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Week 4: There's Room for Everyone by Hillary Aphaisuwan
Week 4: There’s Room for Everyone
April 28 – May 2

It’s already the beginning of my fifth week here at AACP and I can’t believe how fast time flies.  As I finally recovered from the USA Science and Engineering Festival, it was already time for my next off-site event—the AAMC 10th Annual Health Workforce Research Conference.  I don’t know how AACP staff members are able to keep up so much energy traveling from place to place for these conferences, expos, and festivals.  Here I am, exhausted from only two events that were both in Washington D.C. and required minimal travel on my part.

The focus of the AAMC 10th Annual Health Workforce Research Conference was to bring together researchers, educators and policymakers to help discuss state and federal workforce issues.  The conference had previously invited only physicians to attend, but this year it was opened up to all health professions.  Although others were in attendance, the conference still had a strong physician presence.  This conference was definitely different than most I have been to in the past.  Typically, the conferences I attend focus on pharmacy and include student programming that appeal to my interests.  All the presentations at this conference centered around workforce, an issue I never really explored beforehand.

One presentation that definitely stood out to me was on the pharmacy workforce.  The speaker stated that the supply of pharmacists has continued to increase while demand has decreased.  To help with this issue, she stressed the underutilization of pharmacists and urged physicians to take advantage of the clinical capabilities of pharmacists.  Some of the information cited was also provided by the Aggregate Demand Index, a project supported by the Pharmacy Manpower Project Inc. and one that AACP is also involved in.  It was great to see that the data collected by the organizations working with the Pharmacy Manpower Project Inc. was utilized outside of the typical pharmacy setting!   I also appreciated that someone other than a pharmacist was supporting this notion and thought it was a great presentation to have at a conference like this.

Once questions from the audience began to roll in however, I realized that there are many physicians out there that aren’t completely aware of the background education of a pharmacist and the expertise we could offer.  This made me recognize the importance of interprofessional education and collaboration within the health care field.  I think it was a great move on AAMC’s part to include other health care professionals in this workforce research conference and I really believe that the presence of other health professionals will make a positive impact as they continue to hold these conferences.

Although interprofessional education is integrated into many health profession curricula, I don’t feel like we have taken that to its fullest advantage.  Now that graduation is less than 30 days away (!!!), the time may have passed where I could have taken advantage of learning from and with the other health professionals at my school.  However, what I can do in the future is to stay informed just as I would do with the pharmacy field.  I think the best course of action is to build strong connections with other health professionals I work with where I can learn more about their profession as well.  My desire is to completely understand their responsibilities, their capabilities and their role in a patient’s health care. What I learn about other health professionals would reflect what I would want others to understand about my own role as a pharmacist.  With this information, I believe we would become a stronger health care team for patients.  This would ultimately allow me to become a better pharmacist and health care provider to all of my patients.

Hillary Aphaisuwan
PharmD Candidate, Class of 2014
Midwestern University, College of Pharmacy – Glendale


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