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March 18, 2020

Update on ASHP’s COVID-19 Response and Developments

Dear Colleagues,

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

I WANTED TO UPDATE YOU on our COVID-19 planning efforts, decisions we have made, various tools and resources we have made available, and advocacy and outreach efforts on your behalf.

Access to ASHP Resources for All

Earlier this week, ASHP opened access to our evidence-based online resources and tools on, making them widely available to all pharmacists and healthcare professionals. Tools and resources that are now available include various Member Resource Centers (e.g., Emergency Preparedness, Geriatrics, Inpatient Care), relevant webinars and online programs (e.g., infectious diseases, disaster and mass casualty preparedness, and well-being and resilience), and select AJHP articles. Additionally, public access to AHFS Drug Information® is available for the next 60 days with the username “” and password “covid-19.”

ASHP Advocacy Efforts

I want to assure you that ASHP is working hard in Washington, D.C., to try to ensure the expertise of pharmacists is fully utilized and that healthcare providers are equipped to safely and effectively respond to the pandemic. We sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence last week urging the administration to take immediate steps to maximize pharmacist engagement in COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. We also continue to advance ASHP’s federal and state policymaker recommendations to address shortages of drugs and medical supplies, reimburse pharmacists for patient care services provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and provide resources for clinician readiness and resilience.

In addition, we have been working with several of the other national pharmacy professional organizations to develop joint recommendations that reflect our shared views on the optimal and expanded use of pharmacists during this crisis. This includes relaxing some state and federal requirements that currently limit the ability of pharmacists to maximize their contributions during this time of great need. We will share these recommendations when they become available.

Effect of Pandemic on Pharmacy Residents and Students

ASHP and our Accreditation Services team is monitoring and managing, to the extent possible, disruptions to residency training and accreditation activities as a result of COVID-19, and we will be flexible. Our primary goal is to minimize work disruptions while respecting public health guidance and the potentially harmful and disruptive effects of COVID-19 illness on healthcare systems, staff, residents, and patients. We are also concerned about the impact of canceled student experiential rotations on timely graduation, subsequent licensure, and ability to start a residency. We are monitoring this issue closely and will work to provide flexibility to help residents and programs. Updated information is being regularly posted to the Residency Program Director Connect Community.

You are likely aware that some pharmacy student experiential rotations are being canceled either by colleges of pharmacy or hospitals and health systems. We know, however, that many hospitals and health systems are successfully continuing to precept student pharmacists at this time, recognizing that they are valuable patient care providers and integral to their operations and patient care teams. I would like you to know that we are having ongoing discussions with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and we will keep you updated in the days to come on this issue.

Updates on ASHP Resources and Events

ASHP’s COVID-19 Resource Center is being updated regularly with new resources and tools from various sources, including ASHP. Our newest addition includes ASHP’s COVID-19 Pandemic Assessment Tool for Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Departments, which is designed to assist in COVID-19 pandemic planning efforts in departments of pharmacy and to foster pharmacist involvement in preparedness at the institutional and community levels. The tool includes a detailed checklist to help with the development and implementation of preparedness plans.

Finally, with the country working to avoid gatherings and limit travel to slow the spread of the disease, I want to assure you that ASHP is also following suit to ensure the health and safety of our members and staff. We are canceling the face-to-face Regional Delegates Conferences scheduled for the end of April and moving to a virtual format instead. We will continue using the House of Delegates Community on ASHP Connect for member input. Any member is welcome to join that community, and we encourage you to do so. We will provide more information about these efforts in the weeks to come, as well as updates on all of our upcoming member events as we continue to assess them in light of this dynamic, evolving situation.

We have not yet made a decision about our Summer Meetings scheduled for June 6 – 10 in Seattle, but we are prepared to cancel if necessary and will make that decision as soon as we are able. We are actively preparing to offer our educational programming online and hold our House of Delegates virtually should we need to cancel the Summer Meetings.

In closing, please take care of yourself during these unprecedented times, as practicing self-care is a critical part of caring for your patients. Know that ASHP is here to help and stands ready to assist in any way that we can.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything that you do for your patients and our profession.




August 24, 2017

Student Pharmacist Sheds Light on Leadership Gender Disparity

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a special series examining the growing number of women in pharmacy leadership.

Sharon Karina, Pharm.D. Candidate (2018)

AS A THIRD-YEAR STUDENT PHARMACIST at Midwestern University in Chicago, Sharon Karina observed that it was rare to find women in pharmacy leadership roles. When she learned through a leadership program offered by her school that a female pharmacy leader named Desi Kotis, Pharm.D., FASHP, was willing to speak with her, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I wanted to meet with leaders in various areas of pharmacy to better understand their challenges and passions,” Karina said. “I’m a naturally curious person; I have a unique drive to ferret out areas for improvement and find solutions.”

