On April 12, 2011 approximately 175 pharmacists and student pharmacists, including four students and two faculty members from University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, gathered near the State Capitol in Sacramento. These healthcare professionals were all members of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) one of the largest pharmacy organizations in the state. Total attendance was more than double the previous year and the goal of this tremendous congregation was to advocate for the betterment of the profession and public health through legislation.
The 4th Annual CSHP Legislative Day started with a short continuing professional education program centered around legislative and grassroots advocacy led by CSHP lobbyist Holly Fraumeni. The central issue, Assembly Bill 377 “Reducing Medication Errors in Hospitals” proposed by Assemblyman Solorio of Anaheim, was then reviewed by CSHP Director of Government Affairs Philip Swanger. The preliminary meetings then concluded with a keynote address by Assemblyman Richard Pan of the 5th District near Folsom. With talking points memorized and confidence bolstered by an excellent training program, all 175 attendees made their way to the capitol building to meet with their respective officials. During each of the 53 meetings with assemblypersons and senators, constituent pharmacists and students discussed the important role of the pharmacist in providing accessible healthcare to their community and requested support for AB 377.
Many of the attendees were student members interested in shaping the future of pharmacy. Student pharmacists make up a significant portion of the profession as a whole (an estimate of up to 20 percent nationwide) and it’s never too early to make sure the profession takes the shape we want it to take in the future.
University of the Pacific, in collaboration with California Northstate School of Pharmacy, hosted a health fair on the north steps of the capitol . The health fair provided free screenings to the public along with consultations from pharmacists regarding proper drug use and lifestyle changes. Diabetes screening (blood sugar measurement), cholesterol measurement, and blood pressure screenings were available in addition to free flu shots. The pharmacist volunteers worked fast outside the capitol and in only two and a half hours they were able to conduct 40 cholesterol screenings, 23 diabetes screenings, 40 blood pressure screenings, and administer three flu shots.
The Legislative Day activities ended with a reception hosted by the Pharmacy Professionals of California Political Action Committee. The reception was held at the CSHP headquarters in downtown Sacramento and included refreshments and drinks. The reception was a way to thank those that participated and was an opportunity for pharmacists and students to network and meet the CSHP leadership.
By Barrett Smith ’13