The Vietnamese Pharmacists Association in the USA (VPhA-USA) was founded in 1980 by a group of professors from the Saigon School of Pharmacy at a meeting in Irvine, California. The needs at the time were to assist the Vietnamese pharmacist graduates in their recertification or relicensure to practice pharmacy in the United States. Guidance was also provided in the fields of medical technology certification or graduate study enrollment in chemistry, biology, microbiology, or pharmaceutical research at the universities. Not too many graduates could enter those professions, so when the Refugee Targeted Pharmacy Retraining Program was announced in San Diego in 1984, that was a god sent opportunity for all of us. We were grateful to the dean and faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. David Adler* at the University of California, San Diego, for organizing the curriculum and teaching the classes on weekends for eight months so that we could take the Foreign Graduate Pharmacy Equivalency Exam and subsequent California Pharmacy Board Exam.

Soon after getting our licenses and first jobs in pharmacy, we joined the California Pharmacists Association.

Starting in 2018, VPhA-USA was transitioning to the younger generation of pharmacists, and under the guidance of Dr. Clifford Young, CPhA president in 2021, was emulating the experience of the Indian Pharmacists Association (IPA).

Dr. Young’s dream was to reunite all pharmacists across the states. VPhA-USA needs to get more exposure in the pharmacy arena. We were invited to special interest groups (SIG) for pharmacy owners with Dr. Ken Thái, for long-term care pharmacy (Dr. Young), and community pharmacy advocacy group (Dr. Kevin Komoto) to discuss beneficial measures for pharmacy practice. We attended successive IPA Industry Nights and galas as well as Comedy Nights in Southern California on the invitation of President Parth Parikh.

Although not on the scale of spectacular IPA events, the 2023 Lunar New Year Têt Celebration in Stanton, California, was a great success with 270+ members and guests including CPhA leaders and eight schools of pharmacy deans, faculty, school officials and student awardees in this first full-size gathering after the pandemic. This was an occasion for colleagues to mingle and reminisce of events occurring in their lives.

CPhA CEO Susan Bonilla and President Dr. Richard Dang spoke on the growing partnership with VPhA-USA to enable many beneficial actions for pharmacy owners and pharmacists practicing at all settings.

On Aug. 26, 2023, Dr. Young presented a great CE session with live demonstration on trauma care to VPhA-USA pharmacists.

We also formed a buying group for 68 pharmacist owners of community pharmacies and are working at reshuffling interest for profitability of pharmacy operations with the help of CPhA and Cardinal-Health Sales Force.

Starting in November 2023, pharmacists of the young generation are taking the helm of VPhA-USA:

  • Tam Phan, PharmD, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at the USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is the new President,

  • Kevin Dinh, PharmD, pharmacist-in-charge of May Pharmacy, is vice-president of internal affairs and chair of the buying group.

Connections with USC are initiated to discuss ways to leverage funding of student awards and participation of VPhA-USA at school activities.

Thank you and congratulations to the new VPhA-USA Executive Board!

*

Dr. and Mrs. David Adler were present at the Têt Reunion, as they regularly attended all Têt events. That was the last time we saw Dr. Adler, as we sadly learned of his passing last Nov. 4, 2023, from Dr. Brookie Best, dean of UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in La Jolla, California. VPhA-USA is deeply grateful for Dr. Adler’s guidance and mentorship for many pharmacists, including members of the Asian Pacific Health Foundation in San Diego. A tribute in Dr. Adler’s honor is being planned for January 2024; details will follow once finalized.