Karina learned from Dr. Kotis that there is a current challenge in the profession of pharmacy — gender disparity in leadership. Karina had already noticed that mostly men attended pharmacy networking events, so Dr. Kotis’ revelation didn’t come as a complete surprise. “But I didn’t realize what a significant issue it was until meeting Desi,” she said.

Gender Disparity Research

Dr. Kotis is the Director of Pharmacy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, an active ASHP volunteer, and a member of ASHP’s Women in Pharmacy Leadership Steering Committee. She invited Karina to research the topic of gender disparity with her over the summer of 2016. Dr. Kotis served as Karina’s mentor and sponsor. “She wanted a student perspective on the leadership gap; I was happy to provide it,” Karina explained.

After researching Midwestern University’s reports for incoming class statistics from 2014, 2015, and 2016, Karina learned that each year more women are entering the pharmacy profession. “According to reports from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, my graduating class [2018] as well as all incoming classes of 2018 students consist of more than 60% women, a climb from previous years,” she said.

This got Karina thinking. Although the profession is trending upward with female-to-male ratios, leadership positions are still held primarily by men. “As a highly pragmatic problem-solver, my next step was to think about where the pharmacy profession is failing with leadership development,” Karina said.

Karina with her mentor, Desi Kotis, Pharm.D., FASHP, Director of Pharmacy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Dr. Kotis and Karina’s research included literature reviews and first-person perspectives from webinars posted on ASHP’s website, articles from the Harvard Business Review, and casual conversations with student pharmacists and pharmacists in numerous practice areas and specialties.

Karina and Dr. Kotis learned that some women might find leadership undesirable because they are more interested in work-life balance. “But through networking, and by hearing people’s stories and experiences, women can find solutions on how to integrate their work and professional responsibilities with their personal lives,” Karina said. “I think a woman can still be a leader and also be a wife, mother, caretaker, coach, and so forth. There seems to be a notion that you need to choose one or the other, but women can do them both.”

Another reason why women may not pursue leadership roles is a lack of confidence. “They may think they don’t have sufficient expertise and may not be self-promoters,” she said.

The duo also evaluated a 2011 survey conducted by Zenger Folkman. The survey of more than 7,000 executive corporate leaders ranked women as better leaders than men in a variety of leadership competencies, including taking initiative, practicing self-development, and driving results. Reflecting on her research, Karina noted that women make good leaders because of their soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, and their ability to be relationship-builders.

Karina and Dr. Kotis presented their research at a panel discussion at the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists (ICHP) in September 2016. “The ICHP meeting attendees felt that the topic was very important, and that we should continue to offer programming and networking geared toward women in pharmacy,” Karina said.

A Student with a Cause

The topic of gender disparity in pharmacy leadership remains near and dear to Karina. “The pharmacy industry, and healthcare in general, has a large pool of female talent that we should be capitalizing on,” she said. “We need to have more open discussions about why this is the case and start instituting plans of action to change it.” In particular, she’d like to identify the strategic and financial implications of continuing in this direction and what weaknesses in the system exist so they can be corrected.

Regarding how to get more women into leadership positions, Karina believes pharmacy student curriculum should include a focus on leadership development, regardless of a student’s chosen direction. “I say this because all pharmacists are leaders in one way or another,” she said. For example, beginning as early as when she was first accepted into pharmacy school, Karina’s friends and family members started asking her medication-related questions. “When you’re viewed as an expert, you have to be cognizant about your power,” she explained.

Although fewer women have pharmacy leadership roles, many are taking on positions in managing personnel and running hospital systems and other organizations. “It seems negligent for female pharmacy students to not invest in ourselves in developing and upholding our leadership qualities,” Karina said.

Leadership Today and Tomorrow

Karina has already embraced multiple leadership roles as a pharmacy student. At Midwestern, she volunteers at the school’s annual community health fair. “It enables students to have one-on-one outreach to the community,” she said. “This helps us to identify what issues exist there. It’s also important for community members to see pharmacists’ value.”

Karina practices blood pressure techniques at the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center at Midwestern University with Ozioma Odili and Patsy Berko, who are both Pharm.D. Candidates (2018).

Karina also volunteers during her school’s new-student orientation. “New students are excited about beginning their careers. I want to give them the best advice possible to succeed, because it is very challenging,” she said.

