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Week 4: Strategy for the Soon-To-Be Graduate by Dayl Eccles
April 25, 2013
 
I always liked making food. There was something magical that happened when you took base ingredients, with different properties and scents and flavors, and combined them together to create something satisfying to your palate. It’s an experiment where if my food turns out burnt, I gladly accept it anyway. I understand cooking; I don’t need books or papers telling me how I should accomplish my end goal of “meal”. Baking, however, has always turned out miserably. You have to follow the recipe exactly, and even then you can’t predict how altitude or making your flour packed will affect the end product. All of the recipes have to be tested and perfected by someone else before the recipe is distributed for replication by others. Most of all, baking doesn’t provide room for me play with the pieces to see how the individual components work.
 
This way of approaching the world translates to my experiences here at AACP, an organization with a carefully defined Mission and Vision. I am simultaneously drawn to finding out exactly how the individual workers contribute to the big picture, and yet want to accomplish this goal without ever having to physically look at the structured plan. I have been able to accomplish many things in my life without a structured set of goals or plans, after all. When I was charged with the big picture task of suggesting ways for global pharmacy to be integrated into the Strategic Plan, I gladly began combing through the Operational Plan’s details.
 
Without background on how the Strategic Plan was developed, however, it was difficult to understand the rationale of how current tasks in the Operational Plan were prioritized and chosen. I was curious how it worked so arranged a meeting with Jen Adams, the Senior Director of Strategic Academic Partnerships, who was familiar with AACP Governance; I did not have any intention of gaining a desire to incorporate the skill of Strategic Planning into other organizations I am involved with, though.
 
As Jen described the history of AACP’s Strategic Plan, I was able to begin connecting the dots from the smaller tasks to the actual Mission and Vision. Knowing how Strategic Planning has a whole field of consultants and a dedicated staff member in many organizations, I began to realize that this method of planning was a way to keep associations from drifting away from their purpose. Planning in a strategic way reminds you of the big picture while you accomplish the small tasks, and is something I see can being utilized even on a personal level. When it comes to my involvement with pharmacy organizations or to making myself cookies, this week will remind me to take a moment to remind myself that the recipe is written that way for a reason. Taking a moment to define the small parts will accomplish the goal at the end.
 
Dayl Eccles, PharmD Student
University of Washington
Week 3: Feast for the Dreamer by Dayl Eccles
April 22, 2013
 
The APPE student work cubicle sits in a thoroughfare between the kitchen and back staff offices in the AACP Headquarters. Three other cubicles sit in this hallway space, but the last occupants have all finally relocated to the many windowed outer offices within the Headquarters over the last two weeks. Aside from the lunch and evening shuffles and an occasional laugh or cough, this hallway is quiet. This is in stark contrast to the stimulation from the last two weeks with a dozen meetings with staff members, traveling to conferences, and project planning with my preceptor. But the calm has the advantage of providing a space for synthesis and reflection. My table was filled with a feast of information, and now I have time to start turning this information into something even more valuable.
 
Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to write this week. I didn’t feel like there were big revelations or major enhancements to my skill set. I was simply making connections with my past experiences and considering how they fit into the Mission and Vision of AACP. But as the days went on and I began to formulate my ideas into action plans with quick conversations with pertinent staff members, I did come to a realization. We get so caught up in the go, go, go of pharmacy school and exams and extracurricular obligations, we forget how important it really is to stop and synthesize the information we cram into our heads. Typically I fill my schedule so much that I have only provided myself with the ability to do instead of the ability to think. I have been slow to learn the lesson of stopping, but this week reinforced the value of providing myself with the setting of quiet time to make ideas turn into reality.
 
So if anyone asks what I did this week, I will tell them I practiced the valuable art of listening, dreaming, and drafting the ideas that come from the former two. And I will go home today and practice the art of actually scheduling regular time in my ever-busy schedule to continue to give myself the room to dream.
 
