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Highlights from HOPA's 2017 Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA (March 29–April 1)

Ashley Glode, PharmD BCOP BCPS
Clinical Oncology Pharmacy Specialist; Assistant Professor
University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO


The 13th Annual HOPA Conference, held in the heart of Disneyland at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA, went above and beyond expectations. Conference attendance set a record at 1,031, with attendees coming from across the United States and other countries. The annual conference provides an opportunity for hematology/oncology pharmacists, residents, and students to obtain the education and research information they need to deliver the highest-quality care to their patients. This year’s conference featured an app that allowed attendees to map out their own schedule for the day, provided alerts, and sent reminders about sessions to attend. The conference also included the option to attend sessions virtually for those unable to attend in person.

The 3½-day conference opened with two optional preconference educational sessions. The first, “The Progression of the Investigational Drug Service: Clinical Practice Pearls and Take-Home Points,” was geared toward pharmacists just beginning in investigational pharmacy and also to those with more experience who were looking to expand their practice. The second, “Management Pearls for Oncology Pharmacy Leaders,” provided attendees with practical tools and guidance necessary to excel in oncology pharmacy leadership. Eight board certified oncology pharmacist (BCOP) sessions for recertification credit were offered. Some highlights of those sessions included a lecture by Robert Mancini, PharmD BCOP, titled “Cancer Prevention: How to Protect Your Patients”; one by Neelam Patel, PharmD BCOP, “Management of Young Patients with Breast Cancer”; and one by Deborah Ward, PharmD BCOP BCPS, “Dysregulation of Water and Sodium: Implications and Management in Pediatric Cancer Patients.” Other high points included a review of significant papers in hematology/oncology and new drugs approved in 2016. Two advocacy-themed sessions covered the provider status initiative and provided an update on HOPA’s advocacy efforts. Breakout sessions were held on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, ambulatory care, practice management, investigational drugs, and practical issues for clinicians.

In her welcome message, President Sarah Scarpace Peters, PharmD MPH BCOP, highlighted the accomplishments of HOPA’s board of directors and members over the past year. The organization had a very active year and established several collaborative relationships with other oncology organizations throughout the country.

The second class of HOPA Fellows was inducted at the conference: Sally Yowell Barbour, PharmD BCOP CPP; John G. Kuhn, PharmD FCCP; Susanne E. Liewer, PharmD BCOP; Kerry Parsons, PharmD BCOP; Timothy Tyler, PharmD FCSHP; and Michael Vozniak, PharmD BCOP.

The winners of several 2017 HOPA awards were announced at the conference: the Award of Excellence, Terri G. Davidson, PharmD BCOP FASHP FCCP; the New Practitioner Award, Amber Bradley Clemmons, PharmD BCOP; the Patient Advocacy Award, Kerry Parsons, PharmD BCOP; and the Hematology/Oncology Technician Award, Cheryl Hyk, CPhT.

The first day concluded with special interest group meetings for administration, ambulatory care, bone marrow transplant, investigational drug services, new practitioners, and pediatrics. These meetings allow for discussion of issues or concerns in a small-group setting and also provide a great opportunity for face-to-face networking between hematology/oncology pharmacists with similar interests. An additional networking event gave students attending the conference the opportunity to meet with hematology/oncology pharmacists in a more relaxed setting.

On the second day, the John G. Kuhn Keynote Lecture, titled “Personalized Cancer Therapy: From Discovery to Actionable Genomics,” was delivered by James M. Ford, MD, a medical oncologist and geneticist from Stanford University. Dr. Ford discussed the impressive strides that have been made toward a personalized approach to cancer care. On the third day of the conference, incoming president Susannah E. Koontz, PharmD BCOP FHOPA, shared her touching story of the road taken to becoming HOPA president and the impact her mother had on her journey to practicing in oncology.

Poster sessions at the annual HOPA meeting allow pharmacists, residents, and students to present their research. The award winner from the top 10 posters was Benjamin Andrick, PharmD, PGY-2 hematology/oncology resident at Augusta University Medical Center, Augusta, GA, for his poster titled “Pneumococcal Vaccine Response in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Receiving Ibrutinib.” You can read more about his research in the Highlights of Member Research column in this issue on page 16. Awards are also given at the conference to authors who have written articles that make a significant contribution to the literature. At this year’s conference, Karen Sweiss, PharmD BCOP, received the Oncology Pharmacy Practice Literature Award.

The efforts of HOPA’s 2017 Annual Conference Program Committee surpassed our highest expectations again this year, and attendees had a truly wonderful experience. We are looking forward to the 14th Annual HOPA Conference in Denver, CO, to be held March 21–24, 2018, at the Colorado Convention Center.

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