Pharmacy Practice Faculty Publications

Impact of Integrating Health Literacy and Cultural Competency Concepts Across the Curriculum

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Publication Date


Journal Title

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education







Objective. To determine the (1) longitudinal impact of the comprehensive integration of health literacy (HL) and cultural competency (CC) content throughout the professional pharmacy curriculum and (2) impact of changes made to HL/CC integration based on the results of the longitudinal analysis.

Methods. HL/CC concepts were integrated throughout a four-year (P1-P4) professional pharmacy curriculum. A cohort of students were assessed using HL/CC survey instruments at baseline, end of the P1 fall semester, and at the end of each academic year. From the four-year assessment, a need for additional reinforcement in the spring P1 semester was identified, and a HL activity was incorporated into an introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) for two cohorts of students and compared to a single cohort of students who did not receive the integration. A HL survey instrument was given pre-post semester to assess change, and preceptors also completed a brief survey.

Results. Curricular integration improved students’ HL/CC attitudes and self-perceived ability, as assessed by the instruments. However, there were declines in HL/CC items during the P1 spring semester. After implementing the HL IPPE activity, students showed increases in the HL assessment. Preceptors also gave positive feedback on the utility of this activity.

Conclusions. Integrating HL/CC content throughout the curriculum resulted in improvement from P1 to P4 year, but when there were no integrated activities, scores dropped. Implementing additional activities improved student-perceived HL skills. Thus, it may be important to ensure there is inclusion of content in each semester of the curriculum to maximize effects.


Pharmacy, health literacy, cultural competency, integration, curriculum