Dayl Eccles, PharmD Student
University of Washington
Week 2: Technology for the Old Fashioned Student by Dayl Eccles
April 11, 2013
As I knocked lightly on the open office door to my primary preceptor’s office last week, I knew I would be greeted with a welcoming smile and an immediate, “How is everything going?” Karna Mapes, Director of Education, had papers with scrawled writing spread across her desk in neat piles. She had been searching for speakers to attend one of AACP’s Institutes, directed at helping new educators teach more effectively. During our conversation about how she finds speakers for meetings, she mentioned that she also searches outside of the pharmacy field. I remembered thinking how great of an idea it was for her to look toward kindergarten through 12th grade education; Karna had a very good point about how education has evolved even from when I was in K-12 just a few years ago, and incoming pharmacy students will have equally evolved expectations of their instructors.
I did not consider this further directly after our small chat, but her comment became more meaningful to me this week. Karna, Ruth, and I attended the Medbiquitous Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The Conference focused on the advance of health professions through technology. I saw that advancement can be accomplished in a variety of ways; for example, by improving the flow of data between health professions, assessment and outcomes management tools, or use of technology in the classroom with simulations and gaming.
Being from the Seattle area, surrounded by technology gurus and small startup companies, I know that technology has the potential to advance the health professions. I also look back on my own childhood and know that I am the last generation that will remember elementary school without the use of computers, cell phones, or even CD players. However, even with being an avid adopter of these advances, I had never truly noticed how fast technology had been growing the last two decades. I felt so old fashioned with my memories of chalkboards and overhead projector lectures!
The conference made me realize that educators not only need to keep continually abreast of new developments in technology, but also remind themselves that the students coming into your classroom every passing decade are going to have different expectations of learning because of that new technology and today’s continually fast-paced and stimulating environment. Terms like “flipping the classroom” and having the students lead the learning through engagement are going to become more commonplace and even expected. Karna’s point about looking down toward your future pupils is just as important to me now as the more well-accepted value of looking up to your mentors.

 


Dayl Eccles, PharmD Student 2013
University of Washington
Week 1: The Meaning of Collaboration for the Sweet Tooth by Dayl Eccles

April 5, 2013

The staff at American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) may not have realized this, but I am a sucker for sweets. Any food is the way to my heart, actually. So, naturally, I immediately noticed the open bag of chocolates offered to the staff working with Academic Affairs when I entered the Associate Executive Vice President’s, Ruth E. Nemire’s, office for an orientation meeting for two new staff members and myself. The bag served as just one small example in the big picture of how welcoming the roughly thirty people working for the Association have been. Ruth E.’s corner office was bordered by windows with the sun peeking in, and the eight other attendees were bringing in large, comfortable chairs from other offices and placing them in a circle. Each person then described their role and the work they do. It wasn’t until Cecilia Plaza, Senior Director of Academic Affairs, pointed out the diverse background of the talented staff that I realized I was not actually in a room full of pharmacists. I felt silly not realizing this myself, but how can you blame a PharmD student on her eighth of nine rotations? I had been surrounded by almost exclusively pharmacists for the past year, and now I was surrounded by a group with a greater diversity of occupational backgrounds.

AACP’s office houses meeting planners, pharmacology researchers funded by the National Institute of Health, Master of Public Health and Public Policy graduates, pharmacists and educators, economics and art history majors. All of these backgrounds play an integral role in the functioning of AACP and the progress toward the unified vision of academic pharmacy creating a healthier society, and they defy the standard workplace hierarchy by branching out and contributing to the work of more than just their own or their group’s portfolio.

The success created by seeking mentors and colleagues outside of my own pharmacy professional specialty is something I will strive to seek out more of in my future. As for my first week experience, it’s difficult to believe I have spent such a short time here off the quaint streets of Old Town Alexandria. Each person working for the Association has been genuine and proactive in creating a comfortable and driven environment. I have already gained a picture of how AACP is organized, and the great amount of purposeful work that is done. –And I was handed three chocolate candies by the Academic Affairs team, when I only asked for one.

APPE Student Desk

Dayl Eccles, PharmD Student 2013
University of Washington

Week 4 and 5: March 11-22 by Bernard Murray

I can’t believe how time has flown by. I am on my last day of my rotation at AACP. My experiences here have taught me multitudes about professionalism and being detail oriented. These lessons learned will continue to be practiced in my everyday career in order to ingrain these concepts into my daily routine.

My week four consisted of completing my evaluation of the Academic Fellows Leadership Program. In particular, I wanted to incorporate what the fellows thought about the program, thus, I reached out to previous fellows to provide feedback. I was under the impression that this was ok, however, I was overzealous and reached out to participants without Brad Miller’s approval of the email I would use to send out. While I generally received positive feedback from participants, some of the participants didn’t receive the email well because they were unfamiliar with me in relationship to the program. Some of the fellows even questioned the email for its authenticity because of their unfamiliarity with me.

