As a fourth year pharmacy student on an APPE rotation with ASHP, I had the distinct pleasure of attending ASHP Policy Week. For those who may not know, policy week is an annual event where appointed members of ASHP Councils and Commissions gather in Bethesda, Maryland to discuss key issues and important topics that are impacting the profession of pharmacy. The appointed members in attendance serve on the Commission on Affiliate Relations or one of five councils which include Education and Workforce Development, Pharmacy Practice, Pharmacy Management, Public Policy, and Therapeutics. The councils use this week to collaborate and develop recommendations to guide ASHP’s policies, position statements, and advocacy efforts.
Attending Policy Week as an APPE student gave me the opportunity to observe meaningful discussions across all five councils. Through this experience, I developed a better understanding of each council’s priorities and heard diverse perspectives from pharmacy practice leaders across the country. It was a unique experience to listen to and witness council members carefully deliberate recommendations and draft policy language. After ASHP Policy Week, the councils’ proposed recommendations and policies are reviewed and voted on by the ASHP Board of Directors and if passed, are sent to the ASHP House of Delegates for a final vote.
One of the most impactful experiences of Policy Week was attending ASHP’s Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students from across the country shared ASHP’s legislative priorities with members of Congress and provided insight on how these policies will directly affect the patients we serve as pharmacy care providers. One of the key messages for ASHP this year was surrounding expanding pharmacists’ ability to treat opioid use disorder. It was a memorable experience advocating for our profession alongside outstanding pharmacy colleagues.
ASHP Policy Week concluded with engaging conversations around the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in pharmacy. Each council considered potential impacts of AI within their respective areas of practice, highlighting both advantages and implications of this technology. As a pharmacy student in the early stages of my career, I valued these discussions as we, as a profession, explore ways to utilize this technology to enhance patient care and improve patient outcomes.
I’m grateful to have participated in ASHP Policy Week 2023! I encourage all students to find ways to shape the future of pharmacy through involvement in professional organizations whether on a local, state, or national level. For those who may be interested, each of the ASHP councils have a pharmacy student member offering a unique opportunity to represent the voice of learners, advocate for the profession, and influence ASHP policy.