Glen L. Stimmel, PharmD
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Pharmacy, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences
Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
CPNP Past President

Dr. Glen Stimmel is considered to be a critical figure in the establishment and advancement of psychiatric pharmacy. He founded the first psychiatric residency program at UCSF, co-chaired the first ASHP Mental Health Pharmacy Practice Special Interest Group, and contributed to the development of psychiatric residency standards. He co-chaired the strategic planning conference resulting in the formation of CPNP in 1994. He served as President of CPNP in 2003-2004 and was awarded the first Judith J. Saklad Memorial Award in 1998. He was awarded the CPNP Foundation Career Achievement Award in 2016 in recognition for a career that has demonstrated sustained excellence in psychiatric pharmacy and the profession of pharmacy. A USC faculty member since 1974, Dr. Stimmel served as interim dean of the USC School of Pharmacy and the John Stauffer Dean’s Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences from 2015-2016, and as associate dean of academic affairs from 2016-2020. Throughout his career, Stimmel published numerous studies and opinion pieces in a range of journals supporting the expanded practice role for pharmacists. His clinical work focused on psychiatric pharmacy and he maintained a longstanding practice in geriatrics and rheumatology at the LAC+USC Primary Care Clinics. Stimmel has long been a prolific scholar in the field, having published over 230 articles and textbook chapters and pioneered efforts in developing psychiatric pharmacy practice, education and residency programs.

JANUS

Janus was a Roman god portrayed with two faces – one facing the past and one facing the future. He represented the gateway between what was and what is to come, transitioning out of one time into something new. A successful path forward is uncertain unless one simultaneously looks backward and forward. So it is with CPNP’s consideration of its future. What were the original passions and priorities of early psychiatric pharmacists that led them to coalesce into a specialty of pharmacy practice and eventually create a national organization? What can we learn from our past that can guide our future? Do those original desires and concerns continue to guide CPNP as the foundational pillars of psychiatric pharmacy today?

LOOKING BACK

In the late 1960s and early 1970s there were individual pharmacists working in psychiatric facilities who recognized that they could play a role in improving how psychiatric medication was being used. They were not satisfied with merely dispensing prescriptions. They wanted to share their experiences with others with a similar passion. Most prominent among these pharmacists was Durward M. Poland, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Services, Central State Hospital, Milledgeville, GA. He led the effort to create a national meeting, inviting “members of the health care team and other professionals interested in improving the treatment of the mental patient.” Why did those original pharmacists create a national meeting? These pharmacists were driven by a patient-focused passion. In 1973, the First National Conference for Mental Health Pharmacists was held in Athens, Georgia.

In 1975, ASHP created an Advisory Panel on Pharmacy Services in Mental Health Facilities. Guidelines for psychiatric pharmacy practice were made for both drug distribution systems and clinical pharmacy services. ASHP then created several Special Interest Groups (SIGs), including the SIG on Mental Health Pharmacy Practice, then later SIGs were changed to Specialty Practice Groups (SPGs). In 1995 the SPGs discontinued. When it became clear that the identity of psychiatric pharmacists was no longer recognized and the needs of psychiatric pharmacists were no longer being met, there was increased impetus to create a national organization of psychiatric pharmacists.

In October 1994 a Strategic Planning Conference was held in Austin Texas, co-chaired by Larry Ereshefsky and myself. Forty psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists met to create the “Conference for Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists.” Subsequently, letters were sent out seeking founding members to join. In April 23-26, 1998, the first College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) annual meeting was held in Orlando, FL.

Today, psychiatric pharmacy and CPNP have clearly matured. Currently, there are 100 postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) psychiatric pharmacy residency positions, over 1,450 BCPPs, nearly 3,000 CPNP members, and 57 student chapters. CPNP’s annual meetings continue to set attendance records, with growing engagement of students and residents.

Organizational Life Cycle

Organizations go through four phases of a life cycle: startup, growth, maturity and renewal/rebirth or decline. The startup phase is characterized by charismatic leaders, a hands-on working Board, spontaneous decisions, and a compelling exciting purpose and vision. The growth phase is characterized by leaders focusing on managing change and generating new ideas, the Board becomes more policymaking, committees are better coordinated for efficiencies, and planning is more systematic. The maturity stage is characterized by sustaining momentum and renewal and long-range planning. Each of these three stages are evident in CPNP’s first 25 years. The fourth stage represents great opportunities as well as risk. Renewal and revitalization are critical to minimize the risk of decline.

LOOKING FORWARD

But what is next? Is it time for renewal and revitalization? In 2022, CPNP will be renamed the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP). For the past two years, the CPNP Board has had their Janus moment, looking back to consider the future. This name change reflects the empowerment gained from the past and a focus on the future.

Recent planning has led the Board to consideration of an aggressive, advocacy oriented strategic plan and vision for psychiatric pharmacy and the organization. It is reassuring that the original passions and purpose of the early psychiatric pharmacists remain a foundational tenet of AAPP. The passion for a patient-focus is evident. The recent Vision Paper, Positioning Psychiatric Pharmacists to Improve Mental Health Care, reflects that passion and purpose. The new name is the result of a studied and measured process and provides a clarity of purpose that will substantially increase advocacy efforts and streamline planning strategies. AAPP is now on a path of renewal and revitalization with transformed passion, focus, and authenticity for the next 25 years.

This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of the CPNP Perspective.

25 Years!