Once responses like this had been received, I received advice on the proper protocol for sending emails and actually working on a team with other people. As far as emails are concerned, when working within an association or any organization, not only the format, but also the content and phrasing are crucial, since every email sent out represents the organization. I have been here only for three weeks, thus I do not have the length of experience to represent the organization. In addition, I should have informed Brad not only of my intentions to send out an email, but actually showed Brad the email so he could proof it and give me advice on the email. This was my biggest lesson that I learned from this rotation, my role on a team.
I have been on various rotations where I had to work on a team, and these assignments have usually been presentations where we collaborated with each other on our content, format, and then presented. However, this is not the correct approach, especially when working in a team. The correct approach is to inform team members of your progress on your specific part and seek out feedback from your other team members. This approach will be one that I implement from now on, as it allows for constructive feedback, as well as to keep team members informed on the progress of your work.

My week five is very bittersweet. I am so glad to have met everyone at AACP and I am so sad to leave. My fifth week consisted of me putting the final touches on my project presentation and completing my evaluation with Jen. I used ‘Prezi’ as a tool to present my findings to Brad and Danielle. The feedback I received was great, and Prezi was kind of stressful to use, simply because it is very different from using PowerPoint. However, it is a very innovative tool. Prezi is very fluid and with Prezi, you’re able to visualize the idea that is being presented, unlike PowerPoint, which is very static. I am glad I got introduced to it and look forward to having a chance to implement something like this for educational purposes. As I close out my final moments rotating at AACP, I can feel the professional growth I have experienced. For example, my interactions with team members to even simple tasks such as sending emails have experienced growth. I hope to continue this growth in my PGY1 residency at James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital in Tampa, FL.

Bernard Murray

Week 2: February 25th - March 1st by Bernard Murray
During my second week at AACP, I continued my mission of meeting the various staff members of AACP, and delving into the career choices that they made to get them to AACP today. I had some wonderful discussions with the senior staff members of AACP, including the CEO, Lucinda Maine, Pharm.D. I was truly amazed at Dr. Maine and her personable nature. As you all can imagine, CEO’s are very busy, so when I initially scheduled the meeting, I was under the impression that the meeting would be quick and to the point because she had more pressing matters to attend to. However, when I walked into the room, she stopped everything, took a seat right next to me and we conversed like we were old friends. It made the conversation so much lighter and I enjoyed it very much.
One comment that really stuck out to me was her response to my question “what skills do you most value as a leader?”  Her response: “emotional intelligence.”  Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.” The ability to control her emotions while being able to assess and identify the emotions of others is something I haven’t heard referenced in relation to leadership. I left out of the conversation with Dr. Maine having a new outlook on the type of leader I want to become. She instilled in me knowledge that you can be “smart as a whip” but not be a very effective leader. It takes understanding the people and groups around you to truly be effective. This very important lesson is something that I will incorporate in my career as a Pharmacist.  I appreciate her for the advice she gave me about becoming a leader.
In addition, I had a lovely conversation with Dr. Mapes, Director of Education, about the responsibilities of becoming a faculty and the emphasis that should be placed on innovative teaching. Throughout my educational career, I have seen faculty that are passionate in academia. I shared my experiences with Dr. Mapes and she shared with me some of her experiences about her transition from experiential coordinator to professor.  From the conversation, I gathered that she is in support of the “flipped classroom model” in which there is more active learning in the classroom. As I was leaving her office, I realized that I should not forget my experiences as a student and the frustrations of professors that failed to meet my expectations. Instead, I should use these experiences to shape how I want to teach and become a professor that stimulates critical thinking skills, especially in infectious disease.
I was fortunate enough to sit in on a technology discussion with a representative for the Mondo-Pad. The Mondo-Pad is a huge tablet (about 60 inches) with actual computer capabilities. As a proponent of technology in the classroom, I was thrilled to see this and witness how schools can integrate this technology into the classroom. I was sold on the technology being used for AACP as soon as the technology demo was complete. However, it was fascinating watching the members at AACP debate on whether this technology could really benefit them. There was discussion from Jen Adams, Senior Director of Strategic Academic Partnerships, about how this technology would not be beneficial to her in regards to PCAT discussion. After that, the Association unanimously voted against brining the Mondo-Pad to AACP. By watching the members’ debate about the Mondo-Pad, I learned that I have to be more deliberate in my actions. Haste could possibly lead to useless spending and misappropriation of funds.
Lastly, I have finally decided on a project to complete. I have decided to develop a teaching & leadership seminar for “Pharmacy Education 2013: AACP Annual Meeting.” I will be working closely with Brad Miller, Associate Director of Academic Programs, to develop programming geared towards residents who desire to go into the field of academia. I have a base outline currently, but with everyone’s help, I am sure that it will come together to be a success.
Week 1: February 18-22 by Bernard Murray
 
 
Hello everyone, my name is Bernard Murray and I am a fourth year pharmacy student hailing from Howard University College of Pharmacy. I am completing my seventh APPE rotation at AACP. This will be my weekly blog of everything that goes on at this place that I will call a home away from home for the next five weeks. If there are any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.
 
