Pharmacy team promotes diversity

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 12:24pm

Lucas Thorne-Humphrey, a clinical pharmacist at Capital Health, has been a diversity champion for years. He hosted a diversity education series for his peers in Pharmacy, and delivered multiple presentations to his colleagues including those from the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists about drug treatments and side effects for people who are undergoing gender transition. He has also been a long-time volunteer within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans* and queer community in Nova Scotia and recently concluded several terms on the prideHealth advisory board for Capital Health and the IWK.

Other Pharmacy employees have embraced this focus on diversity as well. For instance, pharmacist Leah Edmonds gave a presentation to her peers on controlling blood glucose levels during Ramadan.

Capital Health defines diversity in its broadest sense, as does the Pharmacy team. This definition includes but is not limited to differences in age, abilities, culture, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, language, physical characteristics, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, spirituality and values.

Thorne-Humphrey believes these differences enrich an organization. “We need to have a diverse workforce that better reflects the community so that we can best meet the needs of those we serve,” he said.

In 2010, Capital Health conducted a workplace diversity survey, which revealed that several diverse communities were underrepresented in its workforce as compared to representation in community. Since that time, Capital Health has been working with partners, including the Human Rights Commission, to develop a policy and plan to support a more diverse workforce.

Anne Hiltz, director of Pharmacy and the Renal Program, believes it is important to promote diversity at both the organizational and department level.

“Our workforce in Pharmacy is not as diverse as we’d like,” said Hiltz, noting that they see very few diverse candidates applying for jobs. Hiltz and Thorne-Humphrey hope to see this trend shift over time. In the meantime, they work hard to create an environment of belonging that keeps diversity top of mind and encourages employees from diverse communities to stay and thrive.

What is your work area doing to promote or celebrate diversity? Contact Margaret Angus at 902-473-2726 or margaret.angus@cdha.nshealth.ca to share your story.

Note: The word trans with an * after it is commonly used to represent anyone who does not feel they are the gender they were labeled at birth. People who are trans* may also use the labels of transgender, transsexual, gender non-conforming, gender variant, genderqueer, gender fluid, or pangender. Or they may just identify themselves by the gender they feel the most comfortable with.