Directly Speaking-50 Years of Caring -- ICHP Plans a Gala Celebration!

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
November 14, 2012

Discussions began back in 1961 to consolidate what was then two vibrant and dedicated Societies of Hospital Pharmacists in Illinois. In 1988 Sister Mary Louise Degenhart chronicled the first 25 plus years of what has eventually become the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists in KeePosted. In her history she reported that while discussions began in 1961, it wasn’t until October of 1963 when representatives of the Illinois Society of Hospital Pharmacists and the Southern Illinois Society of Hospital Pharmacists met in Lincoln, IL and "unanimously agreed to form a statewide society for the purpose of coordinating the activities of the individual chapters within the state." That was the first meeting of the Illinois Council of Hospital Pharmacists. The name came even later than that meeting, and how we got that name will be highlighted in future articles in KeePosted as we prepare to celebrate "50 Years of Caring!"

In 2013 there will be celebrations throughout the year that culminates at the ICHP Annual Meeting in September with a Gala. That Gala will be black tie optional; special guests invited; distinctive decorations, flowers and lights; dinner and dancing event that will celebrate and commemorate the 50 years of hospital and health-system pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students caring for their patients, their profession and each other! Plans for the Gala and all the other special events have been underway for several months and have involved a broad spectrum of ICHP member volunteers. Which, by the way, we have plenty of volunteers – so this is not a plea for more!

If you attended this year’s ICHP Annual Meeting you probably noticed the launch of our celebrations with the sale of commemorative coffee mugs, water bottles and polo shirts. The water bottles, mugs and shirts will be up on the ICHP website soon for sale throughout the year at very reasonable prices (basically our cost). The goal is to heighten awareness of what ICHP has accomplished over the past 50 years, what it is working on now and what it can achieve with a full cadre of engaged and committed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy student members.

You will be able to read all about ICHP’s early history in future issues of KeePosted as we reprint articles from the 1988 issues where they first appeared. You can learn why it’s ICHP and not ISHP like most of the other state societies. You can read about the early achievements in practice that we all now take for granted. If nothing else, you’ll be introduced to the pioneers of Illinois hospital pharmacy and hopefully get a better appreciation of their characters and their efforts.

This next year’s celebration theme "50 Years of Caring" fits the celebration perfectly. Tom Westerkamp, ICHP’s new installed President selected "caring" as his overarching Presidential theme for the year, and it works so well with the anniversary celebration. ICHP has always been an organization that focused on patient care. Our patients have been our top priority since I can remember, and hopefully you will see from future interviews with the pioneers that are still with us that way back in the 60s, "caring" was the driving force for them, too. It’s only fitting that the 49th President of ICHP should call on all of us to renew our commitment to caring throughout this year as we celebrate and plan programs and activities that carry that premise forward during all the observances.

I look forward to the activities of this year and the opportunity to look back while experiencing each of them to the early days of ICHP. Seeking to find the similarities and the differences, sharing with younger members the way things were and asking older members which they preferred. I’m not sure which will be their choice, the old days when life was slower, simpler and less complicated or the current day with rapid technology growth, high speed communications and complex therapies that save lives but can also cause bigger problems. Will it be the nostalgia or the excitement? I know I prefer both at different times and am truly glad I have experienced a large portion of each.

I encourage you, each ICHP member, to engage in the celebration over the next year. Spend some time exploring the history of Illinois hospital pharmacy over the past five decades and learn about those you made it possible for you to do what you do today. As practitioners seeking the best for our patients, we normally spend all our time looking forward to the next new piece of technology, next new medication treatment, next new policy and procedure. I know we will need to continue to do that, but take a few extra minutes and reflect on where Illinois hospital pharmacy has been and how we got here. That’s a good part of the fun of an anniversary celebration, and it’s an important step to take when planning for the future of the profession!

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