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Press Release

ASHP Midyear Serves Up Educational Feast in New Orleans

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) served up a hearty menu of timely educational sessions, including special programming on the pharmacist’s role in counter terrorism, during its 36th Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting in New Orleans December 2-6, 2001. More than 18,500 pharmacists, other health professionals, and pharmaceutical industry exhibitors attended the meeting to take advantage of the myriad of educational programming, networking, and career advancement opportunities available at the largest international gathering of pharmacists.

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, meeting attendees were eager to strengthen their knowledge about roles available for pharmacists in emergency preparedness planning. During the meeting’s Opening General Session, ASHP President Steven L. Sheaffer, Pharm.D., FASHP, encouraged listeners to focus their energies on becoming involved in their communities. "Your expertise is vital to protecting the safety and well-being of those in your local area," he said.

Programming on the pharmacist’s role in counterterrorism and emergency preparedness added to the week’s already packed program of more than 70 educational sessions. Attendees got first-hand accounts from two pharmacists whose institutions treated victims injured on September 11 at the World Trade Center in New York City. Speakers from the Office of Emergency Preparedness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile highlighted the status of preparedness planning efforts on the federal, state and local levels.

ASHP also released several resources at the meeting aimed at helping pharmacists become involved in disaster preparedness activities, including a manual containing comprehensive drug information on medications that may be needed to counter a terrorist attack. A summary of a special Executive Session on emergency preparedness convened by ASHP in early November was available as well as a new policy statement alerting pharmacists, hospital administrators, emergency preparedness planners, and others to the critical need for pharmacist involvement in developing and executing disaster preparedness plans.

Other educational sessions at the meeting offered attendees an in-depth look at some of the hottest topics in health care, including evidence-based medicine, alternative therapies, medication safety, and new technologies. Popular sessions included uses of alternative and traditional therapies to treat mood disorders, how to develop a state-of-the art practice using evidence-based medicine, a survey of drug-related problems in older adults, and pharmacogenomic applications in oncology practice.

Other meeting highlights included the following:

  • More than 2,600 students who attended the meeting participated in activities like the Residency Showcase, a full day of student programming, and the sixth annual National Clinical Skills Competition. Aubrey Cartwright and Kelli Davis of the Medical University of South Carolina were the winners of the competition, which helps students prepare for their roles as patient-care providers. Sixty-seven schools and colleges of pharmacy participated in the competition.
  • Nearly 1,500 contributed papers were presented on a wide range of topics, including practice management, alternative medicines, roles for pharmacy technicians, and workforce issues.
  • ASHP’s Personnel Placement Service, the most extensive on-site interviewing and placement service available in the profession, played host to more than 1,000 applicants and employers looking to fill more than 950 positions. Participants benefited from several new and improved services, including a self-service onsite registration kiosk that allowed attendees to post their resume or jobs online. The kiosk also allowed access to a Web site that featured real-time updates of onsite position and applicant listings.
  • An impressive display of the latest technologies and pharmaceutical products and services were showcased in the exhibit hall. More than 300 companies participated in the exhibit program with 1,314 booths.

ASHP is the 31,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.