SIUE’s Butler Serves on National Task Force to Revise Pharmacists’ Oath

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy’s (SOP) Lakesha Butler, PharmD, lent her expertise to a national committee charged with incorporating equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism (DEIA) into the Oath of the Pharmacist.

Lakesha Butler, PharmD, clinical professor in the SIUE School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the School.

“The revised oath charges all pharmacists to take an active responsibility in promoting health equity and commit to being change agents in the system of pharmacy practice and beyond.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy’s (SOP) Lakesha Butler, PharmD, lent her expertise to a national committee charged with incorporating equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism (DEIA) into the Oath of the Pharmacist.

Butler, clinical professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the SOP, was called upon by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in April 2021.

She was asked to represent the AACP in her role as council of sections chair-elect and due to her expertise in DEIA. Butler and 10 other representatives from the AACP and APhA were charged with proposing revisions incorporating DEIA while ensuring the oath remained broad in scope.

After suggesting tentative changes, the joint committee sought feedback from pharmacists across the nation through town hall meetings and written suggestions. Revisions were finalized by the committee and voted on and approved by the AACP and APhA boards of directors in November 2021. The last revision of the oath was approved in 2008.

The updated oath states, “I will promote inclusion, embrace diversity, and advocate for justice to advance health equity.” Additional changes included incorporating more contemporary language.

“The joint committee led a critical charge of boldly expanding our professional oath to include the necessary elements of DEIA,” Butler said. “The revised oath charges all pharmacists to take an active responsibility in promoting health equity and commit to being change agents in the system of pharmacy practice and beyond.”

“SIUE is fortunate to have Dr. Butler’s leadership in addressing DEIA issues not only locally, but also at the national level,” said SOP Dean Mark Luer, PharmD, FCCP. “Pharmacists are particularly well positioned to improve the health of their communities, and by embracing the tenets of DEIA, the profession is committing itself to reducing the equity gaps that currently exist in the U.S. healthcare system.”

AACP and APhA will host a profession-wide virtual event at 7 p.m. CST Tuesday, Jan. 18 for all pharmacists, faculty members, administrators and student pharmacists to reaffirm their commitment to the newly revised Oath of a Pharmacist.

“The newly revised oath will be recited at this event and by spring 2022 pharmacy graduates across the country,” Butler said. “It was an honor to be invited to contribute to this important endeavor that will have a lasting impact on the pharmacy profession.”

Today’s pharmacists improve patients’ lives through the medication and education they provide. The School of Pharmacy is dedicated to developing a community of caring pharmacists through a curriculum that is nationally recognized as a model for offering students a unique combination of classroom education, research, community service and patient care. Areas of excellence include a drug design and discovery core, pediatric practice, chronic pain research and practice, and diabetes research and practice.

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