Following Hurricane Harvey, we once again are seeing pharmacy personnel putting first the needs of their patients and community. This is even the case among many team members who are demonstrating heroism and selflessness even as they face their own recovery-related challenges. As in previous natural disasters, company-wide and industry-wide efforts are reaching out to the affected areas—and NACDS is performing its role as well.
One observation about the actions underway is that so many of them are built on preparation. It is somewhat eerie that NACDS last month worked with Pharmacy Today on a cover story for its August edition, titled “Disaster Strikes! Are You Ready to Help Your Community?” Based on the company-specific examples that NACDS is documenting on NACDS.org and that are being reported by many national media outlets, it is apparent that pharmacies are ready—and willing.
At the NACDS offices, we also are seeing the benefit of preparation. For example, we reached out directly to Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health, to offer any assistance. Houston is the county seat of Harris County. NACDS has built a personal and ongoing partnership with Dr. Shah as a result of our collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials—for which Dr. Shah is serving as the 2017-2018 President of the Board.
NACDS also is engaging with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which is deploying assets to Texas. We are engaging with the NACDS Pharmacy Operations and Care Committee and with the Strategic Communications Committee, facilitating information sharing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including their National Business Emergency Operations Center, and other NACDS partners—such as Healthcare Ready, which helps to coordinate the pharmaceutical supply chain’s response to emergency situations. NACDS also is in contact with members of Congress who represent the areas in need. Again—as further validation of the importance of preparation—NACDS has served for the past year on the National Academies’ Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Standing Committee, which is a linchpin of collaboration among response agencies. As a result of NACDS’ engagement, plans have been underway for further collaboration. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the importance of this collaboration is only further reinforced.
Still, first in our hearts and minds are those who have seen their lives turned on end by Hurricane Harvey, and those who are working right now to assist them. Instead of calling the NACDS offices a “headquarters,” we sometimes refer to the NACDS offices as the “Member Service and Advocacy Center.” That name reflects the reality that NACDS is the membership, and the organization exists to serve the members in their work to serve their patients, consumers and communities. It is an honor to help fulfill that role today, with so much important work underway for the people of Texas and Louisiana. Thank you for all you are doing to help and lead at this critical time.