Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy – USC School of Pharmacy Los Angeles, California
I joined CPhA’s Leader Development Institute (LDI) because I felt that I was disconnected from the pharmacy profession in California. I moved to Southern California in August of 2013 from Washington State. As an out of state graduate, connections seemed harder to make. I was also an “On and Off” CPhA member over the last 4 years and never felt truly connected to the organization. At times, I felt like an outsider wanting to find a way to be more involved.
In the Fall of 2016, I met Nancy Alvarez, who gave me a simple push in the right direction and asked if I would consider applying for LDI. It was at a time in my own career where I still had so much passion for the profession, but continued to sit on the sidelines as an observer. I felt stagnant, but wanted to push myself to be a better leader in any way possible to break the routine. This chance meeting has led me to a path with unexpected opportunities and personal growth as an LDI participant. The simple action of applying was the tipping point of becoming a more involved and active voice for the profession in the state of California at a time where there is much opportunity on the horizon for pharmacists.
My LDI project is to improve the health of the community by implementing pharmacy based services during transitions of care. This includes a post-discharge medication reconciliation program and a meds-to-beds program in partnership with a healthcare system. The hope is to further showcase the role of the pharmacist in improving the patient experience at a time when patients are most vulnerable. Pharmacists in the community setting can be in asset in reducing readmissions, healthcare costs, and improving patient satisfaction at critical points in their health. My LDI project is still under development with the hopes of creating these services by the beginning of 2018. The project requires forming interdependent relationships with providers, nurses, and case managers on top of working with pharmacist and technicians in achieving the goal of providing improved patient care.
LDI is a program that follows the mantra “the more you put in, the more you get out of it.” My own journey through the program began with finding who I was as a leader. Through tough reflection and creating a VISN chart (values, interests, strengths, needs), I was reminded of things that I found rewarding and motivated me as a student and earlier in my career. It helped create a realignment of my passions in order to face the challenges that were ahead both personally and professionally.
One aspect of the program that is unique is the open learning environment at the live sessions and with your learning pod between each session. This dynamic learning experience creates bonds that will last a lifetime as you help each other develop your projects, discuss issues you experience as pharmacist, and reflect on how to utilize leadership principles taught in the course. Everyone that is a part of the program, whether a student, learning coordinator, or instructor is willing to assist you in any way they can to complete your LDI project. The positive energy and perspective from these interactions is instrumental in your growth as a leader and is unlike previous courses I have taken in leader development.
My involvement in LDI has been a transformative journey of reflection, mentorship, and creating lifelong connections with colleagues. The commitment I made to myself in completing the program has changed my attitude about being active in the pharmacy profession. As I continue to build upon the abilities and skills taught in LDI, I hope to share some of this knowledge as a mentor and coach to my student pharmacists as well. Hopefully, sharing my passions with them so they too can take on the challenges we face in healthcare. I now find myself more complete as I am reconnected to the profession and pushing to improve pharmacist based services in the community I work in. I will be a lifelong CPhA member for the rest of my career and through the lifelong connections I made through LDI, will never feel like an outsider again.