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HOPA Publications Committee

Ashley Glode, PharmD BCOP, Editor

Megan Bodge, PharmD BCOP, Associate Editor

Christan Thomas, PharmD BCOP, Associate Editor

Edward Li, PharmD, Board Liaison

Lindsey Amerine, PharmD MS BCPS

Brandi Anders, PharmD BCOP

Lisa M. Cordes, PharmD BCOP BCACP

Morgan Culver, PharmD BCOP

Karen Fancher, PharmD BCOP

Craig W. Freyer, PharmD BCOP

Robert Mancini, PharmD, BCOP

Sarah Newman, PharmD BCPS

Sarah Ussery, PharmD BCOP

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Board Update: The Duty of Care

susannah koontz

Susannah E. Koontz, PharmD BCOP FHOPA
HOPA President (2017-2018)
Principal, Koontz Oncology Consulting, LLC
Houston, TX

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”

If you had the opportunity to hear my incoming president’s remarks at HOPA’s 13th Annual Conference in March 2017, you know that I’m a big fan of leadership guru Simon Sinek (https://startwithwhy.com/simon-sinek/). His observation quoted above is one of my favorites. Sinek explains that leadership doesn’t necessarily entail being the person with all the answers or knowledge, but rather being able to empower and nurture those around us to achieve things thought to be out of reach. A few HOPA events and initiatives that have occurred since I became president come to mind in this connection.

On May 8, 2017, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, HOPA hosted its first policy summit. The topic was drug waste in the care of cancer patients—something that we all routinely grapple with in our practices. Though identifying the problem is easy, bringing diverse stakeholders together in the same room to discuss the issues and identify potential solutions is quite challenging. But that’s exactly what HOPA did this spring. Our Industry Relations Council (IRC) work group labored tirelessly to organize this daylong meeting, in which leaders in the field presented data and professional accounts of cancer-drug waste to a roomful of colleagues, industry partners, patient advocates, and policy professionals.

The conversation at the Drug Waste Summit was both educational and productive. And although we didn’t leave the room with all the answers, together we identified meaningful next steps to address the issues. This policy summit on drug waste was the first time HOPA has played such a visible leadership role in directing a national conversation on a topic of recognized importance. As your president, I am committed to making sure it will not be the last.

The following week, on May 16, HOPA took to Capitol Hill to advocate for our profession as oncology pharmacists. Fourteen HOPA members from nine states visited more than 50 Congressional offices to seek cosponsorship of legislation concerning the provider status of pharmacists. This HOPA Hill Day targeted congressional members who have not yet supported H.R. 592 or S. 109, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.

For nearly all the HOPA Hill Day participants, this was their first time to meet with a member of Congress or to visit a congressional office. Conventional wisdom might say that such an exercise would be futile—asking novice advocates to convince their busy representatives to develop enough interest in the bill to support it. But our efforts were actually extraordinarily fruitful. In the weeks following HOPA Hill Day, we obtained 11 additional cosponsors for these bills, and we expect this number to rise in the weeks ahead.

So how did HOPA execute two successful events in close succession, where the odds were not necessarily in our favor? One simple reason: because everyone involved cared deeply about the work to be done. As pharmacy professionals, we care about the impact that drug waste has in our institutions and on our patients. By the same token, your HOPA directors and fellow members care enough about this issue for our association to take ownership of it. We can look forward to the outcomes of this first HOPA policy summit as well as future HOPA-led forums tackling other issues that we as pharmacists care deeply about.

And what about those first-time advocates who were so successful on Capitol Hill? They invested time and care in reading up on the pending legislation and actively participated in briefings conducted by our excellent policy consultants—Jeremy Scott and Jerrica Mathis of the District Policy Group—before their meetings. Please join me in saluting the stellar efforts of our HOPA colleagues to move our profession forward.

Of course we all care about HOPA—why else would we be members? But beyond this, what else can we be doing to invest in our association? A few ideas occur to me, some of which you probably are already carrying out:

Spread the word. You gave us feedback on how to improve the initial expansion of our Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP) programming. Our team of dedicated volunteers listened, and the improvements are noticeable. So please encourage your colleagues to participate in the 38 hours of BCOP education that HOPA offers each year—available on demand to fit your schedule (hoparx.org/education/bcop-course-offerings). HOPA is the premier provider of BCOP recertification credits—let’s keep it
that way.

Share the benefits. Don’t forget that you can invite your coworkers, trainees, and students to become members of HOPA (hoparx.org/member-get-a-member). You need not be a pharmacist to reap the rewards of an extensive network of pharmacy professionals, exceptional programming at our annual conference (hoparx.org/annualconference) and Practice Management Program (hoparx.org/pmp), and a growing library of professional tools and resources. Our next membership milestone—3,000 members—is within close reach. Make sure that you and your associates don’t miss out in joining us to optimize the care of cancer patients.

Support your association. One way to support your association is by making a donation to HOPA or the HOPA Research Fund beyond your regular dues. Although this is important and, frankly, quite easy to do (go to hoparx.org/home/donate), you can also support HOPA with your energy, service, and ideas. Examples include answering the call to participate in one of HOPA’s programs, voting in the upcoming HOPA Board of Directors election in November, providing feedback to me and the rest of the HOPA board via member surveys, and presenting your research at HOPA meetings. And, of course, just showing up at meetings—either in person or virtually—is a great way to participate. It’s not too early to start thinking about HOPA’s 14th Annual Conference taking place March 21–24, 2018, in Denver, so mark your calendar!

Finally, your board of directors is committed to fulfilling our duty of care as a vital part of our fiduciary responsibility to HOPA and its members. We are therefore continuing to evaluate the performance of our organization and programs. As directors, we would be remiss in carrying out our fiduciary duty if we did not regularly review HOPA’s business relationships and insist on high standards of performance in each one.

 Serving as HOPA president is a unique honor, and I feel a profound sense of humility in being called to be your president and chair of your board of directors. Most of all, I have a deep commitment to caring for HOPA over the coming year. I’m glad we are on this journey together. 

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