ICHP Presidential Acceptance Address

by Avery Spunt, ICHP President
November 24, 2008

Dear Members,

It is with great excitement that I assume the role of President of the Illinois Council of Health System Pharmacists. It is with humility that I assume the same role that has been filled over the last 45 years by outstanding leaders in Illinois pharmacy. Every one who has held this role has been a leader and a champion of hospital and health system pharmacy. I am honored to be allowed to be ICHP President.

It will be great to be working with Scott Meyers, Trish Wegner and all the other wonderful ICHP staff who have run an outstanding meeting the last 3 days. During the course of this meeting we were fortunate to have in our presence two gifted national leaders of health system pharmacy - Phillip Schneider and our own Kevin Colgan, both of whom delivered very powerful and impressive speeches on Thursday at the opening session. They also presented on June 10, 2008 at the ASHP Summer Meeting in Seattle.

Kevin’s inaugural address of the President-elect and Dr. Schneider’s Harvey A. K. Whitney lecture both call for change in our practice model. I would like to cite some of the points they made in their presentations and then put my spin to them and see how they relate to what I would like to see accomplished in Illinois over the next year.

Kevin Colgan believes that the climate for change is so significant that we actually have reached a “tipping point.” The phrase “tipping point” means the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point….” “For Pharmacy, the tipping point lies between a remarkable past and a very uncertain future.” As Kevin so eloquently stated, “In the months and years ahead, we could move into a new era in which pharmacists are critical components of every health care team or we could become marginalized.”

Later that day Phil Schneider presented the very prestigious Harvey A. K. Whitney lecture entitled “Pharmacy without Borders”. In his presentation he makes a great analogy, and I quote, “The status quo is a threat. Change is an opportunity. How many times have we heard that? For most of us, change is ok as long as someone else does the changing. Most of us like to feel secure and comfortable knowing what will happen in the future. We need a compelling reason to make a personal change — the platform has to be on fire before we willingly board a train to another place. If we wait too long, we may burn to death or suffer serious injury. Is Pharmacy’s platform on fire?” Phil Schneider believes as I believe that the platform is on fire for there are “smoke signals” everywhere.

I know there is a collective thought that the profession of pharmacy will always be with us. But so thought many workers at the Kodak Corporation. They believed that their jobs would always be there. These individuals were the ones that used to make and process slide and print film.

A lecture/slide show was individual cardboard bound positive film placed in a tray, put on a projector and shown on a screen. Now a slide show is a PowerPoint presentation. Kodak Corporation makes digital cameras and there are a lot of former Kodak employees that have found a different line of work. Therefore, as a council and as individuals we must work hard to prevent this from happening to pharmacists and the profession of pharmacy.

As I assume the presidency from Ann, who has done an outstanding job as president, we will continue to follow our strategic plan, expand our mentoring programs (the presidential officers have all generations covered), and we will continue Ann’s mantra of “just do it”. And my presidency will focus on assuring that we have outstanding venues to “just do it in”.

In 1983 we had close to 700 pharmacist members and former President Bill Wuller called for an increase to 800 pharmacists by 1984 and 1000 by 1994. Well, let us revive that vision and let us try to obtain 1000 pharmacist members by next year at this time.

I believe we can create a local home and meeting place for all Illinois ACCP members.

Also, we can create a home in ICHP for pharmacists who practice in newly emerging health care systems.

We also need to increase the technician membership, and we need to promote their value to the health care system.

Given our great membership and affiliate structure, I believe ICHP can and should be the primary state organization for students in Illinois. ICHP values its student members.

The more motivated active people we have, the louder our voice and the easier it will be to move the profession forward.

We must be much more vocal as to what health system pharmacists do. I will work with staff and volunteers to get our stories in local and regional newspapers, on radio and hopefully television and to make sure our state and local elected officials know about our value.

Our value is too great to keep a secret. We must prove and disseminate our value as health care professionals every day. We need to prolong our profession’s longevity so that we are available to prolong the longevity of our patients.

We will not be marginalized, we will not be minimized and we will not be digitalized!

We are Health Care Providers!

We are ICHP!

News » Public News »