A strong relationship between Student Societies of Health-System Pharmacy (SSHP) and ASHP State Affiliates is important to help societies grow professionally and to expose members to the world of health-system pharmacy outside of the school organization. This document was developed to serve as an aid to SSHPs and State Affiliates. Included are a number of suggestions and ideas that SSHPs and State Affiliates can utilize to foster collaboration.
Initiate and Maintain a Collaborative Relationship with Your State Affiliate
Networking with your State Affiliate can help create a mutually beneficial relationship. Below are suggestions for networking.
- Offer to volunteer at State Affiliate meetings and events. For example, students can volunteer to set up for the meeting (prepare informational packets, fold programs, etc.).
- Participate in student-specific programming at State Affiliate meetings. Here, SSHP members can interact and form relationships with the State Affiliate’s members. This serves as an opportunity to bridge the barrier between students and the State Affiliate to share ideas, offer input, learn about the State Affiliate’s initiatives/agenda, etc., as well as inform the State Affiliate about SSHP activities and goals.
- Organize an outreach project each semester in which the SSHP works with the State Affiliate. An example would be setting up discharge counseling services at local hospitals where pharmacists and students counsel patients on medication management as they are leaving the hospital.
- Help new alumni (and eligible new practitioner members) remain involved in organizations. As an example, students could have an ASHP/Local Affiliate table at graduation to promote membership and advertise the benefits of a continued relationship with ASHP and Local Affiliates.
- Consider bundling student memberships to include all three levels of membership: SSHP membership, ASHP membership, and State Society membership at a discounted price. This makes it more advantageous to join all levels of your health-system’s pharmacy groups.
- Ask a State Affiliate member to serve as a Clinical Skills Competition judge.
- Invite the president or other members of the State Affiliate to speak at a SSHP meeting.
Strategies for Effective Communication and SSHP Involvement at the State Level
It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your State Affiliate in order for student societies to stay abreast with current state issues and to keep your State Affiliate up to date with your SSHP’s activities. Below are suggestions for effective communication.
- Have at least one SSHP representative attend the State Affiliate annual or other state meetings in order to relay important information between the state and SSHP members.
- Create networking events for the State Affiliate and SSHP.
- Put together a newsletter (monthly or quarterly) that details the activities of each SSHP across the state. Content suggestions include: past events, upcoming events, and ongoing projects. This newsletter can be distributed to all SSHPs and shared with State Affiliate members.
- Attend State Affiliate meetings. If meeting times don’t align, request to set up a conference call or email correspondence with a State Affiliate representative.
- Recommend students sit on various boards and councils if the State Affiliate bylaws permit. Encouraging students to sit on the executive boards and councils will aid in increased participation which could in turn increase the involvement of future practitioners.
Opportunities for Joint Activities and Projects
Both SSHPs and State Affiliates can benefit from joint activities and projects. These activities or projects allow SSHP members to learn more about the profession while gaining valuable insight about the experiences and perspectives of State Affiliate members. Below are suggestions for such activities and projects.
- Hold a Pharmacy Legislative Day where SSHP members can collaborate with the State Affiliate to approach congress members, the Board of Pharmacy, or other state leaders with issues and initiatives pertinent to pharmacy practice.
- Conduct Practice Advancement Initiative (PAI) projects/awareness campaigns where SSHPs can collaborate with the State Affiliate to increase awareness of PAI amongst practicing pharmacists in the state.
- Utilize technology for live conferencing. This can aid in connecting students to pharmacists around the state.
- Host state/regional residency exhibitions at one of your state’s pharmacy schools. Rotate the site of this exhibition annually.
- Encourage the State Affiliate to provide leadership training/certification for students.
- Form a partnership with the State Affiliate and SSHPs to raise money for the State Affiliate’s Political Action Committees (PACs) and/or Foundation. One example would be to hold a contest between SSHPs to see who can raise the most money to donate.
- Increase student attendance at meetings by collaborating with the State Affiliate in offering a “student programming track.” Examples of programming can include: residency panel of current and past residents, small residency showcase of residency programs from around the state, information sessions about CV writing, interviewing skills, and how to be a competitive residency applicant.
- Organize tours of local hospitals provided by State Affiliate members.
Coordinate Successful Events
If your State Affiliate is taking the time to speak to your SSHP, it is important that there is great organization, student turnout, and participation. By following these suggestions, the speaker will feel that their time was well invested.
- Poll students to assess their areas of interest before selecting a topic and speaker.
- Choose topics and recruit speakers that will attract the most students and enthusiasm.
- Use the State Affiliate logo on advertisements/handouts so that they may gain publicity from your event.
- Be sure to thank the State Affiliate for supporting your event to establish a good working relationship.
Overcome Barriers to Collaboration
Many barriers exist that prevent collaboration at the state level. Costs, lack of voice and constant addition of new pharmacy programs create the greatest obstacles. Overcoming these barriers is crucial to creating a student presence at the state level.
- Ask State Affiliates if they are able to offer discounted student membership. Consider income appropriate rates for membership dues. Costs can be a deterrent when students are deciding which organizations to join.
- Initiate a Junior Board Member program in which SSHP members are paired with a current board member to attend board meetings, retreats, and collaborate on organization initiatives. Students may often feel that their voices are not heard at the state level. This program can help create a great working relationship between students and State Affiliate members.
- Maintain relationships with State Affiliate leadership as well as other SSHPs in your state to address issues efficiently and professionally. As the number of pharmacy programs and students continue to grow, state resources and opportunities must be stretched between the many new schools. Communication is the key to overcoming this barrier. Encourage specific and equal funding and resource allocation between the schools. Collaborate with the other SSHPs in the state in order to share resources.