Federal pharmacy gathers virtually for JFPS 2020

Roughly 750 participants tuned in for 2 days of virtual education, video chats, networking events, and more at the Joint Federal Pharmacy Seminar (JFPS) 2020 Virtual, held on November 13 and 14.

In his message during the opening general session keynote, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Scott J. Knoer, MS, PharmD, FASHP, said, “COVID-19 may be keeping us physically separated, but at JFPS 2020 Virtual, you’ll still be able to connect with your peers and have access to great education and sponsors.”

Held on November 13, the opening session began with the presentation of colors. Attendees stood and watched a recorded session of the joint services color guard from the 70th Anniversary Victory Day Commemoration at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on August 10, 2015. The Canadian and U.S. national anthems were both played, followed by a moment of personal reflection.

Jamie Farr from the television series M*A*S*H; Lisa Leslie, Women's National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player awardee and Olympic gold medalist; and country music legend Randy Travis made virtual cameos to thank federal pharmacists for their hard work and dedication, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

The opening keynote addressed pharmacists’ role not only in the COVID-19 response but also in other public health emergencies. APhA President Michael Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, recounted his experience during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when he was personally involved in pharmacy’s response in Jefferson Country, AL.

“Hopefully, this will prompt a little bit of thinking around how we do a better job of planning for natural disasters,” said Hogue.

Andrew Stergachis, PhD, BPharm, from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, discussed public health emergency preparedness for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, including pharmacists’ countless patient care–related roles, and appropriate deployment of emergency supplies of pharmaceuticals. He also talked about how telehealth can provide support, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDR Ashley Schaber, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, from the Alaska Native Medical Center/U.S. Public Health Service, and LCDR Theresa Castellanos, PharmD, CLC, from Southcentral Foundation/U.S. Public Health Service in Anchorage, spoke about the changes in practice that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and the large role of telehealth services prior to and as a result of COVID-19.

Started in 1994, JFPS is the largest annual event for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Public Health Service pharmacy communities. The seminar’s education and meeting activities are coordinated by APhA, working with federal pharmacy advisors.

All content for this year’s seminar is available to registered attendees through May 14, 2021.