Pharmacy school today is like a great highway with numerous exits that will lead you to your future career. Some of you have been traveling this road for a while, and others have only just begun. But this highway that you drive down has not always existed. It started out years ago as a dirt path with only one destination. The trailblazers who came before us cleared the way, and elevated student pharmacists and pharmacists to become the professionals they are today. Moving forward, the Academy must continue to build upon this progress, but not focus on just the individual or the community. Bringing new ideas together to realize the brilliant strength in each student pharmacist contributes to the greater good. By focusing on all aspects of life—career, community, and self—APhA–ASP members can reach a shared vision of their own future and the future of pharmacy, together.
Legacy is often something that is misunderstood. Not only will famous artists, newsworthy heroes, or the leaders of countries leave a legacy—everyone will. Your legacy is made up of more than just what you accomplish in your career. Legacy is built upon three components: what you do in your profession; what you do for your community of friends, family, and those around you; and what you do for yourself, including your mental well-being.
It won’t be the number of health care screenings that you hosted, it will be the time you spent letting each patient know they are important. It isn’t the leadership positions you held, it’s the way you grew the leaders around you. What do you want to be remembered for? I know my answer.
For making my wife, Robin, smile. For always being there for my family and friends. For being a driver of change in my community. Now, this doesn’t have to be a dream that will happen someday after pharmacy school or years from now when you believe you will finally have the time. Today, you can begin your legacy.
Legacy does not end with you. Legacy extends from the individual to the community. Just like those pharmacists and students who paved the way, an individual’s strength contributes to the strength of the community.
My contribution, and your contribution, along with the efforts of pharmacists and students across the country, create the legacy of the pharmacy profession. Now more than ever this legacy is subject to change and it is the Academy’s collective strength that will sway history in a positive manner.
It will be the countless hours giving flu shots, providing blood glucose screenings, advocating to legislators, and so much more that will change the country’s cultural view of pharmacy. You are each a cell in this great body that makes up pharmacy, from the bays of Maine to the shores of Hawaii, and through hard work, you will all be recognized as equal and expert members of the health care team.
This year, the APhA–ASP community will be here to challenge you to advance your career, strengthen your relationships, and enhance your mental well-being. However, in these past years, you may have forgotten an important member of that community: yourself.
I have seen students succumb to stress and feel like they are alone. I am sure you have heard a student pharmacist who questioned their next step. But you cannot ignore this any longer, so I challenge the APhA–ASP community to be there to encourage and support each other through mental and emotional challenges.
A pharmacist is the support structure for a patient. But, who is there to support the pharmacist and student? APhA–ASP is here to support you entirely, from your career, to your community, to your personal well-being. The Academy is strong and can be so much more, and with the support of the community this year, you will Begin Your Legacy!