Imagine my surprise when the request came for a phone consultation with Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), around this time last year. I’m privileged to serve on the Research!America board of directors with Dr. Dzau and have come to appreciate his insights and commitment to excellence across the healthcare spectrum. It might have been a piece of business from Research!America that stimulated the request for a call.
Actually, it was an interesting question that most of our readers would say was so very obvious. He informed me that the NAM had been asked to coordinate a new action collaborative on opioids that aimed to engage key players across the public and private sectors. Academic medicine was quick to come to the table and his question was, “Should the collaborative also seek to engage academic pharmacy?” Without hesitation my answer was “Absolutely!”
This engagement was slightly before the AACP Public Affairs and Engagement team decided to embark upon the opioid scan that is described in this issue of Academic Pharmacy Now. There had been a feature in 2016 on the work of several AACP member institutions that revealed pharmacy faculty and students were involved in drug abuse education and prevention, as well as original research on better approaches to pain management. The staff and our Substance Use Disorder Special Interest Group set about creating a more comprehensive picture of our collective contributions, and the results are truly remarkable. There is no question that pharmacy aims to provide solutions to the crisis in many forms.
AACP did join the NAM Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic and I serve on the Education and Training Workgroup. That group is exploring the gaps between the education of key disciplines and practice behaviors across the U.S. We will also define how accreditation, certification and discipline-specific regulations align with the goals of preventing additional cases of addiction through more appropriate pain management. The ultimate aim for the overall effort seeks to reduce the incidence of fatal drug overdoses. Our work can’t progress too rapidly in that regard.
NAM will soon cast a wide net and invite additional organizations to become part of the network for this action collaborative. AACP will make that information available to all members as soon as it is received.
In the meantime, keep up the great work that is going on all across the country. We look forward to providing the visibility that decisively reveals that academic pharmacy is definitely “in the game and playing hard.”
Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
CEO and Publisher