Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Assessing Students' Impressions of the Cultural Awareness of Pharmacy Faculty and Students

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Assessing Students' Impressions of the Cultural Awareness of Pharmacy Faculty and Students

Article excerpt


Improving the cultural competence of pharmacists and pharmacy students is an important necessity to help overcome health care disparities. Reports of health disparities among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic sectors of the US population have hastened the development of educational strategies to address this issue. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) 2016 Standards 3.5 and 13.2 call for cultural sensitivity, ie, professional attitudes and behavior development, and student exposure to diverse populations in doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) education. (1)

Murray-Garcia and Garcia suggested that informal messages experienced by medical students about cultural competence in clinical contexts can differ from that in the formal, didactic curriculum. (2) While efforts have begun to study these differences, little has been investigated about clinical educators' cultural competence. Similarly, in pharmacy education, there has been no known investigation about PharmD students' perceptions of their basic science, applied science and clinical faculty as it relates to perceptions of cultural competence. Faculty members serve as role models for students, and ideally, student-faculty relationships are characterized by mutual respect, flexibility, collaboration, emotional investment, and interdependence and support for one's identity (ie, reciprocal influence). (3) However, it is important to learn how our students perceive their faculty's attitudes and behaviors regarding cultural awareness. Hagan and colleagues encouraged pharmacy schools to conduct cultural assessments of their faculty, staff, and students to determine individuals' attitudes toward other groups. (4)

The University of Illinois College of Pharmacy (COP) engaged in a series of programmatic initiatives to foster a community of diversity and inclusiveness. Efforts have included curricular assessment to address gaps, faculty interviews, and quantitative survey analysis. (5) The purpose of this study was to determine pharmacy students' impressions of their faculty's interactions with diverse student and patient populations. The Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning (DSTP) Teaching and Learning (T&L) Subcommittee at the University of Illinois COP decided the optimal way to gauge student perceptions of the interactions of faculty with diverse groups was to seek student volunteers to participate in focus groups. This approach is useful when the researcher is interested in obtaining detailed information in response to open-ended questions about attitudes, values, and beliefs that might not be apparent in observations of behavior or individual interviews. (6) It was anticipated that study findings would help the college institute quality improvements to assist its current faculty members and incoming faculty/staff during orientation programs, move the COP toward enhanced achievement of its urban and rural missions, and serve as a basis to provide insights and recommendations that could be helpful to other pharmacy schools.


In recruiting focus group participants, an important consideration is whether to target heterogeneous (ie, mixed characteristics) or homogeneous (people as similar as possible in terms of individual demographics, knowledge, background, experiences) samples. (7) Strengths and weaknesses have been noted about the quality of group interactions, dynamics, and output with both methods. (8) Participants should also be made to feel comfortable with each other as familiarity among group members could affect discussions. (9) Because of the variation of student experiences with faculty, three homogeneous pharmacy student focus groups were assembled based on academic status, ie, fourth professional year (P4), third professional year (P3), first and second professional year (P1 and P2). The P1s and P2s constituted one focus group because these two student groups had the least exposure to faculty compared to the P3s and P4s. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.