To collaboratively address the need for development of pharmacy curricula which enable students to acquire the abilities described above, AACP partnered with HRSA's Pharmacy Services Support Center (PSSC), an organization whose purpose is to provide agencies rendering care to underserved populations with the information, education, and policy analysis needed to enhance medication use and improve health outcomes. In 2005, a joint AACP-PSSC task force was created to review and develop curricular resources that would compliment and support this mission.
At its inception, the task force was charged with: (1) developing a curriculum framework appropriate for professional pharmacy education that addressed the preparation of practitioners educated to serve underserved communities; (2) identifying quality instructional materials to facilitate the integration of the framework throughout PharmD curricula; and (3) identifying gaps between the desired curriculum and existing resources. The task force chose to use the Clinical Prevention and Population Health Curriculum Framework for Health Professions24
as a foundation for the identification of content areas, educational outcomes, and resources for implementing a curriculum that addresses the wide-ranging aspects of providing healthcare to underserved populations. The 4 main content areas included in this model are: (1) Evidence Base for Practice, (2) Clinical Preventative Services – Health Promotion, (3) Health Systems and Health Policy, and (4) Community Aspects of Practice. Within each area, subsections were identified and terminal learning outcomes that tailor each framework element to underserved populations were delineated. Currently available resources were then matched with outcomes to support instructional development.
The Curriculum Framework developed by the AACP-PSSC task force is available online at the AACP web site (www.aacp.org
). Although text and electronic resources to support curriculum objectives were plentiful, a problematic gap between reality and the ideal existed with regard to support for developing and sustaining programs that ensure success. The task force's efforts were subsequently re-channeled to: (1) sensitize pharmacy students, faculty, and practitioners, and other stakeholders to the important social justice and professional practice issues related to proving healthcare to underserved populations; (2) educate the academy on the components of a comprehensive pharmacy curriculum related to these populations; and (3) prepare students to meet specific needs of underserved communities through school-sponsored service-learning experiences and, ultimately, in practice. This manuscript was written in partial fulfillment of the goal to educate the academy.