The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) evolved from a group of psychiatric and neurologic specialists known as the "Conference of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists" that met at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) Annual Meetings. These meetings served as a once a year opportunity for networking, recruitment of residency and fellowship candidates, and a venue to brainstorm and problem solve. The discussions eventually turned towards establishing an organization for those pharmacists with the common interest of serving as advocates for the treatment and medication therapy management of those with mental illness and neurologic complications.

After months of planning, in March of 1998 CPNP launched a founding member campaign under the leadership of the first CPNP President, Gary Levin, PharmD, BCPP, FCCP. Within the first year of formation as an organization, CPNP membership doubled to over 200 members and has continued to show substantial growth to its current level of just over 1100 members.

With aggressive goals and impressive growth, CPNP applied for and was granted status as a 501c6 professional association and transitioned from a totally volunteer led organization to hiring staff support in 2001. For the first several years CPNP contracted with an association management company to provide the necessary executive and administrative support for the day-to-day activities of the organization. In 2006, CPNP was able to assume financial responsibility for their own staff and retained Brenda Schimenti as Executive Director.

The Annual Meeting has served as the crowning achievement for the organization. This event has greatly evolved in terms of content, structure and purpose over time to meet the changing needs of psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy practitioners. Initially, Annual Meetings served to provide high level continuing education and networking opportunities for psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists. In 2003, in conjunction with ASHP, CPNP was allowed to offer approved BCPP recertification programming for the first time. This proved to be a significant milestone which eventually led to CPNP transitioning into the role of sole provider of recertification programming for the Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacy (BCPP) credential awarded through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Since 2008, CPNP has grown its recertification offerings to include live programming offered at the Annual Meeting, the dual purpose BCPP Review and Preparatory Course, and a literature analysis component.

Table 1.

Past Presidents

Past Presidents
Past Presidents

Since the inception of CPNP in 1998 and the First Annual Meeting held in Orlando, Florida that same year, CPNP has supported fourteen Annual Meetings with the fifteenth scheduled for April 29–May 2, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Attendance numbers for each Annual Meeting have shown steady increases, even in difficult economic times. In 2011, CPNP set a record for meeting registration with 498 individuals attending this past Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The 2011 Annual Meeting also served as the format for the launch of the newly established CPNP Foundation. CPNP also supports the efforts of both established and up-and-coming leaders with the Judith J. Saklad Memorial Awards and Practice Based awards; both initiated at the first Annual Meeting in 1998. The Saklad Memorial Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual member within the organization.

CPNP is largely member/volunteer driven, with the outreach efforts of over 150 members who serve annually on 12 different active committees and one active task force. CPNP's members have also lead the charge in working to increase pharmacy student interest in the specialty with four active student chapters in 2011. In addition, CPNP has expanded their staff size to three with one, Gregory Payne, being an expert in Information Technology. This addition has benefited the organization in terms of increased exposure and efficiency through the use of new technologies. In July 2011, CPNP established a monthly online publication known as the Mental Health Clinician as a means for members to have a resource and method to publish their work and share their ideas.

From its inception, the mission of CPNP has remained consistent –to promote excellence in pharmacy practice, education, and research to optimize treatment outcomes of individuals affected by psychiatric and neurologic disorders. The Annual Meeting serves as the template for achieving the objectives of the organization, particularly in the development and dissemination of information through educational programming. In addition, CPNP has developed a variety of educational products and materials to further enhance and foster the development of practitioners with the goal of giving the participants the tools necessary to stay current and provide a high level of quality care. The milestones CPNP has reached are too voluminous to record with this exciting and aggressive growth and innovation projected to continue for many years to come.