Disparities in Spatial Accessibility of Pharmacies in Baton Rouge, LA

DISPARITIES IN SPATIAL ACCESSIBILITY OF PHARMACIES IN BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

Geographical Review 105(4)

Samina Z. Ikram, Yujie Hu, and Fahui Wang

Wang

American Geographical Society: What is the main purpose of your study?

Fahui Wang: To measure the accessibility of pharmacy more accurately and identify its racial disparity.  

American Geographical Society: What are the practical, day to day implications of your study?

Fahui Wang: Accessibility is a term that describes the relative ease by which activities or services—in this case, pharmaceutical care services—can be reached from a given location. This research seeks to identify the disparity of accessibility across demographic groups, particular racial-ethnic groups.

American Geographical Society: How does your study relate to other work on the subject?

Fahui Wang: Most existing research measures accessibility by the proximity method, which uses the distance (travel time) from the nearest pharmacy. Our research uses the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method that considers the match ratio between providers and population as well as the complex spatial interaction between them. The latter is considered more accurate and comprehensive.

American Geographical Society: What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?

Fahui Wang: The study indicates that disproportionally higher percentages of African-Americans are in areas with shorter travel time to the nearest pharmacies than whites, but suffer from poorer accessibility as measured by fewer pharmacies per 10,000 residents. Seniors, particularly those of seventy-five years or older, tend to be disproportionally concentrated in areas that not only are closer to pharmacies, but also have more pharmacies per 10,000 residents.

American Geographical Society: What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?

Fahui Wang: Two methods are often used in the study of measuring spatial accessibility, and they capture different elements of access: one being physically close to a facility (the proximity method) and another considering the crowdedness in service (the 2SFCA method). Both properties can be valuable for residents, and the two may not always coincide with each other.

American Geographical Society: How does your research help us think about Geography?

Fahui Wang: Geography matters in health, and racial disparity in access to pharmacy contributes to corresponding disparity in health outcome. Our research quantifies this disparity more accurately. 

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