By Lisa Goldstone, CPNP President
As I wind down my presidential year, I would like to start by thanking the board members who will be completing their service at the end of June, Ericka Crouse, PharmD, BCGP, BCPP, FASCP, FASHP, Megan Ehret, PharmD, MS, BCPP, and Karen Moeller, PharmD, BCPP, who most recently served as Secretary, Past President, and Member-At-Large respectively. Their service on the Board has been invaluable and I greatly appreciated their contributions. I am excited to continue to serve as Past President this upcoming year with Marshall Cates, PharmD, BCPP, FASHP, Tawny Smith, PharmD, BCPP, and Heidi Wehring, PharmD, BCPP and to work with our new officers, Cindy Gutierrez, PharmD, MS, BCPP, Robert Haight, PharmD, BCPP, and Clint Ross, PharmD, BCPP who will assume their positions on July 1.
This has been a year marked by many achievements for our organization as we made great strides in moving our profession forward. We participated as a member of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Interprofessional Collaboration, partnered with both pharmacy and mental health organizations to advocate for legislation benefitting both our profession and patients, and began work on our next strategic plan. We also successfully transitioned to a virtual annual meeting, Virtual CPNP 2020, with less than 5 weeks notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A very special thanks to Katie Brase, Greg Payne, Brenda Schimenti, and Vanessa Wasser for making that happen! Finally, I would like to recognize our many volunteers and their efforts in continuing to move our organization forward and supporting our membership including both our students and residents.
Although CPNP has much to celebrate, the year was not without turmoil with issues rising to the national surface including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, longstanding systemic racism and its impact on Black lives, and the continued stigmatization of persons with psychiatric disorders including substance use disorders. Where we were when I began my presidential year in July 2019 is not where we are now or likely where we will ever be again. When I recorded my comments on April 22 for the Forum on our Future, I referenced over 44,000 Americans who had lost their lives to COVID-19. That number today, approximately two months later, has nearly tripled with no end in sight. On May 25, the killing of George Floyd prompted the beginning of widespread protests and increased awareness that we must address racism on both institutional and individual levels. And through of all this, persons with psychiatric disorders continued to be stigmatized and the victims of health disparities, alongside many other marginalized groups.
It is in times like these that the greatest changes can be made. We need to be ready seize opportunities as they arise while continuing to advocate for and make decisions that are in the best interest of our organization, colleagues, and the patients we serve. I know my successor, Marshall Cates, PharmD, BCPP, FASHP, is up for this challenge and I am confident he will provide strong leadership in a year that will likely be anything but predictable. With that said, it has been an honor serving as your President this past year and I wish you all the best.