Harding University

May 23, 2012

College of Pharmacy students and faculty attend national conference

Faculty and students from the Harding University College of Pharmacy attended the National Community Pharmacists Association National Conference on Legislative Affairs May 7-9 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Rodney Richmond, associate professor of pharmacy practice, and pharmacy students Morgan Evans, Sarah Squires and Tyler Staten had the opportunity to hear from leading policymakers regarding future health care trends and discuss important legislative issues.

Approximately 250 pharmacists from across the nation attended the conference. The group met with Medicaid and Medicare representatives, key health policymakers and agencies to discuss legislation pending on Capitol Hill. They also heard from members from the Arkansas congressional delegation and senators to discuss bills that promote patient choice and pharmacy competition.

“The nature of pharmacy is changing. Pharmacists are taking on a more clinical role because the number of primary care physicians has gone down considerably,” Richmond said. “As we see those needs grow, pharmacists are positioning themselves to be able to grow into those roles. Advocating for changes in laws that affect the retail practice of pharmacy as well as change that will allow the role of the pharmacist to further grow to benefit the patients that we serve will make that happen.”

Beginning fall 2012, Richmond will teach a pharmacy advocacy class offered as an elective for all pharmacy students. The course will revolve around advocating for issues that will advance the practice before congress.

“We have to teach students this because they’re the next generation of pharmacists,” Richmond said. “One of the things we tell the students is that they need to become an agent of change, and advocacy is one way to do it.”