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August 31, 2018

Pharmacy Technician Untangles Knots in the Supply Chain

This article is part of a series featuring ASHP’s pharmacy technician members and their valuable contributions to the profession. Check out ASHP’s Pharmacy Technician Forum for more information about efforts to advance the pharmacy technician workforce, as well as ways for pharmacy technicians to become more involved in ASHP.

 

AS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN WHO WORKS AS A  SUPPLY CHAIN CONSULTANT for McKesson Pharmacy Optimization, Cindy Jeter, CPh.T., solves problems. She uses 20 years of pharmacy expertise, her Lean Six Sigma training, and specialized interviewing techniques to help hospital pharmacies across the country optimize workflow, reduce drug expense, and maintain optimal medication inventory levels.

 

Cindy Jeter, CPh.T.

Super Sleuth

On one assignment, Jeter was asked to use her supply chain knowledge to solve a mystery at a large teaching hospital in Texas. More than half of the IV bags prepared in the hospital’s pharmacy were being sent back to the pharmacy at the end of the day. “This meant that roughly 400 bags of IV solution were unused, resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of medication being thrown in the trash every day,” explained Jeter. “In addition, pharmacy technicians spent four to five hours every day updating the computer system to make sure patients weren’t being charged for unused IV medication.”

After conducting an in-depth analysis, she identified one major cause, observing that when patients were moved to a different area of the hospital, their IV medications weren’t moving with them. The medication was being reordered once the patient was on the new floor and the IV medications on the old floor were then returned to the pharmacy. With more than 250 intensive care unit beds, the number of transfers among floors each day was substantial.

Once Jeter identified the problem and the causes, pharmacy leadership revised their processes and reduced IV bag returns to the pharmacy by 91%. “Consequently, they saved a lot of money, and staff morale increased because technicians didn’t have to spend so much time at the computer updating patient charges,” said Jeter. The pharmacy staff appreciated that I did the investigative work and removed the problem from their plates so they could concentrate on patient care.”

 

Why Pharmacy?

The satisfaction that comes with solving problems is one of the reasons why Jeter went into pharmacy. Jeter, who resides in Springdale, Ark., has a bachelor’s degree in general science from West Texas A&M University. She landed a job as a pharmacy technician at a community hospital pharmacy in 1998. “I didn’t know anything about pharmacy,” she recalled “But they were willing to teach me and invest time in my development for a six-month trial period.” She passed the National Pharmacy Technician Certification exam and, with her aptitude for business, she found her niche in supply chain pharmacy.

Reflecting upon her career accomplishments, Jeter is most proud of winning an innovation award for a McKesson competition in October 2017. The award will fund an online training course for pharmacy buyers, inventory coordinators and supply chain. It is comprised of courses in key areas that are pertinent to pharmacy purchasing such as inventory management, drug shortages, purchasing analytics, emergency preparedness, and pharmacy regulations. “There is a lack of formal training for this vital staff position,” she said. “The world of pharmacy purchasing has increased in complexity over the last decade and requires more skills than before to navigate the challenges associated with pharmacy purchasing.”

 

Inventory Control

In addition to solving supply chain mysteries, Jeter finds fulfillment in helping pharmacy purchasers with inventory management. “In a hospital pharmacy, it’s imperative that you have needed medications in stock,” she said. “You also need to be prepared to treat many patients at the same time. This differs from retail pharmacies, which don’t have to be equipped with products for emergency situations such as a mass shooting or traffic accidents.”

By helping hospital pharmacies control inventory costs, Jeter believes she saves pharmacy jobs. She explained that there are generally three expenses in a hospital pharmacy: medications, staff compensation, and automation expenses. When hospitals are struggling financially, they either have to cut drug costs or employees. “It’s rewarding to help customers more efficiently manage inventory so they can maintain a full staff,” she said.

Jeter is also passionate about being an advocate for pharmacy purchasers. She noted that purchasers have a difficult job trying to manage drug shortages and provide for patient needs. “It takes a lot of dedicated time and effort to keep the hospital pharmacy supplied with the right drugs at the right time,” Jeter said. “Pharmacy purchasers do not always receive training or professional development opportunities.”

