Michael Storey, a sixth-year pharmacy student from Meadville, Pa., believes that the role of a pharmacy student goes beyond the scholastic understanding of medicine. This year, he is serving as a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Policy and Legislative Affairs Advisory Group. The group is comprised of 10 students from all over the country with the purpose of mediating between students and the ASHP on various policy issues.
The Policy and Legislative Affairs Advisory Group is one of five ASHP advisory groups. Members hold conference calls a few times a year and mostly communicate via e-mail. The group will meet in person in December at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. One thing the group has discussed is what type of student programming on policy issues would be best for the conference this year.
“The main focus of our group is to get students involved in the health care legislative process,” Storey says.
As is the case for most health care-related organizations currently, the ASHP is interested in health care reform. Among the policies that ASHP would like to see included in the reform is loan-forgiveness for pharmacy students as well as giving pharmacists “provider status,” which would advance the pharmacist’s ability to care for the patient in all areas of pharmacy practice.
Storey has been interested in pharmacy policy issues for a long time and was encouraged by faculty and fellow students to pursue this passion through the ASHP group after serving as a delegate to the American Pharmacists Association's (APhA) meeting in San Antonio last spring.
“I encourage students to get involved in the student organizations in the College of Pharmacy,” says Storey, “many of which are actively working to give pharmacy a seat at the table for health care reform.” Storey believes that the student pharmacy organizations on campus are all contributing within their specific interest areas to move pharmacy forward and increase the profession’s role in the health care system.
As the scope of pharmacy grows in the health care system, pharmacists well informed and experienced in dialoguing with lawmakers on policy issues will become increasingly important. Storey hopes to demonstrate to fellow students that the profession isn’t only about providing quality health care now; it’s about continually working toward increasing the scope and quality of care pharmacists can offer in the future.
Andrew Merecicky, senior creative writing major from North Royalton, Ohio