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It’s back to school time! September is always a busy month for educators and mentors preparing and planning for the new classes, activities, and lessons. Likewise this is an exciting time for students who are preparing for new experiences and opportunities. Teaching and education is a focus and priority of CPNP and our members contribute significantly to the development of the next generation of psychiatric pharmacists. Within our membership, over 150 programs use psychiatric pharmacists to teach students (pharmacy, medical, nursing) and other trainees in a variety of settings, 34% of active members are faculty at Schools of Pharmacy and many serve as academic advisors to our growing number of student chapters. In fact, as of this month we have a 34 student chapters around the US!

This month’s theme of the CPNP Perspective is focused on our growing student involvement in CPNP. This year we have seen a record number of student members (900+) and a record number of student attendees at CPNP 2017 at 124 strong. CPNP and the CPNP Foundation work hard to grow the future generation of psychiatric pharmacists through the following such activities and programs:

  • Local student chapters focused on education, mentoring, and service to the community at the local level.
  • Student networking through not only the student chapters but through social media.
  • Twenty student registration/travel grants to the CPNP Annual Meeting.
  • Micro research grants through the CPNP Foundation Defining the Future grant program.
  • Dedicated student specific student programming at each CPNP Annual Meeting. In 2018, the CPNP Foundation will offer the nationally respected Mental Health First Aid program and the CPNP Student Programming track will provide tips on obtaining a residency and provide exposure to different specialty areas within psychiatric pharmacy. The successful student mentorship meetings will also continue at #CPNP2018.

As you read through this issue of the CPNP Perspective you will be amazed by the number of initiatives and projects that involve students. CPNP student members are making an impact in mental health awareness and access to care. You will read about students as naloxone trainers and as important players in transitions in care. We also have student chapters who are offering Mental Health First Aid Training and over 25 fundraisers and walks were organized and attended by CPNP student chapters.

Finally, this month I wanted to highlight that CPNP visibility continues to expand with many organizations reaching out to help understand our roles and how we can help expand services for our patients with behavioral health issues. With the help of our new government affairs firm, we have developed issues briefs for dissemination highlighting who psychiatric pharmacists are and how we can help expand access to care. Please distribute these to your representatives at the local, state, and national level.

Deanna Kelly and Leigh Anne Nelson engaging with legislators.

Just recently, the Board rolled up our sleeves and worked on the future of the organization at our annual Fall Retreat where we started and ended our time with Hill Visits to our respective legislators. This opportunity allowed us to educate our legislators on who CPNP is and what a psychiatric pharmacist does. It has been an active year in advocacy for our organization!

I would like to close by personally thanking all CPNP members involved in education and those who work with students and trainees in your daily practices. As students and educators settle into their routines, I wish you all a great year. I also encourage and challenge all members to get involved with some level of mentorship or teaching through the many avenues available within CPNP and within your practice setting. Your experiences and your expertise are much needed as we work to advance our reach and the practice of psychiatric pharmacy as well as build the voice of our specialty.

Have a great school year!

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