She added that being a purchaser is a complex, complicated, and demanding job. Purchasers have tremendous responsibility in providing for patients and do not have the option of simply being out of a medication or a product. Bringing awareness to the position is critical.

 

Advanced Opportunities

With pharmacists taking on more direct patient care roles, there are more advanced opportunities for pharmacy technicians than ever before. Examples include being a supply chain consultant like Jeter, a pharmacy purchaser, a data analyst, a business manager, or a quality assurance specialist.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be a 12% job growth rate for pharmacy technicians between now and 2026. “It’s an exciting time for pharmacy technicians to find their niche,” Jeter said. Her best advice for technicians is to be an advocate for yourself, make a plan to reach your goals, and let your manager know what you’d like to achieve.

 

ASHP Endeavors

Jeter, an ASHP member since 2003, finds the organization’s education and networking opportunities invaluable. “Being able to present to my peers about projects I have worked on has helped me increase my leadership skills,” she said.

From 2010 to 2014, Jeter served on the Section Advisory Group on Pharmacy Support Services. As chairwoman of the group from 2011 to 2012, she advocated for the development of new opportunities for pharmacy technicians. She is excited about ASHP’s Pharmacy Technician Forum, which developed from these discussions, and the future of pharmacy technicians as integral members of ASHP.

More recently, Jeter served from 2015 to 2017 on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Task Force for Advanced Technician Certification, which is working to advance opportunities for technicians to become certified in expanded roles.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a pharmacy technician and involved in ASHP,” Jeter concluded. “There are practically endless ways technicians can help patients and provide important care.”

By Karen Appold

 

# # #

March 18, 2016

Residency Match Day 2016

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL who matched during the first of two residency Matches! For those who did not match in the First Match, please plan to participate in the Second Match, as there are still a number of unfilled positions at excellent programs for you to take advantage of.

The Match this year was another great success, with 3,940 individuals matching with residency programs. The number of residency programs continues to grow, with another 322 residency positions added to the 2016 Match. It is ASHP’s explicit goal to continue to work with residency programs and the profession to increase the number of residency positions in the years to come.

It is fantastic to see the growing interest in residency training as well as the demand for residency-trained pharmacists. Residency training has been a powerful way to help position pharmacists as knowledgeable and credible leaders on the patient care team. It has also helped pharmacists take on even greater responsibility for medication therapy management and overall patient care.

I am still amazed when I reflect on the vision that leaders like ASHP’s former CEO Dr. Joseph A. Oddis had for the profession when ASHP created the concept of residency training more than 50 years ago. I believe it is safe to say that residency training was a major driver in the evolution and advancement of pharmacy as a clinical and patient-oriented profession. We should all be thankful to those early ASHP leaders who acted on their vision for the profession many decades before residency training was in such high demand.

I know that all of you as new PGY1 and PGY2 residents will take every opportunity offered to you during this exciting and very rigorous year of training that you are about to embark on. The experience will likely be among the more challenging in your career; however, the fruits of your labor will pay great dividends in terms of the outcomes you are able to help your patients achieve and the contributions you will make as a vital member of the interprofessional team. Further, the leadership and interpersonal skills you will gain during your training will help you to be not only a leader in the profession, but also a strong advocate of the patients you serve.

Please know that regardless of where you practice — whether in an ambulatory clinic, hospital, or other patient care setting — ASHP is your professional home as a patient care provider. Also, as a resident, please plan to continue to read and contribute to AJHP Residents Edition. ASHP is the only organization with this exceptional peer-reviewed platform for pharmacy residents, and its success is fully attributed to you and the great work you will be doing as a resident. Please also make sure to stay involved in the ASHP New Practitioners Forum, which provides a multitude of resources and opportunities for you to be involved in ASHP.

Again, congratulations to all of you, and good luck in your residency. I look forward to seeing you at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas in December!

Paul

 

# # #

March 7, 2016

2+2 Curriculum Ensures Broad Patient Care Experience

Filed under: Current Issue,Feature Stories,Managers,Students,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Kathy Biesecker @ 7:01 pm

Touro pharmacy students worked with patients during the Harlem Healthy Soul Festival in September 2015.

