My first experience at this rotation was attending a board meeting of the Missouri Pharmacy Association. It was the first board meeting I had ever attended of any association. Members of the board discussed important pharmacy issues such as how to approach the topic of biosimilar drugs, making changes to the bylaws, planning for future MPA conferences, etc. It was interesting to see the behind the scenes action of how the MPA works to make the pharmacy profession better for Missouri pharmacists.
I was also able to witness how hard the MPA, KPhA, and OPhA worked to make the conference such a success. I also had the pleasure to help these individuals during the conference, which was very rewarding. One particular task I had was helping out pharmacists with the conference app on their phones. Rather than distributing printed copies of sign in sheets and evaluation forms, all the material was available on the app, including the presenters’ PowerPoint slides. This was very helpful, but could be confusing if you weren’t familiar with the technology.
When I wasn’t helping out, I was able to attend continuing education sessions, the expo, and other conference activities such as the Gala. This provided numerous opportunities to network with pharmacy professionals from Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Throughout pharmacy school, my professors have repeatedly stated how pharmacy is such a small world. This was evident in my experience at the conference. During the board meeting dinner I sat next to a board member whose daughter had been my IPPE student mentor my first semester of pharmacy school. Another board member was a pharmacist with whom I had interviewed for a job with years ago. Yet another board member I had just recently met at the most recent Missouri Legislative Day as he mentored the pharmacy students at my table on how to advocate to our legislators. I also had the pleasure to witness my preceptor from two rotations prior receive the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia award.
The most important thing I took away from this conference is best summed up in the quote MPA’s CEO Ron Fitzwater often uses “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” This is meant to demonstrate how important it is to be active in the association. If you are not involved in shaping discussion of the issues that will affect the field long-term, you run the risk of being left behind as a professional in the field. By being active in the MPA and contributing to its committees, you have the opportunity to ensure that your voice is heard and your professional opinions considered by those in a position to shape policy that will impact the field of pharmacy for years to come.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy
2016 PharmD Candidate