Learning from (and Making) History


Shattering attendance records for a third year in a row, Chicago was the perfect destination for the hallmark event of the year for pharmacy educators to learn, to be inspired and to collaborate.

By Maureen Thielemans

More than 2,900 educators, students and staff descended on the Windy City, July 11–13, to help shape the future of the profession. Across 102 special and mini sessions, experts in education, science and leadership explored the growing role of the pharmacist and meaningful discussions amongst colleagues focused on ways they can be fully utilized in the expanding healthcare system. By the numbers alone, Pharmacy Education 2019 was an unprecedented success, and judging by attendees’ enthusiasm on social media, in session rooms and during beverage breaks, this meeting was definitely one for the record books.

Big Names and Bold Ideas

Doris Kearns Goodwin standing at podium.
“I value so much what you do as a profession.” Doris Kearns Goodwin opened her remarks at the Opening General Session with a personal story about her interaction with pharmacists.

During the Opening General Session, keynote speaker and world-renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin used storytelling to put into context our most recent unprecedented presidency and provided insight for today’s leaders on how to lead during turbulent times.

Goodwin illustrated how key leadership qualities exhibited by historical presidents helped them overcome some very modern issues, including fights for civil rights, concerns over foreign intervention and inequality.

Dr. Julie Johnson

Monday’s Science Plenary addressed a topic that is becoming more and more critical to patient care. Pharmacists are increasingly being called upon to implement precision medicine in practice, but how can schools and colleges of pharmacy provide the necessary educational and training resources? At the Science Plenary, Drs. Julie Johnson (above) and Kristin Wiisanen identified strategies and tools needed to prepare the future pharmacy workforce for a leadership role in precision medicine implementation.

“Precision Medicine is now, we have to be willing to embrace that, and the concepts aren’t necessarily new to pharmacists,” said Johnson, dean and distinguished professor at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. “Pharmacokinetics, drug-drug interactions are all precision medicine,” she added. 

Wiisanen, clinical professor and associate director of the UF Precision Medicine Program, outlined the steps needed for the Academy to keep pace: Accelerate integration into curricula, ask the right questions to evaluate programs, enhance faculty preparedness to include genomics into patient care courses, and more.

Dr. kari Mader on stage with AACP President Todd D. Sorensen. Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer on screen via teleconference.


Tuesday’s General Session delivered on its promise to inspire attendees with stories of the importance of the physician-pharmacist partnership to improve care delivery, and how pharmacists can lead efforts that create broader integration of their peers on the frontlines of primary care.

“Unfortunately, our healthcare system is broken,” Dr. Kari Mader (above left) said. “It should work for patients, it should also work for providers, and too often, it doesn’t work for one, or the other, or both.” Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer (above right), community organizer and founder of the national non-profit Primary Care Progress, joined Dr. Mader via teleconference to showcase a variety of leadership and advocacy practices for the next generation of pharmacy practitioners and academic centers.

David D. AllenWhen someone cares about the mission they are doing, they are already leading in their own way.

Immediate Past President David D. Allen

"Plan the coffee date now, and have those conversations: That's the difference between keeping the status quo and a revolutionary change,” said Mader, a practicing family physician in Denver, Colo., and an advocate for achieving health equity, who challenged attendees to recruit two allies from their institution before their calendars fill up after the conference.

Social Academy

Pharmacy Education 2019 represents a community coming together, and that’s no more apparent than on social media. Members from around the Academy shared resources, live-tweeted sessions, took selfies and more across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with #PharmEd19. Relive some of the highlights:

Innovation Exposition

Conference participant point to a chart on a research poster. Attendees meeting with exhibitors.


The latest technology and cutting-edge information came together in the Exhibition Hall and during Research/Education Poster Sessions spanning two days. Attendees browsed innovative tools to advance their work, while networking with peers about their posters.

AACP greatly appreciates the support from our meeting sponsors, whose contributions make this event possible.

Maureen Thielemans is Director of Communications at AACP.