The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) hosted a two-day conference, SSHPTakesDC, in conjunction with its Student Advocate Training & Legislative Day in February, during which 50 pharmacy students had the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and tour dozens of congressional offices in Washington, DC.
"Students have the passion and drive to help lead the way on the important issues that affect pharmacists’ ability to provide care for patients,” ASHP's Senior Vice President and Interim Chief Operating Officer Kasey Thompson said. “It’s so inspiring to see these ASHP student leaders in action, and it is clear after seeing their poise, passion and professionalism during their visit to Capitol Hill that the future of the profession of pharmacy is going to be in very good hands.”
ASHP represents pharmacists who work in the nation's hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care and other health care settings.
The students were able to meet members of Congress and legislative staff during their visit as well as to discuss with lawmakers the status of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 and S.314).
“I feel like we had a good impact,” Winston Johnson, a second-year student at Florida's Palm Beach Atlantic University, said. “We met with a health LA (legislative aide) who didn’t know much about pharmacy. We took the time to tell her all about our training and got into how this bill will help patients.”
The students also attended an orientation with members of the ASHP’s Government Relations Division, during which they learned about the vital role Congress and Congressional staff play in pharmacy matters.
“I came to the conference to learn how I can impact patients’ lives through legislation,” Eboni Ramsey, a third-year student at Virginia Commonwealth University, said. “I want to gain skills to not only advocate for the current issues, but to also carry this experience into my future practice as a pharmacist.”
Cassandra Painter, a third-year pharmacy student at West Virginia's University of Charleston, set up a meeting with Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who represents her state.
“This experience has shown me the responsibility we have, to both our patients and our profession, to educate others on the services we are qualified to provide,” she said.
More information about ASHP or its programs is available online at www.ashp.org.
Pharmacy students visit Capitol Hill, meet with lawmakers
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