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Brittany Jennings
July 24, 2020

Vibhuti Arya, Pharm.D., MPH (left), and David Steeb, Pharm.D., MPH.

Now more than ever, David Steeb, Pharm.D., MPH, says pharmacists are filling significant public health needs by providing accessible health care services to the public.

The problem, he says, is that many are unaware of how pharmacists contribute to improving public health.

To address this concern, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty member, along with Vibhuti Arya, Pharm.D., MPH, of St. John’s University, launched the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Public Health Special Interest Group.

The purpose is to serve as a leading convening body across the APhA and the profession to promote and advance the role of the pharmacist in public health.

“Our mission is to highlight the role of pharmacists in public health, expand practice models that demonstrate the impact of pharmacists in public health, strengthen workforce development opportunities for pharmacists (including education and training), and convene stakeholders to advance the role of the pharmacist in population health,” Steeb said.

Steeb said in its first year, the special interest group will focus on assessing engagement opportunities and member interests while also addressing the significant public health issues of the coronavirus pandemic and structural racism that continue to affect both the country and world.

“As pharmacists, we need to better understand and consider how these issues impact the delivery and provision of health services and what we can do to lead change in providing more equitable care,” Steeb said. “Recognizing how significant and deeply rooted these public health issues are, we will be collaborating across other interest groups within APhA, as well as other organizations dedicated to advancing public health. We all need to do our part and take action to lead change.”

Steeb said the ultimate goals will be to drive pharmacist engagement in the public health workforce and address social determinants of health.

Arya added, “Pharmacists across practice settings are engaged with public health efforts. We hope this group will bring forward the narrative of what pharmacists do to positively impact the health of communities.”

For more information about the Public Health Special Interest Group, visit the APhA website.

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