US Pharm. 2020;45(5)(Specialty&Oncology suppl):2.

During the viral pandemic, which is occurring amid a time of unprecedented, almost instantaneously available news and social media distribution, pharmacists across the country share common challenges, heroic interventions, and pride for what they do. 

Over the years, seemingly small differences in the pharmacy profession—ranging from different identified practice settings such as hospital versus community to whether a licensed pharmacist possesses a BS versus a PharmD degree—nonetheless represented significant barriers to unification among the members of our profession. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, I have been overwhelmed with pride, not only to be a part of the profession on the front lines caring for the sick, but also recognizing that we have all rallied as a team. Together, we not only assist patients with the illness, but also have managed our own personal fear of contracting the infection and then passing that risk on to our families when we return home each day. 

Often, challenges represent unexpected opportunity. I would like to believe that this pandemic will translate into better understanding, respect, and comradery between all pharmacists, validating the importance and the value of each role we play in the pharmacy practice spectrum and in the health and wellness of the communities we serve. 

The reality that pharmacists promote and encourage improvement in modifiable risk factors on a daily basis highlights the importance of their continued role in decreasing COVID-19 complications. Our postpandemic “new normal” must include a reinvigorated effort to encourage smoking cessation, increased physical activity, and a healthy diet, in addition to managing other metabolic abnormalities through optimal medication man-agement. I am also encouraged by patients who, in the past, declined influenza vaccination but now are more willing to receive a vaccination. Further, we need to pause and reconsider how pharmacists can better understand and address the healthcare disparities that have posed additional risk to our most vulnerable patients. 

This is also a time to be reminded of the importance of mental health, both for our patients and for ourselves. It is likely that many, if not all, of us have experienced some degree of anxiety, sleeplessness, and even depression during these uncertain times. Especially now, it is important for each of us to diligently focus on our own self-care. During this period, it is also important that we encourage our patients to adhere to both mental- and physical-health medications and prepare to offer them information about mental-health resources when the need of assistance arises. 

As the most readily available healthcare professionals, pharmacists have often emerged as the only acces-sible healthcare options beyond the emergency room in some communities. As a member of the Editorial Board of Advisors for U.S. Pharmacist, I wish to thank all of you for your service and for continuing to be the most accessible healthcare professionals caring for individuals in our communities across the nation, and I want to encourage you to continue your good work post-COVID with new recognition of the importance of wellness in fighting any future clinical medical adversity.