Meagen Rosenthal, assistant professor of pharmacy administration at the University of Mississippi, is co-author of a report that won the 2016 Best Paper award from the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.
The paper, titled “Confronting inequities: A scoping review of the literature on pharmacist practice and health-related disparities,” reviews and summarizes research on interactions between pharmacists and patients from potentially marginalized groups, including illicit drug users.
“The consequences of health-related disparities to the population have been well documented,” Rosenthal said. “Pharmacists are front-line health care providers and, as such, have multiple opportunities to interact with these patients, and ultimately positively influence patient outcomes.
“I believe that pharmacists have a vital role to play in improving the outcomes of all patients.”
The paper focuses on disparities that stem from stigmas held by both patients and pharmacists that make health care access more difficult. For instance, if a patient is an illicit drug user they may be less likely seek medical attention for fear of judgement, while some disapproving pharmacists may be less willing to give care to these patients.
Such stigmas are associated with poorer health for patients.
Rosenthal began collaborating with the paper’s co-authors, who work at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy in Ontario, while she was earning her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta.
The paper reveals that pharmacists already take steps to provide culturally competent care, but there is room for improvement.
“Meagen’s work in the field of patient experience is incredible,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy. “She has already contributed a great deal to the study of patient outcomes.”
Rosenthal is particularly interested in creating consistent care across health care settings to help patients engage with their own treatment. The paper identifies new ways for pharmacists and patients to communicate to help achieve this goal.
“I was incredibly excited and honored to receive this award,” Rosenthal said. “To be recognized by such a prestigious pharmacy journal, which is read by the best and brightest in this area of research, is simply incredible.”
By Anna Herd