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
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.
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.
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.