American Pharmacists Month: Celebrate, volunteer, and make a difference!

October is American Pharmacists Month—this is YOUR MONTH! Yes, we’ve been celebrating every October for years, but this October is DIFFERENT! From conducting tours of the OTC aisles to giving patients free “care packages” to volunteering your time to a worthy cause, there are so many ways to raise awareness with your patients, Members of Congress, and other decision makers. We have so much more to offer than patients currently have access to due to coverage limitations.

We’ve made it easy for you to celebrate this special month. Visit APhA’s website at to get media coverage, reach your community, and use social media to share your contributions to safe and effective use of medications. Be sure to send any coverage, clips, or event photos from your celebrations to APhA at We will PUMP YOU UP!

Don’t forget that October 20 is National Pharmacy Technician Day. This is a day dedicated to the invaluable contributions technicians make to pharmacy practice.

You can also celebrate American Pharmacists Month and connect with patients by volunteering. APhA is a volunteer-led organization. We couldn’t survive, let alone prosper, without the volunteer contributions and leadership of thousands. Speaking on behalf of our APhA staff, we are truly grateful for the opportunity to work with so many awesome folks. We’ve made it easy for you to volunteer with us as well!

What you may not know is that many, if not most, of our staff “walk the walk” by volunteering their personal time in various other organizations and associations.  We do it to not only give back, but to continue learning and to gain new perspectives. 

For me personally, that has meant volunteering in my community, with various associations, and importantly for more than 30 years with my alma mater, the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Pharmacy. Like many pharmacists with their own alma maters, I serve on WVU’s visiting committee for the school. Through that volunteer involvement (this is a little scary!), I’ve known every dean at the 100-year-old school except the first one!

A few months ago, WVU announced that the recently retired pharmacy school dean, Pat Chase, was named Dean Emeritus. Such an honor is not a slam-dunk for a retiring dean, so I’m very pleased, but not surprised. You see, in addition to Pat’s body of work at WVU, and her longstanding membership in APhA, she has also served in numerous volunteer roles in our profession over many years. Most recently, she completed her term as President of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). During her years as an AACP volunteer, she helped mentor dozens, if not hundreds, of Fellows as part of AACP’s leadership training programs. Many of these Fellows go on to become leaders in pharmacy.

Pat’s years of volunteerism are a shining example of how pharmacists can give back to their community and their profession. As you celebrate American Pharmacists Month, think of the many ways you can volunteer in your community and your profession. Make a difference all year long!

Updated October 1, 2015