Inaugural Address by Chris Rivers

by Chris Rivers, ICHP President
November 1, 2011

Good afternoon members, colleagues and friends. Today I stand before you, humbled and honored to have been elected to serve as the 48th ICHP President.  I hope you have made many connections this year as challenged by Past President Carrie Sincak. Thank you Carrie for all your hard work and dedication as President.

I would like to express gratitude and acknowledge the individuals who have supported and inspired me to give back to our profession, 10 years ago.   Nancy Shapiro, Edith Nutescu and Trish Wegner encouraged me to participate and become active initially in NISHP, then ICHP; my manager, Julie Stein-Gocken, who has always supported me with time for meeting attendance, conference calls and continual support of our pharmacy practice residents to become active in professional organizations;  Don Lynx (most of you know Don, a Past President of ICHP and our new Chief of Pharmacy at Hines VA Hospital), who aided Julie in support of professional organization involvement; and predominantly, to my co-workers who always provide the support and coverage during work absences for me to attend society meetings; and to Lincoln Quillian, who, although not a pharmacist, has been patient with my commitment to the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists.

During the past few months, as this term was approaching, I pondered about our busy lives and a typical day:
  • Alarms awaken us after a few hours of sleep, and the busy day begins
  • If you have kids, you have the challenges of waking them up and making preparations for the day: school, bus, lunches
  • Some of us manage to squeeze some exercise or work-out time
  • Devour your breakfast (sometimes on the run)
  • Commute (and traffic) to work
  • Confront the work day
  • Commute (and traffic) home
  • Work-out if you didn’t have time at the beginning of the day
  • Prepare dinner
  • Bills, kids, homework, checking emails
  • On weekends - errands, cleaning, and catching up on reviewing the literature
Where  does all the time go?  How do we fit all these activities into 24 hours?  All these pieces of our day resemble jigsaw puzzles. When we were younger, we loved different types of puzzles and games. And as adults, our lives are comparable to these puzzles: personally and professionally. How do we fit our 24 hour days, our year, our life in these puzzles?

Solving a jigsaw puzzle involves starting with some distinctive object that appears in the puzzle, and you put together that part of the puzzle first as a core from which to build the rest. There is an assortment of puzzle pieces some with straight sides and some with different edges of the puzzle. The next step is expanding the core of this puzzle. You look for individual pieces that have distinctive markings or colors, or you look for a specific shape. Gradually you assemble the puzzle, as each piece you fit into the core creates a different requirement for the next piece.

An organization such as ICHP is assembled this same way. Construction of our organization starts with a few core people who are the foundation of the organization. Based on what you start with, the core and on the edges, you figure out the next piece of the puzzle that you’ll need. Just like with a jigsaw puzzle, you can build on the core in multiple directions and at the same time looking for multiple people who are needed to augment the skills of the core team in very specific ways.

The Organizational Puzzle

So, who are these people at ICHP?

The Core: ICHP has a firm foundation of an extraordinary, hard working and dedicated staff.
The Edges: The core team is augmented with volunteers on the ICHP Divisions and Committees and the Board of Directors.
The different pieces: Our members, progressive pharmacists who are able to practice to the top of their license by the support of dedicated certified pharmacy technicians.

In order to move forward and advance our profession, ICHP relies on volunteers. Carrie summarized the Divisions’ and Committees’ accomplishments in her Annual Report; please allow me to summarize their tasks, starting with:
  • The Division of Educational Affairs plans, conducts, and evaluates the Annual Meeting and continuing pharmacy education programs each year; assists the ICHP Executive Vice President, Vice President of Professional Services and Director of Operations with oversight of the ACPE accreditation processes for all ICHP sponsored programs; evaluates, develops, and implements new ICHP educational products and services; and addresses relevant issues concerning pharmacy education.  You just experienced all their hard work at this meeting. The KeePosted Committee, responsible for publishing our news journal, is a subcommittee of this division.
  • The Government Affairs Division works closely with Jim Owens, ICHP’s legislative consultant. They followed 25 bills this session; 9 passed while 16 remained in committee, when the 97th legislative session ended.  Legislations and regulations as these impact public health, pharmacy and related practice. The division works with legislators, allied health professional organizations, consumer organizations and governmental agency personnel on all health care related public policy that improves pharmacy and facilitates the efforts of the pharmacist in helping their patients obtain the best results of medication therapies.
  • Responsibilities of the Division of Marketing Affairs include performing membership surveys; recruiting and retaining membership for the ICHP; developing and/or coordinating all communications and selected activities directed toward the general public and health professionals.
  • Organizational Affairs Division tasks include reviewing the Council’s organizational structure and operation, reviewing and analyzing constitutions and bylaws of affiliated Chapters to assure consistency with the goals, Constitution and Bylaws of the Council; and working with the Executive Vice President and President-elect to develop and maintain the contents of the Policy and Procedure manual of the Board of Directors.
  • As a division, Professional Affairs is charged with improving and promoting pharmacy practice in health-systems and affiliated facilities by developing standards, guides, competencies, and related materials that will promote rational patient-oriented drug therapy. The division is responsible for the bi-annual review of existing ICHP position statements. Their accomplishments include developing toolkits and adding medication safety topics as a regular column in KeePosted.

The Healthcare Puzzle

A different puzzle affects healthcare and  our profession.  Last year new healthcare reform was passed which included ACA, the Affordable Healthcare Act.  This was a change catalyst  in the healthcare model including the implementation and growth of the medical home model.  ASHP facilitated this change in the implementation of the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative, which began with a summit this past November. The model includes and reflects the progression of aspects of hospitals and health-system pharmacy practice within the last half century.  The areas the initiative focus on include creating a framework for the practice model, determining patient care services that should be consistently provided by departments of pharmacy, identifying emerging technologies that support the model, developing a template and implementing this model change. Hopefully you gained some insight at the PPMI Pearls session yesterday.

In addition, a priority issue which has become a critical part of our professional puzzle is the pharmacy workforce, which was a focus of Stan Kent’s keynote speech.

ICHP is a vibrant and financially sound organization with many “pieces” assembled.  I hope by reviewing the work of the divisions and committees you think about your part of the organizational puzzle.  Whether you bring your talents, experience and enthusiasm by serving as a member of a division or committee; run for election for an affiliate position, the time you spend will be rewarded with so much more.

But these are only a few sections of the puzzle. How will I fit into this? My goal is to continue to move forward with the hard work started by Carrie Sincak, with updating and implementing our strategic plan and focusing on ICHP’s mission “Advancing Excellence in the Practice of Pharmacy”. Some objectives of the plan include increasing membership and retention; increasing volunteerism of members within the organization and promoting leadership within the profession.

 I look forward to working with you as we move our organization forward by celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013 and fitting “the pieces of the puzzle” together.


  • Since 2003, the incoming ICHP president has chosen a theme for their term of office.  The theme is incorporated into ICHP’s spring and annual meetings and leadership retreat. 
  • Chris Rivers has chosen “puzzles” as her theme. 
  • Past themes include music, fire, running, photography, sports, construction, and most recently, connections.
  • Trish Wegner, ICHP Vice President of Professional Services, started the tradition of themes during her presidency.

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