Author: Matthew Merical, PharmD Candidate 2022
“Policy” is not a word too many of us can find exciting; it reminds us of items we don’t like in our organizations or dogmatic rules to follow.
“Advocacy”, on the other hand, might just sound more friendly. It evokes strong images of teamwork, making a statement, and standing firm.
During the month of February, the Cedarville University chapter of SSHP partnered with our chapter of APhA-ASP for the purpose of promoting advocacy to students, engaging them in opportunities to promote the profession of pharmacy. With this partnership, we have streamlined our classmates’ abilities to attend Student Legislative Day and planned informational events that explain the legislative process. With this, we are equipping students to be good advocates, and explaining to them the “why” behind being involved.
Starting with our kickoff, students heard about upcoming events, saw posters from their peers and faculty on how to get involved, and met with other students to discuss their passions in the profession. Our unique ideas and different mindsets helped us challenge each other to ultimately support the profession
Our major event in the month, Bills Bills Bills (lovingly named after a campus-favorite donut shop), will use a game structure to show students how the legislative “Bill” process works, while letting them vote on interesting policies that are integrated into the game.
Finally, while not a result of our partnership with other student organizations, we will have an opportunity for student pharmacists to network with local pharmacists at our annual Networking Dinner. We anticipate professional connections will be fostered, developing conversations about what the future of pharmacy looks like and showing students how they can continue advocating for the profession.
ASHP’s PAI 2030 goals address many challenges the future of our profession faces. Many of these hurdles will be easy to address, and others require diligent work. It is an exciting time to join the profession due to the unique challenges we face, and we must move forward by educating ourselves, our communities, and other medical professions on the services we can provide. Most importantly for our chapter and others, this work can start now with student involvement. As student pharmacists finish school to join the workforce, we should be prepared and passionate about advocating and encouraging others to get involved.
As a challenge and encouragement, this work can be done as we work together and share a unified voice. The chapter meetings, conversations with peers, and ability to get involved are all within reach of each of us and are the foundation for change.
One small spark might not start the fire, but many certainly will.