In just one short month here at the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA), I have learned and experienced so much.
When I first arrived in Jefferson City for this APPE rotation, I did not know what to expect. I had several questions: What would working within the state pharmacy association be like? How are pharmacists integrated into the Association? What sorts of other activities and programming are going on in the Association?
Since my first day, I have been amazed at all of the great projects and services that M.P.A. provides, not only for the pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians of Missouri, but for patients, too. Pharmacist members of MPA are involved in their communities and local government to advance of the profession. While in Jefferson City, I have been able to attend meetings and events with MPA pharmacists to see first-hand the passion and hard work that continue to drive the evolution of the scope of pharmacy practice in Missouri. In just one month, I attended meetings about implementing the “provider tax” and participated in a C.E. about implementing viable, pharmacy-driven “falls prevention” programs. I learned about SmartPA and DirectCarePro (and other programs within the Xerox suite) and Medicaid clinical edits at the Drug Prior Authorization Committee meeting. I even met with health care professionals of five federally qualified health centers as they developed a team-based, all-encompassing approach to transform pain management for Missourians. I feel like I have seen so much, and yet this is only a glimpse into the many projects of the pharmacist members of the Missouri Pharmacy Association.
I had no idea that the Missouri Pharmacy Association was involved in so many different areas! In addition to shadowing and meeting with pharmacist members of MPA this month, I have had the opportunity to work closely with MPA’s tight-knit, dedicated staff. MPA is currently planning their annual convention, this year with the Illinois Pharmacy Association to be held in St. Louis, Missouri (It is not too late to sign up – register here!). At the convention, there will be pharmacist, technician, and student programming – including the opportunity to present posters and participate in a patient counseling competition. It will be a great place to meet fellow pharmacy advocates and like-minded, patient-centered pharmacists from our neighboring states. Another big role MPA plays is in the affairs of our state government. Located just minutes from the capitol building, MPA is heavily involved in lobbying for expanding the roles of pharmacists in our communities; for example, this year, a bill was passed to expand our vaccination protocol abilities to include Hepatitis A and B administration, as well as Tdap, to our patients aged 12 and up. In this one act of legislation alone, MPA and other stakeholders have supported the evolving role of a pharmacist and increased access to care for thousands of Missouri citizens.
I have taken a lot away from this experience to drive my future practice. Most importantly, I take with me the importance of being an active member of My (Missouri) Pharmacy Association. As a student, I have attended the annual Legislative Day and met MPA members at Missouri receptions at annual conferences, but I see now that that is not the full experience. As students of both STLCOP and UMKC, there are enormous benefits of being active student members of MPA. In addition to being able to submit clinical and opinion content for their blog and magazine, MPA can help facilitate our patient care projects, publicize our community outreach, and teach us exactly how we can advocate and make an impact in our profession – the possibilities are endless. MPA not only will support us as students, but our first year of membership as graduated pharmacists is free! The MORx.com website offers us patient education resources, pharmacy legislation updates, and even free C.E. (Don’t forget, 2015’s – we have 30 hours to complete in one year after we graduate!) If there is a project you want to work on and really want to make an impact, reach out to MPA. To learn about opportunities, contact MPA staff Sarah Luebbert at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brittiany Turner at email@example.com.
I have enjoyed my month as a student at MPA and being able to live in beautiful Jefferson City and see its local sites and attractions (*ProTip: Central Dairy and Thursday Night Live events in June are not to be missed). As I sign off my last MPA student blog, I want to thank the MPA and Dr. Oestreich for all of the learning experiences I have had. So long, Jefferson City!
Until next time,
UMKC School of Pharmacy
Pharm.D. Candidate 2015
MPA Rotation Student, June 2014