A NON-TRADITIONAL “2+2” CURRICULUM at the Touro School of Pharmacy in Harlem, N.Y., is paying big dividends for students and their future employers. Founded in 2008, Touro has differentiated itself by requiring students to spend twice the amount of typical time in clinical rotations during their four-year Pharm.D. experience.

Traditional “3+1” pharmacy programs designate a single year for clinical rotations after three years of coursework.

Touro’s “2+2” curriculum, modeled on medical school education, offers two years of classroom instruction followed by two years of clinical experience. The expanded exposure to real-world practice creates more opportunities for students to impress potential employers and helps them narrow their postgraduate and professional options.

“The additional rotations helped me discover my professional interests, fine-tune my career plans, and ultimately decide that I wanted to pursue an academic career,” said Emmanuel Knight, Pharm.D., a 2015 Touro graduate and now an academic fellow at the school.

“And if you make an impact at a clinical site, they’re more likely to consider you for residencies, fellowships, and jobs.”

Pharmacy Immersion Helps Chart Professional Paths

During the two-year clinical component, students complete six-week rotations at affiliate sites to learn first-hand about areas such as ambulatory care, general medicine, and institutional and community pharmacy practice. To pack the equivalent of six semesters of coursework into just four terms, Touro’s semesters last 19 weeks instead of the usual 13 to 15 weeks.

Tova Berman

Tova Berman

Tova Berman, a third-year pharmacy student, noted that the early immersion in fieldwork allowed her to map out a professional path with greater confidence.

“By starting my clinical rotations in my P3 year, I have been able to think about my future pharmacy career in much more concrete terms,” said Berman. “Also, while classroom learning is an extremely important component of our education, experiencing hands-on clinical work at an early stage has helped bring the material to life. I see it for myself on a daily basis: various illnesses, medication management, and how pharmacists play an integral role in patient care.”

Touro stresses that every clinical rotation is an opportunity for a potential employer or residency program to assess a student, according to Ronnie Moore, Pharm.D., assistant dean of clinical affairs and associate professor at Touro. The augmented rotation timetable also gives students a chance to repeat rotations at desired clinical sites.

“The extra time that students spend on rotation gives the staff at those sites a good gauge on students’ individual capabilities,” Dr. Moore said, adding that the amount of information that students retain grows exponentially in an actual practice setting.

Ronnie Moore, Pharm.D., assistant dean of clinical affairs and associate professor at Touro.

Ronnie Moore, Pharm.D.

By the second half of their third year, he added, most students are already honing in on a particular practice area. They also still have plenty of time left to choose additional rotations that best prepare them to meet their goals.

That was true for Touro alumnus Michelle Friedman, Pharm.D. When Dr. Friedman began pharmacy school, she had intended to become a community pharmacist. But during her second year of clinical work, she gravitated toward clinical pharmacy. After graduation and two years of residency, Dr. Friedman became a clinical faculty member at Touro and a preceptor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., for students who are completing their internal medicine rotations.

“My early rotations opened my eyes to new experiences and helped me decide what I wanted to do,” she said. “What I’m doing today is the best of both worlds for me because I love teaching, and I love clinical pharmacy.”

A Commitment to Public Health, Service

Organizations that hire Touro graduates say they, too, benefit from students’ additional clinical exposure.

“The Touro student we hired had already completed multiple rotations with us,” said Hinnah Farooqi, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy at Harlem Hospital Center. “She became familiar with our staff and our work environment, which shortened her training time and helped her become readily accepted as a colleague.”

Touro students participated in the American Hearth Association Heart and Stroke Walk in September 2015.

Another facet of Touro’s hands-on ethos is the school’s curricular obligation to public health and community service.

“We strongly believe that a student’s education is greatly enhanced when it reaches beyond the four walls of the school into the surrounding community,” said Dr. Moore.

For instance, among their various service work commitments, Berman assisted at an immunization clinic at a local senior center.