Analogous to my close friend and colleague, Brandon Dyson, this week was cut short, due to the President’s Day holiday. Therefore, my first day was Tuesday and while I read the student manual, which provides instructions on how to find the front door of AACP, I initially got lost and wandered around in the cold for about 10 minutes. However, once I found the building, I was unexpectedly greeted with bagels, donuts, yogurt and coffee. This customary act from AACP really let me know how much the staff wants APPE students to feel welcomed and it worked wonders.
 
My first week consisted of working with the potential AACP Wal-Mart Scholar candidates’ application materials. I was a previous AACP Wal-Mart Scholar candidate, so working on the administrative side was a change of pace. I didn’t realize how much work goes into, not only the selection process, but just organizing the files for the review committee. In addition, my week was filled with meeting different individuals within the Association, including: Gerry Romano, B.A., CAE, Danielle Taylor, M.P.P., Yuen-Sum (Vincent) Lau, Ph.D., Lynette Bradley-Baker, R.Ph., Ph.D. and Brad Miller.
 
The most eye-opening of my meetings was with Dr. Lau. He emailed me his biography before our meeting and I read the over 70 articles he has published and his work on Parkinson’s disease and I was in awe of his work. However, when I walked in, he sat down across from me and explained that the reason he sent me his biography was so the session could be more focused on my goals and needs, which signaled that he genuinely cared about what I took away from the meeting. He explained to me the different tracks of becoming a professor, the importance of research, and even grant writing. These are things that I had not thought about in my pursuit of academia. From this meeting, I realized that although I still want to become a professor, I still had so much to learn about the profession. I, therefore, have so much to learn and will become more inquisitive and research more about what it takes.
 
In the three short days that I had at AACP, I have learned so much about the organization and how many people the organization helps. For example, I was drinking out of a coffee mug, courtesy of AACP, and I spot Dr. Joseph Ofosu’s name on the mug for the Academic Leadership Fellows Program. Dr. Joseph Ofosu was a previous Dean for the Howard University College of Pharmacy and one of the founding members for the chapter of Kappa Psi at Howard University, a fraternity I am a part of. This meant a lot to me not only because we are members of the same fraternity, but because he is a very respected individual who took the time to advance his career in academia. He decided not to be just mediocre, but to be outstanding. This is the kind of professor that I strive to become, and seeing his name on the mug signified to me that I can be more than a mediocre professor. If all of this happened in three short days, I can’t wait until week 2. This is an awesome rotation.
 
