A common refrain from my father growing up was, "anticipate." It was often uttered when my brothers or I were assisting him with a project and our languor caused a delay in whatever task he was attempting to complete.
While, this could make any kid neurotic (I have my own neuroses...not related to the word 'anticipate'), my dad's simple reminder has helped me during my career, especially this year. I certainly did not anticipate two months into my tenure as a new Director of Pharmacy, I'd be leading a pharmacy department through an ongoing pandemic. But, I did anticipate that as COVID-19 spread throughout the US and shutdown our state, NJSHP could no longer operate as normal.
The first step towards this new reality was NJSHP's annual strategic planning meeting, our first virtual strategic planning session. Held on July 14th and 16th over Zoom, I charged the Board with the following question:
Where are we as an organization? Growth phase, Sustainability phase, or Recovery phase?
NJSHP has numerous strengths as a professional organization: a large membership base in relation to size of the state; financial stewardship; diversity in age, experience, and race/ethnicity; positive, industry/vendor relations; low membership fees compared to other states; quality CE programs; and, an Administrative Director dedicated to service and (new) Executive Director passionate about health-system pharmacy.
Nonetheless, we have some work to do. We need to improve our government relations and legislative/public policy advocacy. Our connections and interaction with the Board of Pharmacy has to strengthen. Our ability to provide online/virtual CE must be established. Regular communication to members and non-members has been lacking. And, we can better leverage technology to improve marketing, information exchange, and recruitment of future members.
After evaluation of our previous strategic plan and accomplishments over the past few years, the Board streamlined our 2020-2021 goals with a special focus on operating in a post-COVID world.
- Increase engagement
- Advocate to improve the practice of pharmacists and technicians in the State of NJ
- Sustain effective and energized operations
I will provide regular updates on our progress and opportunities for involvement over the next 10 months. However, I need your help with goal #1. In-person meetings and interstate travel will continue to be at a standstill for the foreseeable future. And, all of us who worry about budgets don't want to see this money reduced in the future. Why not repurpose that money for you to support as many staff as possible to join NJSHP for one year? (Yes, I'm talking to you fellow Directors and Managers).
COVID has highlighted the importance of networking with other healthcare professionals, knowledge-sharing among peers, and advocating our needs to state and federal leaders provides actual, life-saving results.
So, where are we as an organization? It depends on YOU!
Daniel T. Abazia, PharmD, BCPS, CPPS
President, New Jersey Society of Health-System Pharmacists (NJSHP)
Director of Pharmacy, Capital Health