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A Student’s Perspective on ASHP Policy Week

Friday, October 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Caroline Santayana
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A Student’s Perspective on ASHP Policy Week
Brittany Tschaen
Pharm.D. Candidate 2018
Jefferson College of Pharmacy

The summer after my P2 year, I attended the ASHP summer meeting 2016. One of the highlights of attending the meeting was my first exposure to the House of Delegates. This meeting was an opportunity to learn the protocols by which the house runs, which was interesting in itself, but what really inspired me was the impact pharmacists can have on the profession and healthcare in general. This revelation encouraged me to look into ways I could both contribute to policy and move the pharmacy profession forward as a student pharmacist. For this reason I applied to be a student representative on an ASHP council or commission and I was thrilled when I found out I was appointed as the student representative on the Commission of Affiliate Relations (COAR).

As a member of the COAR, I attended policy week at the end of September. Most of the events during the week took place in Bethesda, Maryland which is home of ASHP headquarters. While the councils focus on developing new ASHP policies and amending existing policies, the Commission on Affiliate Relations is unique. The emphasis of COAR is to ensure that the state affiliates’ missions align with that of ASHP and that the state affiliates are self-sustainable organizations. In order to do this, the commission reviews and advises the ASHP board of directors on the updates to standards for affiliation, the individual states applications for re-affiliation, and provides feedback for improvement to the individual affiliates. The COAR is important because many of the policies that are developed by the councils and the board are implemented at the state level.

Mid-week we took a break from meeting with our respective councils and commissions and headed to Capitol Hill for legislative day. This was my first legislative day, but I assure you, it certainly won’t be my last! The day was filled with meetings with our respective Senators and House of Representatives and their aides to advocate for patient care and for the profession. Some of the topics that were the focus of the meetings included provider status, increased drug prices, 340B, and the opioid epidemic. I found each meeting to be unique and we were able to provide educational and real life examples on the topics. We also provided perspective and sparked productive conversations, independent of the parties’ stances on the different issues.

After a week filled with meetings and working with prominent leaders in the profession to advocate and further the pharmacy profession, I returned to my APPE rotations reenergized and inspired. This experience has motivated me to continue to learn and grow as a student pharmacist and continue to search for opportunities to advocate for the patients and the pharmacy profession as a whole.

I highly encourage any student interested in getting involved with pharmacy policy to apply for appointment onto a commission or a committee. There is no better time than now as a student to invest in your profession. As students, we can add interesting, fresh perspectives and ideas to the table and, if you do put yourself out there, you may even surprise yourself with what you can contribute along the way!

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