RWJ Barnabas Health Inc.

05/30/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/30/2024 07:49

CBMC Pharmacist Advocates for LGBTQ+ Rights; Named to National Task Force

Timothy Jacisin, PharmD, BCPS, a Senior Peri-Operative Pharmacist at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center (CBMC), and a member of our PROUD BRG, was named to a national task force for the organization that accredits pharmacy residencies. Tim is working on developing new standards updates to protect pharmacy residents across the country that identify as LGBTQ+.

About two years ago, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacy (ASHP) introduced Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) guidelines designed to make it more equitable for those who were applying for residencies.

After reading the updates, Tim saw an opportunity for the guidelines to address the LGBTQ+ community, since they were not mentioned.

"As a gay man myself, one of the things I was nervous about with residency was the fact that I could go anywhere in the country, and I wasn't sure what standards or protections there were," shares Tim. "I wanted to be able to identify that I had a boyfriend (who is now my husband) and that we would be moving together wherever I matched."

This led Tim and a colleague, who had a similar experience, to write a letter to the editor of the Journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacy. The letter outlined their suggestions to update the current national standards to better support and protect pharmacy students that identify as LGBTQ+ who were applying for residencies.

"Our best hope when we wrote this letter was that it would be published and that somebody at least read it, but now it has evolved," says Tim.

Not only was their letter published, but it also received a response. Understanding their concerns and wanting to address them, Tim and his colleague were invited to participate on a national task force commissioned by ASHP, the organization that accredits pharmacy residencies. Together, they have been working to update these guidelines for LGBTQ+ pharmacy residents across the country, which they hope to release later this year.

"Initially, the taskforce had specifically been looking at other healthcare professions that have addressed LGTBQ+ residents, trying to understand what the landscape looks like and what fits with our intent; There is a lot of complexity when it comes to writing one document that covers the entire country," Tim explains.

Tim also shares, "I never even thought I could be on this committee, let alone write this letter. I went to school to be a pharmacist, but here I am also working on issues for other LGBTQ+ people who are also pharmacists. The ability to wear both of those things at the same time is pretty great. I'm still learning where this road will go, but I am just very happy and thankful to be on it. The biggest takeaway I've had from this experience is to follow and go in the direction you are passionate in."

As for his experience as an LGBTQ+ employee at CBMC, Tim recalls his very first time on the CBMC campus. "I saw there was a pride flag flying right under the American flag. I remember thinking not every hospital does that. To me, it was a transparent way to say not only are LGBTQ+ patients welcomed here, but also employees."