American Pharmacists Month 2014: Celebrations from coast to coast

Celebration promotes pharmacists' valuable role in health care


Pharmacists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and APhA staff participated in events across the country to promote the valuable role pharmacists play in health care during American Pharmacists Month (APhM). Throughout October, participants enjoyed activities and events that featured the theme “Know Your Pharmacist—Know Your Medicine.”

National participation

As part of APhM, members of Pharmacy Choice & Access Now (PCAN), a coalition of consumers, local businesses, and pharmacists in Illinois, encouraged citizens to visit their local participating pharmacy and speak with a pharmacist about getting an influenza vaccination.

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina issued a proclamation declaring October 2014 American Pharmacists Month in the state and commended its observance to all citizens. “This is the first time in our history that we have been able to declare such a proclamation for our city and state. We are excited that the leaders of our community recognize the impact that pharmacists have on their patients and the community,” wrote Trang Leminh, PharmD candidate at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, in an e-mail to APhA.

The Louisiana Pharmacists Association reported that Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana proclaimed October as “Pharmacy Month” in Louisiana.

In a news release during APhM, CVS Health thanked its 26,000 pharmacists for their role in changing the way health care is delivered to increase access, lower costs, and improve quality. “Our pharmacists are playing a critical role in our evolution, delivering breakthrough products and services, and enabling patients and clients to manage health in more affordable, effective ways through medication adherence programs, specialty pharmacy services, and other innovative pharmacy programs we are developing,” Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Health, stated in the news release. The company also celebrated National Pharmacy Technician Day to thank its more than 50,000 pharmacy technicians for their support to CVS pharmacists and pharmacy teams.

Walgreens honored its more than 27,000 community pharmacists as part of APhM, recognizing the important role they have in health care and promoting the patient’s right to be happy and healthy. According to the Walgreens website, during fiscal year 2014 the company’s pharmacists helped to administer 9.6 million immunizations chainwide, including more than 7.7 million influenza vaccinations.

Student events

The APhA Association of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) chapter at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy hosted its fourth annual White Coats Across Montano event. Student pharmacists dressed in their white coats and lined up along one of the busiest landmarks in Albuquerque (the Montano Bridge) during the morning rush hour. “Our goal [was] to get student pharmacists excited about APhM and make our presence and mission visible to the community,” wrote chapter president Margery Davis in an e-mail to APhA.

Student pharmacists at the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University celebrated APhM by changing their social media pictures to reflect the “Know Your Pharmacist—Know Your Medicine” slogan. “Pharmacists are one of the only health care providers that are available without an appointment, so that if a patient has a medication-related question, the

y know they can simply walk in and ask us,” said Zach Burns, a second-year McWhorter student pharmacist, in an article in the Samford Crimson.

Adam J. Hood, PharmD candidate and President of the APhA–ASP chapter at University of Illinois College of Pharmacy at Rockford, told APhA that the chapter placed APhM ads to highlight the value of pharmacy and pharmacists in the Rockford area. The ads pointed out that Rockford Mayor Lawrence Morrissey proclaimed October as American Pharmacists Month and urged citizens to acknowledge the valuable services of pharmacists as health care providers who provide safe, affordable, and beneficial patient-centered care.

The APhA–ASP chapter at University of Florida (UF) College of Pharmacy is advertising on UF marquees to encourage college students to get to know their pharmacists. The APhA–ASP chapter will also volunteer at Walgreens’s senior day, where they will meet with older patients to show how pharmacists can have a positive influence on their health.

APhA activities

Pharmacists and student pharmacists provided influenza vaccinations and health screenings—including bone density, body composition, glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure—to more than 200 Members of Congress, staff, aides, and the general public during the second annual health fair on Capitol Hill on September 17, which was cohosted by APhA. (See page 58 of October’s Pharmacy Today.) On October 15, APhA was represented at a different health fair held for the Architect of the Capitol by Heather Free, PharmD, and a few student pharmacists from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. As part of a larger group representing many health care professions, APhA provided glucose screenings, medication consults, and influenza vaccinations for the 900-member staff.

The APhA Foundation sponsored Pharmacists Care, a public awareness campaign that supports its mission to improve people’s health through pharmacists’ patient care services. This year, almost 350 participants made a donation to the Pharmacists Care campaign, and a marker, personalized with each donor’s name and state, was displayed on the high-profile lawn of APhA Headquarters during the week of October 20. The signs represented individuals, schools and colleges of pharmacy, state pharmacy associations, pharmacies, and tributes to mentors and heroes of pharmacy.

Members of APhA staff celebrated the work pharmacists are doing in their communities by participating in a variety of fun events, including a 1-mile fun run/walk on the National Mall in matching APhM T-shirts. On October 20, the staff united under the APhM color of red for the APhA Wears Red Day as a way to publicize support for APhM.

The 2014 tweet-a-thon

More than 11,000 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists tweeted their contributions to patient care during this year’s tweet-a-thon, held on October 2. Following is a sampling of tweets:

Today I prevented a potential ER visit due to an error on a patient’s med list.

Just changed [a] patient’s pen needles to nano size. Less painful. Sometimes the little things mean a lot to patients.

Upon discharge we caught a med dosage error, corrected the dose, and avoided a hospital readmission!

Answered many questions today (patients and providers) regarding HCP reclassification.

Reconciled a med list with a practitioner.

Gave 25 flu shots and 15 PCV13 before 3 o’clock today!!

Converted flu shot nonbeliever to a disciple today—prevent the diseases we can.

Adjusted a critically ill patient’s medications based on changes in his kidney function... because every body is different.

Saved a cash-paying patient over $200 on one prescription by working with his physician to get him a cheaper alternative.

Prevented a patient from taking too much insulin because of a typo on a prescription.