Perception of a privilege walk activity and its impact on pharmacy students’ views on social justice in a service learning elective: A pilot study

Sabrina Anne Jacob, Uma D. Palanisamy, Carole Mei Choo Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a need for students involved in service learning units to be aware of their own positions of privilege so as to help them understand the contributing factors in systems of inequality. Aim: To explore pharmacy students’ perceptions of a Privilege Walk Activity (PWA) and its impact on their views on social justice. Method: A cross-sectional pilot study was conducted involving undergraduate Bachelor of Pharmacy students enrolled in a service learning unit. The survey was administered at the end of a PWA and was made up of nine Likert-style questions and three openended questions. Results: 18 out of 23 students responded (78.3%). More than 60% of students agreed that the activity provided them with some insight about the different privileges people had growing up, while approximately 80% claimed that the PWA would help in their communication and interaction with those being served by the NGOs to which they will be attached as part of undertaking the service learning unit. From the qualitative analysis, four main themes emerged: preconceived notions, expressions of gratitude, effect of PWA on self-reflection, and impact of PWA on approach to service learning. Students expressed shock to discover differences in privilege among their peers. A number of students felt the session made them more reflective, and taught them to be non-judgmental when dealing with the underprivileged. Conclusion: The PWA managed to raise an awareness in the students of the imbalances in privilege. Findings can be used to encourage the incorporation of more theoretical content on issues of social justice within service learning units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Community engagement
  • Pharmacy education
  • Privilege walk
  • Service learning
  • Social justice

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