By Michael A. Mone, BSPharm, JD, FAPhA
You know you are chronologically old when a colleague invites you to provide a retrospective of APhA–ASP events as you’ve seen them throughout your years with APhA–ASP. The perspective is part insider and part outsider, just as Tinkerbell said to Peter Pan: “You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming?”
APhA–ASP has undergone many changes in 50 years, but I only can speak to 41 of them.
Student pharmacists as partners
Perhaps the most interesting change from my perspective has been the recognition of student pharmacists as essential partners in professional dialogue and decisions. The current issues that student pharmacists discuss in their House of Delegates are no less significant than those addressed in the APhA House of Delegates, and often student pharmacists are leading the discussion.
One such policy comes to mind: the 1981 SAPhA policy on Internship Credit for “Nontraditional Roles.” That policy statement is an example of student pharmacists leading the professions’ thinking on a topic. Historically, internship credit generally was given only for hospital or community pharmacy practice experiences. How times have changed, as today there are so many non-traditional pharmacist roles, many of which qualify for licensure practice experiences. I like to think that the adoption of that SAPhA policy statement was the genesis of change.
Better prepared for careers
In addition to the gravamen of the APhA–ASP policy discussions, the professionalism of the APhA–ASP National Executive Committee (NEC), in particular the Speaker of the House, has dramatically changed. Perhaps it is a consequence of pharmacy education where student pharmacists often come into pharmacy school with prior degrees and as second careers. Perhaps it is the emphasis on leadership and co-curricular activities that has brought additional seriousness to the APhA–ASP House. What is clear is that student pharmacists are better prepared for their careers, personally, academically, and professionally, than ever before. This preparation is evidenced by the complexity of the current policy statements that student pharmacists address, such as 2019 policy statements on Medical Cannabis and the participation of the Academy in the policy discussions during the APhA House of Delegates.
Finally, I have seen the operations of the APhA–ASP House run with efficiency and alacrity. The Speaker is prepared for the House and is committed to the policy and process, not just accepting the role and its responsibilities as a mechanism to be on the APhA–ASP NEC. The Chapter Delegates are prepared to discuss the policy statements and have brought their reasoned arguments either for or against the policy statement.
The entire APhA–ASP House is engaged, and that is perhaps the most dramatic change during the last 41 years I have been a part of the process.
1974.5—Health Care Role of Pharmacist
APhA–ASP embraces an active role in further educating the public about the professional health care role of the pharmacist and in informing the patient how to effectively analyze and understand the information on prescription and nonprescription drugs.
1981.5—Internship Credit for “Nontraditional Roles”
1. APhA–ASP encourages State Boards of Pharmacy and NABP to promote the involvement of students in “nontraditional” pharmacy roles by providing internship hours for these experiences.
2. APhA–ASP encourages NABP to establish guidelines, with student input, for State Boards of Pharmacy to follow in accepting internship credit hours for experience gained in “nontraditional” pharmacy roles.
1993.5—Pharmacists and Healthcare Reform
1. APhA–ASP encourages APhA to take action to ensure that pharmacy plays an integral part in shaping healthcare reform.
2. APhA–ASP encourages APhA to define the role of pharmacists in a reformed national healthcare system.
2000.5—Collaborative, Non-Protocol, Post-Diagnostic Prescriptive Authority
APhA–ASP encourages pharmacist participation in the establishment and execution of non-protocol, post-diagnostic prescriptive authority in collaboration with other health care providers.
2015.4—Increased Access to Opioid Reversal Agents
1. APhA–ASP supports state and federal legislation to increase access to opioid reversal agents.
2. APhA–ASP encourages pharmacists and student pharmacists to provide public education about opioid reversal agents, including proper administration in situations of opioid-related drug overdose.