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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

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