Examining the inclusion of race and ethnicity in patient cases

Olihe N. Okoro, Vibhuti Arya, Caroline A. Gaither, Adati Tarfa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Health disparities continue to exist in the United States, with the most significant differences in care occurring between racial groups. Racial health disparities are largely a result of the strong association between race and structural inequities, (differentials in the distribution of power, resources, opportunities). The use of case-based learning is common practice in pharmacy education, and the race of the patient who is the subject of the case is often included out of convention. In some cases, race is included to inform treatment based on guidelines developed from epidemiological and clinical studies that link race to disease by conferring biological significance to race categories. This continuing use of race and ethnicity to guide treatment contributes to racial health disparities and may further perpetuate existing provider implicit bias. This paper discusses the pedagogical approach of using patient cases and the convention, propriety, and implications of including race in patient cases, and guides pharmacy educators in how to use information on race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8583
Pages (from-to)891-898
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of pharmaceutical education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
.© 2021 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.


  • Patient case
  • Pharmacy education
  • Race
  • Social determinants of health
  • Structural inequities


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