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SOPIT Chair Message July 2020

July 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

I hope that you are all safe and healthy as we enter this summer and a new year for our Section groups and leadership. As we crest the midpoint of 2020, the world as we know it has changed. The coronavirus pandemic has challenged the healthcare system and global economy we have known for years. It also strikes during a time period that has highlighted the ongoing racial inequities in this country—in healthcare and beyond. In the midst of the coronavirus hardship, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others were killed by police. We have all had to reckon with the fact that systems designed to protect and care for some of us are failing and killing others. The past few months have been trying, but I have hope that these events are pushing us toward more learning, more conversations, and more action that can lead to the equality that we have long needed. I hope that each of you can take a few moments this summer to listen, learn, donate, and take action to support change in your communities. I also hope you can take some time to take care of yourself and your loved ones and to refocus your energies into the year ahead. As I take on our Section’s leadership, I look forward to a year of engaging with you directly, a year of learning together and from each other, and year of supporting one another as we work to fight both a pandemic across the globe and systemic racism within our own lives, industry, and country.

At the beginning of June, ASHP announced a new Task Force on Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The function of this task force is to advise ASHP on specific, actionable steps to address and take inventory of matters relating to its namesake. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Governance and Committees such as the ASHP and ASHP Foundation Boards of Directors, Commissions, Councils, Sections and Forums, House of Delegates, and other ASHP advisory bodies
  • Education and Training
  • Research
  • Advocacy
  • Publications
  • Marketing and Communications

ASHP Immediate Past President Kathleen S. Pawlicki, M.S., R.Ph., FASHP stated, “This important task force will place urgent attention on the range of current and historical issues affecting Black Americans, and assess issues of intolerance and inequity that impact other minority groups represented within the organization’s membership and the overall profession of pharmacy.” 

As we look toward this new Task Force for direction on steps and solutions for sustainable change for ASHP, we too as a Section need to look at our structures and evaluate our initiatives to ensure we are working to end intolerance of all forms and systemic racism within our lives, communities, and profession. I will be continuing to listen and learn as we refocus on this most important task of centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s (BIPOC) lives in pharmacy and pharmacy informatics. If you have any thoughts or considerations you wish to share, please do not hesitate to contact me. I want to hear from each of you to learn how we can make positive, sustainable change for the future.

Currently, I’m working to educate myself so that I can be a better agent for change against racism in all its forms. In the last few weeks I’ve been reading these books and articles and wanted to share them with you. For me they have provided new perspectives I wish to keep at the front of mind as I move forward in this year:

  • Books:
    • “Between the World and Me” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • “How to Be an Antiracist” written by Ibram X. Kendi

  • Articles:
    • Neighborhood Disadvantage, Residential Segregation, and Beyond—Lessons for Studying Structural Racism and Health, published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, written by Alicia R. Riley
    • Racial Health Disparities and Covid-19 – Caution and Context, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, written by Merlin Chowkwanyun
    • Approaching Health Disparities From a Population Perspective: The National Institutes of Health Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities, published in Framing Health Matters, written by Richard B. Warnecke, et al
    • Invited Commentary: Fundamental Causes, Social Context, and Modifiable Risk Factors in the Racial/Ethnic Inequalities in Blood Pressure and Hypertension, published in American Journal of Epidemiology, written by Margaret T. Hicken
    • Spatial Context and Health Inequity: Reconfiguring Race, Place, and Poverty, published in the Journal of Urban Health, written by Elizabeth L. Tung, et al
    • The Mechanism(s) of Neighborhood Effects Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications, paper for presentation at the ESRC Seminar: “Neighbourhood Effects: Theory & Evidence” St. Andrews University, Scotland, UK, written by George C. Galster

I would be honored to hear your thoughts and receive more recommendations from you for what to read or listen to next.

Although the ASHP Summer Meeting was not held this year, the SOPIT Executive Committee did convene remotely, and began the process for planning the upcoming year. The committee reviewed membership to the Section Advisory Groups (SAGs) and worked to identify leaders for each. We are in the process of reviewing the projects and planning the year so that we can again start with the momentum of pre-defined work and proposed workgroups that set us off on such good footing last year. We plan to keep the structure of the “Get IT Done” workgroups as well, these groups last year tackled many quick and timely needs for the section and we anticipate needing their help to remain nimble again in the year ahead.

