Do you know Roamey the membership gnome?

In Kentucky, Roamey the gnome is ambassador for the profession

Roamey is often called a great ambassador for the pharmacy profession. The garden gnome, adopted by the Kentucky Pharmacists Association (KPhA), appeared on the scene more than a year ago when KPhA recognized the need for a mascot to carry forth its message that “membership matters.”

“You need a visual hook to start your story that’s also fun, because anyone having fun is more engaged,” Kimberly Croley, PharmD, CGP, FASCP, FAPhA, KPhA Past President and Clinical Pharmacist at Laurel Senior Living Communities in Kentucky, told Pharmacy Today.  Booneville Discount Drug in Kentucky welcomed Roamey earlier this year. Matt Carrico, PharmD, co-owner of the pharmacy and KPhA Director, said that what makes Roamey such a great mascot is that he’s unassuming and welcoming.

“Both members and nonmembers are drawn to him, smile when they see him, and want a picture with him,” he said. “So in many ways he is the perfect mascot for Kentucky pharmacists because like pharmacists, he is approachable and welcoming.”

So far, Roamey has visited more than 150 pharmacies in Kentucky, attended courses at Kentucky’s two colleges of pharmacy, and traveled to the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition. “He’s doing outreach and engaging with members and nonmembers, former members who haven’t renewed, and new graduates,” said Robert McFalls, MDiv, Executive Director of KPhA.

According to Brooke Herndon, a 2015 PharmD candidate from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, Roamey has become an integral part of the school’s APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) chapter. This year, he attended several events, including the APhA–ASP Awards Ceremony at APhA2014, as well as classes with student members.

A garden gnome named Roamey that symbolizes pharmacist engagement with and membership in the Kentucky Pharmacists Association has visited more than 150 pharmacies in the state, Kentucky’s two pharmacy schools, and the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition.

“Students took him on as a member of the organization, and it inspired students to get others involved. Roamey really drove home the point that membership matters, and he really enjoyed traveling the state of Kentucky getting to know pharmacists,” she said.

Roamey was introduced by President Duane W. Parsons, BSPharm, in 2013 and even multiplied when the president awarded students and board members involved with last year’s KPhA Board of Directors with their own personalized Roamey. Any member can now order his or her personalized Roamey from KPhA.

“Roamey symbolizes and acknowledges the involvement and engagement that has been put into KPhA when awarded to deserving people,” said Heather Bryan, 2015 PharmD candidate at Sullivan University College of Pharmacy and KPhA Board of Directors Student Representative.

McFalls said Roamey is here to stay. Next year he plans to travel to more pharmacies in the state so that he can help with engagement in every county.