Dr. Friedman and fellow students spoke to Staten Island high schoolers about drug abuse, and Dr. Knight helped to set up a volunteer program in which residents at a long-term care facility were transported to and from concerts and religious services.

“We had many opportunities to do those types of things during our last two years when we didn’t have to focus on coursework,” he said. “It allowed me to give something back to the community.”

–By Steve Frandzel

January 22, 2016

Drug Price Hikes and Shortages Have Similar Roots, Experts Say

Filed under: AJHP News,Current Issue,Uncategorized — Tags: , — jmilford @ 11:13 am

photo by Matthew LesterEXPERTS SAY THAT RECENT INCREASES in the prices of off-patent generic drugs are closely tied to the drug shortages that have plagued hospitals for years.

“They have the same root cause: a lack of competition in certain parts of the generic market,” said Gerard Anderson, professor of health policy and management, medicine, and international health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Anderson was one of four experts who testified at the Senate Special Committee on Aging’s December 9, 2015, hearing on the cause of sudden price spikes affecting off-patent medications.

“The first indication we had of problems in the generic market were not prices; they were shortages. Hospitals were having serious problems filling prescriptions,” Anderson said. “The second manifestation we’re getting now is the higher prices for certain generic drugs.”

Anderson said that without competition, drug companies “can raise their prices several thousand percent simply overnight.”

Several companies have done just that, as exemplified by price increases for the pyrimethamine product Daraprim, which was developed in the 1950s and is used to treat Toxoplasma gondii infections.

“In 2005, a patient . . . with toxoplasmosis could expect to spend $70 on a typical course of Daraprim,” said Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the committee’s ranking member.

This type of arbitrary and unpredictable inflation is not sustainable for our hospitals.

She said that in 2010, after CorePharma bought the rights to the drug, the cost of a course of treatment rose to “roughly $900.”

“In August of this year, the rights of Daraprim were once again sold, this time to Turing Phamaceuticals,” which again raised the price, McCaskill said. “An almost 1200% increase in 2010 was bad enough, but an additional 5500% price increase on a 62-year-old drug shocks the conscience.”

David W. Kimberlin, codirector of the pediatric infectious diseases division at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, said Turing’s price hike has seriously affected the ability to care for infants and immunocompromised people with serious or life-threatening toxoplasmosis.

Not only has pyrimethamine’s price risen astronomically, he said, the product is now available only through a specialty pharmacy that will not sell the drug to compounding pharmacies. Kimberlin said this has disrupted the hospital’s established relationship with the pharmacy that compounds a liquid formulation of pyrimethamine from the commercially available tablets.

Kimberlin, a past president of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, said the infectious disease organization is aware of “at least 30-plus cases where people could not, in a timely fashion, get pyrimethamine” because of price or distribution network issues.

Turing, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin, Inc., and Rodelis Therapeutics are the initial focus of the Senate committee’s investigation of companies that purchase the rights to off-patent medications and then greatly increase their price.

The tactics employed by these drug companies were universally reviled during the hearing, with speakers describing the actions as arbitrage, hostage taking, ransom, price gouging, and, in the words of committee chair Susan M. Collins of Maine, “just plain wrong.”

Collins said additional hearings will be scheduled to examine the problem and seek solutions.

Erin R. Fox, director of the drug information service for University of Utah Health Care in Salt Lake City, told committee members that the prices for nitroprusside and isoproterenol increased dramatically after the rights to the drugs were sold to Valeant in 2015.

“When we became aware of these new price increases, we calculated the potential impact to our pharmacy budget . . . if we continued to purchase the same amount of each drug,” Fox said. She said that compared with 2014, the additional cost to the health system would be “$1.6 million for isoproterenol [and] almost $300,000 for nitroprusside.”

“This type of arbitrary and unpredictable inflation is not sustainable for our hospitals, especially when we receive capitated payments for most of our patients,” Fox said.

She said hospitals handle such high prices in the same way they do drug shortages: by rationing drugs, stocking smaller quantities, and devoting “huge hours of manpower” to managing the problem.

Fox said University of Utah Health Care has not found a way to appreciably cut its use of nitroprusside.

