The fight against racism is an ongoing and continuous effort to eliminate individual, institutional, and systemic racism. Most of the pharmacy schools in the United States and Canada include content on health disparities, cultural competencies, and health knowledge to some degree; however, there is less emphasis on experimental programs and cocurricular activities. To determine how pharmacy schools in the United States and Canada are teaching health disparities, cultural competence, and health literacy, a survey was conducted among 143 accredited and candidate pharmacy programs in the United States and 10 Canadian pharmacy programs. Active learning approaches were mainly used in the United States, while in Canada active learning was more frequently used for teaching health literacy (62.5%) than health disparities and cultural competence (37.5%). The survey included all identifiable areas of pharmacy curricula; its objective was to identify the breadth and depth of introduction, reinforcement, and mastery of health disparities, as well as teaching cultural competence and health literacy that exist in accredited pharmacy programs in the United States and Canada. Since cultural sensitivity and communication with patients are included in the ACPE standard 3.12, the inclusion of concepts on health disparities and cultural competence and concepts of health literacy in the coplan of study would serve to further increase the learning of these concepts by students in the didactic and experiential curriculum, as well as being an ideal place to promote vertical integration efforts.
Health disparities and cultural competence were mainly taught in several courses over several years in the pre-APPE curriculum. A program in Canada collected information on patient populations or health beliefs observed during APPE. This data can be used to inform curricular decisions about which patient populations should be included in curricula on health disparities, cultural competency, and health literacy. Additionally, institutional characteristics can be taken into account when designing curricula that address cultural competency and sensitivity within institutions. In conclusion, it is essential for pharmacy schools in the United States and Canada to include content related to health disparities, cultural competence, and health literacy both in their curricula and evaluation practices to ensure that students are adequately prepared to address cultural competency and sensitivity within institutions.