American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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ACCP Report

President’s Column

Thirty Years of Policies and Positions Designed to Enhance Patient Care and Research

Written by John E. Murphy, Pharm.D., FCCP

ACCP turned 30 years old this year and, in what would be the beginnings of middle age for us humans, ACCP continues to push the pharmacy envelope with insightful, thought-provoking, and occasionally contentious policies and positions. It is my belief that we members of ACCP have generally been comfortable in stretching the limits of practice to better establish the value of clinical pharmacy, the ultimate purpose of which is to demonstrate the ability of clinical pharmacists to optimize patient care through practice and research. Many of our activities are conducted as a single organization, whereas other activities have been best accomplished in partnership with other pharmacy organizations. Over the years, we have increased our stature with the other organizations through our effective participation in a variety of partnerships such as the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP), the Leadership for Medication Management (LMM) coalition, and the Commission for Credentialing in Pharmacy (CCP). Members will have seen reports about our activities in these organizations in various newsletters and other communications from ACCP. I would like everyone to know that these partnerships, as well as our individual efforts, are changing pharmacy for the better, even if the progress is not as fast as we might like. We have an amazing group of senior staff at ACCP who participate in these partnerships together with your elected leaders. This leadership team does an excellent job of promoting our policies and positions while working with others to create change.

The policies and positions of ACCP emanate from a variety of sources, the most important of which is our strategic plan. The strategic planning process involves hundreds of members in developing the future directions of the College. The strategic plan is then acted on by the Board of Regents, the staff, and the many committees and task forces of members who provide input into policies and positions. Because ACCP has been comfortable breaking down boundaries, some of our actions have been controversial. To illustrate this point, I will use three recent examples. First, our position on the need for residency training for pharmacy graduates1 has been debated in the houses of delegates or boards of at least four major pharmacy organizations. Some have agreed with us, whereas others have either deferred or opposed this recommendation. Regardless of the outcome, the issue of residency training is now higher on the agenda of all these organizations, based on the debates. We started the snowball rolling down the hill with this challenge, so now it is up to us to help make it an avalanche. My second example involves the recommended education for pharmacists as competitive clinical scientists.2 Although this is a recently released paper, there have already been editorials and considerable discussion about it among members, many of whom oppose the paper’s recommendations. My third example is the white paper establishing ACCP’s vision that future clinical pharmacists should be board-certified specialists.3 This document underpins many of our activities related to creating new structures for certification and for our support of the Ambulatory Care specialty petition to the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties.

It was my good fortune to have been a member of the committees that worked on each of these positions, all of which grew out of ACCP’s strategic plan. Because of that intimacy, I probably paid more attention to the acceptance and controversy caused by them. I am pleased with the progress that has occurred regarding residencies, but I do recall that one member of our committee resigned early on because he did not agree with the premise. Discussion will likely continue regarding the optimum pathways for developing competitive clinical scientists, and a great deal of work remains for enhancing the specialization processes to make specialty certification possible for most clinical pharmacy practitioners. However, lofty goals require bold statements and are often met with controversy. I hope ACCP will continue to use this approach to help break down boundaries in the profession.

Having said this, I believe it is time to test the waters regarding the governance of ACCP. We are now 10,000 members strong, and the last time we polled members about representation and governance was around 10 years ago when there were about 5000 members. Next month, we will send out a brief questionnaire about ACCP governance and the ability of members to participate in determining the College’s direction. If you are like me, you will dread yet another survey, but I would appreciate your taking a small amount of time out of your day to provide feedback. It is important to hear from everyone, whether you feel positive, negative, or indifferent about our current structure. Please make suggestions for improvement when necessary and provide kudos when appropriate. Like the Constitution, ACCP’s structure has worked well for a long time, but there may be room for enhancements.

Although I first became a pharmacist in 1976, my true introduction to clinical practice began 30 years ago in 1979 when I graduated with my Pharm.D. degree and began developing clinical services and teaching. Much has changed in these 30 years, and I continue to be excited by the many advances made by clinical pharmacists in this country and around the world. Speaking of the latter, we have a great international conference coming up (the International Congress on Clinical Pharmacy, where the opportunity to learn from international colleagues will present itself in educational sessions, platform and poster presentations, and hallway conversation. I urge you to take advantage of this occasion.

As I approach the time when medications will likely become a part of my own daily existence, I am comforted in knowing there are exceptional clinical pharmacists ready to care for me. ACCP has done much in the past 30 years to help make this a possibility, and I am proud to be part of this dynamic organization. I hope you feel the same way.


  1. Murphy JE, Nappi J, Bosso J, et al. American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s vision of the future: postgraduate pharmacy residency training as a prerequisite for direct patient care practice. Pharmacotherapy 2006;26:722–33.
  2. Dowling TC, Murphy JE, Kalus JS, et al. Recommended education for pharmacists as competitive clinical scientists. Pharmacotherapy 2009;29:236–44.
  3. Saseen JJ, Grady SE, Hansen LB, et al. ACCP White Paper: future clinical pharmacy practitioners should be board-certified specialists. Pharmacotherapy 2006;26:1816–25.