The President's Message

by Carrie Sincak, ICHP President
November 12, 2010

It is truly an honor for me to be the 47th ICHP President. I thank you for electing me to serve you and most importantly our profession. Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge some very important people in my life, personally and professionally: my husband, Keith – my best friend and backbone of support who never asks why but how; my daughter Reagan who never ceases to make me laugh or wonder how a 3 year old can be so smart; Scott Meyers who introduced me to ICHP many years ago and encouraged me to get involved early on at the student level; Ann Jankiewicz, Trish Wegner, and Kathy Komperda for their constant friendship and support; my colleagues and friends at Midwestern University, with special thanks to Dr. Mary Lee, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer, Pharmacy and Health Sciences Education, Dr. Nancy Fjortoft, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Susan Winkler, Department Chair of Pharmacy Practice, for their unending mentorship and support; and of course the rest of the ICHP Board of Directors and staff, who are some of the most talented professionals I know that continuously give their time, energy, and commitment to ICHP.

I would also like to acknowledge Todd Karpinski and the outstanding job he did during this past year. His theme of running did keep the organization on a marathon pace – updating the organization’s strategic plan, maintaining a strong budget and leading by example.

Many of you who know me know that I am very much connected to my smart phone, emails, internet, and so on. How many of you are connected to your cell phone or smart phone? Connected to your pager? How many of you are connected to Facebook®? If you are not, I am sure that you are connected in many other facets of your life such as family, friends, spiritually and so on. But how many of you feel connected to your profession…our profession?

Our profession is forever changing. In 1974, the year I entered the world, the pharmacy practice model was a job of distribution. The majority of time was spent in the pharmacy where unit dose and pharmacy prepared IV admixtures existed in few hospitals and nearly all patient records were housed in a paper chart not readily available to pharmacists. Over the years, progress was made, and when I attended pharmacy school, the practice model shifted to clinical pharmacy due to advances in automation, smart pumps and computerized prescriber-order-entry (CPOE) systems. Technology freed us to focus on patient care. Our current practice model has further evolved into pharmacy specialists with sophisticated information systems where our profession allows us to provide optimal care to patients on all aspects of medication use and effectiveness. This evolution of our profession would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and forward thinking of pharmacists and technicians who were passionate and connected to their profession.

In March of 2010, new healthcare reform legislation was passed that will require our profession to create a new pharmacy practice model. Each hospital and health-system will be affected and there will be new payment methods and a new environment. The focus will be on high quality, effective care, and safety and quality will play an even more important role. What does this mean for our profession? It means we need to get connected or re-connected. By being involved, we can help define and mold the practice model to promote our value, allow innovative practices to be identified, build credibility by manifesting our commitment and involvement in healthcare reform, obtain provider status, and focus on quality and safety in high-risk, high-cost and complex medication therapy plans. Our profession should be universally recognized as essential providers of these health care services.

We need to ensure that there are enough qualified pharmacy leaders within the pharmacy profession who will take primary responsibility for educating technicians, students, peers, other health professionals, and patients about appropriate medication use. We need to increase the number of pharmacy graduates who undertake residency training and increase professional expectations that pharmacists will have a direct patient care role.

ICHP is a strong organization with members and leaders who accept these responsibilities during this pivotal time in our profession. In 2013 we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary of ICHP. That would not be possible without the efforts of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians before us who felt connected enough to their profession to pay it forward.

Progress is only possible when members take part in the dialogue. So I welcome you to bring your experience, commitment and enthusiasm to the conversation. This connection may be made through your involvement at your site or with ICHP; no commitment is too big or too small. Being connected allows the chance to grow as professionals who not only accept change but embrace it. Every member in this organization is important, and I encourage each of you to get one of your colleagues involved in ICHP. Connect with other members – others you don’t necessarily know. There is a great quote from Dr. Terry Schwinghammer, Department Chair of Pharmacy Practice at the University of West Virginia, “Join a professional organization. It is the rent you pay on the space you take up in the profession.” I encourage you to do more than rent; I encourage you to own it.

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