Student Advocacy at NACDS RxIMPACT Day
Author: Anacelia Olivera, Chai Wang
Pharmacy students recount their personal stories about how the national association of chain drug stores rximPact day on Capitol Hill inspired them to get involved and contribute to the profession of pharmacy.
Energy and Inspiration
College of Notre Dame of Maryland School of Pharmacy; Baltimore, Maryland
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill was extremely educational and motivating. Not only did I have the opportunity to meet student pharmacists and pharmacy leaders from all over the country, but the event made me realize the true importance of advocacy in the pharmacy profession and the impact it can have.
Our day on Capitol Hill was full of energy and inspiration. I had the honor to meet with Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and speak about some crucial issues such as medication therapy management, average manufacturer price, access to vaccines in Medicare Part D, and protecting access to Durable Medical Equipment. In the short time we had to get our points across, we were very effective and focused on our discussion. The Congressman and Senator were very concerned about the information we provided and displayed respect toward the pharmacy profession. It was especially satisfying to me to know that I took a stand for a better future in health care.
Before this experience, I did not have any interest in politics, much less advocacy. But this experience enlightened me about the importance of pharmacy advocacy and the need for pharmacists to speak out on what they believe in to pave the way for improved health care. I would encourage every pharmacy student to not only learn more about the importance of advocating for the profession, but to inspire others to take action. If we do not fight to continually advance our pharmacy profession, we can’t expect that anyone else will.
I feel very fortunate to have been afforded this opportunity at the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill as a first year pharmacy student, and look forward to many more advocacy opportunities in the future.
Being in the Right Place at the Right Time
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Baltimore, Maryland
Advocacy opportunities are often a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill is a perfect example. While the event had been planned for months in advance, it was fortuitous that the US House of Representatives was preparing final negotiations to pass the health care reform legislation that very weekend.
As pharmacy advocates, our role in part is to identify these opportunities and capitalize on them. I have had the opportunity over the past 3 years to participate actively in state and national advocacy efforts through student organizations—and it never fails to inspire me to contribute more to the profession.
Despite having heard several legislative briefings before, I felt that the preparation afforded by the NACDS Legislative Advocacy Academy and the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill contributed heavily to my success. With so many issues affecting pharmacy, I did not have the universal knowledge to speak confidently about all of the issues we were presenting. By the time I boarded the bus to Capitol Hill, however, I felt I had working knowledge of the issues to be able to relate effectively with our legislators. In my sessions, I felt that the federal representatives’ aides were extremely interested in my student perspective on many of the issues; they were surprised to hear that we were wellinformed and that we were actively interested in the future of health care and our profession’s ability to provide high quality patient care.
There is always a first time for everything. Advocacy for our profession has been ever present; however, the faces of advocacy inevitably change over time. Students are critical in pushing for the future of pharmacy and oftentimes it just requires that first-time experience. With proper planning, advocacy experiences can be positive and provide open doors to future opportunities for the individual and the profession.
Pharmacy advocacy comes in many shapes and forms, and if we, as the majority of our profession, can contribute in our respective ways, our legislators and the public at large will realize just how much we care about our ability to provide for our patients.