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APhA CEO Blog

The sun sets on APhA2015

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March 31, 2015

Nearly 6,000 APhA members and pharmacy supporters raised the roof off of the San Diego Convention Center last weekend at APhA2015. From before sun up to after sun down, there were so many exciting education sessions, networking opportunities, and events to celebrate and advance our incredible profession. Here are a few highlights:

During the Opening General Session Reid Blackwelder, MD, FAAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians Board Chair, told attendees that the most symbiotic relationship in medicine is that of the physician and the pharmacist. He noted that it’s up to us to find a way to create a relationship and a connection. Blackwelder, together with Brian Cross, PharmD, BCACP, CDE, delivered an energizing keynote presentation about practicing teamwork when serving your community entitled, Interprofessional Practice: Start at the Grassroots. Their tag-team presentation was punctuated with enthusiastic shouts of agreement from the audience and included handy hints about collaboration between family physicians and pharmacists. This was the first time Blackwelder and Cross presented together on a large stage and you could see and feel the respect they have for each other.

“Advancing as One” was the theme of APhA2015. During his Opening General Session address, APhA President Matthew C. Osterhaus, BSPharm, FASCP, FAPhA, talked about the numerous ways we are “Advancing as One” through a unified profession, associations, the health care team, and patient care process. Using the analogy of putting together a puzzle, he showed how each pharmacist represents a piece of the puzzle, and together we complete the picture. He recognized the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition and its work to achieve the introduction of the federal provider status legislation known as the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 314). He pointed to APhA’s Pharmacists Provide Care campaign, which supports provider status efforts at the federal and state levels, and in the private sector. He reported that the campaign has garnered more than 16,500 supporters and 128 videos from 50 states.

The excitement didn’t stop there! During the Second General Session, keynote speaker Daniel Kraft, MD, a physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator talked about rapidly developing technologies and their potential in biomedicine and health care. To demonstrate this, he gave himself an EKG onstage with his phone using an app called Alivecore. A similar presentation can be found at http://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/daniel-presentation/.

APhA President-elect L.B. Brown called on pharmacists to tell one person each day, for 5 days, “Pharmacists Provide Care…let me tell you about it.” He reminded APhA2015 attendees that patient safety is a quest that unifies us across all practice settings and that it serves as a vehicle for expanded patient care roles.  He asked the audience to help APhA revolutionize the profession, spread the word, and tell their stories. His speech was another energizing experience!

“Honorary Pharmacist” Mark Walberg, the host of “Antiques Roadshow,” was back for his seventh year as emcee for the APhA General Sessions. I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “chest bump” with Walberg during one of the sessions (you had to be there :).

APhA members actively engaged in the policy development process in the APhA House of Delegates, where our House passed policy discouraging pharmacist participation in executions and articulated policy related to the pharmacist’s role with cannabis and its derivatives. There was a flurry of tweeting and social media exchanges throughout the meeting, but the buzz reached a crescendo when APhA released its policy decision about pharmacists’ role in executions.

For many pharmacists, the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition is the high point of their year and a great way to recharge their batteries. It’s a place to connect with other pharmacists, share innovative practice ideas, learn about the latest and greatest advances on the clinical front, and get energized about our profession.

I’d like to thank everyone who “showed up” this year and got in the game! If you weren’t able to attend, stay tuned to pharmacist.com and Pharmacy Today for a recap of APhA2015’s highlights.