Print This Article
The End is in Sight
by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
I am taking this opportunity to share with many of you a not-so-secret secret that the entire ICHP Board of Directors and staff have been aware of for several months. It will soon be time for me to retire! More accurately, December 31st, 2020 is the date to be exact! So you can see I’ll be hanging around for a little while.
But the reason that this announcement to the membership is important is that there may be someone out there who has quietly thought to themselves or out loud with colleagues, “I think I would like to do something like Scott does someday”. Sounds kind of corny, but that’s actually how I got this job in the first place! Only I shared my secret ambition with a few pharmacist friends at a poker game on a Friday night back in November of 1991. By May of 1992, I was the first ever half-time Executive Director of ICHP! If you want all the details of how it came about, ask me the next time you see me.
This job has been exciting and exhausting, fun and frustrating, rewarding and redundant, but most importantly it has given me a chance to make a difference for pharmacy! And the next Executive Vice President will have even more chances to do the same! Because of this job, I’ve met hundreds - if not thousands - of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students, many of whom have become good friends. I encourage anyone with any remote interest to e-mail me with questions or concerns and I will be very honest to help you decide whether or not you want to throw your hat into the ring.
Another reason this transition is important is it could be an opportunity to consider a merger with the Illinois Pharmacists Association. A member of the ICHP Board of Directors and a Dean or two of the Colleges of Pharmacy have suggested that we consider that very option. But let me be brutally honest here, both organizations would have to be extremely transparent and more collaborative than I have ever experienced. It’s possible, but it won’t be easy!
Several states have combined their state society and association into one pharmacy organization in the past two decades. Mostly because one or both organizations were financially struggling. For some, it has worked well. For others, it has not been as positive. In fact, if you look in the neighborhood, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan have all merged, combined or consolidated. Missouri, Kentucky and Minnesota have not. And Kansas has split up back into two separate organizations!
In the late 1990’s, ICHP and IPhA collaborated to hold joint meetings, the Illinois Pharmacy Congresses. The meetings went well, we all played nice in the sandbox, but the programming was limited and they only lasted for four years. Back then, ICHP President Kevin Colgan referred to the Congresses as “slow dancing” to see if the relationship could or would go further.
Since the Congresses, ICHP and IPhA have collaborated to hold joint Illinois Pharmacy Legislative Days which have been very successful even though we have occasionally differed on specific legislative initiatives. We’ve proved we can worked together in a limited capacity but this concept is much, much bigger. It will be interesting to see if either or both organizations’ leaders are willing to bare all (financial and organizational details, that is) to do the work to get this done.
Personally, I have always said that the more voices we have in Springfield and Chicago, the louder we are and the better we are heard. But that only works when we are singing the same song with an agreed upon conductor. But one organization that can’t pick one song to sing is even more helpless in Illinois’ political environment! So Kumbaya isn’t that easy to sing when an organization with divergent agendas has to agree to sing it.
The consideration of the organizational transition will be interesting to say the least but now is the time to consider it before ICHP goes out and hires a new Executive Vice President only to decide shortly thereafter that it is time for a merger. The next two years will be full of thoughtful deliberations and will have a dramatic impact on the future of ICHP and pharmacy in Illinois. I will do my best to keep you all informed, I promise!