Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at PQA

PQA is dedicated to improving safe, effective and appropriate medication use and addressing issues that impact a person’s ability to access and use medications. Many of those issues are driven by inequities in our society and health care system.

As we work to address disparities that affect medication use quality and patient outcomes, we believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce will strengthen PQA’s efforts.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have rightfully become a priority for health care organizations across the nation. We have a responsibility to improve DEI because it directly affects patient outcomes and quality of life.

That’s why PQA’s strategic plan, Blueprint PQA 2025, set a goal for PQA to “champion diversity, equity and inclusion and address health disparities in medication use quality.”

We are committed to addressing health equity in our quality initiatives and ensuring the equitable and meaningful inclusion of individuals, who represent the nation’s diverse populations, in our work. To guide these efforts, PQA has established a set of Principles for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Our principles are informed by the many national efforts to improve DEI. They are a clear reference point for our work as we take a more intentional approach to DEI. They inform PQA’s strategies and how we deploy resources, form partnerships, convene members and stakeholders, frame communications and produce quality improvement programs, including measurement, research, and education.

As an alliance of health care organizations, PQA’s DEI work is greatly influenced by our 240 members. We are fortunate that many of them are among the nation’s leaders in advancing DEI and health equity. We are eager to expand our partnerships with them to build a quality workforce that represents our nation’s diversity.

Coming in 2023: The PQA Diverse Quality Leaders Program

In 2023, we will launch the “PQA Diverse Quality Leaders Program” to provide expanded opportunities for individuals at various career stages to become leaders in quality. PQA believes that diverse leaders and teams make decisions that are more responsive to the needs, perspectives and interests of diverse populations.

From students to early career professionals to emerging leaders, PQA supports professional development for individuals of all backgrounds, who are interested in medication use quality. Through a series of new and expanded programs, PQA will help diverse professional groups expand their knowledge, build skills, network with quality experts and learn to implement effective quality programs across health care.

The PQA Diverse Quality Leaders Program is open to individuals from racial, ethnic and other minority groups who are underrepresented in quality and health care leadership positions. PQA is particularly interested in increasing representation in its programs among individuals who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander or Asian.

So much of professional development and career advancement is driven by personal, educational and professional networks. If our expert panels and our advisory and governing bodies are not diverse, equitable and inclusive, it is in part because our pathways to participation have not effectively engaged or supported underrepresented communities. This is true for all organizations and industries.

Our Diverse Quality Leaders Program will help address these gaps. Initially, the program will have five distinct parts:

  • A Diversity in Quality Scholarship programfor minority health care professional students to attend the PQA Annual Meeting and participate in the pre-meeting Medication Use Quality workshop.
  • Diversity in Quality Scholarships for minority health care professionals and students to take the Medication Use Quality online continuing education and certificate program.
  • Expanded PQA Leadership Summit participation opportunities for PQA member organizations to send an additional representative to the summit.
  • A Quality Shadowing program, where individuals from diverse groups are invited to observe select nomination-based panels, such as PQA’s Measure Concept Advisory Groups and Technical Expert Panels, to gain knowledge that can support selection for and participation in future panels.
  • A Diverse Voices in Quality education series that showcases the successful career paths and experiences of medication use quality professionals from diverse groups at PQA member organizations.

Details on each of these five programs and how to participate will be shared in early 2023.

Part of a Larger DEI and Health Equity Commitment

The PQA Diverse Quality Leaders Program is part of a larger commitment to advance DEI and improve health equity.

Earlier this year, PQA convened a diverse group of patients and pharmacy stakeholders to identify and prioritize patient-centered outcomes research topics and evidence needed to improve social determinants of health screening and interventions in the pharmacy setting. Listening to and taking action in response to the preferences of patients is a critical step on the road toward health equity. We hope to build on this project with additional research to develop a roadmap for pharmacists and pharmacy staff to conduct appropriate social needs screening initiatives.

Next year, PQA will launch a Health Equity Technical Expert Panel to provide guidance and prioritization for stratification of PQA’s quality measures. This work will be critical to providing guidance for stratification of new and existing PQA measures, as well as reinforcing PQA’s recommendations on sociodemographic status risk adjustment of adherence measures used in the Medicare Part D Star Ratings Program.

We look forward to sharing more information about these and other initiatives in 2023, and we welcome your feedback. You can contact us about this work at any time by email: [email protected].

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