Black History Month: How Pharmacists Can Work Towards Health Equity

By: Cheryl Wisseh, PharmD

February marks Black History Month, a time to celebrate the rich culture and incredible contributions of Black people throughout history. Black History Month also serves as an opportunity to address sustainable, community-driven solutions to improving healthy food access, equitable housing, recidivism, economic empowerment, and educational opportunities.

My life’s work as a clinical pharmacist centers around breaking down barriers through clinical practice, research, community solutions, and advocacy to dismantle structural racism and social factors that threaten and hurt people’s health– especially marginalized individuals. As a first-generation immigrant who identifies as African American, I know personally that cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death for Black people nationwide, along with cancer and stroke. While significant advances have been made in treating and preventing chronic conditions, not all economic, racial, and ethnic groups benefit equally. Historically, communities of color have been left out.

As a blossoming health disparities researcher and community health advocate, I believe it is critical to the success of public health to help raise awareness about chronic conditions through health promotion and disease prevention to all communities. As a pharmacist, I have observed that many health disparities exist in geospatial manner…

This publication is a part of UCI Health Affairs “Bridging the Gap” series.

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