Inaugural Speech
Marialice S. Bennett
2010–2011 APhA President-Elect
March 27, 2011
Seattle, WA

Good morning. It is with honor and humility that I stand before you today, ready to serve as the 156th president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

I have been a pharmacist since 1969 and a member of the Association for almost as long. Some of my dearest friends are my former students and residents and current pharmacist colleagues. My most treasured professional accomplishments have come from creating innovative practices such as University Health Connection, an interprofessional health care practice, and developing our community and ambulatory care pharmacy residency programs. I have been coming to APhA Annual Meetings for over 20 years and made so many friends across our profession and around our country. We are all blessed to be a part of the great family of pharmacy. It is a privilege to speak with you today and to serve as your president. I thank you for the opportunity.

Thank you also to my family and colleagues, many of whom are here today. I want to thank my supportive husband, Jon, who is so enthusiastic about becoming the first gentleman. I am so blessed to have our three wonderful sons, Jay, Vince, and Bryan, here with us today along with their special mates, Jess, Rebecca, and Michelle, and our three precious grandchildren, Josie, Lulu, and Hudson. I am honored to have my two big brothers, Ed and Howard, my sister-in-law, Karen, and five of my nieces here as well. I want to thank my colleagues at The Ohio State University (OSU) for their support—especially my dean, Robert Brueggemeier, my chair, Milap Nahata, and my practice family from University Health Connection. Last, but not least, thanks to my many friends and colleagues in both my personal and professional life who continue so generously to support me on this journey.

Let us also take a moment to thank our president, Harold Godwin. Harold has been a wonderful president of our Association and leader of our profession at a difficult time for our country, our patients, and our peers. Harold is a mentor of mine dating back to my days as a student at OSU and as an intern at the OSU Medical Center. He made a huge impact on my career and it is an honor to follow in his footsteps as president of APhA. Building on his own strong legacy in pharmacy, Harold helped set the vision for our profession and the mission for our Association: to create demand for pharmacist-provided medication therapy management (MTM) services and their implementation.

A tomorrow with this sort of demand would indeed be a stronger one for our profession, for our patients, and for our nation. But how will we get there from here?

Getting There
One thing Harold didn’t teach me was how to make charcoal powder papers. My first experience with these resulted in my being covered head to toe with charcoal, failing the lab, and meeting my husband-to-be with tears running down my cheek. We realized that we were trying to package too much for one dose. Sometimes it takes approaching situations in pieces versus trying to accomplish the task all at once. Thank goodness my mentors taught me perseverance and how to learn from mistakes. Little did I know I would have to make powder papers on my board exam and continually use my perseverance skills in creating practice change.

I believe sharing our stories and serving as mentors to one another will help move us forward. A turning point in my career came from my experience as one of the 30 practice sites chosen for the APhA Foundation’s Project IMPACT: Hyperlipidemia. The staff and colleagues involved in this project mentored and supported me to be a change agent to create a brighter tomorrow for pharmacy. This project gave us the infrastructure to advance pharmacist-provided patient care services at OSU and to develop residency programs in community settings, which are still growing today. Paying it forward is a great philosophy! One of the joys of my career has been to serve as a mentor to pharmacists, residents, and student pharmacists who also are seeking to make a difference.

As many of you know, mentoring is a lot like working as an MTM pharmacist: we help our patients and mentees review their history and set their goals; we work with them to develop and enact an action plan to meet their objectives; and we support, intervene, follow-up, and find additional help when they need it.

More often than not, as I am sure many of you have found, setting goals is not the hardest part of providing MTM to patients or mentorship to young pharmacists. Most patients and mentees know where they want to go. Nor is it effectively following-up because most people want help when they are struggling. Instead, the most difficult challenge in mentoring and practicing MTM is developing a realistic action plan for getting there. I am sure many of you found your way here because of good mentors. I am sure you have patients relying on you to help them achieve better medication therapy outcomes. As a profession in transition, our associations can likewise mentor us to enact a realistic plan for the “tomorrow” we envision.

Read entire Inaugural Speech  here