When I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy, I didn’t anticipate that policy would be a significant part of this path. However, nearly every national pharmacy society has an operation focusing on policy, and we are often reminded how important it is for pharmacists to advocate for their profession and their patients. That is why I signed up for a day at the Denver capitol building with fellow pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy, public health, and other healthcare professional students for CU AMC Advocacy Day.
Throughout the morning, we met with senators and representatives, reviewed the process of how a bill becomes a law, learned how and who to petition for healthcare policies, attended part of a House of Representatives session, and toured the capitol building (including the top of the dome!).
As a student, it is sometimes difficult to make the connection of why we should care about politics as healthcare providers. During the House of Representatives session, I was discussing this topic with my fellow classmate, Jillian Dann; she succinctly made the connection for me when she said, “what happens in here determines how we get to practice in the community.” This is absolutely true, and it reinforces the importance of healthcare advocacy, especially in our profession that is currently trying to expand scope of practice through provider status. Senator Irene Aguilar, MD also spoke to use about the role of medical professionals as being stewards of healthcare and that our input is essential and valued.
With this in mind, how do you become involved in advocacy?
One step you can take today is to go to www.openstates.org to find your local representatives and learn about recent legislation. You can also become involved in state or national organizations that promote policy and advocacy. APhA, PLS, CSSHP, SNPhA, NCPA, and CPS hold legislative lunch series about current topics throughout the semester. Lastly, review existing healthcare policy issues to find topics that interest you. Here are websites that also provide pharmacy-related resources: