LGBT+ Visibility in Leadership

Recently PDA members were invited to join an online event where speakers shared their progress, challenges and learnings about increasing diversity and representation in the leadership of the pharmacy professions.

Tue 17th August 2021 The PDA

At the Diversity and Representation in the Leadership of the Pharmacy Professions event, Dr Bola Owolabi began by discussing the importance of having a diverse leadership team to reflect the diversity of the communities that they serve.

Dr. Owolabi then introduced the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow, Natasha Callender, and the Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Richard Cattell, who spoke about the Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Plan. Finally, Paul Bennett and Liz Fidler, CEO of the RPS and President of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK discussed their organisations’ positions with regards to inclusion and diversity, and what they are doing about it.

The webinar was an informative introduction to the work being done to ensure that women and those in ethnic minorities are provided with the opportunity to lead within the pharmacy profession. However, it lacked the inclusivity to which it committed.

Whilst the other characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010 was mentioned in the ‘domains of health inequalities’, ten of the twelve protected characteristics were largely unexplored. Questions about other protected characteristics and issues extending beyond the Equality Act prompted dull responses. The shortfall of these initiatives is not the responsibility of these individual speakers and organisations; rather, it is a testament to the way that some systems ignore and undervalue LGBT+ people.

If the aim is to create leaders who reflect their communities, then the inclusivity itself must be diverse. A recent poll of PDA LGBT+ Network members revealed that only 50% of LGBT+ pharmacists are ‘out’ to all of their colleagues, whilst 5% were not ‘out’ to anyone at all. This is a clear barrier to the visibility of LGBT+ people in leadership positions. Leadership can happen at all levels, however, the profession needs to enable authentic diversity in leadership and grant queer people places at the decision-making table. This will help to tackle health inequalities through lived experiences and provide the next generation of senior leaders with possible role models.

Fortunately, the second Joint National Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Roundtable held at the end of July highlighted that leaders within the profession were happy to extend their inclusion work to other protected characteristics and beyond.

The PDA BAME Network’s #GetVaccinated campaign was one of the case studies presented to demonstrate health and social care leadership by ethnic minority pharmacists:

  • The pharmacist-led campaign was launched in February 2021 and is an initiative developed by the PDA’s BAME Network in response to concerns about the uptake of the vaccine in ethnic minority communities.
  • The objective is to dispel Covid-19 vaccine myths and to tackle the hesitancy of those in BAME communities to get vaccinated, by mobilising pharmacists who are trusted members of the community and highly qualified healthcare professionals.
  • PDA members from across the UK have been participating in a campaign to highlight that have had the vaccine and encourage others to stay safe by getting vaccinated too.
  • The campaign hashtags are #PDAbame and #GetVaccinated.

The PDA was well-represented at the event and the LGBT+ Network ensured that the inequalities faced by LGBT+ patients and healthcare professionals were highlighted. It is the PDA’s and the LGBT+ Network’s hope that LGBT+ health inequalities will be on the agenda of the Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Advisory Board in the next 12 months.

By Scott Rutherford (he/they), PDA LGBT+ Network President and third-year Pharmacy Student, and Daniela Rusalim (she/her), PDA LGBT+ Network member, PDA NAWP Vice-President, and Community Pharmacist. 

Related links

Get involved

  • For more information about the PDA LGBT+ Network, click here.
  • If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, please email: lgbt@the-pda.org.

JOIN THE PDA LGBT+ NETWORK TODAY

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