What do you do? Answer by Jan. 15!

What do you do? This question was posed to me by my nephson's 14-year-old friends—Cal Conner, Nick Zinni, and Roman Mykyta—as I drove them home from a get-together with Alex at our house.

It seems like a simple question. But after I shared a little bit about my work at APhA, it got me thinking. How would the people who read this blog answer that question simply and accurately enough that an eighth grader would understand?

It's not good enough to say "I'm a pharmacist." You could get away with it, but would it really answer the question? Or would it perpetuate the questioning kid's own own inaccurate impression of what pharmacists do? Remember, that kid will be voting in 4 years!

APhA uses the tagline, "Improving medication use, advancing patient care." Whether in education, advocacy, or information provision, to a large degree, that phrase nails what my work at APhA entails. But 14-year-olds need a little more and need it simple if they are really going to get it.

So, as we start the new year, I"m issuing a challenge to all of you. In 300 words or less (about the number of words in this blog), describe what you do as a practicing pharmacist in language simple enough for an eighth grader. The only rule is that you, the pharmacist, must be describing a pharmacist's role with direct patient care. You can simply write your description as a reply to this blog. I'll come up with a suitable prize in the next week or so, and I'll ask APhA's staff personnel committee, made up largely of "nonpharmacists," to be the judges together with my new focus group of middle school kids. Your deadline is January 15.

Happy New Year!