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APhA CEO Blog

Pharmacy’s tremendous strides

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November 23, 2016

Recently the University of Washington hosted the inaugural Phil and Sandra Nudelman Endowed Lecture at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. Paul Nudelman is an innovator, entrepreneur, public servant on the Washington State Board of Pharmacy and a graduate of the university who went on to serve as president and CEO of Group Health Cooperative, and later as president and CEO of the Hope Heart Institute. His achievements over his distinguished career range from developing the first computerized pharmacy systems to serving on several presidential commissions.

For the inaugural Nudelman lecture, “U Dub” extended APhA an honor by inviting me to share a few thoughts on leadership and entrepreneurism. In my remarks, I shared that our profession can reflect proudly on our successes in establishing pharmacists’ services: DUR, “owning” drug interaction knowledge and management, immunizations, extending access with technologies, screening and wellness, transition of care services, and medication therapy management. Next up is pharmacogenomics—an opportunity highly similar to our work with drug interactions and an open frontier.

I went on to encourage entrepreneurism by observing that while pharmacists’ contributions are not yet optimized, we have made tremendous strides together. We have changed the conversation! Society is waking up to the advantages of having pharmacists plugged into the team. Put simply, the quality of patient care improves and health care costs go down when pharmacists are included on patient care teams. Every day, in our communities, at the federal and state levels, and within the public and private sectors, we are presented with new opportunities to advance our profession and prove our value to the health care system and our patients—and they are ours to seize, if we are willing to take some “flying leaps.” For leaders and entrepreneurs, the sky is the limit!

For many of you, your flying leap was entering the pharmacy profession. Some of you have created new products or services that benefit society or have run with opportunities in patient care. My opinion, and one I shared with the audience, is that all pharmacists have the potential to create, innovate, or improve our profession and the health of our communities. Remember to differentiate yourself, do more than the minimum, show up, and say yes!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from everyone at APhA! We have lots for which to be thankful!