The articles in this issue of Academic Pharmacy Now brought smiles to my pandemic-weary face! They also fortified my appreciation that the priorities emphasized in the 2021–2024 AACP Strategic Plan are spot on and highly significant. There is a focus in all of these stories on well-being—of our students and faculty, of pharmacists and their colleagues on interprofessional teams and of patients. Strategies to enhance well-being and resilience have never been more important than where we find ourselves 18 months into a global pandemic and in the midst of the Delta variant surge. AACP is committed to expanding programs, services and collaborations targeting well-being for all as a top priority in the coming years.
Practice transformation and innovation are highlights of the articles on the FUHN network of community health centers in Minnesota and the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center (KPIC) at the University of South Carolina. Practice transformation is Priority No. 1 in AACP’s plan, which may seem off base to some members. The AACP Board of Directors, staff and delegates to the 2021 AACP House disagree. Until widespread change to create sustainable patient care pharmacist services is achieved, inadequate career opportunities will continue to plague the profession. Pharmacists will continue to feel cheated and frustrated by their inability to fully utilize their education, and young talented students will be actively discouraged from pursuing a pharmacy career. That challenges the viability of colleges and schools of pharmacy, which directly impacts AACP.
As I prepare this letter, I am also preparing to conduct three finalist interviews for a new staff position at AACP. We will hire the Senior Director of Transformation in a few short weeks. This individual will lead the development of the Center to Accelerate Practice Transformation and Academic Innovation (CAPT, or simply the Center). A high priority of the new center leader will be identifying all the existing centers like KPIC and the work of Past President Sorensen in Minnesota to learn of their scope and structure. Helping member institutions that aspire to create similar programs to do so as quickly as possible is a goal because AACP recognizes that practice change must happen locally or regionally. A national organization can facilitate these efforts, and we are committed to doing so with the new expertise and energy that the Senior Director of Transformation will bring to our work.
The KPIC story also emphasizes academic innovation (Priority No. 2) and the impact it can have on the careers of students and practicing pharmacists. Working closely with national partners like the National Community Pharmacy Association’s Innovation Center and our advocacy partners that have operated so cohesively throughout the pandemic will also be the Center’s priorities.
In constructing the new plan, planning committee chair Stuart Haines emphasized that this is not simply a “to-do” list for the AACP staff. Realizing the full impact of acting upon these priorities will not only make AACP a stronger organization in support of our members, but it will require that we find new ways to mobilize our members strategically to address these top priorities. I sincerely look forward to watching this work accelerate across the coming months and years.
Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
CEO and Publisher