Professional and Social Engagement in the New Year

Local pharmacy associations can be a great way to become more engaged with your fellow pharmacists, both professionally and socially.

It's that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year gone by, and time to set some resolutions for the year that has just begun. Like most years, 2012 had its ups and downs, both personally and society-wide. I'm so heartened by the countless acts of generosity I've learned about in the wake of natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy and unspeakable national tragedies like the shooting in Newtown, CT. Time and again, people amaze me with their desire to be of service.

That's why I'm setting some New Year's resolutions that celebrate help, hope, and humor within the pharmacy profession. We could all use a little more of these qualities for 2013.

In late 2012, I had the pleasure of talking to the Brown County Pharmacists Association in Green Bay, WI, a friendly group of people that helped remind me what the profession of pharmacy is all about—and how much it has changed. When the association was formed in late 1950s, it was mostly male and largely consisted of independent pharmacy owners. Meetings were held in the cold, after-dark hours so all could attend after pharmacy closings. As the pharmacy profession grew over the years, more women and pharmacists from clinics, hospitals, and chain pharmacies started to attend meetings.

Today, the Brown County Pharmacists Association isn't just a voice in the pharmacy profession. Members are actively trying to tackle local and national issues they face on a daily basis. These issues range from implementing medication therapy management techniques into their work to working with authorities to help identify and report drug abuse.

The association also serves as a social outlet for its members, who form personal friendships in addition to professional relationships. Members go on golf or hockey game outings, share volunteering opportunities, and attend educational dinners together. It's these interactions that strengthen the association and the pharmacy profession overall.

I encourage you in this New Year to get out, find groups like this your area, and speak about the ideas and issues you care about. Even if you only make a small difference, you are still making a difference!

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