By Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE
NACDS President and CEO

What happens when student pharmacists discover that their professional path may prove equal parts public health and public policy? After an amazing event on Tuesday at Washington State University College of Pharmacy, we just may find out.

The next generation of pharmacists at the Spokane, Washington campus welcomed a very special guest who – by all accounts – delivered insights that were equal parts informative and inspiring. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) participated in what the college calls its Career Seminar Series. I had the honor of participating with the Congresswoman on the panel, which was moderated by Dean Gary Pollack.

The Congresswoman is one of the nation’s most senior members of Congress, and she has emerged as a true champion of pharmacy issues. As the chair of the House of Representatives Republican Conference, she is the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress. The Congresswoman also serves as the lead House sponsor of the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act.

In addition to these authoritative credentials that Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers brought to the discussion, there is no more persuasive of a leader when it comes to communicating the importance of engaging in the public policy arena at the grassroots level.

That proved true throughout the conversation of pharmacy’s enhanced appreciation among government officials; of Congress’ pursuit of policy to foster healthcare innovation; and certainly of the momentum behind pro-pharmacy-care legislation in Congress.

I have no doubt that the student pharmacists left the presentation with a greater appreciation of their ability to shape patient care and public policy alike, and with a true fire-in-the-belly to deliver on their potential. It’s going to be exciting to see what they do with it!