Today’s Opening Session for the 53rd ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., provided a forum to acknowledge difficult and tragic events, celebrate successes, and motivate attendees to seek the magic in their professional lives.
At the start of the session, ASHP President Kelly M. Smith called for a moment of silence to honor the lives of pharmacy resident Dayna Less, physician Tamara O’Neal, and police officer Samuel Jimenez, who died November 19 in a tragic shooting at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago.
“Our hearts are broken from the loss of these special individuals whose mission in life was to protect and to serve others,” Smith said.
She noted that Less, a PGY1 resident, was scheduled to present a poster at this Midyear meeting. That poster will be on display on Wednesday at the front of the poster hall.
The session also featured a video segment honoring the courageous work and commitment of pharmacy professionals who served their patients in 2017 despite devastating flooding from hurricanes — and an acknowledgment that new natural disasters continued to challenge pharmacy staff this year.
But Smith said many positive things have happened for the pharmacy profession, and she predicted that the future holds additional good news.
“I see great hope for all of us, knowing that yes indeed, we are united to create a future where medication use is safe, optimal, and effective for all people, all of the time,” she said.
Smith highlighted how ASHP works toward that vision of the future by supporting educational activities such as certificate programs for specialized training of the pharmacy workforce. In addition, the number of ASHP-accredited residency programs has passed the 4,800 mark, and membership in ASHP has grown to nearly 50,000.
Smith highlighted several ASHP-supported activities that are important to members, such as partnering with the National Academy of Medicine to promote resiliency and well-being in the clinical workforce and serving as a national leader and resource on drug shortages.
“In addition to being the go-to resource for real-time shortage information, ASHP is at the forefront of combatting the systemic impact of drug shortages,” Smith said. She said ASHP staff members participated in a recent “listening session” on shortages with FDA officials and gave a presentation during the agency’s November public meeting on drug shortages.
ASHP also supports members by providing leadership and resources to help find answers to the national epidemic of opioid abuse and misuse, Smith said.
“I am hopeful ... that this work shows we are ‘all in’ for pharmacy — and I hope you are, too,” she said. “All in, as being fully committed to a purpose that unifies us.”
A spirit of unity was apparent among Opening Session attendees when they welcomed keynote speaker and basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who today calls the business world his court.
Johnson captivated the audience with a personal touch — one that included enthusiastic “chest bumps” and “selfies” with delighted fans.
He also told stories of his pursuit of excellence as a young boy and how that led to the development of a work ethic and leadership skills that bring out the best in himself and those around him.
Johnson urged attendees to listen to their teammates, understand what motivates them, and help them turn their weaknesses into strengths — and to work hard.
“I was the first one at practice. I was the last one to leave. That’s what you’ve got to do,” he said. “Put the time in, ... and it will come back to you.”