It is so great to be here in person. I would first like to give a big thank you to everyone that made this KCHP 2023 Annual Spring Meeting happen - Jim Andrews and Q&A Business Solutions, Daniel Pons and the KCHP Spring Meeting planning committee, and the KU School of Pharmacy for hosting. Thank you! And thank you to all of you for being here! To share a little about myself, I grew up in Clinton, MO and went to pharmacy school at Drake University. I then went to University of Cincinnati Med Center for PGY1 and stayed for PGY2 in Ambulatory Care. I’m now at St. Luke’s Health-System where I work in the Primary Care Clinics as part of the Population Health Team. I am so fortunate to work at a Health-System that believes in KCHP and that also supports and encourages involvement in this organization. It was my co-workers at St. Luke’s who introduced me to KCHP about 6 years ago. There were many encouraging voices along the way that led me to KCHP, then led me to the board, and now to KCHP president. For me those voices were Mark Woods, Jeff Little, Lindsay Massey, Kat Miller, Carolyn Huninghake, and Brian Gilbert. I’ve learned so much from them. And so, I would encourage you to both listen to those encouraging voices, and to be that voice for others that supports and encourages. Be that voice that maybe says, “Hey, I think you’d be great for KCHP” and “KCHP needs you”. That’s how it started for me. So let me be that voice to you right now - KCHP needs you. There are so many ways to get involved and help our mission.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing this organization overcome some significant barriers, mostly around the pandemic. Brian’s goal over the last year was “rebuilding”. We’ve done a lot of rebuilding, brick by brick. We’re having in-person events again, we’ve had very successful events that include our Resident Welcome Happy Hour, Technician Conference, Rural Health Summit, and Preceptor Bootcamp. Over the last few years, we’ve become more aware of what makes KCHP strong, more aware of our mission and vision and what we believe. We’ve rebuilt an even stronger foundation. And now it’s time to further our awareness to bring action. And action takes many voices. KCHP needs you. And as ASHP President Paul Walker said, “We’re better together”.
So, with that in mind, and in honor of Earth Day tomorrow, I wanted to share a story with you about Aspen Trees, which happen to be the most widespread tree in North America. They stand in clusters and their vibrant yellow quaking leaves and white trunks in the fall is a beautiful sight. If you’re ever in Colorado in the fall, they’re hard to miss. Aspen Trees symbolize purpose and community. They provide food and shelter to hundreds of different species. Their bark and leaves have been used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes to treat pain, inflammation, and most recently have been investigated for antimicrobial properties. Aspens represent community in that you never just see one. A single Aspen tree is actually part of a larger organism, which uses the same root system. This root system is used to sustain and support each other. After a forest fire, Aspens are the first tree to sprout up from that extensive underground root system. Like the Aspen Trees, we are a community whose purpose is working to promote safe and appropriate medication use for all people of Kansas. But we’re also a community of colleagues and friends. And we believe in supporting each other.
Together we can move from awareness to action. We can do things that help regain trust in public health and address misinformation. We can do things that address health disparities. I hope to work toward ASHP’s Practice Advancement Initiative 2030, which includes things like adopting personalized, targeted patient therapies. I believe there’s an opportunity for pharmacy to embrace pharmacogenomics. I would also like to promote advancing pharmacy technician roles, especially with the potential change in the pharmacy workforce with decreasing pharmacy school enrollment, and the surge in retirement post-pandemic.
Let’s be Aspen trees and stand tall and strong in continuing to pursue KCHP’s mission and vision of safe and appropriate medication use for all people of KS and continue to work towards advancing our profession for the greater good. This might be a bit of stretch, but I’d like to leave with a line from John Denver’s song “Aspenglow”. “Aspen is the life to live, See how much there is to give, see how strongly you believe, see how much you may receive”.
Thank you for entrusting me to lead KCHP. I’m truly looking forward to taking the baton and seeing how far and fast we can go.