President's Message - Inaugural Address: Collaboration

by Linda Fred, ICHP President
November 5, 2014

It’s a great pleasure to be standing in front of you today as the organization’s next President. First, I’d like to thank Mike Fotis again for his excellent leadership of the organization this past year. I’d also like to recognize Scott and our ICHP staff for their support.

I graduated from college – the first time – 30 years ago now. I feel like I’ve literally grown up, professionally, with ICHP. The people in this room are my professional family. The professional connections we build throughout our careers have a profound effect on the paths those careers take and my path has certainly been driven, at times, by my ICHP connections. I’ve had the opportunity this weekend to share time with so many incredible practitioners of the profession – people who have served as the trend-setters, have set the standards for exceptional practice, have been the mentors, and who have been leaders not just within ICHP, or even throughout the state, but truly at a national level. It’s a tremendous honor to just be in the presence of the past and future leadership group of this organization, and I’m thankful every day for my ICHP family, who has helped me in my career just by setting that great example of professional practice and industry leadership.

I’ve listened to a fair number of these presidential inaugural addresses over the years, and I have a habit of thinking, “What grand plans would I lay out for the year ahead?” (So, for those of you who were panicking because I didn’t write this speech until last night – what you didn’t know was that I’ve been writing it over and over in my head for probably ten years.) One thought that is a perennial inclusion in the inaugural address in my head is, “What an exciting time it is to be a pharmacist!” And it’s true again this year. We are so fortunate to be in a profession that is so demanding and challenging and yet rewarding and so full of opportunity – and the types and number of opportunities just keep expanding for both our pharmacists and our technicians. As the healthcare dollars continue to contract, there’s greater demand for every member of the healthcare team to operate at the top of their scope and interact successfully with every other member of the team.

That leads me really to the meat of my address. One of my first official duties as President was to select a theme for my term. I’ve actually been joking about that and have told several people this weekend that about all I’ve done as President so far is pick themes and go to parties…I feel like the organization’s newly elected Social Chair. But it came to me that being the Social Chair is definitely part of my responsibility, and also consistent with my chosen theme, which is collaboration.

We’ve heard quite a bit about collaboration this weekend. In our first presentation on Thursday morning, we heard about a great collaboration by an Emergency Room Pharmacist helping provide a novel medication delivery system for patients needing emergency care but with no IV access available. Dr. Rita Shane talked about team-based care and medical homes and the importance of collaboration in providing optimal care to our patients across the continuum. During the smart pump presentations on Thursday, the presenters talked about the pump selection and implementation teams and what an integral part the pharmacists played. At our House of Delegates meeting Thursday night, we had a delegate recommendation about reaching out to our professional peers in non-traditional settings. A new plank in the organization’s strategic plan is to look for common ground with other professional groups such as those representing hospitalists and nurse practitioners. Then we heard about some model collaborative practice settings from the speakers who are in the hepatitis clinics. At our Town Hall Meeting yesterday, we had a great start to what must inevitably be a much bigger conversation about ICHP’s relationship with IPhA and what that should look like in the future, and whether we can truly be “one voice” for the profession in the state of Illinois.

Collaboration is our new imperative. We have to collaborate with our patients and their in-home caregivers as the costs of readmissions threaten health system reimbursement. We have to collaborate with our social services and case management providers to address the non-medical needs that affect the medical outcomes because if patients can’t afford their medications, they will come back to the hospital and probably sicker than when we saw them the first time. We have to collaborate with our administrators to continue to demonstrate our value in current services and to identify new service lines where pharmacists are uniquely prepared to improve patient outcomes. We have to collaborate with our colleges of pharmacy because they are training our future leaders. We have to collaborate with other professional associations both within and outside pharmacy in order to achieve our professional goals – particularly recognition as providers.

And finally, we must collaborate with each other to advance our practice. One of the great strengths of this organization is our willingness to share ideas with one another. I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to encourage all of you to be active participants in your own – and our collective – professional development journey. I have a saying that I’m fond of, and I’m sure my employees are sick of hearing it, but you’re a new audience, so I’m going to share it with you today. Decisions are made by the people who show up.  So, my charge to you today is…show up. Join a committee, or submit a poster, or go to a mixer. Do something! Take that first step toward active membership. Be part of, without a doubt, one of the best professional pharmacist associations in the country.

I’m looking forward to a great year as your President. I hope you will join me!

Thank you.

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