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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2010 May-Jun; 63(3): 250–251.
PMCID: PMC2901788

Pharmacy in Public Health: Basics and Beyond

Reviewed by Olla Wasfi, DrPH

J Carter ,  M Slack .  American Society of Health-System Pharmacists,  Bethesda, Maryland,  2010. Softcover,  390 pages. ISBN  978-1-58528-172-5.  US$50 (US$45 for ASHP members). 

The role of pharmacists is evolving and rapidly expanding. Carter and Slack start the preface of their book with a question to open further discussion: “What comes to mind when you think of pharmacy and public health?” This book is written by two professors in pharmacy practice, who focus on basic public health principles and how pharmacists can make use of the different tools of public health to serve their respective communities. This approach will be greatly appreciated by pharmacists practising in a variety of health care settings or academia.

Pharmacy in Public Health: Basics and Beyond is divided into 3 parts, covering the following topics: fundamentals of public health, concepts and tools of public health policy, and models of pharmacist-run public health programs. The first part, which discusses the foundation of public health, gives the reader a good idea of the history of public health in general, the public health system in the United States, and the role of law and ethics in public health. The second section provides information about the determinants of health, cultural competence, health promotion, disease prevention, epidemiology, and community health. The last part is a practice-based section, which gives examples of several models of public health programs and how pharmacists have taken leading roles in these programs.

The book covers the role of pharmacists in public health in a comprehensive manner, with sidebars that highlight pertinent information in each chapter. It can be used in an educational setting, as it is laid out in a well-organized, systematic format. Every chapter starts with clear learning outcomes, an introduction, and a case study that is discussed and referred to throughout the chapter. In addition, the authors wrap up every chapter with a concise summary, end-of-chapter questions, and suggested additional readings. Moreover, instructor’s resources are available online, including PowerPoint slides, image files, and additional cases. The book would also be a useful tool for pharmacy practitioners who are interested or already working in the field of public health.

The main strength of this book lies in the range of public health topics covered, from foundational material to more advanced topics, such as the tools of public health policy and models of pharmacist-run public health programs. Its main weakness is its primary focus on the structure of the US public health system, which differs from the public health system in Canada. Pharmacists working in this field will need to refer to the Canadian Public Health Association and the Public Health Agency of Canada to learn more about Canadian policies and regulations.

This book can be generally recommended as a source book and would be suitable for every health care library.

Articles from The Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy are provided here courtesy of Canadian Society Of Hospital Pharmacists