 
Week 4 & 5 by Robin Parker

Reflective Essay: Week 4 & 5

February 4 – 15, 2013

I am going to go out on a limb, and say that my experience here has been beyond unique, not just for the type of rotation and experiences offered, but also for the timing of my rotation – being present for the week prior to and during the AACP Interim Meeting scheduled in Puerto Rico. During the hustle, I was able to see the nuts and bolts of putting together an association meeting and everyone preparing their presentations, followed by the opportunity to see the event come to full fruition. Seeing the basic operations of this was a real treat for me, but it was nothing compared to the lessons learned during my rotation. Meaningful interaction. I have found that to be the recurring theme for my time spent here at AACP. From my daily interactions with everyone around the office, to writing about interprofessional education and the importance of such interactions, I now understand and can fully appreciate the phrase. I have a new appreciation for the exposure to “meaningful interactions” that I have gained while at AACP, and have been able to look back at my time spent in pharmacy school and appreciate my past experiences similar to those here. While in Puerto Rico, I knew there would be several leaders in the academic pharmacy world, but I was not prepared for just how much meaningful interaction I would be able to have with these individuals at the interim meeting. My role in the meeting was to serve as the student representative for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) Advisory Committee, as they worked to make changes to the PCAT blueprint. When I entered the small conference room, I was greeted by a room of about 15 people, all of different backgrounds but sharing a similar interest – making improvements to the PCAT so that pharmacy school candidates are tested for skills in the affective domain, that are of greater interest to pharmacy schools, such as empathy and critical thinking. The conference room had one solid wall of doors leading out to the ocean. At one point, the room was chilly and the doors were opened, making concentration more than difficult with the sound of crashing waves interrupting the conversations about aptitude for skills in the affective domain and the ability to test for them. It was in this room that I felt like a true professional for the first time. As I intently listened to the conversation, I added my comments and thoughts when I felt they would be relevant or helpful, which was surprisingly more often than I expected. Not only did this give me the opportunity to interact with the individuals on the PCAT Advisory Committee, but I was able to have that “ah-ha!” moment when the committee was discussing the importance of helping pre-pharmacy students transform into student pharmacists and then pharmacists and what qualities are the best for that. It was a period of true reflection as I was able to think back on my education and see how those qualities were strengthened in myself. Prior to beginning this rotation, I have had several opportunities to work with medical professionals and present myself as an educated student pharmacist should; I have been respectful, inquisitive, and timely. I have always thought that I knew how to read a crowd and how my behavior should be adapted so as not to offend anyone, or make myself look foolish. Prior to this rotation, I thought that this was enough to consider myself professional. This rotation has taught me about a realm of professionalism beyond wearing a pressed white coat and closed-toe shoes. I believe the main thing I will take away from my rotation at AACP is improvement in my professional communication skills, both oral and written. From contributing to the APPE student blog, to a mock-interview that Dr. Adams arranged to prepare me for residency interviews, I thought I had these skills prior to this rotation, but I had not even scratched the surface of fully articulating my thoughts and opinions appropriately. But beyond the daily tasks of being a student pharmacist, I have learned that professionalism is more than just a basic behavior one conveys – it is an attitude, an internal set of values that one continuously develops. I have been molded by these experiences – pharmacy school, various rotations, and especially my rotation in association management here at AACP. I have been molded by the influences of others – faculty members, classmates, and preceptors. I am nothing short of grateful for these opportunities and the realization that each one of these has independently helped me get to where I am today. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would reach this point in my academic career, preparing for a residency with an interest in academia. I guess that goes to show that you can never open too many doors or expose yourself to too many opportunities.

Week 3 by Robin Parker

Reflective Essay: Week 3

January 28-31

What a whirlwind week! Yes, I said that last week as well – the past two weeks have been a flurry of ever-changing tasks with multiple objectives, requirements, and deadlines. While on this rotation, most APPE students focus their attention on a large project of their choosing. Rather than work on one task, I have spent my time here at AACP working on various small projects with different staff members. My assignment for this week was given to me by Dr. Lynette Bradley-Baker, the Director of Professional Alliance Development. She has been serving on a committee comprised of professionals from associations like AACP and some from academic institutions. For the particular report that I read, the focus of the group was to “(1) Identify successful practices in the development and maintenance of effective relationships between state pharmacy organizations and schools/colleges of pharmacy and (2) Recommend strategies related to state and local policy developments to optimally position pharmacists in health reform initiatives”. In this charge, the committee sent out a request to each school of pharmacy asking for information on how their programs collaborate with their respective boards of pharmacy and state associations. This gave various colleges of pharmacy with an established connection to these groups an opportunity to highlight their relationships.
While reading through the committee report, I began to realize just how beneficial these relationships are to one another, and the fact that these connections are not more standardized is puzzling to me. Each individual party promotes pharmacy and advances the profession with their own standpoint and methodology to ultimately improve patient care, however separated they may be. There are isolated meetings between the parties, but few have meaningful interactions. The committee states the particular ways that each group contributes to the realm of pharmacy practice, saying, “We cannot forget how interconnected we are be it educating future pharmacists and providing the scholarship/research to improve practice (schools/colleges of pharmacy), advancing and protecting public health (state boards of pharmacy) and advocating and leading the advancement of professional practice and the role that pharmacists play in patient care in all settings (state pharmacy associations)”. As a student, it is overwhelming to think that all along we have had this camaraderie available; we just have not tapped into all our resources. The ability to work in unison has always been present, but who should make the first move? Although each group is responsible for establishing and maintaining these relationships, it must take a true visionary to get the ball rolling -- someone who can see the “bigger picture” of the pharmacy profession, then act to build this alliance. I believe the start for these foundations is having a person who is represented in two of the mentioned groups, and is looking to increase involvement, such as a current faculty member who has a leadership role in a state association.
Some of the submitted reports from the various colleges of pharmacy shed light on how they work with their state board and state associations. Activities ranged from changing state pharmacy practice regulations to new course requirements in pharmacy education. It was eye-opening to see that these exchanges were a great way to keep everyone informed and the communication between parties “keeps everyone on the same page”. Although it may seem daunting at first glance, there are endless possibilities with respect to working together for the advancement of pharmacy practice and patient care. I am fortunate enough to come from a state that has established these practices and I hope that I will be part of such collaborations one day. Having had some exposure to some current and successful integrated practices will serve me well if I am to be a key player in the advancement of pharmacy practice. After seeing that not all states have these established tri-party collaborations, I will not take such meaningful interactions so lightly.

