In this issue
2020 MSHP Annual Conference
We're going virtual!
The MSHP Board of Directors and the Education Committee have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and how it will affect our upcoming Annual Meeting in July. Although we are hopeful that things will return to ‘normal’ by then, there is still much uncertainty of holding a live, in person meeting this summer. Therefore, in the interest of the health of our membership, speakers, and vendors, we have decided to move our meeting to a virtual platform (live, online).
The Annual Meeting will be held Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24, 2020, and includes 10 hours of live C.E. which will contain 3 hours of substance abuse/addiction topics. Also, we will once again offer the Mississippi Consultant Pharmacist certification (participant must attend the 1 hour of consultant law session). Please visit our website for more details and to register: https://msshp.org/meetinginfo.php
We greatly appreciate our members and look forward to a great meeting in the virtual environment. A schedule with speaker topics and times will be posted soon on the website. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for all you do!
MSHP Board of Directors and Education Committee
ASHP Residency Match
Congrats to all the Ole Miss pharmacy students and graduates who matched with a residency program! Despite a year interrupted by a pandemic, Ole Miss Pharmacy had its most matches ever and was above the national match rate percentage.
Check Out Our Website!
Our website look is new and improved! Visit https://msshp.org/index.php to check it out!
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put an enormous strain on our nation’s healthcare system, and the supply of qualified healthcare providers is becoming increasingly limited. Pharmacists are currently among those healthcare professionals on the front line, providing essential healthcare services during this time. MSHP would like to highlight some of the amazing work being done during this pandemic by our own pharmacists here in Mississippi. For our first spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing 4 pharmacists working at the Mississippi State Department of Health: Meg Pearson, Anna Kathryn Ward, Karmen McMinn, and Ashton Smith.
Meg Pearson (pictured above) serves as the Director of the Public Health Pharmacy, a role that she has been in for the past 10 years. During her time working in public health she has played key roles in other crises such as the Katrina relief efforts, the 2009 Novel H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine readiness program, maintenance of the state’s strategic stockpiles of medicines and vaccines, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this time of pandemic, Meg’s daily tasks have transitioned from oversight of medication dispensing and coordination of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee to emergency preparedness and response. So what goes into emergency preparedness and response? Meg explained that in addition to surveillance and testing, this includes working directly with hospitals and healthcare providers across the state, preparing them to identify and safely treat cases. Such efforts include obtaining and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE), establishing alternate care sites, ensuring access to COVID-19 testing, and developing policies and procedures for keeping patients, businesses, hospitals, and communities safe. She also works with her team to operationalize distribution of Remdesivir, plan for future mass vaccination, and is working to prepare the way for pharmacies to provide COVID-19 testing. Meg expressed that one challenge (of many) in any crises is how to keep everything in the pharmacy running smoothly while she and others are implementing an emergency response. Luckily, this was made possible for Meg by being surrounded by a supportive team of pharmacists.
Anna Kathryn, in addition to her duties as residency coordinator, readily assumed the daily oversight of pharmacy operations. She also worked closely with Dr. Thomas Dobbs, our State Health Officer. While some of the expertise she provided involved pharmaceutical knowledge, she says that much of what she did required her to tap into those problems solving skills and clinical skills that pharmacy school cultivated. She spent a great deal of time researching facemask specifications and even had the opportunity to work with a Mississippi company that wanted to use their warehouse space and production capacity to produce facemasks for the community. She also spent time researching and reviewing policy and procedures, clinical research, and executive orders from other states, so that she could provide valuable feedback to the governor and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency while developing their own executive orders and policies. She enjoyed working on these interdisciplinary teams with physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, etc. She learned a great deal from the experience, but part of the excitement was also being able to showcase what pharmacists are capable of bringing to the table.
Also helping Meg and Anna Kathryn were their two outstanding residents, Karmen McMinn and Ashton Smith. They stepped up during this time and provided staff coverage of the pharmacy full time to allow Meg and Anna Kathryn to focus on other needs. They both helped answered the COVID-19 hotline where they were able to field questions from concerned Mississippians about symptoms, access to care, and best practices. Ashton felt it was particularly interesting to witness the real-world reaction people had at the onset of the pandemic. Listening to their stories, it sounded to be a very rewarding (and often entertaining) experience!
While this pandemic has certainly presented us with many challenges, one thing this team agrees with is that pharmacists are in a unique position. Pharmacists are among the nation’s most accessible healthcare professionals. Because of this accessibility, pharmacists could play a vital role in delivering convenient access to COVID-19 testing, treatment, vaccination, and education. COVID-19 testing could open the door for additional point-of-care (POC) testing opportunities in the pharmacy and could potentially set the stage for even more. Imagine pharmacists being able to order, collect specimens, conduct and interpret tests and, when appropriate, initiate treatment for infectious diseases including COVID-19, flu, strep, etc. Now imagine pharmacists getting to bill for these clinical services provided and receive reimbursement. Meg believes it is possible. She reminisced that prior to the 2009 outbreak of H1N1, few pharmacies were providing vaccinations, and the public generally had no idea that it was even an option to receive vaccinations at their local pharmacy. Part of the emergency response to H1N1 was to push out vaccines to hundreds of pharmacies. This helped reinforce the need for payment for the services and caused it to become well known in the communities that these services were available. She thinks we could see similar progress because of COVID-19. Meg believes that with our training, ability to problem solve, think critically, and work ethic, that there is no limit to what a pharmacist can do, and this is especially true during our current pandemic.
Written by Kayla Peeler Douglas
ASHP COVID-19 Resource Page
Follow this link for helpful COVID-19 resources and information from ASHP:
Candidates Announced for ASHP Board of Directors
The candidates for ASHP offices for the upcoming year have been announced! Learn about the nominees and their contributions to the pharmacy profession: https://go.ashp.org/2xOBMne
Students Section of MSHP
How have student pharmacists been impacted by COVID-19? Read the perspectives of two students who completed their PY3 year during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Want to Get More Involved with MSHP?
Join one of our committees or councils! We have something for everybody:
- Membership Committee
- Education Committee
- PAI Task Force
- Public Relations
- Student Chapter
- Student Relations
- Industry Relations
- Pharmacy Technician
- Electronic Media
- Newsletter Committee
- Legislative Committee
- Resident/New Practitioner Committee (newly formed!)
Thank You to our Corporate Sponsors