American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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President’s Column

Growing Student Involvement in ACCP

In the lead article of the July StuNews, “Networking in a Small Pharmacy World” (accp.com/docs/stunet/StuNewsJuly2017.pdf), Charles M. Summerlin, a Pharm.D. candidate from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, recommends a variety of ways for students to develop their professional networks, from making a good impression on classmates and faculty members to attending ACCP regional and national meetings to interact other students, residents, and clinical pharmacists (including potential residency program directors—a great tip!). For my last column in the ACCP PRN Report, I’d like to highlight the PRNs’ importance in developing these networks and supporting the next generation of clinical pharmacists.

Although ACCP is well known to most pharmacy students for its annual Clinical Pharmacy Challenge, its newer Clinical Research Challenge, and its popular “Emerge from the Crowd” program, most students initially become engaged with the College on a more personal level. Involvement in a student chapter provides contact with other members 1–2 years ahead of them, as well as with college of pharmacy faculty liaisons. These individuals (listed at accp.com/stunet/liaisons.aspx) volunteer their time to serve as role models and share with students the value of remaining involved with ACCP throughout their careers. In addition, ACCP members who are faculty and rotation preceptors often include discussions about professional organizations with their students, encouraging them to pursue membership in groups that will enrich their career development and expand their network of clinical pharmacy colleagues.

The ACCP PRNs also play an important role in reaching out to student members and welcoming them into the organization. Students coming to ACCP meetings often attend the PRN business and networking meetings for the opportunity to learn more about the PRNs and meet experts in a specialty they are hoping to pursue. Every PRN has student members, with students typically making up almost one-fourth of the membership (median 23%, range 12%–53%). To encourage students to join a PRN, one PRN membership is included with ACCP student membership at no cost; additional PRN memberships cost the same ($20 per year) as for other members. In addition to the ACCP Student Travel Awards, many of the larger PRNs offer travel grants to students, residents, and fellows to encourage trainees pursuing their specialty to submit research abstracts to the meeting. Awardees of these grants are in turn often given an additional opportunity to present their work in more detail at PRN meetings, allowing PRN members and awardees to become better acquainted.

Moreover, most PRNs incorporate students in their standing committees. This is an excellent way for students to see PRN members working together, allowing students to develop deeper relationships with clinical pharmacist experts in their interest areas. Several PRNs also have a committee just for students, residents, and fellows, allowing these members to complete their own projects and present them at the ACCP Annual Meeting. Other services provided to students include mentoring programs, CV review, and mock interviews. PRN leaders are also encouraged to talk with their student members about applying for a position on the National Student Advisory Committee, or to continue their involvement in ACCP after graduation by applying for the Resident Advisory Committee.

I want to thank the school of pharmacy faculty liaisons and all the PRN members serving as officers and committee chairs, as well as the mentors, CV reviewers, and mock interviewers. Your commitment to helping these future clinicians is an invaluable service to ACCP and ensures that the next generation of clinical pharmacists will continue to consider ACCP their professional home.