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Passing the baton at APhA
Michelle Powell 780

Passing the baton at APhA

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Association Perspective

Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, and Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP

Ilisa BG Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, interim executive vice president and CEO; and Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP, new executive vice president and CEO of APhA

I am honored and humbled to have served as APhA’s interim executive vice president and CEO for the past 13 months during the search for a permanent CEO. It was an amazing experience leading APhA, meeting members and the broader pharmacy community, and moving our profession forward.

On July 5, 2023, Michael Hogue takes over this important role. I’ve known Michael for years and am excited for the passion he brings for the profession and his innovative ideas for APhA, pharmacy, and patients. Before handing off my baton, I spoke with Michael to get his perspective.

Ilisa: Our members and the broader pharmacy community have shared with me a sense of being on the cusp of providing more patient care services, but also struggling to find the time because payment incentives are not appropriately aligned. Pharmacy teams are also extremely proud of the profession’s heroic efforts providing care during COVID-19—providing immunizations, testing, and treatments.

You are joining APhA with a wide range of experiences and you’ve seen the profession from different angles. What’s your view?

Michael: This is an inflection point in our profession. On the one hand, there is unprecedented opportunity for pharmacists across the health system. Pharmacists are rapidly joining teams in outpatient clinics, specialty pharmacy, home care, and even telehealth. On the other hand, we are faced with untenable payment systems and staffing support, jeopardizing access to care in local communities. We must partner with consumers and other health care providers to improve health equity and access to care. APhA must continue to lead the profession in preparing pharmacists for new opportunities while simultaneously addressing system-based issues that threaten patient access to their pharmacists’ care services.

Ilisa: And where do you see the future state of the pharmacy profession?

Michael: The vision of pharmacists as members of the health care team responsible for ensuring appropriate medication therapy outcomes is just now beginning to come into focus.

Pharmacists in the future will be leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to predict needed health interventions at both the population and individual patient levels. Pharmacists will prepare customized immunotherapies using patient-specific genetic markers to optimize treatment and provide cures for conditions previously thought to be uncurable.

Automation, expansion of pharmacy technician training and authorities, and modernization of regulations will allow pharmacists to focus on why we entered the profession: caring for patients.

Ilisa: Ensuring pharmacy team well-being is a top priority for APhA—driving the systemic change that’s needed to ensure safe workplaces and providing tools and services for pharmacy personnel to address their own well-being. Leading by example, our own well-being in a demanding job is important to maintain. As a triathlete, I run, bike, and swim to find my center calm. How do you find your center calm as you step into your new role?

Michael: Every morning I spend about an hour reflecting on my life’s blessings, centering my spiritual life, and contemplating how I can best impact the world for good in the coming day. I focus more fully on my diet and exercise. I also make time to be present in the moment with my daughters and my wife. I’ve learned through my last five years at Loma Linda University that a whole person approach to life helps me keep my well-being in the right place.

Ilisa: Last question, which drug class would you say best describes you?

Michael: Vaccines. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? I’m a futurist and strategic thinker, believing that planning ahead is the best way to prevent bad things from happening and maximize the potential for positive results! ■



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