By: James Schurr, Stephen Argiro, & Michael Cronin, PharmD Candidates c/o 2014
This October, we had the privilege of attending the New York State chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) annual meeting held at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The purpose of this event was to orient members of ACCP in New York State to the current developments of the organization and the outlook for the future of clinical pharmacy practice. The keynote speakers for the event were Commander Sherri Yoder of the Indian Health services and Dr. Curt Haas, president-elect of ACCP. This was the first time that separate, student-only content was integrated into the program. This included presentations by pharmacy residents on “hot topics” in clinical pharmacy, a primer on pediatric pharmacy practice by Dr. Brian Cowles, and a resident roundtable discussion.
We arrived at Albany College of Pharmacy on Monday, October 8 at 7 AM for registration and breakfast, which offered opportunities for some impromptu networking. Shortly thereafter, we took our seats in the auditorium for the opening session. After a brief welcoming by Dr. Amy Pai, Commander Yoder was introduced to deliver the keynote address. Commander Yoder was a consummate professional, whose current work is serving to restructure pharmaceutical practice (in order to facilitate our progress in the advancement of a rapidly changing health care system). Commander Yoder is a co-author of “Improving Patient Outcomes Through Advanced Pharmacy Practice: A Report to the Surgeon General.” In her presentation, she brought light to the fact that in New York State, the Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM) provision has a sunset clause that will expire if not renewed by legislators. This is a challenge to pharmacists who are actively participating in CDTM practice, as they must report their positive outcomes to make their case for continued validation for providing this service. Because most pharmacists who are currently practicing CDTM are doing so in an independent and disparate manner, Dr. Yoder challenged pharmacists in advanced practice to implement a standardized method for documenting clinically beneficial outcomes of CDTM. If we are to make CDTM permanent, we must effectively report evidence-based outcomes communicating the value of a pharmacist in a CDTM role.
After Dr. Yoder gave a very compelling speech for CDTM practice, Dr. Haas, president elect of ACCP, was introduced to give his speech on the positions of the national organization. Dr. Haas addressed the fact that ACCP is officially endorsing the position that pharmacists suited for advanced practice are with PharmD degrees, PGY-1 and PGY-2 experienced, and board certified. While this may be a controversial position to clinicians who are currently in practice without such credentials, it is adopted with the intention of advancing clinical pharmacy as a profession. A key point of this statement is that more opportunities for clinical pharmacists to obtain residency training must be made available through the expansion of residency programs throughout the country, and an emphasis be placed on obtaining board certification through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties for the individual’s career ambitions.
After the keynote speeches were made, student attendees were then ushered to another lecture hall for the student portion of the meeting. The first session of the student programming featured talks by three pharmacy practice residents who gave lectures on “hot topics” in clinical pharmacy. The topics covered included emergency management of patients abusing bath salts, the newly approved prophylactic use of Truvada® to prevent transmission of HIV, and an overview of the newly approved weight loss medications Qsymia® and Belviq®. After these presentations, Dr. Brian Cowles gave an informative primer on pediatric pharmacy practice. He focused on understanding pharmacokinetic principles of neonates and children, as they differ from adults. His talk provided insight for the sensitivity of dosing medications in younger patient populations. Our roundtable discussion was a great opportunity to sit down with current pharmacy practice residents and gain an understanding of their worlds.
Overall, our experiences were both, rewarding and inspirational. We were able to connect with other pharmacy students and professionals currently working in the field. Additionally, we gained insight into current “hot topics” in clinical pharmacy, as well as the official positions of ACCP (as the organization prepared for its annual national convention). We highly recommend that St. John’s students interested in a career in clinical pharmacy attend future New York State ACCP meetings.