As I prepared to compose this final opening letter for Academic Pharmacy Now for 2021, the word “transformation” was top of mind. That is no accident, as AACP celebrated the official launch in November of the Center to Accelerate Pharmacy Practice Transformation and Academic Innovation. Ok, so that title is too long but so descriptive! For ease of use, we call it the AACP Transformation Center. On November 8 the national search for the best possible Center leader brought Melissa Murer Corrigan, CAE, to AACP’s senior staff. Melissa has many stellar qualities built upon her decades of national leadership in pharmacy, including her service as the founding executive director of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Read more about Melissa and the Transformation Center on aacp.org.
For those who may not be clear about the purpose of this publication in AACP’s portfolio of communications tools and vehicles, it was designed 14 years ago to tell stories. The stories it tells so well are the ones that highlight the important activities that AACP members create in education, practice, research and community service. And stories are powerful! While our flagship journal, the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, shares members’ scholarly contributions and editorial opinions, and the AACP website and AACP Connect are rich repositories of resources and connections, Academic Pharmacy Now offers us the opportunity to share with each other and with influential stakeholders external to AACP and pharmacy how academic pharmacy makes a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.
The work of so many members and our Substance Use Disorder Special Interest Group in identifying new, expanded and meaningful ways that pharmacists, faculty and students can positively impact the lives of individuals afflicted with substance use issues is a timely and crucially important issue to highlight. Sadly, a record number of Americans succumbed to drug overdoses between April 2020 and April 2021. And while we recognize that many deaths are attributable to the challenges of the pandemic, deaths were rising in the pre-pandemic months already. Expanding pharmacists’ authority to provide naloxone and sterile syringes, as well as to become accessible points of care for medication assisted therapies, is possible. Regulatory frameworks and practice models exist and can be replicated. AACP routinely shares these perspectives as an active member of the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, serving on the Education and Training Workgroup.
AACP has also significantly elevated its action to address diversity, equity, inclusion/belonging and anti-racism (DEIA) to achieve health equity for all. As described in this issue, our work runs wide and deep, touching our staff, leaders, members and the public. I’m excited that the second Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute, a project fueled by the passion of former AACP President David Allen and co-sponsored by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy where he served as dean until mid-2021, will be held virtually in January to kick off another year of strengthening the work on DEIA in AACP and among our members.
Accelerating these kinds of transformative priorities are central to the mission and vision of the AACP Transformation Center. By identifying opportunities to advance pharmacists’ contributions to help people live healthier, better lives, and making the replication and sustainability of such efforts more achievable through the networking and support of our members, AACP can help accelerate the transformations of pharmacy practice and education that I personally have been committed to for all 40-plus years of my career. I invite every AACP member and interested others to engage with the new Center, stay abreast of and help shape its priority projects, and ignite (or re-ignite) your passion for the profession that has so very much to offer to the world.
Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
CEO and Publisher