Week 2 by Robin Parker

Reflective Essay: Week 2

January 21-25

What a whirlwind week! The office is in a hustle to have everything ready for the Interim Meeting. As the week began, meeting materials covered the floor a few steps from the elevators and everyone’s calendar was swamped with meetings to finalize all the fine details. By Thursday, boxes have been packed and shipped by some of the staff as others are working on their presentations that are to be presented in Puerto Rico. Seeing all of the preparatory work needed to plan for a successful meeting was truly inspiring, as each staff member aided in the process. Seeing how an association is run is a completely different experience that any other work environment I have been a part of – each staff member, although their day-to-day tasks are completely different, is working towards the common goal of progress and improvement. This common vision makes for an enjoyable work day.
The main focus of my week was spent working with Dr. Lucinda Maine, AACP Executive Vice President and CEO, on both a written article and serving as a colleague as she guest lectured at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). The time that was dedicated to these two tasks provided invaluable experiences for me. With respect to my writing assignment, it was hard to leave “blog-mode” (or colloquial, as Jen informs me) writing techniques, and demonstrate academic writing. After a good deal of time sitting in Jen’s office breaking down my article sentence by sentence, I quickly realized that I had no idea how to change my writing styles to appropriately cater to my audience. As we worked together, I watched and absorbed the process of how to adjust my writing techniques to better articulate my thoughts. I can only hope that as this rotation moves forward, my writing will continue to improve and eventually I will be able to produce great writing completely on my own.
In order to join Dr. Maine on her quest to serve as a guest lecturer we met at the Hyatt in Bethesda. The walk from the hotel entrance to the pre-heated seats of her car in the bone-chilling winter air shocked me to life as effectively as three cups of coffee. As her car joined the traffic on Wisconsin Avenue, Dr. Maine began to tell me exactly where we were going, and who would be attending her lecture. She informed me of a connection she made with a man named Pat some twenty years ago, and how he was her connection to USUHS. He had a wide variety of passions, from lobbying for psychologists to have prescriptive authority, to being an aid for the establishment of the first pharmacy school in Hawaii. The audience was composed of military personnel with a nursing background, enrolled in a PhD program. As part of their educational requirement, these students have to take part of a policy course, as well as develop policies of their own.
Once we pulled onto the campus, we were immediately at a security checkpoint. Luckily for us, Dr. Maine was on the “admission” list, and we were directed to our building. We were greeted by one of the female students who had been coordinating the lecture with Dr. Maine, and we were taken to a room with a large set of tables in the middle, surrounded by approximately twelve chairs. I then realized this was no traditional lecture, but rather a group of individuals sharing a common interest, aiming to improve their knowledge of policy and advocacy.
Dr. Maine led the discussion by introducing the movement of nation-wide immunization rights for pharmacists, explaining step-by-step how a few states planned a practice model that was easily integrated into the current pharmacy practice. She explained that once the mission had been decided, it took a mere ten years for fifty-two states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to join the forces and allow for pharmacist-provided immunizations. Through this process she enlightened the students about different strategies that can be utilized to obtain a desired change, and the benefits of networking and “knowing the right person, in the right place, at the right time”. The student’s faces lit up as she revealed, layer by layer, how each key player was an integral component, and how branching outside of your own network is the way to achieve policy change.
This experience revealed to me that I am unaware of how things that are standard in pharmacy practice came to be that way, and how hard people have fought in order to achieve what they believe is best, not only for our pharmacy profession, but for our patient populations as well. These game-changers have to be not only strategic in their methodology, but also patient, as change rarely occurs overnight. So, from this moment on, I plan to appreciate the things in my education that seem “standard”, such as being immunization certified as a student pharmacist. I plan to be grateful for each educational opportunity, as without them I would be left with nothing to do but count pills all day.

 
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