Pharmacy in Public Health

Basics and Beyond

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Page Count: 400

This practical textbook covers key areas like the foundations of public health, concepts and tools of policy, and models of public health programs run by pharmacists. Unlike other books, it includes real-life cases that highlight pharmacists who are starting or getting involved in public health efforts.

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Pharmacy in Public Health: Basics and Beyond outlines what public health is and why it is so important for today’s pharmacists to know. This practical textbook covers key areas like the foundations of public health, concepts and tools of policy, and models of public health programs run by pharmacists. Unlike other books that link pharmacy and public health, it includes real-life cases that highlight pharmacists who are starting or getting involved in public health efforts.

This book gives pharmacists and pharmacy students all of the tools they need to get started making a difference in their communities. Readers are guided through three sections that progressively build knowledge of concepts, tools, and models of pharmacist participation in public health activities. Fully integrated cases and applied examples of public health practices provide readers with practical information on how they can get involved.

Jean Carter, PhD, PharmD

Between 1979 and 1997, Jean Carter worked as a staff pharmacist in hospitals in Montana and Arizona. During graduate school, she shifted her professional focus from clinical to academic and public health perspectives. She has been at the University of Montana since 1997 and is currently an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Administration in the Pharmacy Practice department and an affiliated faculty member of the public health program. Carter received her BS Pharmacy degree from the University of Montana in 1978 and her PharmD (1993) and PhD (1997) from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Dr. Carter’s interests, which are centered on measurement and public health, include health and educational outcomes measures, public health training programs in the area of emergency preparedness, and program evaluation. She contributes to pharmacy and pharmacy education through active participation in AACP, poster and podium presentations, research, articles, and journal editorial boards.


Marion Slack, PhD

Marion Slack practiced pharmacy in a wide variety of settings including working as a pharmacist at a leper colony in Thailand, in a community pharmacy in Kentucky, and as a hospital pharmacist in Kentucky and in a large intercity hospital in Minnesota. Dr. Slack is currently a professor at the University of Arizona where she has been Principal Investigator of an interprofessional training program for rural and underserved communities in community health. She worked first in three rural communities in southeast Arizona. For the past 15 years, she has worked in a community located on the United States–Mexico border and for 2 years has worked with a second university to begin a similar training program on an American Indian reservation. Slack received her BS Pharmacy from the University of Kentucky in 1969, her MA in Instructional Design from the University of Minnesota in 1984, and her PhD from the University of Arizona in 1989. 

Dr. Slack is particularly interested in how universities can collaborate with underserved communities to improve the health of residents and, in particular, how pharmacists might participate in the process.

CJHP – Vol. 63, No. 3 – May–June 2010, page 250

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 practicing 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.

Olla Wasfi, DrPH
School of Pharmacy
University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario