Student Pharmacist

Written by student pharmacists for student pharmacists, Student Pharmacist magazine provides the latest on career preparation, leadership, legislative activities and advocacy efforts, patient care projects, APhA–ASP Chapter innovations, life on rotation, tips from new practitioners, and more.

A long, productive partnership
Jamila Negatu
/ Categories: Student Magazine

A long, productive partnership

By Frank Fortin, CAE

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You have probably been asked that question many times in your life. For many of you, pharmacy school was your intended career path for as long as you can remember. Indeed, many pharmacists tell me they were inspired by the example set by their parents and other family members. 

Or, perhaps you are like me, and changed your career course before finding your true calling. 

Roles change

When I was in school, I had but one goal, which was to be a reporter. Fortunately for me, that was indeed the first stage of my career. It was fulfilling and lots of fun, too. But then along came a group of associates from a marketing communications consulting firm who lured me from journalism with the opportunity to serve an exciting group of public sector and private sector clients. That job led to consulting work for health care associations, and eventually led to staff positions with several of them. Now, I am happy to be here at APhA.

I find this role exciting, not only for the opportunity to make a difference for these organizations, but for the opportunity to have an impact on the health care profession as a whole. I am inspired to work with people who have dedicated their careers to helping people. Many professions are altruistic, but it would be hard to find anyone more altruistic than those who work in pharmacy, medicine, and any other sector of health care. By its very nature, health care is centered on the patient—and that’s why you chose pharmacy. 

My role at APhA is new. Not long ago, the APhA Board of Trustees committed the organization to a bold transformational agenda in order to address the fundamental changes sweeping through pharmacy and the rest of health care. As you know, pharmacy school has been changing, too. This  requires APhA to continue to evolve to serve you better. 

Focus on member engagement

APhA’s investments in that transformational agenda included the creation of several new staff positions, including mine. Part of my charge is to focus on member engagement, which I view as bi-directional. While our hope is that pharmacists see the value of APhA membership and actively partake in everything that we have to offer, this requires that APhA actively engages with its members: to listen, to share, and understand what drives you throughout your career, as well as your goals, your challenges, and your aspirations. We want to be a vital part of your professional life, from the start of your career to the finish. That can only happen if we focus obsessively on what’s vital to you.

I have already seen your passion for this work first-hand, at the Midyear Regional Meetings, the Summer Leadership Institute, and other venues. I also look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting & Exposition in Seattle this March. The APhA Student and New Practitioner Development staff working with you is first rate—Keith Marciniak, Crystal Atwell, Tom English, and Lynette Plowden—but you probably already knew that. You are in great hands with them.

In the meantime, if there’s anything you would like to share with me, please contact me at I look forward to a long, productive  partnership together. 

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