Confronting inequities: A scoping review of the literature on pharmacist practice and health-related disparities

Res Social Adm Pharm. Mar-Apr 2016;12(2):175-217. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2015.05.011. Epub 2015 May 29.


Background: An expanding body of literature is exploring the presence and impact of health and health care disparities among marginalized populations. This research challenges policy makers, health professionals, and scholars to examine how unjust and avoidable inequities are created at the societal, institutional, and individual level, and explore strategies for mitigating challenges.

Objectives: Recognizing the significance of this broader conversation, this scoping review provides an overview of pharmacy-specific research attentive to health-related disparities.

Methods: Following Arksey and O'Malley's framework, a rigorous screening process yielded 93 peer-reviewed and 23 grey literature articles, each analyzed for core themes.

Results: Lending critical insight to how pharmacy practice researchers are conceptualizing and measuring health inequities, this review highlights three paths of inquiry evident across this literature, including research focused on what pharmacists know about marginalized groups, how pharmacists perceive these groups, and how they provide services. Striving to drive research and practice forward, this review details research gaps and opportunities, including a need to expand the scope of research and integrate knowledge.

Conclusions: As pharmacists endeavor to provide equitable and impactful patient care, it is essential to understand challenges, and build strong evidence for meaningful action.

Keywords: Bias; Health care disparities; Health disparities; Marginalized groups; Pharmacy practice; Stigma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Perception
  • Pharmaceutical Services
  • Pharmacists*