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Week 3: Relevant by Kelley Ratermann

If I could choose one word to describe my third week at AACP, it would be relevant. There have been several planning meetings and strategy being discussed as AACP staff gear up for the Board of Directors Strategic Planning Committee meeting in mid-September. I have been fortunate to sit in on the strategic planning meetings, finish up the remainder of my meetings with senior staff, and even help provide input on special projects. As I continue to spend time with staff discussing critical issues and priorities of the Association, I learn the importance of connections they have formed in an effort to promote academic pharmacy on a national level. For example, it is imperative that pharmacy practitioners in other associations, as well as individuals outside of the profession (and on the Hill) know about AACP, the work that is done here, and the critical services that the Association provides for the betterment of its members and healthcare in general.

I am continually amazed at the amount of work that is required to advocate for our profession and the intricate networks developed by individuals who serve organizations in the policy and advocacy capacity. William Lang, MPH, is the VP of Policy and Advocacy for AACP and we recently discussed how his job is to ensure the availability of resources for pharmacy faculty to be successful within all three categories of the mission of higher education:  teaching, research, and service. He described spending an increased amount of time as of late reaching out to federal agencies, such as the NIH, CDC, FDA, VA, etc., to increase/maintain grant funding for colleges and schools of pharmacy through the appropriations process. Will’s participation in the Coalition of Health Funding has helped him in this effort, as all of the health professions and several educational associations have teamed-up to support federal funding of the Non-Defense Discretionary Budget. He also cited the current movement to strengthen funding for interprofessional education (IPE); the complexity of providing effective patient care has become so expansive that there is no way to fully exceed patient-specific goals unless all health professions are ‘at the table.’ Recently, Will achieved success when the objective he created for inclusion into the new Healthy People 2020 guidelines was accepted for inclusion and opened for public comment on whether or not there is support for the role of pharmacists increasing public health practices. You can check out the objective by clicking and scrolling down to the ECBP pertaining to pharmacy.

I have also been continuing work on my financial aid project that I now affectionately refer to as the ‘debt management guide for student pharmacists.’ The goal is to provide this resource—in module format—so that prospective and current student pharmacists may access it and augment their literacy in financial aid and personal finances. There are volumes of information on these topics but we want to try and provide a convenient and relevant tool for students to utilize as needed (PRN). Hopefully I will get the script written next week and we can start work on creating modules. Finally, I am looking forward to my trip to San Francisco next week with Katie and Jen, I am sure we will have a productive and successful WebAdMIT training meeting. I am appreciative for the opportunity to be involved in so many programs and meetings that are relevant to proficiency of pharmacy faculty across the nation.

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