Dear Incoming Student Pharmacists,
Congratulations, and welcome to the profession of pharmacy! You have taken the first step in the incredible journey of becoming the most accessible and one of the most trusted healthcare professionals, a pharmacist. Take this moment to reflect on the incredible hard work and dedication that resulted in you being where you are right now. Before you is curriculum and experiences that will result in you becoming a valued and essential member of the healthcare team.
We join the profession of pharmacy because we want to help people. Maybe some of us had an encounter with a pharmacist in our youth and we were inspired. Others were fascinated by chemistry and the effects of drugs on the body. So many more stumbled upon this spectacular profession in other colorful ways.
We write this letter to share our excitement for the future of pharmacy. Over the past 100 years, the pharmacist’s roles and responsibilities have significantly evolved. We have evolved from a profession focused on the compounding of medicine to one that optimizes therapy and provides direct patient care. However, these changes, and the endless possibilities we now have to make a significant impact on our communities, did not come without effort. They were the result of leaders who came before us recognizing the potential in the profession and advocating for change that would benefit future patients.
As you begin your time as a student pharmacist, you may hear concerning issues – things like the job market, pharmacy benefit managers’ influence on patient care, pharmacist salaries, and others. If you feel scared or angry when you think about these issues, your emotions are understandable and warranted. However, we challenge you to think about those leaders who came before us who faced similarly large issues, but decided to make a difference and find a solution to improve patient care rather than accept the current reality. One of the most effective tools you can use to make a difference is grassroots advocacy.
Grassroots advocacy is empowering citizens to get involved with solving their community’s problems by engaging their elected leaders and the public. Grassroots advocacy is an important part of our democracy, but many do not participate, especially healthcare professionals. Our mission is to help you identify the power of your voice and use it to improve the lives of our patients. If every day we each took a few minutes to dedicate to grassroots advocacy, we are confident we could dramatically improve our healthcare system and the care our patients receive.
As you take in this special moment at that start of your career, we challenge you to look to the future. The future holds so much opportunity for you, your patients, and your community. You have the power to create positive change to improve patient care today and tomorrow. You do not have to do this alone. We will do this together. Don’t lose that excitement you feel now. There is so much change on the horizon…all we have to do is advocate for it.
The Grassroots Pharmacist