Chapter Two: Imagine the opportunities
Note from Tom: In honor of his emphasis on the power of stories to advance pharmacists’ professional status, APhA President Brad Tice is contributing a monthly guest blog on the topic. Enjoy the second edition!
Wow, what a month! My journey as the APhA President has truly taken off like a rocket! This “second chapter” began with a commencement address at Wayne State University in Detroit. It is always an honor to get to speak at a commencement and see the new graduates entering the profession. It provides a great time to reflect on the past and look to the future. This time was no different. What I realized became part of the message I gave to the graduates: “This profession has afforded me more opportunities than I could have imagined when I was sitting where they are.” I can only imagine what opportunities are in front of us!
While I often hear that “we have too many pharmacy organizations and need to work together,” the Joint Commission on Pharmacy Practice (JCPP) is the place where that happens. JCPP is a group that many people are not aware of. Thirteen pharmacy organizations’ executive officers and presidents meet in person each quarter to discuss how to advance pharmacy and work together. You can learn more about this at their website (https://jcpp.net/). This quarter’s discussion brought to light an issue we all need to start paying attention to. Rosemary Gibson, author of the book ChinaRx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, focused on increasing our awareness that the United States has essentially lost its ability to manufacture medications and control of active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs. This has also led to quality concerns, as most medications are now manufactured outside of the United States. We need to look at getting medications classified as a national strategic asset to regain our control in this area.
As happens every May, the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) brought together the state association president-elects with their state association executive leaders and national organizations to help get them oriented for their time in office. Former APhA President Nancy Alvarez did an excellent job teaching these leaders how to shape and tell their stories, as a part of leadership training. It was great to see everyone working together so well.
My final stop for the month included another commencement address—this time at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA, which provided another great opportunity to reflect and look ahead.
As well, the APhA election results were announced. Congratulations to Sandra Leal for being elected our next APhA President-elect and to Randy McDonough and Alex Varkey for being elected to the Board of Trustees. I look forward to continuing to serve with them all as they all have great hearts for the profession. I also want to say thank you to Dan Buffington, Jim Kirby, and Caroline Gaither for running and being willing to step forward. It is never fun to not win an election. They are great leaders in our profession, with great hearts for the profession. I hope to see them on future ballots.
I continued my “three asks” throughout the month and at the commencements. We must tell our stories. We must expect our colleagues to be APhA members—more on this on in next month’s chapter! And we must use our stories to advance provider status for pharmacists.
My core belief in that was reinforced this month while attending the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) annual meeting, where Aaron Carroll gave the keynote. Dr. Carroll is a physician and wrote the recent op-ed in the New York Times, “The Unsung Role of the Pharmacist.” He gave a great external perspective on the profession that the evidence of the value of pharmacists is there; people just need to look at it.
Of course, that’s just my journey! APhA staff works tirelessly, and often behind the scenes, every day to represent the profession and you personally. They shape your lives through shepherding and guiding our profession. Some of their recent efforts include announcing the nationwide launch of Pharmacy Profiles, a subsidiary of APhA; launching our new membership model; conducting the fifth annual APhA Institute on Substance Use Disorders; and submitting formal comments to Congress and agencies.