Have you ever filled out an application or a survey that asks for your race and ethnicity data? Have you wondered how these data are utilized to characterize populations? More often than not, race and ethnicity data are aggregated upon analysis. Data aggregation is the process of grouping data into broader categories to allow for research insights based on categorical responses.
Data aggregation can mask health disparities and disparities in racial/ethnic representation among health care providers, including pharmacists. It is important to recognize that data disaggregation is needed for patients and pharmacists alike to better identify health disparities and representation gaps to inform future targeted interventions.
With the support of the PGWL group, pharmacy trainees Drs. Emma Camara and Ana Safri provide recommendations and a starting point for others to consider how data collection should be framed to best meet the needs of the diverse populations they interface with, whether that be as patients or learners. Pharmacists can play an important role in advocating for disaggregation of data collection and reporting for better identification of health disparities in our patients and representation in our profession. For a full list of recommendations, review our full publication entitled The Implications of Data Aggregation on Propagating Racial and Ethnic Disparities within the Healthcare Landscape: Actionable Recommendations and Considerations for Pharmacists published in Journal of American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) in October 2023.
A very special thanks to Drs. Britny Brown, Caroline Ko, Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir and Aiman Bandali for mentoring Drs. Camara and Safri on this publication! The PGWL team was so grateful to have seen Emma and Ana grow from trainees to practitioners as this commentary was started to its final publication!
Dr. Emma Camara was a P4 pharmacy student at the University of Rhode Island in May 2022 and now serves as a Clinical Pharmacist at Kent Hospital in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Dr. Ana Safri was a PGY1 Pharmacy Resident at Boston Medical Center in May 2022 and now serves as the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Specialist - Cardiology at Boston