Pursuing my career goals in association management
After graduating in 2020, I moved back home to California to be with family through the pandemic and figure out my career trajectory. I discovered late in my final year of pharmacy school that I wanted to pursue a non-traditional role in association management, but by that time, most of the postgraduate opportunities in this space had already been filled. A few months later, after talking with my amazing mentors, I found out about the executive fellowship with the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) and reached out to the fellowship director to talk about the opportunity and the application process.
After interviewing, I was offered the position, but a few weeks before my official start date, I received news that the fellowship director was resigning. I thought my fellowship was over before it started, but I was reassured someone on staff would take over as fellowship director. Now, my direct supervisor is the director of professional development and state emergency preparedness coordinator.
My fellowship began during the association’s restructuring, which was a great opportunity for me to provide insights on how to draw New Practitioners and keep them engaged. Throughout the restructure, the association created several new positions, including a director of marketing and communications and a director of membership, both of whom I work very closely with to engage the association’s members and other stakeholders.
Statewide and national engagement
Since I started the fellowship, I have engaged with people in all facets of pharmacy both in Michigan and nationwide. MPA is one of the founding associations of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Thanks to this unique opportunity, one of my longitudinal projects is updating and editing a training manual that prepares pharmacy technicians to take the PTCB exam.
My postgraduate training doesn’t provide me with many opportunities for direct patient care, however, the projects that I am working on are having a much broader impact on the community, and therefore impacts patient care indirectly. During the pandemic, I have collaborated with the state emergency preparedness coordinator and MPA’s communication department to quickly provide up-to-date information to pharmacists, such as updated CDC guidelines and monoclonal antibody therapy recommendations. I also use my creativity to produce visual aids that are being put to use by pharmacies across the state.
Heading into 2022, MPA dove full force into getting ready for our Annual Convention & Exposition (ACE) in February. One of my projects, in preparation for the ACE, was planning the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations–Nonprescription Medicines Academy Student Pharmacist Self-Care Championship, which is a Jeopardy-style game where the three colleges of pharmacies in Michigan compete for the title of OTC Champion. In preparation for this event, I brought together a committee of seasoned and new pharmacy professionals to vet jeopardy questions.
Rounding out my fellowship
I’m currently working on a grant program focused on implementing collaborative practice agreements in rural and undeserved areas in Michigan. Part of this grant funded an initiative to introduce independent immunizations into Michigan pharmacist scope of practice. Through this initiative, I had the opportunity to speak to a state senator to discuss the bill and lay out the benefits to patients in an infographic I designed.
I look forward to the rest of my executive fellowship with MPA. I currently don’t know where I’ll be going after my fellowship, but I am sure that the relationships and skills I’ve developed at MPA will help me with my next endeavor.
Augustine Bui, PharmD, MBA, is the executive fellow at the Michigan Pharmacists Association in Lansing, MI. He enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, spoiling his two tuxedo kitties, exploring new cities, and photography.