But the health system responded to the increased price for isoproterenol by removing the medication from approximately 100 crash carts, where it had been freely available for emergencies. Now, she said, pharmacists bring the medication with them when responding to codes, which has reduced the routine use of the drug.

She said physicians strongly supported the change.

“They were very willing to work with us,” Fox said. “Our physicians were appalled. They were so frustrated to learn that these old medications that they had given forever had just skyrocketed in price.”

Fox said she’s unaware of any instances in which patients have been harmed because their physicians no longer have unfettered access to isoproterenol. But she lamented that the change in access was driven by cost instead of clinical factors.

“It is concerning when you have to make changes based on price alone,” Fox said.

Mark Merritt, president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) in Washington, D.C., said the business strategy driving the price hikes affects a relatively small number of drugs but is destabilizing reimbursement practices surrounding those medications.

“This is really a pretty new development that we’ve had to deal with rapidly,” Merritt said.

Merritt said PCMA hasn’t found a silver bullet to solve the problem. But he praised the decision of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, a compounding pharmacy, to offer a low-cost alternative to Turing’s pyrimethamine product.

Imprimis has announced that it will, upon receipt of a prescription, provide customized formulations of pyrimethamine–leucovorin priced at “$0.99 per capsule.”

Several committee members asked the panelists whether compounding pharmacies could play a greater role in preventing price hikes affecting off-patent drugs.

Fox emphasized that compounded products are critically important for some individual patients, but she said compounding is not a “blanket, one-size-fits-all solution” to the problem of price hikes.

“Compounding is not perfect. Patients have been harmed by poorly compounded drugs,” she said.

Other potential solutions raised by the committee and panelists included speeding FDA’s review of marketing applications for older generic drugs that have no competition in the marketplace and instituting price regulations for these drugs akin to the regulations that affect public utilities.

ASHP has submitted an official statement to the committee about the issues Congress is investigating.

“We are eager to learn more about why these price spikes are occurring and to explore potential policy options and market-based solutions that may exist to minimize the likelihood of this occurring in the future,” said Kasey K. Thompson, ASHP vice president of policy, planning and communications, in a press release accompanying the statement.

–By Kate Traynor, reprinted with permission from AJHP (February 1, 2016; volume 73, pages 98-99)

 

 

December 21, 2015

Second Chance for Residency Match

John A. Armitstead, M.S.,R.Ph., FASHP

John A. Armitstead, M.S.,R.Ph., FASHP

NEXT TO GRADUATION, Match Day is likely the most anticipated day on the calendars of soon-to-be pharmacy graduates. Years of hard work and months of pursuing just the right residency position culminate in the one email that reveals the next stop on a student’s pharmacy journey.

Residencies are fertile ground for passing on the knowledge and skills needed for contemporary pharmacy practice, so I’m encouraged to see so many student pharmacists pursue this important training and the accompanying surge in new residency programs. But even with a record number of applicants and residency positions participating in the 2015 Pharmacy Residency Matching Program, there were nearly 400 unfilled positions and more than 1,750 unmatched applicants.

Traditionally, this gap was bridged during the post-Match Scramble, where applicants and positions call or email their contacts in an effort to find a position or candidate. In an effort to further optimize this process for individuals who are seeking residencies, ASHP plans to institute a Second Residency Match. The Second Match will ensure that student pharmacists and PGY1 residents seeking a second-year residency position will have another structured opportunity to connect with open positions. The new Second Match will help level the playing field and will provide an orderly application process.

The list of programs participating in the Match is now available online. Applicants who do not match in Phase I can submit applications to participate in Phase II, the Second Match. Results of the Second Match will be announced in early April. The post-Match Scramble won’t entirely go away, but we believe that the new Second Match will help ensure that a predictable and fair process is available for both students and residency programs.

Next spring, as pharmacy graduates are gearing up for their commencement exercises, the next steps of their careers as patient care providers will be clearer, and the profession can look forward to a new corps of practitioners who are well prepared to fulfill our mission of providing optimal care for patients. Good luck to you, the pharmacy students and graduates. I wish you all the best in your perfect match for your residency program.

