As summer is winding to a close and fall projects and school are picking back up, I find myself taking a moment to reflect on where we’ve been these last several months and where we are now. Since March we’ve seen dramatic changes in the delivery of healthcare in the US and abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With some of the largest infection rates in the world, the US has been changed, perhaps in some ways irrevocably, into a culture of 6 foot distances, muffled mask conversations, and efforts to keep each other safe and healthy. Many parents have found that they are now expected to be both an instructor to their children as well as high performing worker, a task that is no simple undertaking. There are fires raging in several of our forests and temperatures that haven’t been recorded in the US in decades or ever. Our hurricane season is predicted to be one of the heaviest on record, already challenging our eastern coastal cities and inland areas. We have a major election year dominated by intensely different parties, and have all seen the racist treatment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the United States. With all these challenges facing us today, it is unfathomable to think that many of you are unaffected by these in one way or another. Please don’t forget to try to find love and kindness for one another among all these tragic issues and recall some of the good that has come with them.
Remember that without facing a pandemic, our telemedicine/ telehealth practices would not have advanced so quickly, offering safe care to so many who were previously challenged to receive it. Recall that with working from home, many of us are reducing driving times and thus benefitting both the environment as well as gaining more time in the home. Many of us have had the opportunity to learn new teleconferencing tools, and as a result I am now in more consistent contact with some members of my family with their new understanding than I was prior. For those who face racism every day, conversations are being held from within households to the nation’s capital about the changes that need to be made, and some small changes have begun to take place. For those of you who do not face racism as a part of your daily life, you have been reminded to take the opportunity to educate yourself so that we may all be better able to identify anti-racist and racist policies and practices. Take a moment to read the article below, which needs to be applied more broadly than academic medicine, and consider how to apply it to your place of work and home.
Below is another great article that was just published in AJHP, I highly recommend reading it and talking with your family and friends about what it means.
- American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy – The disease of racism by Marie Chisholm-Burns, Pharm.D., MPH, M.B.A.
The ASHP Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is another positive addition we have had this year and they held their first meeting in August. The meeting focused on the task force’s goals and deliverables, as well as a robust dialogue on ASHP’s current and historical efforts regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to the six domains under the charge. Starting in September the task force will continue its work through three subgroups:
- Governance and Committees;
- Education and Training, Research, and Publications; and
- Advocacy, Marketing and Communications.
ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP is quoted as stating, “ASHP is committed to making the needed improvements to ensure that Black pharmacy professionals see themselves in ASHP and that ASHP is an organization where everyone feels included in all ASHP membership areas as outlined within the charge of this extremely important task force. We look forward to continuing to implement these needed changes based on recommendations from the task force now and in the coming months, and to sustaining our commitment and work on diversity, equity, and inclusion into the future on issues facing Black Americans.” More information can be found here at the ASHP Website for the Task Force.
With the pace of events occurring this year already it can at times be hard to find the capacity to contribute more. If you, like so many are feeling tapped, don’t fret, you are in good company. I recommend making good use of ASHP’s offering of Headspace, or taking a trip to ASHP’s Well-Being site to read the shared stories of others, or take a break and find some calm in whatever way you can. We all deserve to give ourselves the time to step away, clear our head, and understand that which it is our minds and bodies need.
If you are feeling like you have some time or energy to spare, then volunteering on a SAG or ASHP Committee can be a great way to spend that time. In fact, last month the Executive Committee confirmed our SAG/Committee Leadership for the 2020-2021 year based on past years’ participation and willingness indicated from the survey. Our great leaders are as follows:
- SAG on Clinical Applications
- Chair - Tanya Ezekiel, Pharm.D., BCPS
- Vice-Chair - Andrew Liu, Pharm.D., CPHIMS
- SAG on Clinical Decision Support & AnalyticsSAG on Clinical Decision Support & Analytics
- Chair - Asha Kalichira, Pharm.D., M.S.
- Vice-Chair - Casey Olson, Pharm.D., CPHIMS
- SAG on Operations & Automationo
- Chair - Stacy Carson, Pharm.D., BCPS, FISMP
- Vice-Chair - – Ryan Cello, Pharm.D.
- SAG on Professional Development
- Chair - Kevin Fuji, Pharm.D., M.A.
- Vice-Chair - Dallas Moore, B.S., M.S.
- Educational Steering Committee
- Chair - Sarah Bledsoe, Pharm.D., CPHIMS, BCSCP
- Vice-Chari - David Aguero, Pharm.D., MSTL
Thank you to each of you for volunteering to Chair and Vice-Chair a SAG or Committee this year!
We have also confirmed our charges for our SAGs this year. Our charges are based on ASHP, community, member, and strategic needs from many inputs. We will be reviewing these with each SAG at first meetings in September.
I am looking forward to working with and learning from all of our members this year. Although our meetings will be held without the in-person socializing that we all love, ASHP has transitioned to a great fall lineup of virtual conferences that will be delivered with great content, and still retain some of the social aspects we cherish. More information on each at the links below:
- National Pharmacy Preceptors Conference
- Virtual Conference for Pharmacy Leaders
- Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition
In closing, I would like to offer my thanks for everything that each of you are doing, for the profession of pharmacy informatics, for your teams of pharmacists everywhere, and for your dedication to our patients. We would not be where we are at today in our field without the contributions of each and every one of you, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Thank you, and have a wonderful day!
With much respect,
Seth W. Hartman, Pharm.D., M.B.A.
Chair, Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology