Medical College of Wisconsin
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An intersectional review of discrimination and harassment experiences in pharmacy: Findings from the 2019 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2021;61(5):522-532



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85106211101 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   2 Citations


BACKGROUND: Most pharmacists in the United States are women, and the profession is becoming more racially diverse. The recent increase in political and social movements in the United States has heightened our awareness of the importance of better understanding the experiences of underrepresented individuals and groups. Little is known about discrimination and harassment in the profession of pharmacy in the United States.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to provide evidence that discrimination and harassment exist in the pharmacy profession and explore differences in discrimination and harassment using the intersectionality of race and sex.

METHODS: The 2019 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey (NPWS) utilized an electronic survey that was distributed using a 3-contact Dillman approach by email to a randomized sample of 96,110 licensed pharmacists from all 50 U.S. states using the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation e-profile system. The 2019 NPWS included a new battery of questions to assess the prevalence of discrimination and harassment in pharmacy.

RESULTS: The most common bases of discrimination experienced were based on age (31.2%), sex (29%), and race or ethnicity (16.6%). The most common type of harassment experienced was "hearing demeaning comments related to race or ethnicity" at 15.6%. The intersectionality analysis revealed different experiences among sex or race combinations. Black and Asian male pharmacists had the highest rate of "hearing demeaning comments about race or ethnicity." Nonwhite pharmacists were more likely to experience harassment from customers or patients compared with their white colleagues. Black female pharmacists had the highest rate of being "very unsatisfied" with the results of reporting discrimination and harassment to their employer.

CONCLUSION: Discrimination, including harassment and sexual harassment, is illegal, immoral, and unjust. As the profession of pharmacy continues to become more diverse, there must be a conscious, systemic, and sustained effort to create and maintain workplaces that are safe, equitable, and free of discrimination.

Author List

Bakken BK, Gaither CA, Doucette WR, Witry MJ, Kreling DH, Schommer JC, Arya V, Mott DA


Brianne K. Bakken PharmD Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy Administration department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Sexual Harassment
Surveys and Questionnaires
United States