American College of Clinical Pharmacy
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ACCP Report

President's Column

A User’s Guide to ACCP Volunteer Opportunities

Written by Elizabeth Farrington, Pharm.D., FCCP, FCCM, FPPA, BCPS, BCNSP


After the annual volunteer survey each summer, we hear from members wanting to serve the College, particularly through committee participation. However, committee service represents only a fraction of ACCP’s volunteer opportunities. In 2021, ACCP had over 2400 volunteer openings filled by members. Around 200 of the total opportunities were for committee and task force members, with elected officers making up another 30 or so (i.e., Board of Regents, ACCP Foundation Board of Trustees, and Pharmacotherapy, Inc. Board of Directors). Yet to complete the College’s work, another 2100 to 2200 volunteers are needed each year in addition to those serving on committees and task forces. Therefore, even if you do not plan to volunteer for a committee or task force, complete the survey and look at the many other opportunities for needed volunteers listed at the bottom.

Last year, as president-elect, I had the opportunity to appoint ACCP committee and task force members. This was challenging, given the 800 or more volunteers for the roughly 200 positions. Members sometimes indicate they wish to work on a given charge but provide no explanation regarding the experiences or qualifications that make them well suited. Some merely list their degrees, board certifications, and job title in the comments, which does not assist in the selection process. Take the time to detail in the survey’s comments section why you wish to work on a given charge and are qualified for this task. Increase your likelihood of being selected by indicating you have completed similar work, have published in the topic area, or possess other qualities that make you well suited to pursue the charge.

If you are new to ACCP, the practice and research networks (PRNs) offer the best pathway to begin your volunteer service. The College now has 28 ACCP PRNs, each of which has committees that need active members, a chair-elect, and a chair (and often other officers). Once you engage in PRN committee service, you may wish to volunteer for one of a PRN’s elected offices and committees, the number of which varies within each PRN. Being an active member of a PRN increases your visibility among your professional colleagues and makes you more likely to be chosen for PRN speaking opportunities and other PRN activities.

ACCP also has many volunteer opportunities within its local chapters representing regions or foreign countries. In addition, local chapters have committee opportunities, need speakers for educational sessions, and seek volunteers for leadership positions. If you are a student, ACCP’s student chapters provide several options for student volunteers. The College’s student chapters also need faculty liaisons and ACCP members to speak about career development, specialized pharmacy practice, the importance of board certification, and the value of continued involvement in professional associations. Both local and student chapters afford volunteer opportunities that can be accomplished remotely and don’t require travel to a national meeting.

Some volunteer opportunities for service to the College require full member status; however, they are clearly marked:

  • Peer reviewing abstracts submitted to ACCP national meetings
  • Peer reviewing selected ACCP committee/task force papers in your area(s) of expertise
  • Peer reviewing educational program content to ensure lack of bias
  • Peer reviewing selected ACCP publications in your area(s) of expertise
  • Reviewing program faculty to identify conflicts of interest
  • Mentoring trainees on career development
  • Peer reviewing for Pharmacotherapy or JACCP

Additional activities that support the development of ACCP programs and services or the recognition of your peers include:

  • Evaluating non-ACCP books and other publications for addition to the ACCP Bookstore
  • Answering surveys related to ACCP products and services
  • Answering surveys regarding educational needs (i.e., important topic areas for future educational programs)
  • Helping with ACCP’s volunteer recognition program

It also takes many ACCP members to review the abstracts submitted to the ACCP Virtual Poster Symposium (spring) and Annual Meeting (fall). In addition, volunteers are needed to provide feedback to virtual poster presenters. A virtual poster reviewer provides detailed reviews of/feedback for three to five posters during the live online sessions of the Virtual Poster Symposium, held 2 evenings each May.

If you are a student member of ACCP, you can volunteer to do peer reviews and provide formative feedback on student abstracts submitted for presentation at an ACCP session. Volunteer activities to support activities related to board certification include:

  • Writing questions for the ACCP Pharmacotherapy Mock Exam. Volunteers must be board certified in Pharmacotherapy.
  • Reviewing the questions submitted for the Mock Exam. Again, volunteers must be board certified in Pharmacotherapy.
  • Peer reviewing preparatory review and recertification courses. Volunteers should be board certified and willing to review topic-specific chapters in the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy, Cardiology Pharmacy, Critical Care Pharmacy, Geriatric Pharmacy, Infectious Diseases Pharmacy, Oncology Pharmacy, Pediatric Pharmacy, or Pharmacotherapy preparatory course.
  • Serving as subject matter experts on standard setting committees that set passing points for ACCP’s self-assessment programs and other recertification offerings. Volunteers must hold board certification in the relevant specialty.
  • Peer reviewing ACCP self-assessment program chapters. Again, volunteers must hold a BPS certification in the relevant specialty.
  • Presenting board-certified preparatory courses as faculty

One of many members’ favorite activities is watching the ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge during the ACCP Annual Meeting each fall. In addition to the many mentors needed at the local level to prepare the student teams that participate in both the ACCP Clinical Research Challenge and the Clinical Pharmacy Challenge each year, item writers and item reviewers are needed.

Members are also needed to help develop future generations of clinical pharmacists through activities such as:

  • Reviewing and providing feedback on student and trainee curricula vitae and/or letters of intent
  • Reviewing and rating student or trainee travel award applications
  • Reviewing student chapter award applications
  • Mentoring students on career development

If research is a major part of your career path, the ACCP Foundation needs your assistance in reviewing research proposals. In addition, faculty members and mentors are needed for the Foundation’s FIT and MeRIT programs.

ACCP is a member-driven organization that could not complete all its work without member volunteers. In addition to the opportunities listed earlier, ACCP appoints members to represent the College on intra- and interprofessional groups, coalitions, and guideline/expert panels. To be a successful volunteer, start by engaging in a PRN or regional/student chapter. Attend an ACCP national meeting and network with your colleagues. And complete the volunteer survey. Even if this is not your year to volunteer for a committee or task force, there are many other opportunities. Be patient and persistent, and you will increase your engagement with ACCP as one of its valued volunteers.