The week I started writing this letter, Lee Vermeulen arrived at AACP’s headquarters to begin a time of overlap with me before he assumes the role of AACP Executive Vice President and CEO on July 1. This is a time of transformation and transitions, as Lee and I will discuss during the final plenary session at Pharmacy Education 2022, our first in-person annual meeting since 2019! We hope to see many of you in Texas in July.
The AACP Board of Directors announced the search for AACP’s seventh chief executive officer in August 2021. The Search Committee was comprised of a diverse group of leaders, including one CEO from a colleague organization outside of pharmacy. A significant number of individuals applied for consideration, offering the committee amazing talent to interview in December. Three finalists were interviewed by the AACP Board in February, and they selected Lee unanimously.
In my opinion, the Board could not have made a better selection. A proven leader in many dimensions, Lee has national and international organization connections. Having spent his career in leadership roles at two major academic health centers, his scope and experience are decidedly interprofessional. Most recently, he held roles as professor of both Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of Kentucky. He was also Chief Efficiency Officer for the UK Health System, serving alongside other executives in the C- Suite.
As Lee explained to the Search Committee and the Board during the interview process, he had been seeking ways he could return to his professional roots and recommit his career to the advancement of pharmacy and pharmacy education. As he told the Board, “Despite continuing to work on pharmacy-related projects and interacting frequently with student pharmacists and pharmacy residents, my career path had largely taken me out of the pharmacy world. I viewed this as a unique opportunity to serve our profession in an incredibly impactful way. The AACP strategic plan articulates the key areas we must focus on, so being given the chance to contribute to that work is an incredible honor… and it’s a rare opportunity, indeed, to be given the chance to follow in the footsteps of an icon of pharmacy practice and leadership.”
The stories in this issue speak directly to the transformations spreading across the pharmacy profession. The demand for pharmacists and scientists with expertise in pain and palliative care is growing and will continue to do so as the population ages in the years ahead. The three foundations profiled offer significant support to transform individuals and pharmacy practice, especially in the community setting. As PhRMA Foundation President Miller said, “Apply [for our grants]! I can’t fund you if you don’t apply!”
These stories are all aligned with priorities in the AACP 2021–24 strategic plan. Transformation, academic innovation, DEIA and well-being drive our programs and services. Significant programming in each area will be part of the education lineup for our summer meeting. And don’t miss the Closing Reception on Tuesday evening. It will be a celebration of a great meeting and a fond farewell to AACP’s sixth CEO after 20 fantastic years of service to academic pharmacy and beyond. My thanks to each of you for making this time so remarkable.
Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
CEO and Publisher