Print This Article
by Kathryn Schultz, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP; Malignant Hematology Medical Science Liaison; Genentech; President of ICHP
First, I would like to thank Jen Arnoldi for her leadership and guidance over the past year. It has been an exceptionally challenging year to serve as president for the organization, but Jen has handled it with poise, professionalism and by always putting members first while coming up with ways to continue to build bridges even though we are not physically together as we used to be.
Second, I would like to thank the many who have impacted my career in so many ways. Starting with my cousin, Jim Dorociak, who first introduced the concept of pharmacy as a career path to a fresh college graduate working in a molecular biology lab who was wondering what in the world to do with a bachelor’s degree in science that would let her speak with people instead of talking to cell cultures and pipettes. To my fellow pharmacy school students and professors from Midwestern University College of Pharmacy – where I learned the importance of didactic and experiential education as well as the importance of professional involvement – and where I first joined ICHP. I would also like to recognize and thank my co-residents, friends and colleagues from Rush University Medical Center and the University of Michigan. I wish I could be with you all in person this year and thank each and every one of you! There are just too many people to name and the impact of those experiences cannot even be put into words to describe how much they have shaped who I am as a clinician, a researcher, an advocate and a person. And finally, my ICHP network. ICHP has become a constant throughout my time in pharmacy school, residency and as a pharmacist. It is the backbone of pharmacy professionals banding together to advance the practice of pharmacy for ourselves and for our patients.
I think that’s a key take home point from this past year or year-plus, really. We can’t do this alone, there are many ways we interact and impact each other even when we are not working or meeting side by side, but we have built the bridges needed to work together. We have this common network to reach out to, collaborate with, and lean on both professionally and personally. Thinking about the integral pieces of the pharmacy, we have technicians - the gears that keep things churning in many pharmacy practices day after day. We have students - eager to learn as well as keeping preceptors on their toes! We have residents - striving for additional on-the-job education after pharmacy school as well as learning how to practice in a variety of new environments. We have pharmacists in many different areas of practice and settings, all coming together to teach each other (as we saw over these few days of the annual meeting) and pushing the boundaries of new and innovative patient care. Within these groups of collaborators, we have team captains and mentors - both formal and informal - providing history, guidance, experience and encouragement to continue to elevate the profession of pharmacy.
The thing is, we’re all in this together. Every single one of us. Whether it be compounding IVs, developing clinical pathways, providing education, overseeing clinical trials, planning and organizing conversion of units to care for surging needs or administration of vaccines! Everybody has an important role to fulfill. Everybody contributes to the greater good of the whole group. Everybody is in!
For those of you who know me, you are not surprised that my theme is a quote from Joe Maddon, who was the manager for the Chicago Cubs during their triumph in 2016 winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years! Joe Maddon believed in his team members, each and every one of them whether they were winning a championship or playing day to day games. Everybody In! He believed in the message to put the group ahead of the individuals.
That Cubs fans’ eternal optimism helps me to find the silver lining in anything. While it’s been a bit more challenging in this past year, we have shown what pharmacy can do as a profession when we band together. While sports usually make great analogies, I do think an inspirational non-sports story can provide an even better example to demonstrate the great strides that can be made in medicine when everybody is in.
There is a local story that depicts this essence of banding together people of different backgrounds and strengths with a common goal. It involves the University of Illinois. Their goal was to develop an efficient and effective screening test and tracing protocol to allow for the safe opening of University of Illinois schools. Not only did they develop an economical and expedient new screening test in record time, but they were able to test it and develop a protocol that will expand access to this test to school systems throughout the state of Illinois. They had chemists and molecular biologists working with research laboratories at the veterinary school, students and faculty providing saliva test samples and manufacturers collaborating with the suppliers for PCR testing reagents. EVERYBODY was in. Earlier this year it was reported that they had processed over 1.5 million tests, had received emergency use authorization, and had been able to partner with seven high-capacity labs across the state to help process the tests on a larger scale.1,2,3
Over the past year, we’ve also seen large phase 3 trials for vaccines start, finish, provide data for FDA review, and receive full approval for prevention of infection, hospitalization, and death. That timeline is unheard of. Additionally, many others have pushed the envelope by looking to repurpose available drugs and new molecules for the treatment of SARS-CoV2. Pharmacists, technicians, students, and residents have shown what can be done on the front lines to provide vaccines to the masses, while simultaneously caring for those who are ill and hospitalized for various conditions. In the state of Illinois, 6.64 million people are now vaccinated. This is what can be accomplished when we put the greater good of the group ahead of individuals.
I have another example of what can be accomplished when Everybody is in - this Annual Conference! The staff at ICHP, along with the Annual Meeting planning committee, have exemplified the theme for the next year by converting this conference to a successful virtual experience in an incredibly short amount of time. This couldn’t have been done unless Everybody (was) In! I want to give a special thank you to the ICHP staff: Maggie DiMarco Allen, Trish Wegner, Heidi Sunday, Melissa Dyrdahl, Kim Anderson, Jo Haley, Matthew Smith and Chris Crank along with the Annual Meeting Planning committee: Matt Allsbrook, Abby Kahaleh, Daniel Majerczyk, Becky Ohrmund, Marianne Pop, Natalie Tucker, Janki Vyas and the chair, David Martin. I seriously couldn’t have planted a better illustration to kick off next year’s theme if I tried!
So, what will we do next? What can we do next? What do we want to set our focus on to continue to show the world what the profession of pharmacy can achieve and continue to advocate for patient care? There really are no limits when Everybody is In.
- How one university built a COVID-19 screening system https://cen.acs.org/biological-chemistry/infectious-disease/one-university-built-COVID-19/98/i42 [accessed 14 September 2021].
- Saliva-Based Coronavirus Test Developed by U of I Puts Illinois on ‘Cutting Edge,' Officials Say. https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/coronavirus/saliva-based-coronavirus-test-developed-by-u-of-i-puts-illinois-on-cutting-edge-officials-say/2325098/ [accessed 13 September 2021].
- University of Illinois saliva-based COVID 19 test gets FDA authorization https://abc7chicago.com/amp/covid-test-ilinois-testing-university-of-illinois/10380448/ [accessed 15 September 2021].