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Black pharmacy students face ‘differential attainment’ gap: RPS

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has revealed the “differential attainment” gap among Black pharmacy students and Foundation trainees.

Research conducted by pharmacy education has revealed unique challenges leading to lower attainment in the registration assessment and an undergraduate awards gap compared to white students.

The organisation plans to work with new groups including BPSA, GPhC, NHS England, Pharmacy Schools Council and representatives from Schools of Pharmacy, to achieve a fair and equitable education and training experience for the students.

They plan to reach out to student representative organisations to secure their participation in a quarterly meeting of the group.

Differential attainment is the unexplained variation between groups who share a protected characteristic, for example, ethnicity, gender and disability.

Amandeep Doll, Chair of the group said, “Tackling the differential attainment and awarding gap for Black pharmacy students and foundation trainees has been ignored for too long.”

“Changes in curriculum design, teaching practices, assessment methods, and institutional support structures are vital,” he continued. “We’d also like to see mentorship programs and support systems tailored to the needs of Black pharmacy students and trainees, providing guidance and assistance to help them excel in their studies.

“Every aspiring pharmacist should have an equal opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. Achieving equity in pharmacy education not only enhances the opportunities for Black students but also contributes to a more diverse and representative workforce, which is crucial for delivering high-quality healthcare to all communities.”

RPS will produce the report in November and contain recommendations based on various themes: inspiration, aspiration and role models; cultural competence training for tutors; debiasing processes and supporting the transition into the workplace; and data collection.

It will focus on fostering a more inclusive and supportive learning environment to help bridge the attainment gap.

This has been a high-priority agenda for Inclusive Pharmacy Practice (IPP) – a joint initiative with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Association of Pharmacy

Technicians UK and 13 other national partner organisations.

The new group was established to address the attainment gap and enhance diversity in pharmacy leadership, building upon discussions within the IPP advisory board.

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