APhA House of Delegates: A New Practitioner Perspective

By: Morgan Payne, PharmD

Overview: Each year, the Colorado Pharmacists Society sends three delegates to represent the state at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) House of Delegates (HOD). The HOD meets in person annually at the APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition and is the supervising body responsible for developing and amending official APhA policy statements. This year, the HOD met on two separate days during the 2018 APhA Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. There was a large diversity of representation from nearly all states and territories, including representatives from each of the APhA Academies, large pharmacy organizations, federal pharmacy, and ex-officio (or former leadership) members. Many new policy statements were voted into action including but not limited to statements regarding: Pharmacist Workplace Environment and Patient Safety, Use of Genomic Data within Pharmacy Practice, Proactive Immunization Assessment and Immunization Information Systems, Efforts to Reduce the Stigma Associated with Mental Health Disorders or Diseases, and Gluten Content and Labeling in Medications. The full list of items adopted into policy can be found at https://www.pharmacist.com/HODresources

The New Practitioner Experience: Being a new practitioner, serving as a representative for the state in this capacity was foreign territory for me. I honestly didn’t know what to expect! I found that the HOD was a simple way to get involved with advocacy on a national level. In addition, it was a great networking opportunity to meet delegates from around the country that held a passion for advancing the profession and advocating for pharmacists nationwide. While some of the language and parliamentary process was a little confusing at first even after reading the manual, I was thankful to have the guidance of my co-delegates Randy Knutsen and Christine Feltman to coach me through the process.

Lessons Learned: Don’t be afraid to put your name in the hat. There are often unfilled spots in the APhA HOD that could be filled by pharmacists like you! Check out the APhA HOD page (https://www.pharmacist.com/apha-house-delegates) to learn about how to volunteer as a delegate for an APhA Academy, serve on a House committee, or simply brush up on the current APhA policies. Likewise if you are passionate about a nationwide pharmacy issue that you feel APhA should take a stance on, I encourage you to submit a new policy topic idea for 2019. On a similar note if you’re interested in advocacy efforts in Colorado, CPS has many avenues to hear about current happenings at the state level. Visit https://copharm.memberclicks.net/advocacy for more information.

Closing notes: No matter the stage in your pharmacy career, if you ever get the opportunity to serve on the HOD, I would highly recommend it. I left the conference feeling refreshed and reminded of the passion I have for progressing the practice of pharmacy. I am honored to represent CPS again next year on the HOD, and I am looking forward to the 2019 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Seattle, Washington. I hope to see you there!