Speak up: APhA seeks new policy topics for 2016

The APhA House of Delegates is an amazing gathering of pharmacists from all types of practice settings and state and national pharmacist organizations. After most annual APhA House of Delegates policies are publicized, we get lots of comments, both pro and con from members and nonmembers. Remarkably to those of us close to the process, there are folks who think we issue policies willy nilly, without much thought. Nothing could be further from the truth!

APhA takes its policy development process seriously. In fact, the APhA policy development process is the only entity in the profession that provides an inclusive vehicle for identifying pharmacists’ positions on contemporary health care issues. Consideration and discussion of policy topics occur months, and in some cases more than a year, before it comes to the House for a vote. Through feedback from members, online discussions, and other venues, delegates have the opportunity to provide input and actively debate positions that affect the everyday lives of pharmacists and our patients. 

We have just completed the policy process at the 2015 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, and I’m very proud of our House for doing the hard work it takes to be well educated, informed, and engaged.

And now it’s time to plan for 2016! We need your assistance in planning for the 2015–16 policy development process. Tell us what policy topics the 2016 House of Delegates should address! But hurry—the deadline to submit topics for consideration by the Joint Policy Standing Committee is April 20, 2015.

We want to hear from you! Your voice ensures that our House of Delegates considers the different perspectives of our diverse membership. For example, last year an APhA member submitted an idea about the pharmacist’s role in the care of patients using cannabis. The idea went through the full policy review process and was eventually adopted, along with several new policy statements, at this year’s House of Delegates.

Member input is critical to the success of this process. Once we have your idea, it will be reviewed by the APhA Academy Joint Policy Standing Committee, made up of representatives from APhA’s Academies. The top three policy topics selected by the committee are then shared with the APhA Board of Trustees, and ultimately sent to the APhA Policy Committee for development. The APhA House of Delegates considers the statements developed by the Policy Committee, and policies that are adopted become official Association policy.

Ideas can be submitted online at https://fs3.formsite.com/apha/form220/index.html.

So, if you are aggravated that we didn’t get it right in 2015, OR if you love what we’ve done and you want to contribute, consider this my challenge to you to get off the sidelines and join the debate as a delegate. There are lots of ways to serve in the house. The most common route is through your state pharmacy association. And the WORST route is to sit on the sidelines, stay uninformed, and complain! Your profession needs you!