For those of you new to the Section or those who need a reminder, below are the SAGs and Committees and their focus areas:

  • SAG on Clinical Applications: Focusing on recommendations to assist pharmacists in the design, implementation, interoperability, and meaningful use of clinical applications
  • SAG on Clinical Decision Support and Analytics: Focusing on optimization of clinical decision support and incorporation of new and innovative clinical functionality into appropriate clinical workflows in electronic health records and clinical information systems
  • SAG on Operations and Automation: Focusing on safe, interoperable, efficient use and ongoing maintenance of Medication-Use Technology
  • SAG on Professional Development: Focusing on providing education and training materials for practicing and future Pharmacy Informaticists
  • Educational Steering Committee: Responsible for vetting educational meeting sessions that identify practice gaps for the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting
  • Committee on Nominations: Responsible for determining the election slate each spring for the new members of the Section's Executive Committee

In addition to the SAGs and Committees we also have members working on the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative (aka PHIT). The PHIT Collaborative works to assure the meaningful use of standardized electronic health records that support safe, efficient, and effective medication use, continuity of care, and provide access to the patient-care services of pharmacists with other members of the interdisciplinary patient care team. ASHP, alongside many other organizations works to place members in these working groups to ensure our perspective as well as knowledge are shared across this collaborative group. ASHP and the SOPIT Executive Committee support this work and thank you for your time and efforts for it.

Alongside this planning we also had transitions of our own. The following list of transitioning roles was completed at the meeting and I want to thank everyone for the last year and, for many, the last several years working on the committee:

  • Maritza Lew, Pharm.D., CPHIMS, PMP completed her term as Immediate Past Chair. We thank her greatly for her last three years in her chair roles and the three years preceding that in the Director-at-Large role as well. You have been a mentor to us all and we greatly appreciate your perspective and dedication to the Section.
  • Samm Anderegg, Pharm.D., MS completed his term as Chair and now has transitioned to Immediate Past Chair. We thank you, Samm, for your leadership over the last year and we look forward to working with you one more year.
  • Barry McClain, Pharm.D., MS completed his three year term as Director- at-Large. Thank you Barry for your three years of dedication to ASHP’s Executive Committee and your never ending energy for the Section.
  • Ben Anderson, Pharm.D. completed his second year as Director-at-Large and transitions into his third and final year, we look forward to another year with your great attitude and enthusiasm Ben.
  • Carol White, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCGP, CPHIMS completed her introductory year as Director-at-Large and we look forward to another great year having your hard work and positive energy on the committee.
  • Kristina (Kristy) Butler, Pharm.D., BCACP, FASHP, FOSHP completed her year as our Board liaison. Thank you for your engagement and continued guidance as the year progressed, and we wish you great luck with your next Section.
  • Nishaminy (Nish) Kasbekar, Pharm.D., B.S.Pharm., FASHP is starting her upcoming year as Board liaison to the SOPIT Executive Committee and we are excited for the year’s work together.

While these transitions have already occurred, we will be welcoming new Director-at-Large and a new Chair-Elect to the committee as the results of the election are due to be announced next month. As a reminder voting opens on July 6th. Please be sure to vote by midnight, Tuesday, August 4th to have your vote counted in the elections.

Last but not least, please remember to Apply for the ASHP Best Practices Award. Electronic applications are being accepted through August 17 for the Annual ASHP Best Practices Award. This national award program recognizes outstanding practitioners in pharmacy who have successfully implemented innovative systems that improve the quality of patient care and demonstrate best practices in pharmacy. This award is presented by ASHP.

And finally, thank you. Thank you for all you do for ASHP, thank you for all you do for the profession of pharmacy and pharmacy informatics, and thank you for everything you do to make this world a little bit better each day.

With much respect,

Seth W. Hartman, Pharm.D., M.B.A.
Chair, Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology 
[email protected]