The Opening Session of the recent 53rd ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, California, provided a forum for attendees to recognize the role of pharmacy in helping the nation recover from hurricanes and other natural disasters, acknowledge the drug-shortage issue, celebrate successes, and motivate attendees to attain excellence in their day-to-day lives.
At the start of the session, ASHP President Kelly M. Smith administered a moment of silence to honor the lives of pharmacy resident Dayna Less, physician Tamara O’Neal, and police officer Samuel Jimenez, who died November 19 in a shooting at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago.
“For all of us, this event hits especially close to home as it happened in a hospital, and even more so, as it affected the life of a young member of our profession with an extremely bright future who was needlessly taken,” Smith said. She noted that Less, a PGY1 resident, was scheduled to present a poster at the 2018 Midyear Clinical Meeting. That poster was displayed in the poster hall during the meeting.
Recounting accomplishments achieved by ASHP during 2018, Smith pointed to an expanding membership, which currently tallies nearly 50,000. “That’s a lot,” she said, “and we’re still growing.” She also reported that residency positions have swelled to more than 4,800, and she acknowledged ASHP’s robust support of educational activities, including certificate programs for specialized pharmacy to help members advance their practice.
On the policy front, Smith said ASHP has been at the forefront of combatting the systematic impact of drug shortages. She pointed to ASHP market research to assess the impact of drug shortages, provided guidelines for managing limited inventories, and created a video commemorating pharmacy’s role in limiting drug shortages.
“In addition to being the go-to resource for real-time shortage information, ASHP is at the forefront of combatting the systemic and systematic impact of drug shortages,” Smith said. “We held a drug shortages summit on national security and are working closely with the assistant secretary for preparedness and response to create plans for disaster response in the wake of drug shortages.” Smith said ASHP staffers took part in a recent “listening session” on shortages with FDA officials and gave a presentation during the agency’s November public meeting on drug shortages.
The ASHP, Smith said, is also focused on improving the mental health of pharmacists. “ASHP was an early sponsor of the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. During the last year, our involvement in this collaborative has resulted in a number of changes. In June, our House of Delegates adopted a new policy about well-being and resilience.
The organization is also maintaining its efforts to find proactive solutions to the opioid epidemic, Smith said. In March, she added, the ASHP Commission on Goals considered the roles that pharmacists could play to optimize prescribing and monitoring of opioids. “We offer support to members by providing leadership and resources to help find answers to the national epidemic of opioid abuse and misuse,” Smith said.
Acknowledging several challenges facing the profession, Smith remains optimistic. “I see great hope for all of us, knowing that yes indeed, we are united to create a future where medication use is safe, optimal, and effective for all people, all of the time,” she said.
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