the study of existing scholarship and the investigation of this Task-force is that critical components of the diversification of our investment in human capital will not be served through the examination by committees, nor strategic planning, alone. Member institutions, and indeed AACP itself, must broadly commit to evidence-based, holistic solutions with dedicated institutional, financial, and human resources to support and sustain them.

Following the consideration of the Argus Commission's analyses regarding underrepresentation, in addition to widely held definitions of underrepresentation in academic health sciences, (4,5) the Taskforce agreed that a more contemporary approach to diversity and inclusion is needed and should be used long-term. Rather than defining who is not included in academic pharmacy, the Taskforce believed in taking a more positive position by stating who should be represented. Based on the AACP Core Values, (6) and in consideration of the policies previously passed by the AACP House of Delegates, the Taskforce developed and recommended a representation statement that was adapted and adopted by the AACP House of Delegates:

AACP recognizes that a diverse student body, faculty, administration,
and staff contribute to improvements in health equity and therefore
encourages member institutions to develop faculty, staff, pharmacists
and scientists whose background, perspectives, and experiences reflect
the diverse communities they serve. (7)

In addition, the AACP Board of Directors asked the Taskforce to develop and propose a diversity statement to guide the work of the Association. In November 2016, the AACP Board adopted the following:

AACP affirms its commitmentto fosteraninclusive community and leverage
diversity of thought, background, perspective, and experience to
advance pharmacy education and improve health. … 
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