Collaboration among faculty, students, national associations, and community pharmacy leaders is crucial as pharmacy practice continues to transform.
We are currently experiencing one of the most rapid periods of community pharmacy practice transformation in recent times. The business model of community pharmacies is quickly evolving to include additional medication-related patient care services. Patients now expect vaccinations at their local pharmacy, and pharmacists in the community setting are a critical access point to an increasing number of patient care services.
Pharmacists in academia across the country have come together through the ACT (Academia-Community Transformation) Pharmacy Collaborative to strengthen practice transformation efforts and ensure students, faculty, and colleges and schools of pharmacy are fully engaged in this transformation. In fall 2023, ACT Pharmacy Collaborative will launch programs for students who aspire to be leaders in community pharmacy practice and faculty who are leading and growing their connections to community pharmacy practice.
What follows is the story of ACT Pharmacy Collaborative and how our colleagues across pharmacy can get involved.
The ACT Pharmacy Collaborative is a national collaborative bringing together faculty from colleges and schools of pharmacy with community pharmacies, leaders, and national pharmacy associations to unite, mobilize, and amplify community pharmacy transformation efforts. The goal of the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative is to support the transformation of community-based pharmacy practice from a product-based care model to a community-based pharmacy care delivery model.
The ACT Pharmacy Collaborative is supported by its founding partners, the Community Pharmacy Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh, CPESN USA, and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), as well as its collaborative partners, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and the American Pharmacists Association. Colleges and schools of pharmacy can join the collaborative, with each dean stating their school’s commitment to community pharmacy practice transformation and identifying an ACT Champion for their school. ACT teams at these schools are ready and willing to support practice transformation through engaging learners, reimagining curricula, supporting pharmacies in practice, and expanding community-based pharmacy research.
Since its launch in 2019, the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative has stayed true to its 3 key tenets: unite, mobilize, and amplify. As of June 2023, a total of 100 colleges and schools of pharmacy are engaged in the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative, uniting to strengthen collective partnerships, research, and education.
The Collaborative has mobilized through several programs, including the National Day of Service, the Patient Case Challenge, the 50 Stories from 50 States Challenge, as well as the development of the ACT Curricular Framework. In 2019, the National Day of Service event engaged more than 200 student pharmacists who provided patient care services to more than 1400 patients at community pharmacies regionally. In 2020, the Patient Case Challenge led to submission of 20 unique real-life patient case reports from across the country, highlighting impactful patient care services provided at community pharmacy practices. In 2022, the 50 Stories from 50 States Challenge engaged practicing pharmacists, faculty, and students in nearly every state to share their patient care stories to a multimedia library.
The Patient Case Challenge resulted in the development of the now publicly available ACT Patient Casebook,1 which can be used by educators and learners and demonstrates the breadth and depth of patient care happening in community pharmacies nationwide.
The 50 Stories from 50 States Challenge amassed geographically diverse multimedia patient care stories to inspire and educate learners and professionals alike. The resulting 50 Stories from 50 States Multimedia Library2 is publicly available on the ACT website and paints the picture of the significant patient care happening in community pharmacies across the country.
Lastly, the ACT Curricular Framework3 was launched in 2022, providing colleges/schools of pharmacy with a curricular framework focused specifically on community pharmacy practice transformation to support the education of student pharmacists.
The ACT Pharmacy Collaborative is focused on amplifying community pharmacy practice transformation nationwide. In 2023-2024, the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative and the AACP will be launching 3 new signature programs.
Community Pharmacy Student Scholar Leaders Program. Launching in fall 2023, this program invites students enrolled in an accredited PharmD program to apply to join a cohort of 50 students nationwide who aspire to be leaders in community pharmacy practice. Students accepted into the program will engage in synchronous learning with community pharmacy and faculty leaders nationally. Four virtual sessions will be held once a month, beginning in January 2024 and running through April 2024, and an immersive online workshop will be held in May and June 2024 with networking and presentations. Students will be recognized nationally through the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative website, communication with our national association partners, and networking opportunities with leaders nationally. Students will receive a certificate of completion and pin at the completion of the program.
Community Pharmacy Practice Transformation Badge. Also launching in fall 2023, pharmacy educators interested in engaging with community pharmacy leaders can apply to join this educational badge program. Participants will have access to knowledge and training opportunities and be required to prove their competency in various areas through completion of engagement and implementation opportunities with practice partners and/or dissemination of work. Focused topics will include business operations, financial models/billing for services, payer engagement/contracting, and others. Participants who complete the program will receive an online badge, certificate, and pin and will be recognized on the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative website.
College and School of Pharmacy “Centers of Excellence” Framework. In winter 2023-2024, colleges and schools of pharmacy will be encouraged to apply for this recognition based on work they are doing to lead community pharmacy transformation through teaching, service and advocacy, scholarship, and leadership support. This national application will be open to all accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. A national leadership group, led by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, will review applications. Colleges and schools will be recognized at the AACP Annual Meeting in 2024, through national social media, and recognition on the ACT Pharmacy Collaborative and AACP sites. Recognition will include opportunities for further engagement with community pharmacy leaders and partners nationwide.
To learn more and get involved in the signature programs, visit the AACP ACT Pharmacy Collaborative webpage at www.aacp.org/resource/act-academia-community-transformation-pharmacy-collaborative. To learn more about ACT and resources shared in this article, visit www.actforpharmacy.com.
Sophia Herbert, PharmD, is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in Pennsylvania.
Nidhi Gandhi, PharmD, is interim codirector of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Transformation Center.
Miranda Steinkopf, PharmD, BCACP, is interim codirector of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Transformation Center.