What a fantastic second week here at ASHP Headquarters! There were over 120 members in Bethesda this week due to Policy Week. It was not the regular 8 am to 5 pm at the office; it was early mornings and long days filled with great conversations, lectures, advocacy, and networking. As a student on rotation with ASHP, I had the unique opportunity of participating in Policy Week and observing the discussion of various ASHP Policy Councils.
ASHP’s Policy Week is where appointed ASHP members from across the country come to together to discuss important topics in today’s healthcare with the purpose of initiating ASHP professional practice policies around these issues. At Policy Week, there were 5 Councils focused on different aspects of pharmacy such as public policy, management, education and workforce, pharmacy practice, and therapeutics. I spent a lot of time with the Council on Education and Workforce Development because many of the topics that were discussed involved students, so I was able to easily relate. It was very rewarding to see our leaders in pharmacy express their viewpoints and debate about solutions to various issues. Each Council member brings a different background of pharmacy to the table, so it was interesting to learn from their experiences. There is a specific seat on each Council and Commission for a student, so I encourage you to apply by November 15th for the 2020-2021 term if you are interested in this unique opportunity!
Wednesday was 95 degrees and sunny in Washington DC, but we all dressed up in our business suits because it was Legislative Day. We each had meetings scheduled with our members of Congress to discuss important bills and topics related to healthcare and share our stories of why we are in support or against each issue. Overall, ASHP members conducted 159 meetings with Congressional representatives. It was such a neat experience being able to walk to Capitol Hill and discuss federal legislation and national issues. I had the pleasure of joining pharmacists from Ohio to speak with our members of Congress, and they were all great role models of how to express our concerns and what our ask is from our members of Congress on these important issues. We also had a break in between meetings, so we took a tour of the Capitol Building! For a summary of Legislative Day, here is a News Story for more details on the advocacy issues that were discussed.
I am grateful I was able to be at ASHP Headquarters during Policy Week and to meet some of our leaders in pharmacy. This experience was very rewarding, and I hope to one day become a Council member and participate in the conversation of where pharmacy and healthcare should be moving towards.
Policy Week is over but the conversations have just begun!