“Inspire, influence, and engage.” These were the watch words at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) annual meeting, held in Washington, DC, March 12-15, 2010, with 6,900 pharmacists attending. The association, which represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists from all practice settings, as well as pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians, convened in the nation’s capital just as the historic vote of health care reform was about to take place.
Remarks by outgoing President Ed L. Hamilton, PharmD, FAPhA echoed the sentiments of the conference’s theme, and he pointed out that pharmacists are leading the way in all aspects of health care. “During heated debates about reforming our nation’s health care system, policy makers looked to pharmacists for advice on the medication use crisis,” said Dr. Hamilton, “By meeting yesterday’s challenges, we have reinforced the trust our communities and country have placed in us; and we have not only ensured, but we have begun expanding our role in the nation’s health care system.”
Key to the future of pharmacy is the stated “2015 Vision of Pharmacy Practice,” where pharmacists are responsible for providing patient care that ensures medication therapy outcomes. Dr. Hamilton called it “our destiny” to unite pharmacists behind a set of principles that embraces the patient care role that they have been trained to provide. “We are working to ensure that we own the medication therapy management (MTM) space,” said Hamilton.
At this meeting, APhA released the third edition of the APhA MTM Digest, which shows an increase in pharmacists providing MTM services. New information from the recently released Pharmacist Workforce Survey also demonstrates an increase in the percentage of time pharmacists are spending in patient care services.
Looking to the future, incoming President Harold N. Godwin, BSPharm, a practicing pharmacist for more than 46 years, admits that there is much work to be done, but sees the profile of pharmacy on the rise. Mr. Godwin noted, “We are not just hearing good things about pharmacists from pharmacists anymore. Major organizations such as AARP, the National Consumer League, the Partnership to Fight for Chronic Disease and others are in our corner.”
He continued, “2010 will be a year of challenges and opportunities. We will inspire, engage, and influence.” Godwin promised the association’s active involvement in such areas as an ambulatory care pharmacy practice specialty, health information technology, Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), and practice standards for the profession—all new opportunities for pharmacists to set a vision for the future. APhA will also be there for pharmacists to sharpen their MTM skills as well as influence and engage the policy makers on Capitol Hill to further expand the pharmacists’ role in the health care system, he said. For a full text of President Godwin’s speech, or for more information about APhA, visit www.pharmacist.com.