Karina is passionate about heart disease prevention and management, and volunteers as a member of the American Heart Association (AHA) of Chicago’s Young Professionals Board. “Currently, I am looking at ways to fund-raise, and I’m interested in advocacy,” she said. “I want to build a relationship between pharmacy students and the AHA. Pharmacy students have many opportunities for community outreach, whether it’s conducting blood pressure screenings, testing blood glucose, or trying to help the community understand the importance of taking care of their health.”

Karina hasn’t nailed down what her future role in pharmacy will be, but ideally it will enable her to connect with people. “Whenever I meet people, I try to find out what they’ve accomplished and what areas in pharmacy and healthcare can be improved,” Karina said. “Then, I consider what my role might be.”

But Karina does foresee herself becoming a pharmacy leader, because she appreciates opportunities to learn from others. “My ideal role is to collaborate with people inside and outside of healthcare to pragmatically solve problems and share ideas,” she said.

As a proven student leader, Karina’s future as a trailblazer in the pharmacy profession certainly looks bright.

By Karen Appold


# # #

August 6, 2013

Midwestern Glendale Students Dive into Drug Shortages Advocacy

From left, Mindy J. Burnworth, Nicole M. Wilson, and Benjamin J. Thompson display the drug shortages poster they created to educate others about this national problem.

ONGOING NATIONAL DRUG SHORTAGES that are negatively impacting pharmacists’ ability to care for patients can seem like an overwhelming problem to most practitioners.

But Benjamin J. Thompson and Nicole M. Wilson, students at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy, Glendale, Ariz., decided that they had a lot to contribute by educating fellow students, pharmacists, legislators, and other health care professionals about the issue.

They dove into the world of advocacy, partnering with mentor Mindy J. Burnworth, Pharm.D., BCPS, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, to develop a poster on the issue.

Thompson and Wilson reached out to Burnworth during their first year of pharmacy school. Having settled into the routine of their studies, they were ready to expand their horizons in an area that interested them.

“We had gotten into the rhythm of tests and classes and were getting frustrated with not doing anything beyond that,” said Thompson. “We had talked about drug shortages and reached out to Burnworth through email with the idea of an introductory research project.”

From there, it was a matter of deciding on a project that would offer the students not only a chance to develop new skills, but provide a tool for advocacy.

“The poster format was short, sweet and concise, and it hit key points to discuss with pharmacists, physicians, and academicians,” Burnworth said.  “And, because legislation was being proposed in Congress at that time, the poster needed to include talking points to cover with legislators.”

Moving Through the Learning Curve

The team began by developing a timeline of tasks. All three conducted independent literature reviews, and together they narrowed their resources down to those that identified the impact of drug shortages on health care and highlighted legislation that proposed an early warning system as a way of addressing them.

Burnworth Melinda head shot

Mindy J. Burnworth, Pharm.D., BCPS

There was a learning curve in conducting the research, said Wilson. “We stumbled a little through trying to find the right articles and doing the literature search,” she said. “We needed to be detail-oriented, and because it was the first time we had done this, it took more time [than we expected].”

The poster took the form of a timeline that spanned from September 2010, when the Institute for Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) conducted a national survey of practitioners to assess the threat drug shortages pose to patient safety, to June 2012, when Congress reauthorized the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.

Highlights included the 2010 Drug Shortages Summit co-convened by ASHP and other stakeholders, several bills proposed to address the issue, and President Barack Obama’s 2011 Executive Order directing the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Justice to take action to reduce and prevent drug shortages. In her role as mentor, Burnworth shared resources and examples of posters for the students to use as a guide, and she discussed the nitty-gritty of poster production—how to find a printer, what the costs would be, and how to schedule poster reproductions.

She also gave the students pointers on submitting their work for presentation at meetings and conferences. All told, the process took two months from first meeting to printed poster. A mock poster session with fellow students and faculty gave Thompson and Wilson the chance to perfect their presentation and prepare them for their discussions with health providers and legislators.

The two then presented the poster four times in 2012: at the university’s Research Day, the Arizona Pharmacy Association’s Health-System Academy and Annual meetings, and ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas.

“Our mission was to make pharmacists aware that there was already a drumbeat for reform, and encourage them to contact their legislators and advocate support for the specific legislative items that had already been proposed,” said Thompson. “I found that people seemed much more inclined to take action once they realized that a proposed solution was already in place, and most of the people we spoke with indicated that they were strongly considering taking the time to contact their legislators.”

