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This month, we are sharing the CPNP Perspective on the overall growth of our profession and residency training as a part of the solution to a growing challenge facing the country. With 1 in 5 adults living with mental illness, the mental health epidemic is costing the United States $193 billion annually (from NAMI’s Mental Health by the Numbers). Nearly 60% of those adults are not receiving appropriate mental health services, indicating that the healthcare system must evolve to address the growing demand.

Psychiatric pharmacists can help meet this demand by working with a physician as part of a collaborative team to improve medication-related outcomes for patients with psychiatric or neurological disorders. In 2015, the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) surveyed the growing mountain of research regarding the role of the psychiatric pharmacist in the position paper: Improving medication-related outcomes for patients with psychiatric and neurologic disorders: Value of psychiatric pharmacists as part of the health care team. Psychiatric pharmacists are passionate about patients, and it is now well-documented that they can make a tangible impact through direct patient care.

However, addressing an epidemic requires more than a passionate practitioner. It requires a massive number of practitioners distributed throughout the country. Fortunately, we have seen real growth in the profession in recent years, and there are strong signals that the growth will continue. A 2016 CPNP membership survey found that 74% of CPNP members are seeing a shift toward direct patient interaction and care, and 82% are optimistic about the future of psychiatric pharmacy. Psychiatric pharmacists are being empowered to utilize their clinical skills and experience in more practice settings. The net impact of this shift is multiplied as the number of Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacists has increased 23% over four years. More psychiatric pharmacists are doing more for patients than ever before.

Along with Psychiatric Pharmacists expanding their roles in treating patients with severe mental illness, we are seeing impressive growth in the creation of psychiatric pharmacy residencies and the number of students joining CPNP Student Chapters. Based on ASHP reports, the number of PGY2 Psychiatric Residencies has increased 158% over four years, and CPNP membership rolls indicate that student interest has grown by 277% over that same period. Even with a 158% increase in the number of residency PGY-2 slots, I am proud to report that 99% of all graduating residents find employment within 3 months of completion of residency!!! Part of the job growth incubator has been a direct result of expanding psychiatric pharmacists’ roles in the Department of Veterans Affairs to help meet the care access concerns within the Department. All of these insights into the profession have been consolidated into the figure above to help clarify the potential our profession has to make a significant impact on the mental health epidemic.

In other residency news, CPNP was fortunate to work with ASHP on updating the PGY-2 Psychiatry Goals and Objectives. The goals and objectives were approved by ASHP’s Commission on Credentialing at the August, 2016 meeting and will be live for program directors to implement starting in July, 2017. The ASHP/CPNP workgroup worked diligently in streamlining some of the perceived redundancy in the goals and objectives and to reduce the time burden and paperwork for programs when evaluating residents and visa-versa. I would like to personally thank the following CPNP members for their hard work and dedication for updating the PGY-2 Psychiatry Pharmacy Goals and Objectives: Drs. Ronald Reed, Amy VandenBerg, Jose Rey, and Tawny Smith. Finally, I would also like to thank ASHP’s Accreditation Service Division Staff for allowing CPNP to have a voice in the drafting and editing of the document.

CPNP’s mission is to support the entire psychiatric pharmacist experience. This is accomplished through numerous activities and services from student chapters, to the Psychiatry Residents Community, to BCPP prepatory, and BCPP Recertification products, to name a few. All CPNP members should take pride in how they help expand the reach of psychiatric pharmacists.

Finally, to the students and PGY-1 residents wanting to pursue a career in psychiatric pharmacy, I hope you find your career as stimulating and equally rewarding as I have. As for the pending match, I think it may be best said by Effie Trinket of the Hunger Games Trilogy: “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

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