Let me begin with a most sincere expression of appreciation for all you have done over the last nine months in navigating the chaos and concerns associated with the pandemics of 2020. First you confronted the need for abrupt and disruptive change in education, research and practice as the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic became so clear in March and April. Campuses closed, while health systems’ policies and practices changed for both faculty and students as resources (e.g., PPE) needed to be prioritized for those working directly with the growing number of COVID cases. Research laboratories and programs were, and continue to be, directly impacted as well.
We also became more aware than most of us have ever been of the issues of structural racism across the history of the United States. Not only do we have personal responsibility as highly educated professionals to deepen our understanding and examine our roles in eliminating structural racism, as health professionals we must double down on health inequities that have become even more obvious with the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on minority populations.
Add political tensions and global financial distress at the personal and institutional levels to these pandemics and who can wonder why everyone can’t wait for 2020 to be over and a new year to begin. In all of this I have observed some truly amazing things:
- A spirit of collaboration and group problem solving among our members, often facilitated by our governance groups (e.g., Councils, Sections and SIGs);
- The most cohesive collaboration among state and national pharmacy organizations resulting in a unified voice articulating how pharmacists and student pharmacists can and are making a difference in the COVID pandemic response;
- The response by state and federal policymakers to expand pharmacists’ authority in testing, treating and, soon, vaccinating the population to reverse the terrible trend in COVID infections, and;
- Research progress, including a significant amount in our colleges and schools, moving at speeds not previously seen to bring vaccines and other solutions to market in record time.
AACP leaders and staff have missed the most valuable aspect of serving our nation’s colleges and schools of pharmacy, your administrators, faculty, staff and learners: networking in person at meetings large and small and building and fortifying relationships. Sure, we conducted almost every one of these sessions virtually and had excellent attendance and engagement. But I personally can’t wait to see you in person again, to learn how you have fared and to continue to build the best system of pharmacy education in the world.
Wishing you and yours safe, warm and restorative holidays as we turn the calendar page to January 2021.
Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
CEO and Publisher