Poster Sparks New Interest in Advocacy

One goal of the project was to educate Thompson and Wilson about political advocacy. The students followed four key steps wherein they identified the salient issue; identified local, state, and national legislators; communicated with their legislators via telephone, email, or in person; and tracked the status of their efforts by following relevant legislation through government websites. It’s a formula the students plan to use going forward.

“Finding an opportunity to get involved during our first year of school was especially rewarding as it enabled us to share our experiences with our classmates, and take on roles as leaders and educators when other students wanted advice for similar projects,” said Thompson, who indicated that he continue advocating for ways to address drug shortages and is considering branching out into other issues. Wilson intends to advocate for provider status for pharmacists and advancing the profession as a whole.

The content of the poster and the steps the students took fit well with ASHP’s grassroots advocacy, said Joseph M. Hill, ASHP’s Director of Federal Legislative Affairs.

“The timeline presents the continuum of policymaking at the federal level. It shows the slow, multiyear process. It’s almost a case study of how an issue moves through Congress,” he said.  “Overall, the students’ process could be used as a guide to work on other issues, not just in meeting with members of Congress, but other stakeholders with an interest in an issue.”

—By Terri D’Arrigo


December 20, 2011

Job Market Survey Reveals High Anxiety

Filed under: Feature Stories — Tags: , , , , , , — Kathy Biesecker @ 12:06 am

PHARMACY STUDENTS ARE WORRIED about finding a job or residency after they graduate, and new practitioners are concerned about their future career growth. Those are the main findings of  ASHP’s new Job Market Perceptions Survey of 1,516 students and 614 new practitioners. The survey also revealed the following:

  • 2011 pharmacy school graduates started their job searches earlier and applied for more positions and residencies than peers who graduated in previous years.
  • 2011 graduates who found a residency position made compromises more than previous graduates with regard to location, salary and hours worked.
  • More 2011 graduates reported difficulty finding residencies (and finding them in their practice areas and geographic locations) than did previous graduates.
  • Seventy percent of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are worried about finding jobs or residencies, compared with 81 percent of those graduating in 2012.
  • Seventy-seven percent of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are worried about finding a residency after they graduate, compared with 85 percent of those graduating in 2012.
  • Fifty-one percent of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are worried about finding a job after completing a residency, compared with 68 percent of those graduating in 2012.
  • Forty-three percent of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are confident they will be employed within three months of graduation, compared with 34 percent of those graduating in 2012.

September 28, 2010

Finding Inspiration in Many Places

Diane Ginsburg, M.S., FASHP

This issue’s cover story, on page 8, about the many ways in which pharmacists care for our nation’s wounded veterans, really touched me. Official combat operations in Iraq ended this summer, but the men and women who served during this long war will likely need help for many years. And pharmacists stand ready as members of the patient-care team.

The exciting news is that, for years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense (DoD) have recognized how important pharmacists are to the health of active-duty soldiers and veterans alike.

For instance, the VA has many pharmacist-managed clinics and pharmacists embedded in primary-care teams. And now clinical pharmacists are moving into new patient-care areas, such as mental health and women’s health. As ASHP members plan for the future of practice as part of the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI), we will be looking to our colleagues in the federal services for innovative, cutting-edge ideas.

The FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program has really geared up over the past few years. With more than 100 medications included in the program, and additional drugs being added each day, pharmacists are struggling to keep up with REMS requirements. The story on page 14 sheds light on the challenges of REMS as well as how ASHP members are staying ahead of the curve.

Innovation can be found in almost every hospital and health-system pharmacy in the U.S. In this issue, we highlight the work of the staff at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, N.Y., to develop a fail-safe intravenous medication delivery system. The work of this interdisciplinary team created a 99 percent compliance rate and measurable evidence of prevented errors. Check out this inspiring story on page 12.

As ASHP gears up for the PPMI Summit in November, we have been talking to pharmacy directors across the country about how they are implementing new models within their own institutions. On page 20, you’ll be interested to read about what the pharmacy staff at Fauquier Health in Warrenton, Va., has been doing to redefine its practice model.

Beginning with decentralizing pharmacy services in the mid-1990s, the team there has steadily moved into almost every clinical area of the hospital. As a result, medication error rates fell from 5 percent to just over 2.9 percent in three years. In addition, drug costs were lowered, and communication and collaboration with fellow health care professionals improved markedly.

I hope that you find much inspiration within the pages of this issue and that it serves as a source of energy to advance the pharmacy practice model within your own institution. Pharmacists everywhere, and ASHP members in particular, are doing amazing things for patients!

Diane Ginsburg, M.S., FASHP

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