 

November 12, 2015

Future Pharmacy Leaders Making a Difference Today

Bryan C. McCarthy, Jr., Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS

Bryan C. McCarthy, Jr., Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS

WHEN BRYAN C. McCARTHY, JR., Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS, and David P. Reardon, Pharm.D., BCPS, first met at the Minnesota Pharmacy Residency Research Forum in 2010, they realized that they had the same enthusiasm for pharmacy and the same desire to change the profession for the better.

What they didn’t know was that over the next three years, they would dive into the world of publications management and dedicate thousands of hours to an effort that would give pharmacy residents a powerful way to share their research: The Journal of Health-System Pharmacy Residents (JHPR), now AJHP Residents Edition.

A Winding Road to a Different Future

Dr. McCarthy, now interim director of ambulatory care pharmacy services at the University of Chicago Medicine and program director of the newly established PGY1-2 pharmacy administration residency, graduated from the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Pharmacy. He then landed in Minneapolis as Hennepin County Medical Center’s first PGY1/PGY2 pharmacy administration resident. However, Dr. McCarthy almost didn’t have a residency to go to in the first step of his career path. That’s because he had interned in two settings, CVS and South County Hospital in Narragansett, R.I., which would have sent him down another career path entirely.

“The URI College of Pharmacy program is largely a community pharmacy-driven curriculum, attributable in part to the CVS brand influence in the college and area,” said Dr. McCarthy. “It’s also near the ocean without many large academic medical centers or hospitals nearby, so internship opportunities tended toward community practice or long-term care.”

Though the experiences with CVS and South County were valuable, Dr. McCarthy sought more, and his preceptors encouraged him in his quest. One arranged a meeting between Dr. McCarthy and AstraZeneca Regional Clinical Science Manager Raymond Mastriani, Pharm.D., M.B.A. Dr. Mastriani assumed a mentoring role and suggested that a residency would serve Dr. McCarthy well. However, by that point, residency applications were already due.

When he later found himself unmatched, Dr. McCarthy sent emails to the 150 hospitals with open residency positions. Three responded, including Hennepin, which had filled the position he was inquiring about but had just received funding for its pharmacy administration residency.

“They were impressed that I had exposure to profit-and-loss statements and medication utilization evaluations, and I wouldn’t have had that exposure if my rotation preceptors hadn’t been so flexible with my interests,” Dr. McCarthy said. “I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and my landing at Hennepin is a testament to that.”

David P. Reardon, Pharm.D., BCPS

David P. Reardon, Pharm.D., BCPS

Dr. Reardon, now a solid organ transplant clinical pharmacist at Yale-New Haven Hospital, arrived in Minneapolis with slightly more breathing room, as he had been matched with Mayo Clinic Health System at Mankato for a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency. But even that was a bit of a surprise.

Not only had Dr. Reardon decided to apply for matching “at the 11th hour,” but he was also already on the path to retail pharmacy, having worked as a pharmacy technician for a Keaveny Drug store and interned at two Wal-Mart pharmacies.

“I didn’t have a lot of hospital experience, and suddenly I was at one of the top hospitals in the world,” Dr. Reardon said. “It shows what can happen when you take yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Diving into the World of Clinical Publishing

While completing his residency, Dr. McCarthy also pursued a master of science in social and administrative sciences. The residency put him in a position to notice an unmet need in pharmacy, and his work on his master’s put him in a position to find a solution.

“As part of the accreditation process for pharmacy residents, you have to write a manuscript, but I quickly found that many of the high-profile pharmacy journals aren’t publishing a lot of resident research,” Dr. McCarthy said. “Since there are more than 1,000 residents in hundreds of residency programs in the U.S., I wondered where all of their manuscripts were going.”

Dr. McCarthy said that academic publishing models came up often in casual conversations with fellow students and professors in his master’s program, and one night everything came together in a eureka moment.

“I was sitting at my desk one night doing homework, and it hit me that we could have a magazine for pharmacy residents perhaps called Resident Rx, and later expand that to Resident MD, Resident RN, and so on,” said Dr. McCarthy. “Then the name—Journal of Health-System Pharmacy Residents—came into my head and that was it.”

