It is my great pleasure to introduce this issue of Academic Pharmacy Now, my first as CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. I have spent the past several months learning about AACP, meeting our leaders and members and getting to know our amazing staff. Through these months, I have come to understand the intense passion that all of you—everyone connected to AACP—bring to advancing the pharmacy Academy, our students and our profession. However, our shared sense of purpose is not the only thing that makes our organization so special. It's also our culture as an Association that I have found so incredible. Our members truly embrace a shared vision for AACP, value collaboration and are passionate about achieving our strategic objectives. Moreover, our members truly like one another and seek collaboration on the work of the Association. Joining the AACP family has been wonderful, and I’m grateful to all our members for the warm welcome I’ve received since starting.
This issue includes several contributions focusing on important issues facing AACP and the Academy. Melissa Murer Corrigan and Miranda Steinkopf have highlighted three influential women who are all established leaders in our profession, offering insight into their career paths and guiding others seeking leadership roles. The timing of this article is coincidental to an event honoring several other women who have contributed significantly to our profession: the initiation of 10 new honorees in the APhA Foundation’s Women in Pharmacy Recognition Campaign. Located at the APhA headquarters, the Women in Pharmacy Exhibit and Conference room celebrates the achievements of remarkable women throughout the history of pharmacy. Among the new honorees inducted this year, several have close ties to pharmacy education and AACP, including Marialice Bennett, Cynthia Boyle, Jan Engle, Kelly Goode, Metta Lou Henderson and Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner. Another recipient this year is someone we have spent the past several months recognizing for her incredible contributions to AACP and pharmacy: Lucinda Maine. It is impossible for me to fully express my gratitude to Lucinda for her support and guidance during the recent CEO transition. I would encourage everyone to join me in honoring Lucinda, and the rest of the Women in Pharmacy inductees. More information on the program.
Another article in this issue focuses on efforts to improve access to healthcare services in rural areas of our country. We are all working to address health disparities, and while much of our work is focused on addressing racial inequities, it is also important to note that individuals of all races and colors face access concerns in rural, medically underserved communities. While many of those areas lack hospitals and clinics and suffer from a shortage of physicians and other healthcare providers, many have pharmacies—and the pharmacists practicing there are exquisitely well positioned to make an impact on the health of rural residents. New and innovative programs aimed at addressing disparities in rural communities represent fantastic opportunities to continue to demonstrate the value of pharmacists and the care we provide!
Thanks again to all of you who have welcomed me to the AACP family. It is truly my honor to be serving as the CEO of our Association. If you need anything from me, please do not hesitate to contact me at LVermeulen@aacp.org.
Lee Vermeulen, B.S.Pharm., M.S., FCCP, FFIP
CEO and Publisher