Dr. Nancy Alvarez will be installed as President Elect of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) at the Baltimore APhA Annual Meeting in March 2016.  Dr. Alvarez currently serves as CUSP’s Assistant Dean of Experiential Education and Continuing Professional Development, and as an Assistant Professor.

Dean Ron Jordan remarked, “In what we believe is an unprecedented period, at the APhA Annual Meeting in March 2016, CUSP Associate Dean LB Brown will become the Immediate Past Former APhA President at that meeting and CUSP will have two of the three presiding executive leaders of the association with their photographs bookmarking the historic APhA Board Room Wall. We are truly fortunate to have these internationally renowned leaders as part of our team here at CUSP!
Congratulations to Nancy on this extraordinary career achievement.”

Dr. Alvarez shares a few thoughts on her upcoming role.

CUSP: What does it mean to you to be voted APhA President Elect?

Dr. Alvarez: It is overwhelming for me to think about the giants who served in this role like Albert B. Prescott and all of those who have served during the time I have been a part of the profession – people for whom I hold admiration and great respect. I feel pride, humility, gratitude and happiness having been enriched by the election process experience.

CUSP: Why did you decide to run?

Dr. Alvarez: Two factors influenced a second attempt to serve as a presidential officer.

  • I have been involved in leader development efforts for the Pharmacy Leadership and Education Institute (PLEI) for a number of years. Our curriculum for the California Pharmacists Association Leader Development Institute has posed the following question to individuals: “Do you like the “idea” of being a leader or are you willing to do the hard work required of a leader?” I realized that I am firmly committed to the latter.
  • I also read the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain about the power of introverts in a world that reveres extroverts. My mind frame shifted towards an appreciation for the diverse pharmacy practice experiences, strengths, interests, and introvert-leaning demeanor I possess which created the space for me to consider the possibility of being an effective presidential officer for APhA.

CUSP: What are the agenda items for your presidency?

Dr. Alvarez: I think a lot about how to help student pharmacists and pharmacists in the early, formative years of their career and realize the importance of being a member of the American Pharmacist Association, their specialty pharmacy organization and their state pharmacy association. I am interested leader development and empowering pharmacists to consistently ask “What can I do today – to make a difference in how healthcare is delivered or in how patients utilize their medications?”  While pharmacists are not often in a position affect their environment, they are always in control of the manner in which they respond. The issues surrounding pain medicine and access to quality care for patients suffering from chronic pain weighs on my mind, as well. Finally, agenda items will be informed by the outcome of today’s agenda items such as achievement of recognition of pharmacists as healthcare professionals in the federal Social Security Act.

CUSP: How has being a pharmacist impacted your life?

Dr. Alvarez: I have been a pharmacist engaged in the delivery of direct patient care in community pharmacy settings and for patients at the end of their lives. I have also worked within the pharmaceutical industry where I had influence upon medication labeling and the provision of unbiased information to help healthcare professionals and patients use products appropriately. Each of these experiences has enriched and stretched me to learn new information, communicate effectively, refine leadership skills and determine what I could do to contribute to the health and wellness of patients. At the midpoint of my career, I can say that being a pharmacist has been challenging and I have enjoyed a deep sense of purpose and derive meaning from my role in healthcare.

CUSP: Final thoughts, words for future pharmacists?

Dr. Alvarez: Future pharmacists need to consider how they will make their mark on the profession and on the lives of patients (through direct patient care or other means) over the course of their career and how they will position themselves to exert positive influence when they face practice settings not exactly to their liking. Active participation in the APhA is one way to develop themselves – they never know what might be possible by making the APhA an essential part of their professional lives – I certainly did not when I wrote a $18 check for annual dues during my first year of pharmacy school.

Congratulations to Dr. Alvarez!  Click here to see the APhA announcement.