Collaborate. Network. Go out and experience whatever you can experience, and if someone gives you an opportunity, the answer should always be ‘yes.’

After mulling it over for a month, Dr. McCarthy set about making arrangements. “It was really like a full-time job,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Reardon’s friendship had grown from simply networking to recreational get-togethers such as ice-fishing and nights out in Minneapolis. In July 2011, Dr. Reardon moved to Boston to complete a PGY2 critical care residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, but the two met up again at the ASHP Leaders Conference in October 2011, where they decided to work together on the journal.

“I knew I needed David’s help. I just didn’t know exactly how yet, so we started off by tag-teaming it from the Leaders Conference,” Dr. McCarthy said.

“Bryan identified the niche for the journal, and as he told me about it, the wheels started spinning,” Dr. Reardon said. “How big could it be? What would be the scope? Who will be involved? How do you get it going? What is the ultimate goal? We wanted residents to have a place to publish their work, but also a place where everyone, not just residents, could read what is being done at the resident level.”

From there, it was a matter of Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Reardon rolling up their sleeves and digging in. The journal’s website went live in December 2011, with options for submissions, subscriptions, and requests for volunteers to be on the editorial board. The duo reached out to residency program directors and deans of colleges of pharmacies in a massive, targeted campaign to raise awareness.

The journal took off. It received 200 submissions in the first year alone, and more than 200 in the first half of the second year. But by the end of the second volume, the demands of publishing began to outstrip the time and resources Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Reardon, and the editorial board had to devote to it.

“We started to wonder how much more of this we could actually do ourselves,” Dr. Reardon said.

By the second half of 2014, they had their answer. With their careers blossoming, it was time to turn to an organization with the resources to meet the demands of publishing a quarterly peer-reviewed journal: ASHP.

Transitioning to a New Paradigm

Through a series of calls at the end of 2014, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Reardon, and ASHP staff ironed out the details of the transition. In June, ASHP published the first issue of what is now the AJHP Residents Edition, published quarterly as an online supplement to AJHP.

Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Reardon now serve on AJHP’s editorial board, working with Daniel J. Cobaugh, Pharm.D., DABAT, FAACT, editor in chief. Papers that originally appeared in JHPR will be republished in AJHP Residents Edition to ensure that they remain in the published literature and are indexed in PubMed along with all new submissions.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Carol Wolfe, ASHP’s vice president of publications and drug information systems. “Over the years, we’ve received many more resident papers at AJHP than we could accommodate. AJHP Residents Edition is the perfect showcase for this great work, allowing residents to contribute to the academic literature while gaining the exposure and attention they need as they advance in their careers.

AJHP Residents Edition also aligns perfectly with ASHP’s longstanding leadership in advancing residency training and supporting residents, preceptors, and program directors.”

Wolfe had high praise for Drs. McCarthy and Reardon. “It’s quite impressive how quickly they launched a successful publication, all while completing their residencies and then embarking on their careers,” she noted. “They represent the leadership trajectory of many pharmacy residents, spanning clinical, administrative, acute, and ambulatory care roles.”

As he looks toward the future, Dr. Reardon wanted to share some hard-won advice with current pharmacy residents.

“Realize that this is your profession. If there is something you don’t like, change it. If there is a direction you think the profession needs to take, it’s your responsibility to make it happen,” he said. “Collaborate. Network. Go out and experience whatever you can experience, and if someone gives you an opportunity, the answer should always be ‘yes.’ ”

Dr. McCarthy couldn’t agree more. “There’s really no secret to this. If you want to accomplish something, you can. It’s a matter of the sacrifice you’re willing to make. Through AJHP Residents Edition, more people can learn of the things you do, so take advantage of the opportunities you have. You’re only a resident once.”

–By Terri D’Arrigo

Editor’s Note: Interested in publishing in AJHP Residents Edition? See the links below.

Author Guidelines: AJHP Residents Edition

Residency Research Tips – ASHP Foundation

AJHP Research Fundamentals Series

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