As we move bravely forward into 2012, critical professional opportunities abound for psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists, and the pace of change appears to be quickening. CPNP is committed, in 2012 as in years past, to providing a platform for you to become engaged and to have a voice, not only in what is going on within CPNP, but at a national level as healthcare reform implementation proceeds. No longer is professional involvement and activism considered by thought leaders to be a luxury, or simply the duty of elected leadership. Rather, as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists recently stated in a position statement on the topic, “Leadership is a professional obligation of all pharmacists and not the exclusive responsibility of pharmacists who hold leadership roles or title”.1 This position was further endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Argus Commission report “Building a Sustainable System of Leadership Development for Pharmacy”.2 I will point out that these reports are consistent with the CPNP strategic plan efforts to exert leadership and participate actively in building a model for the future of our profession. It is clear that in order to shape our future, rather than have it shaped for us, we must come together to take definitive actions.

One of my professional life-long mentors, Fred Eckel, a visionary and the recently retired executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists and faculty member of the University of North Carolina, has perpetually held that pharmacy is “at a crossroads” and that we must take action now in order to command our future. I believe that Fred's words have never been more spot-on as they are presently. It is my belief that a convergence of multiple factors, including the evolving acknowledgment by providers and payors of the potential for pharmacists to impact and improve patient care and cut costs, crushing national economic pressures, and the evolution of healthcare reform, has created the proverbial “perfect storm” of opportunity for pharmacists, and psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists in particular. The CPNP Legislative Committee is involved at the forefront of national stakeholder discussions on recognition of pharmacists as service providers and appropriate payments for these cognitive services.

So once again, we find ourselves “at the crossroads” and as an organization, we must choose to lead, follow, or get out of the way. If we are indecisive, the future will be decided for us. CPNP has chosen to actively lead, and illuminate the pathway for members to seize the future for the benefit of the patients and their families whom we serve. As clinicians, we have all seen how quality, life changing healthcare can profoundly impact the lives of those we serve. To make this kind of care more accessible and affordable will increase the numbers of persons whose lives might be improved. Further, we believe that pushing this effort forward can be achieved best by not only using the elected CPNP leadership, but also those of an actively engaged membership. Dante has been quoted as stating “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis (in our case, professional opportunity), maintain their neutrality.”

Join CPNP in 2012 in making a difference by resolving to celebrate professional activism. The window of opportunity is open for now…

Until next time, I hope you will be well.

American Society of Health system Pharmacists
ASHP Statement on Leadership as a Professional Obligation
Am J Health-Syst Pharm
et al
Building a sustainable system of leadership development for pharmacy: report of the 2008–09 Argus Commission
Am J Pharm Educ