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SICP Chair Message March 2021

GregORY Burger, Pharm.D., CPPS, FASHP

March 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

Even before the pandemic, I’ve always had a geeky obsession with the Twilight Zone. I was recently reminded of one episode that really spoke to me about the concept of value. This storyline is about thieves who concocted an elaborate scheme to get rich by hiding in a desert cave for 100 years without aging while their stolen gold increased exponentially in value. (You’ll have to watch the episode to see why the robbers didn’t age.) But when they emerged in the next century, they discovered that their heavy backpacks of gold were worthless because gold could now be manufactured. Furthermore, what was truly valuable at that point, as they tried to hike out of the desert, was a most basic element: water.

Perhaps because we are still in a pandemic - this story about hiding out and changing values triggered thoughts in me about items of enduring importance. It made me think about tangible things I value (my home, my family, my two smelly bulldogs) as well as the more intangible - things like membership and participation in ASHP. In fact, I view the value of ASHP in three primary ways:

  • Value to me personally, as a healthcare professional. Connecting and learning from others across the country sharpens my skills, pushes my thinking, and inspires me to do more. 
  • Value to our profession, as pharmacists. Working together with a collective voice is the most effective way to advance our profession in the ever-changing healthcare environment. 
  • Value to our patients, the reason we do what we do. Whether you work at bedside, in a clinic, or administration - ASHP helps us with our end goal of better patient care.

There’s another value that comes to mind, and that’s what you bring to the organization with your skill set, knowledge and life experience. This is the time of year when our Section Advisory Groups (SAG) and Educational Steering Committee (ESC) invite applications from those interested in applying or renewing appointments. I know that I personally was hesitant to apply because I felt I didn’t have much to offer. I have since learned that everyone has something to offer, and I mean everyone. The SAG/ESC nomination survey is now open until April 1 (Advisory Group and Section Appointments - ASHP). Please consider submitting your name and getting involved. Your “gold” is your willingness to invest your time, effort, and experience back into the pharmacy profession. 

Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to join each SAG and the ESC’s monthly meeting. I am so impressed with each committee’s consistent efforts to provide all ASHP members with new podcasts, webinars, and tools to elevate our work as pharmacists. Many of these tools can be found in ASHP's Resource Centers – if you haven’t visited lately, I highly recommend it! The content is so good, it comes close to being “binge-worthy” (like those Twilight Zone episodes!). The committees have worked hard to create updated information packed with valuable research and advice on how to improve your practice and patient care. 

As the pandemic passes its first year mark, I am beginning to feel like one of those Twilight Zone characters in a cave – will we ever emerge from this pandemic? But I am also so inspired by the amazing work of so many pharmacists across the country stepping up to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine administration is such a huge undertaking; however, because of each one of you, our profession is shining in the spotlight! I am also inspired by the progress our profession continues to make during these long winter months – thanks again to your contributions to ASHP. One thing is certain, the investment of your “gold” – your time, energy, and ideas - will only increase the value of our profession.

P.S., if you haven’t already, please sign ASHP’s petition that calls on the White House to include pharmacy professionals in the Biden administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Please add your name to the petition, and share it on social media using #PharmacyFrontline.”


GregORY Burger, Pharm.D., CPPS, FASHP, EMT
Chair, Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners