UF pharmily celebrates Pride Month
Shirly Ly is a third-year PharmD candidate at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Gainesville, and a member of the 2021–22 APhA–ASP Communications Standing Committee.
At the University of Florida (UF) College of Pharmacy, diversity and inclusion are part of our core values. This past July, UF celebrated Pride Month, with the College of Pharmacy adopting the theme “WE ARE PHARMILY!” They invited members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community to come together to honor their diversity and to acknowledge the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Honest and open dialogue
This past year has been a struggle for many, as the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder to create and find safe spaces to celebrate during Pride Month. A committee consisting of students, faculty, residents, and other members of the college joined in a collaborative effort to develop weekly events that included panel discussions with members and alumni of the college, a dialogue on the importance of establishing an inclusive pharmacy environment, and discussions of LGBTQ+ events throughout history. The month ended with a lively discussion of the Pride docuseries, in which the intersectionality of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race/ethnicity were addressed, and the struggle for LGBTQ+ civil rights in America from the 1950s through the 2000s was highlighted.
Cody Lasso, a third-year PharmD candidate and a member of the UF Pride Month 2021 Planning Committee, said that the committee hoped to bring out the unique perspectives of the college through the events. Cody, who also served as one of the panelists, said, “I learned about the history of LGBTQ+ rights, the intersectionality between the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized communities, and also specifically what pharmacists can do to help alleviate some of the stressors the community faces."
The UF APhA–ASP Chapter also created Operation Pride as a local patient care project on all 3 campuses to serve as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. This included raising awareness for the unique concerns of LGBTQ+ patients to address health care inequalities and events that break down discriminatory barriers as well as dispel stigmas and misconceptions.
Be an advocate
Many people in the LGBTQ+ community experience significant barriers to healthcare. As student pharmacists, we can work to improve the quality of care by attending cultural competency workshops, advocating for strong anti-discriminatory policies, and practicing more kindness and empathy toward patients, colleagues, and individuals in the community. We recognize that this is a journey and invite everyone to be an active participant, to get involved, and make their voice heard.
WE ARE PHARMILY!