Pharmacists and pharmacy groups are taking part in a national march in support for science.
Pharmacists will be represented at the March on Science in Washington, DC, and at satellite marches around the country and the world.
The mission of the diverse and officially nonpartisan march, which takes place on April 22, is to celebrate science, to speak out against attempts to discredit scientific discourse, and stand up for science in the public good and evidence-based public policies.
Kirsten BlockThe American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) will have a small contingent marching, said Kirsten Block, PhD, the group’s Associate Director of Research and Graduate Programs. Lucinda Maine, RPh, PhD, and Cynthia Boyle, PharmD, are also marching along with others from AACP. Maine is the group’s CEO and Executive Vice President, while Boyle is immediate past president and Chair of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
AACP is part of a coalition of pharmacy and pharmaceutical science groups that are taking part in the event, according to Block, including the American Society of Pharmaceutical Scientists, US Pharmacopeia, and the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
There had been some concern about whether the March for Science, which has been planned for several months, was going to be a partisan or political event, Block said. “I heard about it in its infancy and didn’t feel entirely comfortable with a lot of the political messages coming out of it,” she said. “Maybe the scientist in me was a little cautious about wading into that spectrum. But at the same time, I feel obligated to speak up because I’ve spent too much of my life training in this field and seeing what good science does for society not to say anything.”
The march needs to be a conversation with policy makers and with the community about the value of science in society and how science plays a role, Block added. "My biggest goal is to start a conversation and hope that it doesn’t end when the march ends, that it is not just a day of shouting."
The AACP contingent does not plan to carry signs, she said, but will be wearing buttons with the message: Pharmacists help people live healthier, better lives.
Organizers of the march have asked the scientists who take part to bring along a nonscientist. Block is bringing her husband, who is trained as an artist and who will be taking pictures that AACP will share on its social media. You can follow them on Twitter, @LMaineAACP, @KFBlock and @CynthiaJBoyle, and follow the conversation with #RxInnovation and #MarchForScience.
More than two dozen medical and health-care groups, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Physicians, say they are taking part in the March for Science.